Agents of SHIELD: May’s past revealed

Patrick Wymore/ABC
Patrick Wymore/ABC

We finally learned about Melinda May’s past in this week’s Agents of SHIELD and boy, was it worth the wait! Not only was it a heart breaking, emotional moment for May, but it tied in beautifully to the one of the biggest questions of the season: can we trust beings with powers?

It turns out that the Obelisk wasn’t the first time SHIELD has had a run-in with Inhumans. On a mission in Bahrain, while looking into a potential candidate for the index, May experienced a life-changing event when she was forced to kill a young girl named Katya who had been corrupted by her powers, earning the nickname “The Cavalry.” The moment irrevocably changed her from a woman in love and ready to start a family to someone much colder and distant, costing her marriage to Andrew Garner, who made a welcome reappearance.

My hat goes off to Ming-Na Wen, who did such an amazing job conveying the horrors she had to endure in Bahrain. She’s so excellent at playing the serious May that it seems like a physical transformation when we see May smiling and flirting with her then husband. Not only that, but seeing May at her coldest also established how far she’s come from the beginning of the series. Her relationship with Skye and Coulson has really opened her up to people again, even if only in subtle ways, which makes it even harder to watch her struggle with the idea that Coulson has been lying to her.

While I still think Coulson is a good guy, I can’t fault Bobbi for being suspicious of him after realizing he’s been lying to the team from the moment he took on the role as SHIELD director. Using the bulk of SHIELD’s resources towards his “Theta Protocol” to create shelter and technology for known index members is a major concern considering their history with Inhumans and the like. Will he have a good explanation? Undoubtedly. Will it be justified? That’s a harder one to sell. Considering executive producer Jeffrey Bell recently spoke about the connections between the index and Captain America: Civil War, the conflict will more likely be intensified than resolved by next season.

Katya’s death also had unexpected ramifications for Skye, whose reunion with her mother was forced into secrecy thanks to Jiaying’s fear of the Inhumans turning on Skye out of the belief that Jiaying would play favourites with her daughter. Skye quickly grew suspicious of her when she realized that she was one of the first to be coached by Jiaying, but still let her guard down enough to learn from her. It’s amazing to think that Skye went from barely able to stop a room from shaking to controlling vibrations in a wine glass in such a short amount of time. Just imagine what she’ll be able to do beyond this season.

Kelsey McNeal/ABC
Kelsey McNeal/ABC

In spite of the secrecy, the mother/daughter reunion was everything I hoped it would be. Instead of resenting her mother for leaving her, Skye embraced her and even consented to meeting with her father, Cal. Learning that Cal was the one to put Jiaying back together still raises questions, like why he told Skye she was dead, and why he had such a strong vendetta against Whitehall when he knew his wife was still alive? Or should we just chalk it up to the fact that he’s clearly unstable?

Another big moment in the episode was when we learned Raina potentially has the power of clairvoyance. It’s a really cool, unexpected twist to see Raina, who was initially tricked by Garrett into believing he was a psychic, become one herself. Not to mention it’s a neat way to tie up Raina’s journey from Season 1¬†up to this point. The question is, will Raina use her powers for good or continue to only look out for herself?

The episode closed with Fitz finally breaking into Fury’s toolbox and getting in touch with Coulson and Hunter. There wasn’t enough time to see exactly what was in that box, but at least we got one good line from Hunter before the end. Too bad we couldn’t see exactly how a hand dryer can help take out two SHIELD agents.

More thoughts on “Melinda:”

  • While we’re starting to see the connections to Civil War, I’m curious as to how the show will be affected post-Avengers 2. We could always be totally blindsided like we were with Winter Soldier and the Hydra reveal.
  • I’m continuing to really respect Bobbi’s point of view on Coulson. She seems to truly want what’s best for SHIELD as a whole, instead of being blindly loyal to one man.
  • I can only imagine the horror Skye felt when she realized she was a whole year older than she thought. Your mid-twenties is a strange time.
  • The Inhumans are still such a mystery. When are we going to find out their end goal?

Were you devastated by May’s story? Share you thoughts in the comments below. The trailer for next week’s episode isn’t giving much away, which may mean we’re due for some even more game-changing twists. Maybe even an Ultron reference? A girl can dream.

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV and ABC.