Ok, I’ll admit, this episode was NOT was I was expecting.
It was teased all week about how this was the origin of Melinda May, aka “The Calvary”, but “Melinda” proved to be much more than that. Not only did it show how Melinda become the way she was, it showed how her present self is also dealing with a life-changing event that I bet no one saw coming. Add that to the increasingly fun Skye/Inhuman storyline, and this was a great episode all around.
While I’m used to storylines jumping in and out of each other (see: Arrow), I was worried that jumping between past, present, and present with Skye, was going to be too much. Thankfully, it wasn’t, and it worked really well. Especially when it all tied together in a way that not only made perfect sense, but showed the depth the writers are really going with this season.
Let’s start with the flashbacks. Seeing May and Coulson in their pre-Iron Man (Coulson’s first MCU appearance) was really fun. May truly was totally different, and it was great seeing her go from warm and loving to cold and unphased. That’s hard to do in one episode, yet Ming-Na Wen did it flawlessly (yes, I get they were filmed at separate times, I don’t care!). You could see there were parts of May that were like the one we had now in the present, but seeing her doing things a certain way, talking a certain way, it showed she wasn’t “our” May.
Which obviously led to the big reveal that the “powers” person she was fighting was actually an Inhuman. You might think it a “convenient plot device” cause we’re dealing with the Inhumans now, but it really lent weight to the situation, mainly when it led to the reveal that the real powered person was a little girl…that May had to kill.
That ending scene showed exactly why May was messed up, and then some. There’s no questioning why she is the way she is now.
Which of course led to the scenes in the present, where we got another shocker with “Theta Protocol”, a side project/plan Coulson has apparently been working on since becoming Director of Shield, and a plan that he has told no one about. I’m intrigued by the notion that Coulson wants to make a team of powers not unlike the Avengers, but something feels off about it. Hopefully we’ll hear “the truth” from Coulson soon.
Oh, and that ending scene with Fitz, Hunter, and Coulson? Priceless.
Finally, the Inhuman storyline took some interesting turns here. First off, Skye is getting some control of her powers. That’s good! She found out that Jiaying was her mother. That’s great! And they had dinner with Cal. That’s…oddly cool! The real takeaway though was how Jiaying noted that no one (save for them and Cal) could know about their relationship, else they’ll all pay the price. Maybe a sign of things to come.
Speaking of which…Raina got some more screen time tonight, and it worked well. I liked how both Gordon and Lincoln were trying to help her, but in different ways. I’m not sure if Raina truly believes what Gordon is saying, or she’s going back to her roots to try and use him, but it’ll be fun to see play out. Then, the reveal of Raina somehow being able to see the future? Ok…that’s going to be huge, no doubt!
In the end, “Melinda” proved how much Agents of Shield is improving as a show from top to bottom. Deep, connected stories with focus on characters is how this show proves it’s worth our time. And they certainly prove it tonight.