Elizabeth Henstridge, Iain DeCaestecker, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. writers share their thoughts on the fate of FitzSimmons, and other spacey ships.
Everyone knows that the course of true love never did run smooth on television, but Fitz and Simmons’ uniquely tortured path to romance might be one for the record books. As Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. enters its fifth season, the pair has been divided by everything from the mundanities of hesitation and the painful guilt of unbalanced scales, to unwilling relocation to a hell-planet and robot body-swapping.
(And let’s not even mention the space-boyfriend.)
In the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5 premiere, the trauma continues. Fitz (Iain DeCaestecker) has been left behind on Earth, while Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) and the rest of the team are catapulted into a satellite colony 90 years in the future. Suffice to say, by this point, even the characters have noticed that they seem to be prey to a cosmic grudge.
“You guys are constantly torn apart,” Daisy observes to Simmons in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5 premiere.
“Cursed, as he would say,” Simmons replies, though she tries to reject the idea herself.
But with events spiraling ever more wildly out of control (Simmons is now the drone-like servitor of an eccentric Kree overlord, for crying out loud!) we were wondering about that curse ourselves. So we went right to the source to see if the minds behind Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have actually hexed these two star-crossed scientists to eternal misery.
“No,” insist showrunners Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen. “If you stick through the season,” Tancharoen adds, “You will be…”
“Iain’s still on the show,” Whedon interjects. “It’ll be fine!”
Elizabeth Henstridge is just as vehemently optimistic about the couple’s prospects.
“NO!” she says, when asked if she believes that FitzSimmons are cursed. “I don’t! No, I don’t. I think they’re members of S.H.I.E.L.D., is what they are.”
“Not at all,” Ming-Na agrees, cracking “It’s a smooth romance, through and through!”
“I mean, romances in real life are not plain sailing,” Henstridge notes.
Her on-screen love Iain DeCaestecker also insists that he “definitely” does not believe in the curse.
“They’ve faced some real tough shit,” he says. “But no, I think the reason they’re not cursed is because often, through it all, they manage to find a way through it together. And they don’t work as well seperately as they to do together — they kind of complete each other when they’re together. That sounds really cheesy doesn’t it!” he laughs.
Chloe Bennet and Clark Gregg each describe themselves as ardent FitzSimmons shippers (“The universe just tortures people like me,” Gregg says) and encourage fans to look to the future.
“They don’t know what’s happening this season, do they!” Bennet teases of despairing fans. “Listen, friction creates growth, so they are just going to become even better. So the more that they go through, the stronger of a couple [they’re going to be].”
All of this rather encouraging positivity toward the good ship FitzSimmons leaves room for ambiguity in other romantic arenas, however. While Mack and Elena seem to be weathering the storm of space quite well together, Clark Gregg and Ming-Na indicate that the budding feelings between Coulson and May might have cooled somewhat.
“That was a fiendishly complex romantic dynamic,” Gregg says. “[Coulson] finally opened up and really taken a step forward romantically with Melinda, only to discover that it was not Melinda, but a very sexy facsimile! Thank God it didn’t go further,” he chuckles. “That would have been confusing.”
“But at the very end of season four,” Gregg continues, “You see him say that, you know, you can’t own territory we didn’t really walk down together. So they seem to have agreed at the end of season four to go, “Let’s just go back to where we were and start over — and see, you know, what happens.””
“I think there’s something that I really relate to about it, that you don’t get too many friends like that, ever in your life,” he says. “And a work friend who literally has your back in life-or-death situations, seemingly once a week — you don’t you don’t mess around with that if it’s going to take a different place! Apparently Phil treads very carefully!”
Ming-Na expresses a similar sentiment.
“We came out of the Framework without having really resolved a lot of that trauma, and those memories, and the experiences we had in the Framework,” she says. “And then all of sudden, we’re thrust into this new, dire situation. So for Colson and for May, everything, I think, is put on the back burner for for that reason.”
“They’re there to try to figure out how we can get the team back. And romance for them, I think, will have to definitely take a back seat.”
But, she adds, “What’s so beautiful is that as long as they have each other — and that’s what their friendship, and their loyalty, and their history [is] — [that’s what] makes it so compelling for fans wanting them to hook up and get together, and just get it on!”
“I mean, it might be the end of the world!” Ming-Na laughs. “Let’s just do it! It might take that much for them to finally take that leap.”
Still, executive producer Jeph Loeb offers a bit of hope for the Philinda shippers in the audience. In spite of the pressures of survival on the Lighthouse, he says, “The heart wants what the heart wants. So you know, it’s always interesting to see where that goes.”
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5, episode 3, “A Life Spent,” airs Friday, Dec. 8 at 9:00 p.m. on ABC.