Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD Recap – “Melinda”


If you didn’t love Melinda May before this week’s Agents of SHIELD, you better have changed your mind after this. This is the back story we’ve been waiting for, and it’s not quite what you would expect. And I’m going to keep this segmented into the various storylines and go from there.

Not-So-Short Summary: Let’s start on the fake!SHIELD front. They’re tracking Fitz in hopes that he will lead them to Coulson and also trying to get information out of May about Project Deathlok. Mum’s the word from her, and Bobbi and that Pushing Daisies agent whose name I always forget (answer: it’s Agent Weaver) badger her about all the weird funding Coulson is doing for something called “Theta Protocol.” As a show of good faith, they give May control of the base and also all their intel on Coulson.

In an aside, Bobbi calls May out on not actually knowing about the upgrades to Project Deathlok. She starts on a long rant about the goings-on at fake!SHIELD, but May shuts her up. “You’re worried I don’t understand your choice,” she says. “Sometimes that’s the price of doing the right thing.”

May goes to see Simmons and explains that the not-flux capacitor she’s been working on is actually a battery pack for Mike Peterson. They begin to look into what Coulson has been doing, and he definitely hasn’t been honest with them. He’s been burning through money and meeting at places he hasn’t said. And he’s been consulting with Andrew, May’s ex.

Mack comes in to explain that they think he’s trying to build another base in order to train superpowered people. That’s when May turns to Simmons and practically pleads with her to open Fury’s Toolbox.

Flashback: This is the heart of this episode. We see May seven years ago, happily married to Andrew, talking like crazy and looking forward to planning a family when she and Coulson get back from their latest mission. There’s a fun exchange between May and Coulson where he explains that SHIELD is putting all their money into building the Triskelion and how Fury has a great plan to bring together a bunch of superpowered people and make a kickass team (WOO AVENGERS INITIATIVE!!).

Welcome to Bahrain. SHIELD is after a woman known as Eva Belyakov, who possesses enhanced strength. Coulson intercepts Eva at a cafe in the black market section of town. When he asks her what she’s looking for, she says pain and sends a table flying. A local militia kidnaps some of Coulson’s crew, a little girl, and Eva goes with them. When Coulson calls one of the kidnapped agents, he says, “Leave us alone.”

SHIELD agents go in for a breach, it goes about as poorly as possible. May manages to talk Coulson into letting her go in after their agents, concerned for the little girl. While Coulson covers for May with the local authorities (he says it’s a biochemical weapon in the building), she calls her husband to say they’re going off the book and he gives her a bit of emotional support.

And the badass-ness is a little underwhelming from what I expected. She fights her way to the room with all the SHIELD agents who keep saying they want her pain, so she locks them in and fights her way downstairs to face off against Eva, who literally kicks May across the room. It picks up a bit when two cronies show up and May fights them, but gets shot in the knee. She manages to kill Eva by stabbing her in the gut with a lamppost, but the men do not snap out of their daze.

This is where everything twists. It turns out the little girl, Katya, is the one doing the controlling. She literally waves her hands and the droves of militia men fall to the ground, dead. May tries to talk the girl down, but all the girl wants is a “new mom,” aka someone else to control.

May is forced to shoot the girl she was initially attempting to save, and when the SHIELD agents wake up out of their hypnosis and can’t remember how so many people died, they believe it to be May, so the Cavalry did go in. The scene of Coulson leading May out of the building and trying to calm her down hurts, and it doesn’t help when all May can say is that she couldn’t save the girl. Because that doesn’t mean what everyone else thinks it does.

That’s why she lost herself.

Yes, May is a trained, seasoned agent and warrior, and she’s damn good at her job, but taking out forty agents on her own in an enclosed space? That’s Captain America elevator-level stuff. Something had to be amiss. For it to be something so dark and so earth-shattering makes total sense. What else would make Melinda May retreat into herself and never tell anyone what happened? She pushes her husband away because (we assume) she no longer can bear the thought of having children after what happened with Katya and cannot give Andrew what he wants.

It’s definitely one of the more emotional episodes of Agents of SHIELD, and I still haven’t covered Skye’s side of things.

Inhumans: Jiaying is well under way teaching Skye how to control her powers. She believes Skye can learn to feel the frequencies of the things around here and tap into that to choose what she wants to shake. Skye hears the mountain, Jiaying tells her to shake the mountain, and she causes an avalanche.

During her lunch break, Lincoln makes the comment that it must mean something if Jiaying took Skye under her wing, because in all his time in Afterlife, she has trained no one. The post-lunch training is very cool with Skye making music from crystal wine glasses filled with water.

That is, until she breaks them and it reminds her of when she broke a decanter at a foster home and the family sent her back into the system. She opens up about her insecurities about anyplace that feels like how, how it’s almost always ruined, how she doesn’t even know when her own birthday is.

“You were born on July 2nd,” Jiaying blurts out. It’s heartbreaking. There’s relief on Jiaying’s face at finally being able to let the secret out, and hope mingled with distrust and disbelief on Skye’s. Can she really believe this is her mother in front of her? She didn’t want to hope, even though she somehow always knew. How many of us who have lost a loved one can put ourselves in Skye’s shoes and feel what she’s feeling because we would give anything to see that lost loved one again?

Jiaying explains that Cal pieced her back together after Whitehall’s debauchery, but Cal became buried in the horrible new man he had become. She thought if she couldn’t find Skye, she would help others that would go through what Skye would, which is why she’s in Afterlife.

And then she explains about the little girl in Bahrain, how Eva took crystals and used them on her daughter before she was ready to go through Terrigenesis and how that drove the girl insane because so much darkness already rested in her heart. Bahrain happened because of an oversight by Jiaying because of a mother/daughter relationship, and Skye learns the dark truth about the “Cavalry.” Jiaying made the rules to deal with Katya and Eva and doesn’t want to be seen “breaking” them for her own daughter, so they have to keep their relationship quiet.

She also convinces Skye to have just one dinner with Cal and if Skye wants, she’ll send Cal away afterward. My heart swelled when she walked in and Cal had daisies at the ready with himself cleaned up. He starts raving about her birthday and it’s an oddly sweet yet weird scene.

And she learns she’s actually 26.

Post-Credits Stinger: Fitz is in a diner bathroom hacking into Fury’s Toolbox successfully and makes contact with Hunter and Coulson. He asks if he can come hang out with them, but first he needs to shake his tailfeather.

Badass Moment of the Week: Skye making music with her powers while training. That was really cool, and extremely practical.

Best One-Liner: “Hunter! Are you…watching Mexican football? Where are you?” Fitz says after hacking into Fury’s Toolbox.
“…An undisclosed, secure location,” Hunter replies.

On the Raina front, Gordon spends most of the episode trying to talk some sense into Raina and get her to understand her powers. Raina, however, wants to be free. Lots of insecurities about her thorns. Tells her she can never leave because it’s too dangerous in public. She raves at one point to Lincoln about her nightmares, seeing Cal and Skye at dinner with a bundle of daisies and Skye looking happy.

And he walked in on just that scene and realized that it’s not a dream. So Raina has visions of the future? Or visions of the future that revolve around flowers?

I will say as much as I loved this episode, the first half seemed to drag a bit if they weren’t focusing on Skye’s training. How many more scenes do we need of Raina pitying herself? Or complaining about her thorns? Or being angst-y in general? Maybe now that they’ve potentially discovered her powers, we’ll get more cool scenes.

Did we know before this that Cal rebuilt Jiaying? Something on her wikipedia page mentioned that he rebuilt her, but I don’t remember anything mentioned last episode. I may have missed it.

The previews for next week’s Agents of SHIELD made it look like it’s setting up for Avengers: Age of Ultron, which I still have to figure out when I’m going to see (that weekend is so darn busy for me). But there’s theoretically two episodes still before the AoU premiere, and I have a feeling all of Coulson’s covert operations will come to light right before May 1st.

More from Bam Smack Pow