Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., S2 Ep17 – Melinda

While Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has given us details into why Agent Melinda May is referred to as “The Cavalry”, this week’s episode really goes deep into the events that took place the day she was given the nick name. While a good amount of “Melinda” takes place in the past, there is still plenty to be focused on in the present, as the new S.H.I.E.L.D. continues their search for Coulson and Skye begins to embrace her new Inhuman abilities back in the secluded village of Afterlife.


May’s got Coulson’s back

In the flashback sequences of this week’s episode Agents Coulson and May are led to the country of Bahrain in order to bring in a woman with superhuman abilities. It is soon revealed that this woman has the ability to control people, leading to Agent May becoming the last resort in retrieving a slew of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents that were taken under control. These scenes not only featured some well choreographed action sequences of May taking down controlled S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, but also gave us a glimpse of how May used to be before these events took place. Still married to Andrew Garner (Blaire Underwood), the May we see here is very different and a lot less withdrawn than her present-day self. What happens soon after turns out to be a big surprise and explains why May is the way she is now.

Back in the present day, Skye tries to learn how to control her new abilities with the help of Jiaying (Dichen Lachman), not knowing that Jiaying is actually her mother. It was nice to see Skye finally get a better hold of her powers, first by creating an avalanche on a nearby mountain and then by focusing on specific glasses of water. I’m looking forward to seeing the day when Skye goes full superhero and is taking down bad guys on a regular basis. After a brief conversation about Skye’s past Jaiying officially comes out to Skye and tells her that she is her mother. This scene turned out to be very affecting and heartwarming and Lachman’s performance as Jiaying really sold it.

Jiaying tells Skye about how they have to keep the truth about their familial relationship a secret so no one thinks Skye is getting special treatment. Jaiying in turn brings up a story about a girl who was too dangerous and had to be let go. What was surprising about this story is its connection to May’s backstory.

Back in the flashback scenes, May succeeds at taking down multiple controlled S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and the woman she was targeting. In a shocking twist it is revealed that the woman targeted was not the one doing the controlling. It was a little girl who was seemingly held hostage near the beginning of the episode. This is the girl Jiaying gave up on and tried to let go. May, knowing the power of this little girl and the destruction she can cause, had no other choice but to gun her down. Soon after we are given another emotionally driven scene as May cries into Coulson’s arms as she feels guilt over her actions. This then leads to her emotional withdrawal and eventual divorce with her husband, who we can assume could not handle how much that day changed his wife. May’s story is very tragic and it makes us sympathize with her that much more.


Raina describes her dreams

Another surprising element of “Melinda” that will more than likely be very significant in coming episodes are Raina’s dreams. Still displeased with her new form, Raina confides in Lincoln (Luke Mitchell) about nightmares she’s been having. She describes nightmares in which she is being taken away and dreams in which Skye is happily eating with her family. At first I assumed that her nightmares were based on the experiences she has with S.H.I.E.L.D. agents trying to capture her, and her dreams about Skye came out of jealousy.

We find out that Raina’s nightmares are not just nightmares, but may actually be premonitions, as the episode concludes with Skye having dinner with her mother and father, attempting to give her father a second chance of sorts. This not only shows us that Raina has been given the ability to see the future, but assures us that bad things are to come for her and possibly others. Is the new S.H.I.E.L.D. going to get their hands on Afterlife? Maybe she’s even having nightmares about the destruction the world will soon face in Avengers: Age of Ultron? Who knows?

“Melinda” turned out to be a very emotionally driven episode all throughout, with some entertaining action scenes thrown into the mix. It was definitely one of the best episodes this season. It added a lot to the series, including something called the Theta Protocol, which Coulson neglected to ever tell May about. Now May wants to find out what’s in Fury’s toolbox just as much as the new S.H.I.E.L.D. does, but unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on where things are going) Fitz has the real toolbox and is now going to regroup with Coulson and Hunter.

Next week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will see Coulson and Hunter team up with former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Grant Ward. Check out ABC’s official promo for “Frenemy of My Enemy” below and feel free to let us know what you thought about “Melinda” in the comments.