Have you heard the rumors? A second S.H.I.E.L.D. show featuring super-powered agents? Perhaps Gonzales is right and Coulson is collecting them, and maybe that would be the reason for there being two S.H.I.E.L.D.s. And maybe it’s just all rumor. All this plus the secret behind May’s nickname The Cavalry, check out my review of “Melinda,” after the jump.
Back in the day in the old westerns, when the chips were down, all hope was lost, and the villains were winning – the bugles would sound and a huge mounted force would come out of the sunset and save the day. The Cavalry. This is the nickname Agent Melinda May has had since the early days of the series, but we’ve never been told exactly why.
We know she’s badass, badasser than Mockingbird or Agent Carter, and truth be told, I might put my money on May over the Black Widow. She is obviously the best fighter on the show, and that’s not even mentioning my sweet spot for Ming-Na Wen. Apparently there was an incident in Bahrain where she encountered an 0-8-4, a powered individual, and in Coulson’s words, “she went in, crossed off the enemy force, and didn’t say how.” That’s how she earned the name, one she doesn’t like, but how did it really happen?
We open on domestic bliss, May and her husband Dr. Andrew Garner discussing having a family seven years ago. What follows is a typical day at the office working with Agent Coulson, who had just been tapped to start work on the Avengers Initiative by Nick Fury. Today’s mission is to evaluate a powered individual named Eva Belyakov in Bahrain. She’s super-strong, and the Russians are after her too.
Coulson calls Eva an asset, bringing back memories of Graviton (are we ever going to see that loose end again?). Things go bad very quickly, with the Russians taking a little girl hostage and Eva doing who knows what to S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives. When contacted, the agents inside only say not to come in a dead monotone. After a quick cellphone pep talk from her husband, May goes in alone.
May in the present day has accepted Gonzales’ offer to sit on the board of S.H.I.E.L.D.. She’s presented with a few surprises, things she didn’t know about – Deathlok active? Is Coulson collecting powered individuals? And what is Theta Protocol? As she takes command of Coulson’s old base, she learns that even though Simmons is working on it, she’s unaware it’s Theta Protocol. Coulson has also been meeting with May’s husband. I had been wishing for Blair Underwood to join the cast, I guess I might be getting that wish.
Mack reveals a facility with hundreds of beds. Superhero camp? Apparently it all leads to the conclusion that Coulson is building a force of powered individuals, to train them, to use them. And for reasons that will soon become apparent, it’s something that May knows is very dangerous… firsthand.
These Inhumans are as much trouble as the mutants. Back in Lai Shi, Skye continues her training with her guide Jiaying, who has yet to tell her that she is her mother. Skye is able to cause an avalanche, but not everyone is happy about it. Raina remains in pain, and still waits for her gift while sleeping through nightmares and being jealous of Skye – who got powers and is still beautiful. Yeah, there’s a bad confrontation coming.
Speaking of confrontations, Skye has to almost break down herself, but Jiaying finally confesses that she is Skye’s mother. Details emerge, some grisly, like Mister Hyde patching Jiaying back together after Daniel Whitehall, also known as Kraken in the comics, vivisected her. And there are secrets as well. Jiaying can’t reveal to the rest of Lai Shi that Skye is her daughter or went through terrigenesis outside. Because it’s happened before and went badly… in Bahrain.
When May goes in after Eva, she was confronted by all the S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives that preceded her, all of them zombie-like, chanting, “I need your pain.” and “I want your pain.” She has to fight her way through them to get to Eva, and learn the horrible truth. After a horrendous fight, in which Eva coolly and insanely uses a chandelier as a mace, May kills her, thinking the battle was over, but she was sooo wrong.
The little girl taken hostage was Eva’s daughter Katya, and Eva had forced her through terrigenesis with stolen crystals, turning her into some sort of emotional vampire feeding on pain. In the present day Jiaying blames this on Katya having no guide, but seven years ago, May didn’t care, she was fighting for her life. There was no other way. In the end, May had to kill Katya, an event that changed her, no, scarred her forever. The tragic secret origin of The Cavalry. Wow.
So much else happened in this episode, the family dinner with Skye, Raina’s possible ability to tell the future, and Fitz in the bathroom. Fitz who has Nick Fury’s Toolbox has finally succeeded in opening it. We’re not sure what it’s capable of other than calling Coulson on his iPad, but hopefully it’ll be worth it. I’m also not sure how splitting the team further than it already is is a good thing, but we’ll see. I also wonder if the showrunners can get it together to ne the prologue needed and wanted for Avengers: Age of Ultron in just a few weeks. Will there be another S.H.I.E.L.D. show, or just a mutation, sorry, Inhumanization of the existing series? Time will tell.
Next: “The Frenemy of My Enemy!”