Agents of SHIELD Just Resolved Paradox Fitz Better Than Season 5

Fitz and Simmons in Agents of SHIELD Season 6

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 6 just resolved its FitzSimmons paradox - even more effectively than season 5. The last season of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. embraced the concept of time travel, with the S.H.I.E.L.D. team attempting to break a time loop that involves the Earth's destruction. Leopold Fitz was at the heart of this time loop; unlike the rest of the S.H.I.E.L.D. team, he got to the future the long way round, by being frozen in cryogenic suspension until the year 2091. He was key to getting the team back to the past, where he married his sweetheart Jemma Simmons, experienced a mental breakdown when his Framework persona rose to the surface, and he ultimately died when S.H.I.E.L.D. changed history.

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This set up a paradox that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 6 would have to confront sooner or later. Because the future timeline had been averted, Fitz no longer needed to go to the future in the first; thus S.H.I.E.L.D. could track the original version down and bring him home. That would naturally lead to a pretty tricky moment between Fitz and Simmons, the latter of whom would have a lot to explain. This being a comic book TV adaptation, the latest episode, "Inescapable", decided to up the ante by making matters even more difficult for S.H.I.E.L.D.'s power couple.

Related: Agents Of SHIELD: FitzSimmons Is Marvel's Best Love Story (Even After Endgame)

The Chronicoms placed Fitz and Simmons in an Astralscape using a cerebral fusion machine. Inside this Astralscape, the two were forced to confront each other's worst fears and darkest memories. To Fitz's horror, he was confronted with the reality of the time paradox when he saw his own broken body - and when Daisy gave Simmons her wedding ring back, he realized that Simmons had already married him once before. "I missed my own wedding," he reflected in heartbreak.

Time travel is a famously difficult concept for any TV show or movie to handle - even Avengers: Endgame has struggled, with its writers and directors subscribing to different interpretations of the MCU's time travel rules. But this is the best way to handle it, by rooting pretty head-spinning concepts in deeply emotional stories. It helps that both Elizabeth Henstridge and Iain De Caestecker are top-quality actors, and that they've been playing these characters since 2013; as a result, their scenes have a remarkable depth to them, making "Inescapable" one of the best episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to date.

Meanwhile, the Astralscape was the perfect narrative concept to explore this. Rather than indulge in an extended infodump, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. used the Astralscape to "show, not tell," with Fitz literally looking down at his own body in Simmons' memories, and seeing Daisy hand his wedding ring back to Simmons. The Astralscape also proved to be a perfect way for both Fitz and Simmons to deal with their repressed hurts and fears; in Fitz's case, it meant confronting the Doctor Fitz persona. Thus Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. avoids getting repetitive, with this version of Fitz having to go through the same Doctor Fitz arc as season 5. All in all, it's the perfect way to resolve all the time paradox plots, in a single character-focused episode.

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