NEW YORK, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. kicked-off its third season on Tuesday, introducing its first openly gay character while also revealing the fate of series regular Jemma "Fitz" Simmons.
The action-packed episode hit the ground running when new character Joey Gutierrez, played by Juan Pablo Raba, is introduced. Gutierrez is shown struggling with his new 'Inhuman' powers and destroying everything in his path until Daisy Johnson, played by Chloe Bennet, comes to the rescue before he can be captured by the villainous Rosalind Price, played by Constance Zimmer.
Gutierrez is also the show's first openly gay character.
In an interview with Variety, Bennet discussed how her character relates to Gutierrez and how well the show handled his sexual orientation in a respectable way.
"Joey is the first person that she really feels like could be part of the team; they have to go through a certain level of assessment before that happens," she mentioned about Gutierrez. "As for him being gay, I was really, really happy to see that, and I am mostly happy to see how nonchalant it was and how subtle it was and how no one made a big deal about it. That's the kind of reference to someone being gay that I like to see; it doesn't affect the storyline in any way — it's subtle, and I thought that was really good on the writers. Just like when people ask what it's like to play a strong female character and it's always a little frustrating."
The premiere episode even ended with the surprise return of series regular Jemma Simmons, played by Elizabeth Henstridge, who reveals to have been living on a mysterious desert planet that is outside the solar system.
"It can't be because of the terrain and what you see," executive producer Jed Whedon tells Entertainment Weekly. "There's very few planets that have that configuration that she would not be dead if she were there."
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.