Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD Character Review: Jemma Simmons


Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD’s second season can almost be thought of as two separate seasons. The first half covered the deterioration of Hydra and Coulson’s psyche, ending with a huge bang — or, if you will, shake. The second half covered the discovery of the Inhumans and superpowered people.

Because there’s been so much character development this season (and since we have the time to kill), let’s dive in and take a trip down Agents of SHIELD memory lane, character by character.

Miss a post? Get caught up: Melinda May  |  Grant Ward  |  Fitz

[Mid-Season Report: FitzSimmons]

The Positive: Jemma Simmons became a more self-confident agent in Season 2. We may have been thrown in the first few episodes by Fitz’s imaginary Simmons. Her first real episode showed a completely different character than what we saw in Season 1. We were presented with someone who has learned how to lie and act and put her very life on the line, even in the face of immediate danger. Compare that to the Simmons from before who couldn’t tell a lie or act worth a damn.

Much like Fitz, she became her own separate entity, slipping out of that “FitzSimmons” character that we were only ever given glimpses of. She took charge of the lab once more and even found a budding friendship with Agent Triplett that could have turned into something more had he not been killed. She took his death hard, and we discovered a new iteration of her character.

One of the best flashes of the old FitzSimmons came when she and Fitz successfully snuck Fury’s Toolbox out of SHIELD HQ to keep it away from fake!SHIELD. Talk about being able to lie — she even fooled Agent May! Up until the last second …

The Negative: Simmons is the one character who has more negative than positive (so far). Her characterization in the second half of Agents of SHIELD‘s season was more than frustrating. She went from constant scientific intrigue about new things she didn’t quite understand to immediately hating new, unexplained things and suggesting they just exterminate it before it can spread.

That goes against her very nature as a scientist and lab geek.

It also meant she now saw one of her closest friends as a potential threat and something to be feared. She treated Skye like a leper, not even seeing her as a human being and not letting anyone tell her otherwise. The main reasoning behind her sudden change of heart? Triplett’s death, apparently so impactful to her from a handful of semi-flirtatious situations that it completely changes who she is. It makes little sense.

Fitz ends up yelling the truth in her face: she‘s the one who has really changed. And that’s the terrifying thing.

Simmons changes again after this, though not as drastic as before. It’s more of a step sideways, where she begins to come back into the SHIELD fold and accept Skye. But it still doesn’t quite fit. It feels like she’s only siding with her friends because the alternate choice isn’t very appealing. The only good to come of it is that she and Fitz return to speaking terms.

There are glimpses of the old FitzSimmons, but that’s another infuriating thing: how at the end of the season as Fitz is preparing to leave, she springs her potential feelings on him. Bad timing, Simmons. Sure, we saw hints of it in previous episodes, most notably her packing Fitz the sandwich he loves after they sneak Fury’s Toolbox out of HQ. But it would have worked better and felt less forced had there been more buildup and more consistency.

Next Season: After that finale, who knows what kind of Simmons we’ll get in season three. Getting sucked into an alien artifact doesn’t sound like a good time, and the consequences are more than likely catastrophic. Or at least game-changing.

With how anti-Specials she was, there’s a gut feeling that Simmons will emerge from the Kree weapon a changed woman with powers she doesn’t understand. Skye will support her to the best of her abilities, and Simmons will be one of the first recruits of Skye’s new team.

Where She Started: B
Where She Ended: C
Overall Grade: C+. Too many disconnects with her motivations and reasoning left Simmons a bit of a mess by the end of the season. Next season promises to be different.

Next: Agents of SHIELD Character Review: Leo Fitz

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