When Melinda May is called “The Cavalry”, she doesn’t like that nickname. She also hates it when people ask her about Bahrain.
This week, we find out why, while “real SHIELD” still thinks the worst of Coulson with very circumstantial evidence. Skye also learns more about her powers…and her past.
Once upon a time, Melinda May’s life was great. She had a loving husband in Andrew Garner (Blair Underwood) with plans of starting a family, but she was also a SHIELD agent. Coulson talks about future plans, like something called the Avengers Initiative. This was 2008, about the time a guy named Tony Stark found a new purpose.
Their mission is to find Eva Belyakov (Winter Ave Zoli) a woman who’s very strong. She’s in Bahrain, and they hope to make her an asset. If not, time to call in the cavalry.
Switch to present day when Agents Morse and Weaver (Christine Taylor) talk about tailing former SHIELD scientist Fitz, just in case he heads towards Coulson. They think Caulson is up to something called Theta Protocol, which May apparently doesn’t know about. All they know is Coulson’s been moving a lot of resources and spending a lot of money. May convinces them to give control of her base back, so she can talk to Coulson herself. They don’t know she let him escape.
Jiaying (Dichen Lachman) is busy teaching Skye to refine her earth-shaking power by tuning into the frequencies of objects instead. She’s able to cause an avalanche without setting off a 6.7 temblor. She’s also able to play music with wine glasses, until they break. That shows both sides of Skye’s true power.
Jiaying also admits she is Skye’s mom, and that Cal (Kyle MacLachlan) was able to reassemble her after Whitehall cut her apart to steal her age-defying abilities. They had looked for Skye for years, which drove Cal insane. Jiaying eventually believed Skye was lost to them and went to Lai Shi to help other potential Inhumans when they go through terregenesis.
How is this linked to the rest of the episode? It goes back to Eva, who meets Coulson in 2008. He asks what she wants, and she says “your pain”. She tosses a table, and leaves with thugs who capture a young girl. SHIELD agents go after them, but they lose contact with them. Coulson reluctantly sends May into the place where Eva and the girl, Katya, are. She finds out the agents are being controlled, all saying they want to absorb May’s pain. So May is forced to kill Eva and becomes known as The Cavalry.
It’s not that simple, though, as May tells Morse as they’re discussing Coulson and rebuilding SHIELD “the right way”,”You’re worried I don’t understand your choice. Well, sometimes that’s the price of doing the right thing.” More on that later.
Gordon (Jamie Harris) is trying to guide Raina (Ruth Negga), but she is more concerned that she looks like a hedgehog. She tells Lincoln about her nightmares of being hunted, and of one where Skye is enjoying dinner with her dad. He points out he was upset that terregenesis made him blind, until he discovered his ability to transport. Once they figure out what Raina can really do, it will get better. Some fans, however, suspect Raina got exactly what deserved, since she guided Mike Peterson and others to Centipede last season.
May returns to the base, and tells Simmons she was actually working on Deathlok’s new battery pack, not a hybrid capacitor. That explains his upgrades. They also see Coulson’s activities, and that he met with Garner. Mac thinks it’s proof Coulson is training an army of powered people. So, they must open the Toolbox to get the truth. Too bad it’s a fake one…and Simmons knows that.
Jiaying tells Skye why she doesn’t want anyone to know she is her daughter, She doesn’t want to show any favoritism. Also, someone tried to abuse terregenesis before, and that someone was Eva. She escaped Lai Shi with some terregen crystals with her daughter to access her hidden power. That led to her fatal showdown with May in Bahrain. That story is familiar to Skye, but she’s told the real problem was Eva’s daughter, Katya (Ava Acres). The crystals made her a parasite, absorbing emotions and pain. Katya was about to do the same to May, but the agent did the only thing she could. It wound up ruining her life, driving her to office work and away from her husband.
It ruined the people of Lai Shi, too. Just as May is taken away from the scene, Jiaying and Gordon happen to be there. Their looks show they are upset SHIELD interfered with their attempts to contain Eva and Katya. Still, Jiaying couldn’t stop them, and SHIELD had no idea of what they really were. That may explain why she reminds Skye that SHIELD agents hunted her down. Does she have a plan for Skye, which involves punishing SHIELD?
For now, Skye agrees to one pleasant dinner with her father. After that, she won’t see him again. He tells the story of when Skye was born. It was July 2, 1988 according to him, not 1989 as she thought. When Lincoln sees this, he knows one of Raina’s nightmares has come true. According to Entertainment Weekly, that could be proof Raina is the Clairvoyant this time. If she figures that out, what will she do with that power?
Finally, despite “real SHIELD” following him, Fitz has opened the real Toolbox. His next stop will be Coulson and Hunter…somehow. Apparently they did find money to do the things SHIELD thinks they’re doing.
It’s interesting that one incident in Bahrain can connect so much, from Coulson, May and SHIELD to Lai Shi and Skye. Maybe it is all connected. It also seems there are conflicting definitions to “doing the right thing”. Coulson’s definition is a secret plan to make sure HYDRA doesn’t get its hands on powered people, and might include hiding them somewhere. “Real SHIELD’s” definition is putting Coulson, and his allies, down because they think he’s gathering a massive army of powered people. It looks like May and Simmons will be caught in the crossfire, while Morse will wonder who’s right. For Jiaying, it’s making sure Bahrain isn’t repeated, and that includes keeping her relationship with Skye a secret. That won’t stay a secret any longer than how Coulson came back from the dead. If they all think they are doing the right thing, they’re all likely mistaken.
Soon, it’ll get more complicated, when Coulson decides to look for Ward and Agent 33. That’s bound to be misinterpreted, just like Peggy Carter’s actions were misinterpreted.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesday at 9/8c on ABC. Watch full episodes on ABC.Go.com, Hulu Plus and On Demand (cehck with your local cable provider).