Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD “Melinda” Review (Season 2 Episode 17)

MING-NA WEN

Agents of SHIELD has been pretty consistently good for the last few episodes, what with all of the hullaballoo around this “Real SHIELD” and the Inhumans and all, so it was a bit odd that “Melinda” focused so heavily on a flashback to seven years ago.

What we did get was pretty great, though. It’s been somewhat of a mystery, albeit a small one, just what happened in Bahrain all those years ago that earned Melinda May the nickname “The Calvary.” The actual events in Bahrain weren’t that far off from what we expected. A bunch of people died, including a young girl, and she felt so guilty about it that it destroyed her career and her marriage. That’s basically all stuff that we already knew, so I’m not sure if I really ever needed to find out what happened. It might have been a mystery best left unsolved for a little while, then maybe they could have revealed it in a later season when we don’t have so many big ongoing storylines. Either that, or I probably would have preferred that they put this episode somewhere in season one instead of one of those “case of the week” episodes.

Of course, the reason they did show this origin story was because it tied in to Skye’s story. It seemed a little convenient that they’ve kept this whole Calgary origin story a secret until now, when it just happens to tie into this random story from Skye’s mom about an Inhuman that got away. It’s definitely a bit too convenient that out of all of the superpowered people that SHIELD has tracked down over the years, and with all of the people out there who have abilities, the one that Jiaying brings up happens to be the same one that was involved in the Bahrain incident seven years ago.

That’s not to say that this little diversion didn’t have its highlights. I really loved that May called her husband before going in to get pointers on how to handle the little girl, and for a little encouragement before taking out a building full of bad guys. It’s also always fun to see Melinda kicking butt, and there was plenty of that here. I also really liked the resolution, as we see that May’s career has come full circle. She’s gone from a field agent, to a desk jockey, back to a field agent, and now back to somewhat of a desk jockey again since she’s been given the not-so-glorious position of the head of Coulson’s old base. Seeing her going through all that paperwork brought me back to the pilot episode when Coulson went to recruit her, so at least she’s made some serious changes since then.

Meanwhile, we had some nice progression with Skye and her parents. It’s cool to see Skye training with her mom, and the scene with the avalanche and the cups was really cool. I’m always a sucker for training montages, especially when superpowers are involved! I still think Jiaying has some kind of ulterior motives for training Skye, but she’s being so loving and supportive about her powers that I really hope she doesn’t end up betraying her daughter. Skye has become one of the best characters on this show, so I’m really hoping she doesn’t get her heart broken yet again.

I’m relegating the bullcrap “Real SHIELD” stuff to the final paragraph because I really hate it and I want it to die. It really pissed me off to hear Bobbi talking about the “gut punch” she felt when she heard that Coulson has been keeping secrets under the mysterious codename of “Theta Protocol.” Why is this a gut punch, exactly? How do you know if these plans even affect you? How do you know that they’re dangerous, or if they’ll negatively affect SHIELD or the world at large? Why do they constantly insist that every plan has to see “the light of day?” Who cares? What’s the matter with a little bit of compartmentalization in an organization like SHIELD? From what I can tell, this “Real SHIELD” don’t even have anything to do other than chase down Coulson and his supporters because they don’t like that they’re keeping secrets. We haven’t seen any members of Real SHIELD do anything useful or constructive, and it’s bothering me that anybody could possibly think about siding with them instead of Coulson.

So what are we supposed to get from that last scene? That Raina’s hidden gift is that she’s somehow able to see the future in her dreams? That’s not a very original superpower, but at least she’s got those crazy spikes on her face to make up for it. I’m excited to see how Fitz loses his tail and meets back up with Coulson, so bring on the next episode!

what did you think of “Melinda?” Sound off in the comments section below!

Random Thoughts:

– The launch of Marvel’s Daredevil over on Netflix this last weekend has been met with rave reviews, and I’m really enjoying it myself thus far. Here’s hoping that Matt Murdock can show up on Agents of SHIELD at some point!

– The Friday Night Lights fan in me was pretty excited to see SHIELD Agent O’Brien, Billy Riggins himself!

– Why didn’t Coulson come storming into the building after the first gunshot, the one that shot May’s leg?