One thing that's been conspicuously absent from the second season of "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." is the finishing-each-other's-sentences teamwork of the "FitzSimmons" combo. But after half a season of avoiding each other, have Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons finally begun taking the first steps toward a reconnection?
During a recent set visit to the top-secret location housing "The Bus," CBR News attended separate press conferences with stars Elizabeth Henstridge and Iain De Caestecker. Both actors addressed the issues plaguing their two agents, including the sense of splintering factions within Coulson's group, Simmons' hard-line stance against the Inhuman emergence, Fitz's adapting to his post-brain trauma challenges, and, of course, whether there's hope for their team-within-a-team to reunite.
On the increasing fractures growing among the S.H.I.E.L.D. team:
Elizabeth Henstridge: This season, we've been exploring [the question], is S.H.I.E.L.D. good, or is it just another excuse to not question? I think everyone on the team has been questioning Coulson and figuring out if they want to just do their own thing and what results in that. It's not as simple as it was in Season One, where it's like S.H.I.E.L.D. is good and Hydra's bad, because S.H.I.E.L.D. was Hydra for a bit. I do think that leaves the door open. It's not so black-and-white right now.
Iain De Caestecker: I think the cool thing about Season Two is that a lot of the risks and dangers that were involved for a group of humans that are coming up amongst superhero elements, a lot of those risks have started to become very real things, and we're dealing with the aftermath of that. So going into the season finale, the group's a bit more split. Everyone's going through different turmoils.
On the future of the "Fitzsimmons" dynamic:
De Caestecker: I suppose what's happened from the start of Season Two up to midseason is, they've become a lot stronger as individuals, I think. But I think they still care for and need each other a lot, and they also work better together when they are together. But I think there's a lot of things that have still been unsaid and will hopefully come out, certain confrontations that are still bubbling under.
Henstridge: I don't think they fully realize the implication of how far apart they are. There's so much hurt there. I don't think they realize what they're sacrificing by not figuring this out. When that comes to light, that he's kept [Skye's transformation] from her, that's the start of trying to chip away at, "This is what it's going to be like if we don't figure this out -- it's going to be secrets." It also pains her that he would have to carry a burden and she wouldn't be able to ease that pain. It's going to get muddier before it gets clear, but this is potentially the first step at trying to figure their relationship out.
On Simmons' shifting attitude toward the Inhumans -- and Skye -- situation:
Henstridge: In some ways, this is Simmons coming full circle. because before coming into this team and all of a sudden being practical medicine, she's always been very mathematical in a way. It makes sense if there are these people -- call them what you want; Inhumans -- that cause destruction, and you can get rid of them, then they won't be a destruction anymore. That's where she started in Season One from the beginning, being very mathematical.
She's a scientist. Throughout Season One, she understood that it was more about human relationships and what it means to save someone's life and that connection. She's had a traumatic event and she's gone straight back to what she knows of trying to make everything black and white. Of course it isn't, and she'll go on that journey again.
On whether Fitz's brain trauma will be an ongoing challenge for him or perhaps be cured one day by Marvel-style science:
De Caestecker: From the get-go, before I even knew about it, the writers had the idea, and they did a lot of research in it with doctors. When I found out about it, I did my own research and correlated it together. It's just something that should never be trivialized. It's a real and serious thing to a lot of people, brain trauma, so we just have to constantly be respectful towards it. We talk about it all the time. Even if you don't see it or it's not obvious, it's always something that's in our heads that we're keeping going.
It's the realization that you never get fully better, it's about embracing the new side of you and making that work in the world that you're in. I suppose the idea of a cure -- I don't know if that could happen. I'm not too sure about that. It's still a work in progress for him.