We finally got the lowdown on why Agent May is known as “The Cavalry" this week.
However, that's not all that took place on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2 Episode 17, as Skye's training at the "Afterlife" settlement progressed and she even learned the truth about her mother.
Join TV Fanatics Jim Garner, Kathleen Wiedel, Allison Nichols, Hank Otero and the Helicarrier Podcast's Andy Behbakht as we discuss the developments of this week's episode in our latest Round Table.
We finally found out why Melinda is called the "Cavalry." After all this time, was it what you were expecting?
Hank: I'll be honest, while I did have a feeling it involved a "gifted" person, the twist that it was a little girl was interesting. She was wicked too! I enjoyed the episode, but felt the writers took way too long to give us Agent May's backstory. It was pretty anticlimactic this late in the game. Plus, the "Cavalry" nickname thing didn't work that well for me, seemed like an afterthought. I will say, Ming-Na was amazing, she took a major beating this week.
Jim: I agree with Hank, the "Cavalry" nickname seemed very forced and not very well executed. That aside, Ming-Na was great and the Inhuman being a creepy child was pretty unexpected.
Kathleen: I think I liked the way the story was revealed more than Hank or Jim. Given the Inhuman link, it wouldn't have fit in earlier in the series, which was mostly focused on HYDRA and other things. In addition, I felt that to reveal it earlier would have seemed odd, given Melinda's post-Bahrain level of reticence. In terms of the story itself, I, for one, felt that it had significant emotional impact. No wonder she hates the nickname! Not only is it based on a lie (she didn't take down all the people they thought she did), it's inextricably linked to the horrible moment when she had to kill a child. Whether or not the child was evil or insane or whatever, it shattered something inside of her.
Allison: I'm glad that we finally know the truth. I would have liked to know it earlier, but it would have made learning the inhuman elements impossible. The flashback allowed us to see the S.H.I.E.L.D. point of view, part of which we already knew, and then Jiaying added in the Inhuman information. It seems unlikely that May would have willingly brought up the full extent of child's involvement, so Jiaying was the only way for us to really learn everything.
Andy: The only thing I was able to expect from this storyline was that it was going to be painful and filled with emotions based on everything we knew about May being the way she is today. I enjoyed it even though I was crying my eyes out because she had to take a child's life. I'm just glad they didn't show us her actually shooting her, but just give us the sound. 9 PM can be used for a lot of dark things, but not that.
What did you think of the writers tying Melinda's backstory to an Inhuman (super convenient or pretty awesome)?
Hank: For some reason, I always thought the Bahrain incident tied in more with Skye's history and the Inhumans. Obviously, I was mistaken but I actually liked the way the two storylines came together. Sure, it was convenient as well but overall I enjoyed it.
Jim: Comic books love and embrace the convenient plot twist and changes, so it fit right in that Melinda's back story (which had a gifted in it) came to light just as we are learning about Inhumans.
Kathleen: I'm with Jim; sure, it's convenient, but it's like accepting that no one is ever dead forever in comic book stories. The timing works out nicely, too.
Allison: It didn't feel forced, and so it worked really well.
Andy: It was surprising, but I liked it in the end, although you know that they didn't have it planned from the start to be exactly like this with having the Inhumans tie in with her story.
Skye seems be gaining control of her gift. What do you think of her being able to "hear" the mountain and create an avalanche?
Hank: I thought that was a fun moment, she literally moved a mountain... whoa! I'm just worried things are going too smoothly. Skye herself said "Something bad happens every time I feel settled somewhere." Whatever happens, I hope her mother survives because Skye deserves a break.
Jim: I'm glad she is getting control, like Hank I'm worried things are going smoothly. That being said, I'm hoping the amount of time they had Skye warning us about how something is going to go wrong was there so she could be proven wrong and not proven right. She really needs something good to happen to her for a little bit.
Kathleen: I'm with you two. It's good to see her not being frightened of her power, but this is a TV show: surely, it's time for something to go terribly, horribly wrong! I wonder how big (or small) her powers go? Could she "quake" a planet... or an atom?
Allison: It would be interesting to hear what Skye hears. What does hearing a mountain sound like? We have to just accept that Skye is hearing these things. If Skye could talk more about what her power feels like when she uses it, especially now since she is more in control of it, it would help us to understand her powers more.
Andy: I'm with Allison, it would be neat to actually get to HEAR what she is hearing, it makes us more connected with her by allowing us as viewers to really be inside of her. But who knows, it might happen in these remaining episodes.
Share your thoughts on Skye's reunion with her mom. Was it everything you hoped it would be?
Hank: Actually, that's the one moment this week that exceeded my expectations. We had not really seen much of Dichen Lachman on the show. I thought the chemistry been Lachman and Chloe Bennet was wonderful. I admitted in my Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2 Episode 17 review the big reveal got me a little teary eyed. Though the episode was called "Melinda" and was supposed to focus on Bahrain, I enjoyed the scenes at the "Afterlife" settlement much more.
Jim: I'm a huge softy when it comes to parents/children. So, when Jiaying (Dichen Lachman) interrupted Skye talking to blurt out Skye's birth date and then ramble on into the story of what kind of day it was when she was born, I was in tears, full on, nose-sniffling, blurry vision, tears. Both Chloe Bennett and Dichen Lachman did such an amazing job of that scene.
Kathleen: Me, I'm a sucker for happy endings. I'm glad they were brought back together, especially since Skye has had it so rough in her life. We also were treated to a hint of the past: apparently Cal "pieced" Jiaying back together. Ew. No wonder he's crazy.
Allison: I really enjoyed the reunion. Like Jim brought up, Jiaying interrupting Skye to share her birthday was adorable. I'm glad that this was a happy reunion for Skye. I kinda want to know more about Cal piecing Jiaying back together, but then again, I kinda don't.
Andy: I wasn't really sure how I wanted that reunion, but I know that I completely loved this. There was no anger, only tears and love. I really loved that family dinner scene at the end, I hope they can somehow keep Cal as a good guy because damn it, I love Kyle MacLachlan too much.
We got hints that next week's episode is going to tie into Avengers: Age of Ultron. Any theories on how?
Hank: As long as it doesn't involve the "real" S.H.I.E.L.D. I'm all for it haha. The promo for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2 Episode 18 seems to hint at either Fury's Toolbox or the Inhumans. We've already seen that Samuel L. Jackson is back as Nick Fury, so my guess would be the toolbox. How cool would it be for Coulson, Agent May or even Skye to appear in the movie? That would thrill my little geek heart!
Jim: Given that the Avengers think that Coulson is dead (and has for a couple of years), it would be a nice closure on the Tahiti story if he had a cameo in the movie letting them know he was a live and doing well. Of course, it would push the awesome-meter to 20 if one of the main Avengers were to guest star Agents of SHIELD.
Kathleen: To be honest, I would be surprised if there is anything in the next episode directly linking to Age of Ultron, or the following episode (slated to air on April 28). I suspect there won't be anything related to Age of Ultron until Season 2 Episode 20 at the earliest, which will be the first episode to air after the movie is released in theaters. That being said, I'd be happy if there were some sort of link or foreshadowing in the preceding episodes. Theta Protocol, anyone?
Allison: I'm with Kathleen, I thought that maybe Theta Protocol might play a role in the movie somehow. Maybe Fury asked Coulson to get the ball rolling on it and not to tell anyone about it, which would explain why Coulson has been keeping secrets from May.
Andy: OK for reals, I googled like 100 articles to see if I had missed some announcement that they were doing some tie-in in the April episodes because all we knew prior was that there were going to be tie-ins. I think these two next episodes are precursors to the film and the episodes after the film has been released, will be the post tie-in.
NOTE: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2 Episode 18 is titled "The Frenemy of My Enemy" and airs on Tuesday, April 21.