Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. S:02 E:17

Original Airdate: 15-4-15

Episode Title: Melinda

Primarily serving as a somewhat origin story, the latest episode of ‘Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D.‘ gives us a history of the character of Melinda May played by Ming Na Wen. While showcasing the painful past, the episode also reveals some big surprises regarding the Inhumans, and connects the past to the present with some ominously vague reference of things to come, and ending with Coulson getting another step closer to retaking S.H.I.E.L.D. It’s a surprisingly good episode with amazing action and lots of feels!

The flashback to May’s past is brutally emotional and traumatizing. It finally reveals why May is the reserved, somber and dangerously gruff character that we all know, and shows us just how she became that way. It’s a very cool payout to the almost vague references, hints, and throw away dialogue that’s been tip toeing around this scene since Season 1, as showcased beautifully by the recap just before the episode. It’s a heartbreaking reveal that gives so much more depth to the character and the actress herself plays those scenes wonderfully. In the present, May is slowly convinced by Adrianne Palicki’s Bobbi and the other S.H.E.I.L.D. that Coulson kept many things from her, and that he really may be dangerous. Apparently he has been amassing lots of resources behind everyone’s back for a suspected secret training facility for super powered  people. The flashback and the present sequences tie in to each other to show how May’s trust for Coulson developed and how it comes into question in this episode.
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The rest of the episode focuses on Chloe Bennett’s Skye and her mother, as things are finally revealed to Skye about her family and we get a nice little happy family reunion in the end. Despite the dysfunctionality of this family, it’s still sweet to see the estranged mother, daughter and psychotically murderous father, played by Kyle MacLachlin, come together for a seemingly average dinner. The allusions to a potentially larger Inhuman threat continues this episode, as Skye’s mother explains the necessity of keeping their relationship a secret, and connects a secret failure of her own into May’s past. It’s starting to feel very ‘conspiracy theory-ish’ here, as the constant references to ‘they’ and ‘them’ are causing much tension on this side of the screen. This episode also digs a little deeper into Raina’s transformation as well and how her powers may be of significance in the future.
Overall the aptly titled ‘Melinda’ is a pretty solid episode with excellent plot points involving dialogues with Skye, juxtaposed with kick ass action sequences featuring Wen who does it so superbly well. The only thing missing from this episode is more of the light hearted comic relief between Clark Gregg’s Coulson and Nick Blood’s Hunter especially given how the episode ends with those two having to teach Fitz how to become a secret agent spy man after he tool Fury’s toolbox from Gonzalez. Also, a bit of theorizing on my part: but I feel that Simmons might be hiding some secret, like maybe being a double agent for Gonzalez or something more sinister. Just a feeling I’m getting with her. They started her off an interesting path this Season with her becoming more cold and militant, but as soon as this other S.H.I.E.L.D. was introduced, she did a complete 180 and was on our side again. Given some key interactions she’d had with others, like incapacitating Bobbi during the raid, helping Fitz escape with the toolbox, I wonder if it’s all a ruse to continue being on Team Coulson, while secretly working for Gonzalez? Only time will tell.
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