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TV Review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 2 Episode 17 "Melinda"

04.15.2015
100%

EPISODE 17: "Melinda"

SYNOPSIS:  The story of Melinda May’s transformation into “The Cavalry” is revealed as she finds herself at a crossroads in the war between Coulson and Gonzales. As Skye learns more about her true heritage from Lincoln, the truth about the Inhumans will send her in a new direction

BREAKDOWN: (The following column contains MAJOR SPOILERS, so I don't recommend reading this if you haven't watched this episode).

Since the premiere of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., there have been references to the source of Melinda May's nickname of The Cavalry. Tonight's episode reveals not only the origin of that name but how it ties directly into the Inhumans. In an episode that ranks with the best in series history, this episode is an emotional rollercoaster that answers a lot of questions.

First off, let's tackle May's dual story arc this week. First, you have May being recruited by Gonzales' S.H.I.E.L.D. team based on distrust between her and Coulson. They bring up the fact that Coulson has been using the team to develop new technology for Deathlok as well as something mysterious called the Theta Protocol. While no one seems sure what that is, May is dubious enough that she wants to find out why her friend has been meeting covertly with her ex-husband. Mack believes it was to build a base to train superhumans and that seems very likely.

In the flashback sequence, we see a happy Melinda May as she gets close to retirement from S.H.I.E.L.D. but goes on one final mission with Coulson. As the legend goes, May took down dozens of men by herself, earning the nickname The Cavalry. What we learn actually happened was much different. Even Coulson doesn't know the truth which is relayed to Skye from her mother as an example for the rules the Inhumans must follow, but more on that later. The truth was a woman stole Terrigen crystals for her daughter to give her her destined Inhuman gifts. The effects turned her mad but gave her the power to absorb emotion. As May fights off the zombified agents, she is left with no choice but to shoot and kill the little girl.

THe effect on May is obvious as we see her pull away from her husband and request a transfer to the Level 3 office where we meet her in the pilot episode. Her allegiance to Coulson was tested this week but it feels like we can trust that May will stick with the man she knows rather than the stories being told by Bobbi and Mack. Still, there is distrust there that could affect what happens in the end.

At Afterlife, Skye learns her mother's true identity as she learns to further control her powers. Causing an avalanche on a mountain and vibrating wine goblets, Skye's power is revealed to be controlling the natural vibration in things rather than creating them. She also learns from her mother that there are specific rules for Inhumans, based on May's story, which is why no one can know the nature of their true relationship.

Lincoln and Gordon continue to try and calm Raina who wants nothing but to leave Afterlife. She feels she got nothing after her transformation but her hideous thorns and describes awful nightmares she continues to have, one of which involves Skye having a meal with her father. Lincoln tells her to trust that her true powers will reveal themselves and they soon do. Skye has a meal with her parents, based on her mother's promise she will never have to see her father again afterwards. Skye plays nice with her father who reveals her birthdate, indicating Skye is actually a year older than she thought. As they share a moment, Lincoln realizes what Raina thought was a dream was actually a vision of the future.

The episode wraps with Fitz locked in a restaurant bathroom having unlocked Fury's toolbox and calling his boss for help. Overall, this was a great episode that explained a lot about several characters and felt very organic. The story continued to plow forward on all fronts why still managing to reveal a backstory that fit perfectly into the overall story of the season. I am not sure if May's origin was always intended to be Inhuman related, but this was definitely a well handled retcon if it wasn't. There are only a handful of episodes left and I am anticipating a big S.H.I.E.L.D./Inhuman showdown. If it can be as powerful as this episode, we are in for a treat.

MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES: The Triskelion, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s headquarters is referenced as being built and the forthcoming Avengers Initiative is mentioned during the flashback.

NEXT ON MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.:

Episode 18 "The Frenemy of my Enemy" (Airs April 21st) - Coulson and Hunter form a dangerous alliance as they turn to someone unexpected for help; Lincoln and Skye are drawn into a conflict.

Source: JoBlo.com

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5:03AM on 04/15/2015

THAT was "Haiti"? Come on!

It was an average episode, but the whole "Haiti" reveal was stupid. No way Agent May would become so shaken emotionally.... seven years later. Gimme a break. If so, then S.H.I.E.L.D. should have just shitcanned her and gave her PTSD counseling much sooner.
It was an average episode, but the whole "Haiti" reveal was stupid. No way Agent May would become so shaken emotionally.... seven years later. Gimme a break. If so, then S.H.I.E.L.D. should have just shitcanned her and gave her PTSD counseling much sooner.
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9:28AM on 04/15/2015
She shot a kid. The only May we know is the May AFTER Bahrain (where did you get Haiti?) so to say how she would react before is invalid because we never met that May until yesterday. That May was shaken and gave us the May we have today. Don't judge how a character in the present would react in their past because they are two different people.

Think about it.
She shot a kid. The only May we know is the May AFTER Bahrain (where did you get Haiti?) so to say how she would react before is invalid because we never met that May until yesterday. That May was shaken and gave us the May we have today. Don't judge how a character in the present would react in their past because they are two different people.

Think about it.
1:38AM on 04/15/2015

Whoah!

Was this ever an episode. It might have been the best episode they have ever had. Everything about this episode from the opening to the last stinger was filler free and progressed every story forward while also explaining mysteries of season one. If the last few episodes are anything like this holy shit has this become a great series.

Lets start with May. What a way to work her back story in, and I turned to who I was watching it with and said watch it be the little girl she has to kill. I
Was this ever an episode. It might have been the best episode they have ever had. Everything about this episode from the opening to the last stinger was filler free and progressed every story forward while also explaining mysteries of season one. If the last few episodes are anything like this holy shit has this become a great series.

Lets start with May. What a way to work her back story in, and I turned to who I was watching it with and said watch it be the little girl she has to kill. I said that because I had an eerie feeling after so much attention was paid to her wanting to start a family. It was so easy to see how the mystery of what really happened grew by word of mouth. Everyone saw the outcome but no one really saw the events that led up to it. Like you I have serious doubts about that this is how it was planned since day one, but damn if it didn't work seamlessly with the Inhuman story. It didn't feel forced into the story, it felt like a natural flow of everything coming full circle. I hope May isn't really turning on Coulson though. I think the Theta Project will end up being either SWORD, or the Secret Warriors who were founded by Fury and had Daisy Johnson, but we'll see. But man if the Civil War divisions aren't drawing both some hard and blurred lines for each of the characters.

The Inhumans I am loving the ever growing story. Since the Inhuman story in the comics was almost all royal family centered, its nice to see stories about the others that had to exist. Its growing the overall lore and richness of the Inhuman story, without delving into the Royal Family which will be reserved for the movie. The show is going more and more into the direction of a true super hero show. Skye's powers are starting to become formidable when under control. Less danger but also far more pinpoint. Its just a beginning though, when she is in full control, there are very few people with enough power on this show to ever stop her. If she lands on Coulson's side when this battle for the Shield name comes to be, Coulson will easily win. I still get the feeling there is something nefarious going on with her mother. I still think she is in deep with Cal and on his side, not on the side of their daughter getting back with Shield and Coulson.

Anyway this episode flew by so quick. I blinked and suddenly an hour was gone. I can't wait for next week. And by the way, WAY TO GO FITZ!, it was great to see him back to his old self. He seemingly had no memory or speech issues tonight and he nailed the toolbox safe cracking. Can't wait for next week. This episode was easily a 9/10 from me. I rarely score 10's but damn was this close.
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1:10AM on 04/15/2015

Really, really good....

This is the first AoS episode I've enjoyed more than a Flash episode. Skye is really turning out to be interesting (finally), and it's only partially because of her powers. Her connection to both worlds is obviously going to pay big dividends.

Loved May's backstory, although it wasn't quite emotional enough to warrant her complete breakdown afterward. I'm really looking forward to the Coulsen/Fitz/Hunter team-up. Definitely the most interesting characters now, and I love the way they
This is the first AoS episode I've enjoyed more than a Flash episode. Skye is really turning out to be interesting (finally), and it's only partially because of her powers. Her connection to both worlds is obviously going to pay big dividends.

Loved May's backstory, although it wasn't quite emotional enough to warrant her complete breakdown afterward. I'm really looking forward to the Coulsen/Fitz/Hunter team-up. Definitely the most interesting characters now, and I love the way they fit together like a jigsaw puzzle instead of being super-agents.
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1:43AM on 04/15/2015
I always liked Skye, but her character is becoming much better. Allot of that is due to her acting ability improving and her storyline. However I am 100% in agreement that Coulson Hunter and Fitz are an awesome team. Hunter has become one of my favorite characters. Despite his "out for himself" type of attitude, he is almost always in the right with his view on things. And in the right with a lot one liners and funny comebacks. Can't wait till next week, and going to dread the summer break.
I always liked Skye, but her character is becoming much better. Allot of that is due to her acting ability improving and her storyline. However I am 100% in agreement that Coulson Hunter and Fitz are an awesome team. Hunter has become one of my favorite characters. Despite his "out for himself" type of attitude, he is almost always in the right with his view on things. And in the right with a lot one liners and funny comebacks. Can't wait till next week, and going to dread the summer break.
9:34AM on 04/15/2015
Fitz really isn't going to like the fact that they will be teaming up with Ward. It will be the nail in the coffin for May.
Fitz really isn't going to like the fact that they will be teaming up with Ward. It will be the nail in the coffin for May.
10:59AM on 04/15/2015
I think Hunter's attitude is what's so perfect about him. Everyone is so rah-rah when it comes to SHIELD it comes off boring (except for Sam Jackson's take), so Hunter is the perfect anti-hero. He's a jerk, selfish, and really funny. He's also a complete badass and in the end, the only one making the right choices. It's so funny because my daughter is 1/2 season behind and still doesn't like him. I told her to just wait....it'll change.

Clif, agreed....May seems to be on the edge of
I think Hunter's attitude is what's so perfect about him. Everyone is so rah-rah when it comes to SHIELD it comes off boring (except for Sam Jackson's take), so Hunter is the perfect anti-hero. He's a jerk, selfish, and really funny. He's also a complete badass and in the end, the only one making the right choices. It's so funny because my daughter is 1/2 season behind and still doesn't like him. I told her to just wait....it'll change.

Clif, agreed....May seems to be on the edge of seeing things from the "other" SHIELD's point of view. Then again, how many times have the swerved us already?
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