ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has introduced plenty of fantastical plots over the years, but it has almost always had Fitz and Simmons on hand to deliver a scientific explanation for how everything worked. Like much of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, S.H.I.E.L.D. found ways to use science to explain what seemed like magic. Executive producer Jed Whedon has weighed in on why we haven't learned the science behind one particularly crazy plot twist, saying this:
One thing, we never never explained that rock. We never even tried with that thing. It came from another planet! Science? I don't know. I don't know. We didn't even throw the science word in.
Well, for any who were wondering why we never got an explanation for the giant black monolith that could liquefy itself and suck people through space and maroon them on a blue planet, at least we have an answer to that question. As it turns out, even Jed Whedon doesn't know 100% how the portal was supposed to work on a scientific level. Fitz and Simmons were both busy doing science-y things when trying to figure out how to bring Simmons back from the planet Maveth, but apparently we're not going to get any of the specifics of how the monolith came to be. The monolith liquefying and sucking Simmons out of the safety of S.H.I.E.L.D. and over to Maveth did make for a fantastic cliffhanger to Season 2, so maybe it's not too big of a deal if we never find out all the details of the rock.
According to executive producer Jeffrey Bell, he and Jed Whedon had a reason why they decided to go with the mysterious monolith as a portal. He went on in their chat with IGN to say this:
I think we just thought it was the coolest looking effect we had ever seen. A hard rock turning into liquid like that. Sometimes you go with cool. Sometimes we talk about paying sins for the cool. 'That's so cool!' ' But does it make sense?' 'It doesn't matter.'
I'll admit that I thought the effect of the rock turning to liquid at odd looked pretty awesome after it was introduced, so kudos to Jed Whedon and Jeffrey Bell for coming up with a big mystery at the end of Season 2 and through the first half of Season 3. Separating Simmons and Fitz in such a seemingly insurmountable way certainly gave Elizabeth Henstridge and Iain De Caestecker the chance to flex their acting muscles, and it was definitely one of the most creative plots that the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. team ever dreamt up for the series. Besides, if the show was going to go all-in on the Fitzsimmons romance, there was really no better way to set them up than Simmons spending months talking to an absent Fitz because she missed him and Fitz literally finding a way to jump through a rock to retrieve her from another planet.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. moved on from the rock in Season 4 to introduce Ghost Rider and the Life Model Decoys, so we'll probably never learn what exactly happened to make the monolith work. Tune in to ABC on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET to see what's next for the agents now that Radcliffe has turned his L.M.D.'s on them, and don't forget to check out our midseason TV premiere schedule.