For over a season, we’ve been wondering what happened in Bahrain that made Melinda May so unhappy with the name “The Calvary”. Well, with an episode like the name “Melinda”, you can be sure we got the answers we searched for – and so much more. This episode was all about the darker side of powers and do you trust them. So let’s take a closer look at this episodes past, present, and future.
The Past – Failing In Your Job:
Considering the episode was titled “Melinda”, you would expect Agent May to be the sole one leading the flashback narrative; but in fact it’s actually Skye’s mother Jiaying who takes point on the most powerful piece of the flashback. Each gets something different from the story, but in the end these two women see this as the time they failed in their responsibilities.
As Jiaying sees it, this was the time she learned that rules must be enforced or else their own kind – as well as the world at large – would suffer. She relates how she saw a darkness in a child and thus refused her the ‘mist’; but not listening to the rules, her mother Eva stole some Terrigen Crystals and caused her daughter to become even darker. Sadly, Jiaying was unable to prevent this tragedy or get there in time; and so it was Agent May who had to pay the price. Additionally, we learned that Jiaying searched in vain for her own daughter, yet could never bring her home. As far as the past is concerned, Jiaying feels that she has failed in her job as ‘leader of Afterlife’ and as a mother.
Thinking they were just dealing with someone who had enhanced strength, May and Coulson showed up woefully unprepared, never suspecting that it was the kidnapped girl who was manipulating everything around her. Though despite this little girl being very messed up, May still blames herself for what happened. She sees it as how she couldn’t protect that little girl – at a time her and her husband were considering having a family. If May couldn’t protect her or the other agents, how could she protect a daughter. Throw in the fact that this little girl could control anyone and act as a parasitic leech with just one touch, and you can also understand why May avoided intimacy as well. These two women take their roles of protection and responsibility very seriously. So you can see why each are being extra cautious in the present to make sure those mistakes are never made again.
The Present – Do You Trust The Theta Protocol:
Meanwhile in the present, the search to figure out what Coulson is up to continues as Agent May has now joined Gonzales’s S.H.I.E.L.D. in trying to discover the truth. From buying up tons of raw materials to repurposing some of Simmons’ tech as Deathlok upgrades, Coulson’s actions are getting more and more suspicious. So what exactly is the Theta Protocol?
Well it’s Coulson, so we know that he has good intentions. Mack seems to think its a new base to train enhanced people, which Gonzales’s S.H.I.E.L.D. of course sees as a threat, but is it? With the MCU expanding as it is, making a new S.H.I.E.L.D. training ground to help bolster the Avengers rooster could be it – especially with Infinity War Parts 1&2 in the works. This could even tie into/assist Jaiying in case Afterlife comes under attack.
The Theta Protocol might still be unknown, but now with Fitz soon joining the team – as well as Ward and Agent 33 – things are going to start moving quickly. Additionally, since the flashbacks this episode dealt with the founding of the Avengers Initiative idea, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is Coulson’s attempt to continue it.
The Future – Ugly Or Beautiful?
Unlike Skye, it seems like Raina doesn’t have a choice in leaving “Afterlife” . With her outward appearance what it is, there is no way to truly keep her secret. Though with such a startling change, one must wonder what her powers are. Well the moment Jiaying spoke to Skye about having dinner with her father, we knew what Raina’s powers is – foresight. This brings a ton of new problems to the equation, such as can Raina affect the outcomes she sees or can she merely watch.
Further more, Raina is still a loose cannon character. We saw this episode how a girl touched by darkness went mad and manipulated those around her. Could the same become true of Raina? If she and others learn of her powers to predict the future, could she make false visions to scare everyone? She has a deep-seated hatred for Skye and I wouldn’t be surprised if she tried to use her powers to destroy her. The future is very shaky right now, and I’m not even sure if Raina can see what will happen next – or what will happen in the path to avoid it.
The Choices & Reasoning Of “Home” – Skye’s Parental Figures:
Skye told Jaiying about how every time she feels safe at home, that is when something happens. We clearly know this foreshadows something big in store for Afterlife and the Inhumans housed there; but there is something else one must consider when thinking about Skye’s ideas of home – ‘parental figures’.
This whole season we’ve seen people she’s considered parents – as well as actual parents – do some pretty controversial things, but each had understandable reasons. For starters, Coulson started off as more withdrawn and is now keeping more secrets than ever – which caused the whole SHIELD War – but we know in the end it’s all for good. Similarly, Cal (Skye’s actual father) has done some pretty viscous and rage-fueled things – which pushed his daughter and others away – but it was all to reunite his family. We can now see the same pattern develop in this episode for Skye’s maternal figures.
May has been like a mother – or rather big sister – to Skye; but this episode we learned why she always kept her at a distance. May has her reasons for being afraid of Skye due to her past, and now that she’s learned what Coulson’s up to, she’s afraid of more secret revelations popping up that could cause more harm than good. She is of course still on Coulson’s side; but she needs these answers to make sure its for good. Similarly, Skye’s actual mom has been very straightforward with Skye; but there seems to be something more. As the leader of the Inhumans, she clearly has an end game of sorts; but whatever it may be we can infer that her reasoning is for good.
This is sure to make things weird for Skye since this episode ended with her finally having been reunited with her long sought after family. Will she keep the adopted and biological sides of her family, or will she have to make a choice in the coming weeks? They’ve all made tough calls for the greater good; but in the end it might be those ‘means’ that justify or don’t justify the ‘end’.
Excelsior – Easter Eggs, References & Other Important Points:
- This shows the start of the Avengers Initiative idea, which places it 7 years ago (2008) the time that Nick Fury first appeared to Tony Stark in Ironman
- It might just be me, but every time I hear ‘Egypt’ or ‘Cairo’ in a Marvel Studios thing, I wonder if/hope that it’s a Moon Knight reference.
- The way Skye’s powers work is that she can focus on and amplify any object’s vibrations. Whether it’s a mountain or wine glasses, she can use it.
- If we’re looking at the flashbacks correctly, it seems as though the last person Jiayin trained might have been Gordon. Either way, since Lincoln’s been there, she’s never trained anyone.
- Skye was born July 2nd, 1988 (making her 26 years old)
- So Cal ‘pieced’ Jiaying back together? That couldn’t have been easy or pretty; but it does confirm that she has incredible healing abilities as well as explains the scars on her face
- It’s unclear, but the ‘stolen terrigen crystals’ could explain some other super powered individuals out there that we’ve seen before.
- “I learned who my mother was today and she taught me things, I never had that before. That was possible because of you.”
- Is it just me, or does anyone else feel like Rainas “As long as I have you to show it to me” comment to Gordon was a set up for a trap. Still don’t trust her.
- Let’s face it, the dinner scene with Skye’s full family and Cal telling the story of her birth, was actually adorable. I really like this version of Cal. Then again, we’ve been told he did used to be a great man, until he was driven made trying to keep a promise to his wife. Aww, tragic character gets more tragic 😦
So what happens next? What kind of ‘secret’ documents are in Fury’s Toolbox? How is Fitz going to drop two tails with an electric hand dryer? It’s hard to actually tell much about next episode since 70% of the trailer was prepping for Age of Ultron. Considering there’s actually 2 weeks until the premier, I doubt this next episode will be the sole set up for the film – as the trailer made us believe – but we’ll see what happens. Either way, next week brings Ward and Agent 33 back into Coulson’s team, which is sure to REALLY piss off Gonzales’s team. So stay tuned!