Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. just brought an end to the second of its three arcs in Season 4, and the episode left the agents in a pretty rough situation. The majority of the main characters are currently stuck in a framework reality constructed by the android A.I.D.A. Coulson, May, Fitz, and Mack don't even know that they're in a digital reality, so Daisy and Simmons willingly followed them into the framework to try and pull them out. Daisy popped out into the alternate reality seemingly unharmed, but Simmons...well, all we saw of Simmons was a gravestone. S.H.I.E.L.D. showrunner Jed Whedon has come out to tease just what's going on with everybody's favorite biochemist, saying this:
They were plugging themselves into those avatars, so... she did not wake up in a warm tub. We'll have to see where she appears, but that was not the end of Jemma Simmons, just to make that clear... I don't know how many times we can cut to that [gravestone] before it runs out of its drama.
Given that one of the last things Jemma Simmons said before she and Daisy entered the framework was that dying in the digital reality would result in death in the real world, many fans have been concerned that Simmons' grave means that Simmons simply didn't survive the transfer. It would have been an unceremonious end for poor Jemma, but Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has pulled off shocking deaths before. Jed Whedon's comments to TVLine should help those of us who have been worried about her to rest easier while we wait for the next episode.
The big questions now are where she is and what she's doing. Daisy woke up in a bathtub with her framework boyfriend - who she'll probably be surprised to discover is Ward - sleeping soundly in the next room; Simmons evidently got a much ruder awakening. Hopefully her experiences surviving on Maveth back in Season 3 have equipped her to get through whatever mess she's currently in and get to work pulling Fitz and Co. out of their framework mindsets.
Simmons may be in for an unpleasant surprise when she finds Fitz again, all things considered. She went in to the framework reality to get him back, and she was really in need of a hug from her guy after she had to kill the L.M.D. who was posing as him. Unfortunately, Fitz has a different woman on his arm in the digital reality, and he doesn't look like he's an agent of anything. Depending on when the framework version of Simmons died, she and Fitz might never have met. The real Simmons might have a very hard time getting through to him in his current state.
Sadly, we have a while to wait before we get to see Simmons back in action wherever she is. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is on hiatus until Tuesday, April 4 at 10 p.m. ET. Check out our midseason TV premiere schedule for a look at everything you can watch in the meantime.