INTERVIEW: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S6 – Elizabeth Henstridge

While other members of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are handling new threats to the Earth on the ground, not to mention dealing with the recent changes in management, Jemma Simmons is on the hunt for her lost husband in space. Actress Elizabeth Henstridge sat down recently to discuss how the involuntary estrangement has affected her character, even as she tried to keep Season 6 and 7 straight.

This moment has sadly been erased for Fitz.

Given that the Fitz she’s set out to find isn’t even the most recent version of him, so to speak, there are going to be a lot of questions once they are finally reunited. But according to Henstridge, that’s not something Jemma can worry about yet. “For her, right now, she’s just a thousand percent set on finding him and really has kind of given up anything else,” the actress said. And anything else at times includes the feelings and well-being of her friends. “Ethically, she’s just so biased on finding him [that] she’s not worried about other people’s feelings. She doesn’t care what the consequences are, this is her one goal and she’s gonna do it.”

It doesn’t help that she and Fitz have been separated so many times already that it feels like history repeating itself. “She has been like this before, but not to this extent, in terms of putting other people in danger to get what she wants,” Henstridge explained. “So it’s a really fun thing to play to just be obsessed about doing this one thing and not taking other people’s feelings into consideration. She’s can’t fit anything else in her head at the moment, because as soon as she starts to think about other people, she starts to think about the crazy odds of what she’s trying to do and she’ll break down.” Which, of course, means that Simmons can’t currently conceive of how to move forward with Fitz when they’re together – all that matters is that they will be one day. “She’s not thinking about how she’s gonna tell him when she finds him, how she’s even gonna start explaining stuff, she just needs to be with him. She’s compartmentalizing in a huge way.”

Of course, it won’t be all fun and games. Henstridge admitted there would be some vulnerability as well, but that, “I think the writers really wanted to show such a strength and a resilience. And those moments [of weakness] are lovely, because you earn those moments, but there aren’t that many of them.” If anyone can reach Simmons, though, it might be Daisy. As her best friend and the leader of the team, she will sometimes be seen putting her foot down when the odds are too much and the Zephyr’s falling apart. “But, you know, at the end of day this team is a family,” the actress added. “It’s kind of like that sibling relationship where you annoy each other and you come together. And there’s nice point in the episode where [Jemma and Daisy] are having this huge argument, and then suddenly the environment changes and they’re straight back to being a team again.”

Finally, Henstridge commented on what it felt like to be directed by co-star Clark Gregg, who plays the dearly departed Coulson. “He just knows us all so well as people, how to communicate with us, and then also our characters, and he cares so much about this show,” she gushed. “This is so important to him, and he’s just so wonderful to directed by. He’s so smart in the way he thinks about the camera and everything, the editing, and then also the acting, and he’s so detailed.” It sounds like his role as mentor is as true offscreen as it is onscreen, which is wonderful to hear.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 6 premieres May 10th on ABC.