[TV Literature] Fitz-Simmons
***Spoiler Warning*** To about episode 11 of season 3.
Oh Fitz. Good guy Fitz. Wonderous Fitz.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Boy meets girl. Girl is not particularly attractive, looks kind of like a bad Emma Watson knockoff in shady lighting, but boy is not a prize catch either. Both look at each other with wanting eyes but, hey! Let’s just be best friends because that always works. Do feelings come out boom, boom? Of course they do. Boy confesses and everything falls into place.
I’m kidding, about that last line. Nothing ever falls into place.
When I first started watching Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., I honestly did not expect too much. Some super spy stuff, a little bit of CGI, name drops, and the guy that Tony Stark only refers to as, “Agent.” But little did I know, S.H.I.E.L.D. quickly went from a directionless spin-off into a literary powerhouse that captured all the nerdy cockles of the English student in me. What do I mean by that?
Well, of the many aspects of storytelling that S.H.I.E.L.D. does well, character development is probably the greatest thing they excel at. Many unfamous authors remain unfamous because their characters are difficult for readers to connect to personally or they do not seem to change as the plot progresses. Character development is essential to fleshing out paper and ink into someone your imagination feels like it get behind or at least give a damn if they blow up in a car.
Today, I’m going to discuss the fan darling concept of Fitz-Simmons, the pairing of two adork-able teen scientists on Phil Coulson’s S.H.I.E.L.D. team.
The first of the two would be boy, aka, Leopold Fitz. Fitz is a genius in robotics and Simmons’ classmate at the S.H.I.E.L.D. version of Hogwarts which is where they bloodswore best friendship. As a supporting character, he provided comedy relief and occasional moments of almost heroism before the Ward/Mack would come to perform the real action. You could recognize Fitz on the screen from his heavy one of the UK’s many accents as well as the expression of confusion that seems to be pasted onto his face.
The second of the two is girl, aka, Jemma Simmons.
aka, Emma Watson.
aka, Lily Carter.
Simmons is a biology expert who apparently spent a lot of time with Fitz at S.H.I.E.L.D.warts even though they were focused on entirely different subjects. She was originally introduced as the cute comedy relief character by being socially awkward before ABC told Marvel, “Make her sexy. Somewhat.”
The two came as a pair and their interactions quickly went from mindless chuckles to becoming a pivotal development on the show as they came to grips with their feelings for one another and puberty. And this is where Marvel does a wonderful job promoting background talent to main screen attraction.
Over the course of two and a half seasons, Fitz found his footing into manhood because of Simmons. Whereas most boys poked or pulled the hair of girls they liked, Fitz went above and beyond and did things like saving her life, giving her his last lungful of air as they sank into the ocean, jumped through an alien portal first chance he got to find her, ignored national security for her personal safety, and even overcame the limitations of permanent brain damage because, her. In a show where everyone is an action hero, Fitz stands out by displaying the most amount of personal heroism. Being the guy who doesn’t blast and punch his way out of things, but being the guy who will-powers through everything, the audience is inclined to cheer for the boy as he becomes the man with the noblest of intentions.
Simmons on the other hand was written as a character who really tries to go out into her own. She went from ha-ha Simmons to Agent Simmons to H.Y.D.R.A. Simmons and back to Agent Simmons as she sought her place on the team by taking initiative. Girl power. But along the way, she came to realize that she needed the companionship of her best friend to get her through the thickest of this thing we call the reality of life. When things get too strange, there was one familiar thing that kept her grounded, good guy Fitz.
And this is where their relationship gets murky. Fitz knows what he wants and of course, Simmons, aka girl, aka Emma Watson, aka Lily Carter, has no idea what she wants. The confusion of the female protagonist is the root of all evil and against all of fandom and the power of love, I will declare: Forget Simmons, Fitz deserves and can do better.
Most TV and movie stars have one life to give for their love. Not Fitz. Because of his knack of putting himself in harm’s way for Simmons combined with his uncanny ability to survive tough ordeals, the baddies of S.H.I.E.L.D. have been chipping away at what I must assume is a declining HP bar. Aside from numerous nights of heartache, the man has goddamn permanent brain damage because he saved her life! This, along every other instance of him believing in her, believing in them, tends to be met with indifference, ignorance, denial, and overall bad news.
His first straight confession came at the end of season one when they were both trapped inside a pod that was sinking to the bottom of the ocean. As they sunk, recalling their glory days, Fitz revealed how he felt in the most dramatic of ways not wanting to die without letting her know the truth. We loved it because he spent the whole seasons not wanting to say anything out of not wanting to rock her world but at the end of it all, he did it for himself. They explode the pod, shooting them into the ocean where Fitz gives her his last breath so she may swim up. As he loses consciousness, Simmons pulls him up with her and they are rescued by Nick Fury. Season one closes with us assuming that Fitz’s sacrifice should have won him major brownie points.
At the beginning of season two, after said brain damage happened, Simmons left the team to infiltrate H.Y.D.R.A. without leaving so much as an explanation for Fitz who had just saved her life, was in a coma, came out of the coma retarded, and constantly hallucinated that she was around as a coping mechanism to his new reality. Throughout the early part of season two, we see Fitz going through the absolute most convincing depiction of the stage of denial which affected every part of his life from his relationships with others on the team to his work in the lab. But there was just no quit in the man and as surely as he hit rock bottom, he began climbing back up. The brain damage and his physical reaction to it as well as his ailing mental capabilities became a character trait that was there to stay; a very bold move in an era where broken characters are almost, always expected to bounce back. The realization that this young man would never be the same again only made you stand behind him he masterfully adapted to his disability.
In the meantime, Simmons was off being an unlikable bitch. She comes back and we all hold our breaths for the moment of truth only for her to reveal that she didn’t know how she felt, she thought they were going to die, she still doesn’t know how to feel. All is darkness, everything is pain. They start all over in a painstaking working relationship throughout the inhuman arc. Near the end of the second season, Simmons is captured by the monolith and teleported to Hydraland; the evil Nazi equivalent of Disneyland.
At the beginning of season three, Fitz is lost without Simmons again. But never fear! Good guy Fitz will simply not give up on the power of love. He goes on a crusade to find out everything about the monolith with every intention of jumping into the black, swirling, portal of death just for a chance to find her. He negotiates with terrorists, ignores Mack, ignores Coulson, and goes off the books in an intensified repeat of his ordeal in season two because he won’t give up on the girl.
In the meantime, Simmons falls for another man.
Fitz reopens the portal and rescues Simmons again. Simmons has rightfully gone through a difficult ordeal but Fitz was there to help her recuperate, something she never did for him *cough* *cough* And boy, what a rehab schedule. Willing to listen to her for long hours, fancy dinners, and ultimately being cool that she loves some other guy although I suspect if he were capable like Ward, he would have gone on a killing frenzy.
I’m pretty sure the point where I drew the damn line was when he wanted to reopen the portal to find Will, Simmon’s man friend from Hydraland. Why? Why Fitz? Why risk your life? Just so she can be happy? Goddammit, you good, wonderful human being. If she wants Will so much, make her go through the stupid portal again.
The Fitz-Simmons saga is summed up as a man who just won’t give up on love and a girl who just cannot learn to be grateful. And maybe Fitz’s faith or ability to absorb punishment is much better than mine but c’mon man, just let it go. I can’t say I don’t care about Simmons because she is a very interesting character in her own right having been torn between being a lone wolf and a team member and her selective ability to see Fitz the way he sees her makes you keep thinking there is hope. But at the same time, every time I see Fitz looking confused as to whether he should be feeling hurt or not, I suffer a severe allergic reaction to my feelings.
And as childish as this might sound, the only way I can forgive Simmons is if S.H.I.E.L.D. onboarded some very hot woman who falls for Fitz and they knock the dirties audibly for five episodes straight with Simmons trying to sleep in the room next door. Then they can reassign Agent Lollipop to the ACTU and let Simmons try to win back Fitz. This is a very reasonable request to Marvel as Simmons definitely hurt Fitz more than that.
And change Agent Lollipop to Ms. Marvel. Have Fitz bang Ms. Marvel.