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I've been re-watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and just got to the end of the first series and I've been wondering:

Why does Fitz get the bends and Simmons doesn't when they escape from the pod at the bottom of the sea?

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    Maybe I'm misremembering (I haven't seen it in a while)... but I thought that Gemma had air and Fitz was suffering from oxygen deprivation, not decompression sickness. – Catija May 23 '16 at 22:38
  • I will double check, but I know Fitz mentioned the bends whilst they were trapped inside the pod at the bottom of the sea. – Jimmery May 24 '16 at 14:22
  • The pod has uncompressed air. It was sealed when they were above water.... I don't think they could get decompression sickness. When you scuba dive, you breathe pressurized air for many minutes (no decompression limit is somewhere around 45-60 minutes at around 60 feet). The pod was probably deeper than that, which means the ndl is shorter but they ascended immediately. – Catija May 24 '16 at 14:39
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TL:DR they both are affected by the Bends

At the end of episode 21 ("Ragtag"), around the 35 minute mark, Simmons and Fitz get dropped into the ocean inside the container. Our view of Fitz and Simmons resumes in episode 22 ("Beginning Of The End"), around the 5min15sec mark, where both appear to be ok, with normal environmental air. According to Fitz,

These pods are built to be compatible with all S.H.I.E.L.D. aircraft, submarine, spacecraft. On impact the atmospheric adaptation must have tried to compensate. We slowly sank as it increased the density of the outer walls.

So the container allowed the pressure to remain constant inside, regardless of the external pressure experienced at 90 feet below sea level.

According to Wikipedia, not everyone experiences the same effects of the bends (aka, decompression sickness) Symptoms of Decompression Sickness, by Frequency

  • 9m 45s : Fitz and Simmons decide to blow the window in to escape.
  • 20m 0s : Fitz gives Simmons a breathing apparatus to help her get up the 90 feet, as she is a better swimmer
  • 21m 53s: Fitz blows the window. Fitz appears to be unconscious when they are above sea level, whereas Simmons is ok.

Shortly after, Simmons is seen in a decompression chamber. We can assume Fitz is also in a similar chamber, but with the added downside of having been without oxygen. So we can assume that Fitz is unconscious due to the lack of oxygen, or was unfortunate enough to suffer that as a downside of decompression. With the oxygen mask, Simmons had enough air to breath (so she wasn't mal-oxygenated(?) ), and didn't suffer unconsciousness, as everyone is affected differently.

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    Yeah, the reason behind Fitz's mental impairment/deterioration following the incident was not due to decompression sickness (DCS, aka. "the bends"). He sustained a hypoxic brain injury on account of suffering from acute cerebral hypoxia; deprivation of oxygen to the brain. He actually mentions it to an incarcerated Former-Agent Ward in a later episode. – tjt263 Aug 4 '16 at 18:39

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