Agent May gets her own origin story this week, as it’s finally revealed what went down during that fateful mission in Bahrain and how the usually stoic and enigmatic SHIELD agent acquired her most unwanted nickname, ‘The Calvary’.
Opening seven years earlier, we find May happily married to Andrew, laughing, smiling and discussing the future and the beginnings of a potential family. A far cry from the Agent May we’ve come to know over the past couple of seasons. Coulson arrives and whisks her away on an important mission to Bahrain, where a powered person with enhanced strength called Eva has been located.
Of course, this being Agents of SHIELD, the operation doesn’t go according to plan and next thing you know chaos runs amok in downtown Bahrain, as Eva and a group of local gangsters take a little girl hostage and isolate themselves inside a building. And of course, this being Agents of SHIELD, not everything is as it seems.
May goes in alone and does what she does best (namely kicking ass and taking more than just names), before going toe to toe with Eva who was an Inhuman who stole a batch of Terrigen crystals. But it’s not Eva who’s the problem, but rather her psychotic daughter, who looks like she’s just walked off the set of some low rent horror movie. Turns out she went insane after being exposed to the mist, so now she’s turning people into her mindless drones with a simple touch. May is forced to kill the girl and like that, as voiced by one of the surviving team members, ‘The Calvary’ is born.
Considering everything that’s been going down lately, with momentum gradually building in the show’s favour, May’s backstory felt shoehorned in. Apart from Eva’s connection to the Inhumans, the flashbacks rarely ever felt like they were connected to the rest of the episode. Nor did they actually feel necessary. Why reveal it here? Why not earlier in the season? Never once did it relate to what was happening in the present with May and Team Gonzalez.
Personally I preferred the mystery of Bahrain, the hearsay, the never knowing what really happened. May has always been an enigmatic and mysterious figure. That’s part of her charm. That’s the reason why we like her. Perhaps I’m in the minority, but a part of me believes that revealing the Bahrain operation took something away from what made May so great to begin with.
Meanwhile in the present, May is gradually being lured over to Team Gonzalez as she discovers that Coulson may not have been as transparent with her as she first believed. With May knowing absolutely nothing about Theta Protocol nor anything in regards to Fury’s toolbox, it seems that her switch to Team Gonzalez could be permanent.
Elsewhere Skye is making good progress through superhero school with the help of Jiaying. After causing an avalanche and making wine glasses sing, Jiaying reveals to Skye that she is in fact her birth mother. Then there’s Raina, who’s still whining about her general thorny appearance but as discovered by Lincoln, her ‘nightmares’ are actually visions of the future.
After a slew of strong episodes, Agents of SHIELD lost a little momentum this week. While it was fun and interesting to see the events of Bahrain, they never felt essential to the development of the series. Otherwise, ‘Melinda’ was a perfectly fine episode if not overly special.