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REVIEW: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2×17 “Melinda”

Written by Alex Reale

It looks like my prediction was (thankfully) incorrect about this week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Last week, I had assumed that this episode entitled “Melinda” would mean bad news for the titular character. While it wasn’t exactly a stroll in the park for Agent May, I’m pretty happy to see her still alive and kicking. As for the overall quality of the episode, it was actually almost as good as last week. (spoilers ahead!)

Back during the first season, we discovered that Agent May despised being regarded as “the cavalry”. Right from the start, we knew that something huge must have happened to May in the past that made her hate the term. Finally, after a year-and-a-half of waiting, we understand what went down.

I can’t be the only person who’s frustrated at this long wait, can I? At least we finally have closure, and it helps that the story makes sense in terms of May’s character and its tie-in to the Inhumans. I’ll explain more on her backstory in a moment, but I want to talk about its execution first.

Half of the episode consisted of flashbacks. Looks like Marvel has been taking a leaf out of Arrow‘s book. Flashbacks are okay, but don’t let them take up the entire show. That’s one of the things I despise about Arrow. Stay in the present more often than when you travel to the past. Or if you are going to switch between flashbacks and the present, at least be clear about it. There were times when I got confused about what was happening at what time. A little more clarity would’ve been helpful.

I will admit that there were certain aspects of the flashbacks I enjoyed. At the beginning of the episode, flashback-Coulson mentions how Nick Fury is recruiting a team of powered individuals. Since this is taking place seven years ago, it’s safe to assume that Coulson is talking about Fury’s first visit to Tony Stark to talk about the Avenger Initiative. This was a fun little nod to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is always appreciated.

Elsewhere, Skye and Jiaying work on honing and improving the former’s powers. In the midst of training, Skye realizes that she is in fact training with her own biological mother. Both of the actresses truly shine in this scene, and you can feel the intense emotion going on between them. Kudos to Chloe Bennett and Dichen Lachman for their outstanding performance.

A little later, Jiaying and Skye have a conversation regarding an Inhuman who left the compound and took a bunch of Terrigen crystals with her seven years ago. This is where storylines cross with Agent May. S.H.I.E.L.D. was called in to track down this Inhuman woman, known as Eva Belyakov, but things went awry when a bunch of agents were “hypnotized”. S.H.I.E.L.D. sent in the cavalry, aka May, to go in and save the agents. While May did eventually overcome and defeat Eva, she discovered that the Inhuman had used the Terrigen crystals on her own daughter, turning her into a lethal monster. Facing one of the most difficult decisions of her life, May had to execute Eva’s child.

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Everything clicked at this moment of the episode. It all came together and finally made sense. What blows my mind the most is thinking about how long Marvel had to have been planning this. Like I mentioned earlier, they talked about May’s dislike of the “cavalry” moniker early on in the first season. They stretched this out for a hell of a long time. Marvel must have been pretty confident in the show to think this far ahead. I’ll admit, I had my doubts the first time I watched Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and didn’t think it would last. Now, I’m glad I stuck through and reached this part of the show.

Back at Inhuman-ville, Jiaying convinces Skye to have dinner with her and Cal. As the happy family sits around the table and has a cute Brady Bunch moment, Lincoln walks by and notices how the scene looks exactly like a dream that Raina told him about earlier. What does this mean? Rumor has it that Raina is actually the Clairvoyant, which wouldn’t make sense since we established that John Garrett was this mysterious character back in the first season. Are there two Clairvoyants then? Was Garrett an Inhuman with possible relation to Raina? Ugh, this makes my head hurt.

I give this episode a thumbs up, and it looks like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. might be heading in the right direction. I’ve noticed that the more we stay away from the whole “real S.H.I.E.L.D.” shtick, the more I enjoy the show. Let’s keep that going, then, shall we?

Final Grade: B +

+ Excellent performance from Bennett and Lachman

+ I thoroughly enjoyed May’s backstory and how it tied into the Inhumans.

+ I’m stoked that May didn’t die.

 

– I’m a little mad that it took so long to explain the “cavalry” nickname.

– Gordon has become rather one-dimensional; I’ve been expecting more than this paper-thin development we’ve been getting for weeks.

– Flashbacks were a little cluttered and hard to distinguish from the present.

 

Extra Thought:

– Fitz has cracked the code to Fury’s Toolbox. It appears to be a communication system of some sort. Hopefully they shed more light on it next week.

Did you like last night’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Or could you not care less at this point? Tell us what you think in the comments or on Twitter!

About the author

Alex Reale

From a young age, Alex knew he was destined to be a writer. He also harbored a deep infatuation with superheroes and comics. Luckily, he was able to combine these two passions through his role with A Place to Hang Your Cape, where he works as Junior Sidekick and Social Media Hero.

When he’s not writing for AP2HYC or working full-time as a content manager for a small business website, Alex is diligently at work on other creative projects including a fantasy novel collection and an independent comic series.

You can find Alex's first book, Dodger's Doorway, on Amazon!