Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap: May Day

Agents of SHIELD May Killed Child

This week on ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., we learned what “earned” the onetime mild-mannered Melinda May the infamous nickname of “The Cavalry.” Meanwhile, for Skye: Guess who’s coming to dinner!

As May and Simmons were presented by Gonzales and Bobbi with more and more evidence that Coulson is seemingly up to something (dubbed “Theta Protocol” and involving 100 bunk beds and May’s ex-husband Andrew), we got flashbacks to the years-ago op in Bahrain, where May and Coulson led a Welcome Wagon to intercept a gifted individual, Eva Belyakov. After things go sideways and local thugs take Eva and a young girl hostage, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s raid of the warehouse they’re holed up in is cut short, for reasons unknown. Sneaking inside (and sidelining a few unfriendly friendlies along the way), May discovers that both the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and others are under the control of their gifted target — and are feeding on pain.

May battles the pain-hungry army, and then takes down the gift target seemingly controlling them. Except, the Russian woman is not the puppet-master after all — no, it’s the young girl that was “abducted” by the baddies and taken inside the building. Thus, to stop this tyke from killing her minions with a mere wave of her hand, May must do the unthinkable — and kill young, insane Katya.

In the wake of the day-saving massacre, all anyone can do is assume it was May’s handiwork, thus slapping her with the “Cavalry” nickname. May though is forever changed bu the tragic encounter, going from a bright-eyed agent, wife and wannabe mother to a chilled-to-the-bone, hardened victim of her unspeakable experience.

Meanwhile, at (in?) Afterlife…. CHLOE BENNETWith Jiaying’s tutelage, Skye got a better grasp on her gift — to identify and manipulate the frequency of naturally vibrating objects, to the extent that she was able to even trigger an avalanche on a nearby mountain. (I really hope no Afterlifers had gone out for a hike!) Yet Skye couldn’t shake a nagging question: Why has Jiaying, the person in charge at Afterlife, taken her under her wing?

Thankfully, after a waterglass-playing session that would put Gracie Lou Freebush to shame, Skye deduces that Jiaying is her mother. Jiaying then shares how after Cal “pieced me back together,” they scoured the Earth to find their daughter, to no avail — and while losing themselves in the process. Jiaying promises to make up for it all, but for now they must keep their connection a secret, since their “people” may see any favoritism as a threat.

Jiaying then beseeches Skye to indulge her — nay, Cal — by joining both of them for one “family” dinner. Cal revels in the perfect-ness of the occasion, which starts off pleasantly enough as Mom and Dad recount the story of the night of Skye’s birth. (Oops, awkward — Skye realizes she’s actually 26, not 25!)  But then Lincoln enters, unseen, and he gleans that a “dream” Raina shared with him earlier, of Skye having dinner with her father, with daisies, was in fact a premonition.

For the episode-ending coda, we see Fitz hiding out in a diner bathroom, where he has finally cracked open Fury’s toolbox. He reports the good news to Hunter and Coulson, who invite him to join them off the grid — provided that they can teach him on the fly how to shake a tail!

What did you think of “Melinda”?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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41 Comments
  1. Jimmy says:

    Great episode. Any time we get to see Ming-Na Wen kick butt is a great time. Oh, and kudos for the “Gracie Lou Freebush” call out.

  2. irishrose4583 says:

    ha! gracie lou freebush! I also thought of miss congeniality with that scene!

  3. Dj says:

    Pretty interesting way they are taking May. We can see how killing that girl shaped May into who she is now and why she is questioning what Phil is doing with gifted people.

  4. laurelnev says:

    Quite frankly, I expected the event that garnered May her nickname to be more,,,something. Not quite sure what the right word is: magnificent? Explosive? Climatic? Kung-fu kick ass? Am I the only one disappointed by the vanilla-ness of May’s backstory/life changing event?

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Sounds like you missed the extended infiltration sequence, during Jiaying’s narration, as May, like, flipped guys down stairwells and such. I’d also challenge you to come up with an event more soul-shattering than having to… well, do what she did to the girl (the actual words are so dreadful).

      • sladewilson says:

        Matt’s right especially given the beginning of the episode and the main topic of her and Andrew’s discussions. She literally was soul-shattered. One act changed her entire life. There’s nothing “vanilla” about that…

      • Badpenny says:

        I think the issue is more toward the idea that compared to some of the fights we have seen May involved in this Season this one seemed the most tame. The ending is tragic but the actual battle was not on par with what we have seen May, Bobbi, or Natasha do in the past.

        • Sara says:

          Yeah, but I think that really drives home the fact that one of the reasons that May hates the nickname “The Calvary” is not only because of the fact that she had no choice but to kill a young girl, but also because there is this huge rumor that she killed all of those men herself, which she didn’t, the little girl did. She’s been made into a legend for something that she didn’t completely do and for something that broke her heart and spirit.

    • Alichat says:

      I can kind of see what you are saying, but I think the point of it all was that they called her The Cavalry because they believe she took down all the people in the warehouse. But she didn’t….she took out some….but the little girl took out about half of them. The same little girl that drove her to go in, and whom she had to kill. It’s why May hates the nickname The Cavalry.

    • GeoDiva says:

      Don’t understand how killing a child is “vanilla”? The realization what she had to do, was a sit up straight, mouth gaping moment for the viewer. It was a better payoff than what we all expected.

    • Tenney says:

      I thought May did an awful lot of butt-kicking; not only with all the guys she took out but she was also able to best that killer woman who had super powers. More importantly though, now we know why May hates when people call her the calvary. Having to kill that little girl changed her at her very core. There is nothing vanilla about that.

    • The Kaibosh says:

      I agree in part with what you’re saying but I think now that the story has been told we see now that the legend of the Cavalry is actually in two parts. May having to kill the child is indeed a shattering experience and completely lives up to trauma that led to her withdrawal from the field. The second part: the part about May taking out 30 plus guys single handed turns to be more myth than reality. She did take out a number of guys as she is trained to do and as we have come to expect from her, but it turns that she did not in fact pull off a miraculous rescue that the whispers that surround this event suggest. It turns out that the legend of Cavalry is more about a personal tragedy than a grand tactical event.

    • KCC says:

      I liked the way they did it. The Cavalry is folklore and I’m certain made much larger than life with each retelling of it. Seeing the actual events was disappointing with the grandeur the story took on, but that’s the way it is with all those grander, bigger, unbelievable stories that are told and retold until little semblance of the actual events remain.

  5. abz says:

    One of the best episodes this season. So much emotion and it was just great. Poor May. Ming-Na Wen did an amazing job. I kind of understand what one of the earlier posters were saying about expecting May’s cavalry origin to be something somewhat bigger or grander maybe, but nevertheless I think they nailed the emotion and the impact that it had on her character. It was very soul-crushing and emotional and executed very well. And on the Skye front, I’m really enjoying her storyline. I like watching her control her powers. Also very intrigued by Rayna. I didn’t realize till I read your recap about the possibility of Rayna’s powers being premonitions. I hope to see more of her and I would love to see Skye interact with her some more.
    Seriously how is this show still getting such low ratings? I hate this current ratings system. People barely watch TV live anymore. I know I don’t/can’t a lot of the time due to school, work etc. I hope they can come up with a better way to rate shows in the future. AoS definitely deserves another season.

  6. Lauren says:

    So, TVLine does AOS recaps now?

    • abz says:

      I think they only do them for the big episodes or ones that will likely generate the most buzz. May’s cavalry origin episode was a long time coming.

  7. James D says:

    loved it. This show really stepped up it’s game this season and I have been enjoying every minute of it. Glad to know the story behind “The Calvary” story. Kid kind of had it coming as horrible as that sounds. Quake is a total BAMF but she really shouldn’t be trusting these people even if it is her mother. Should be very interesting to see how that all turns out. looking forward to the next episode.

  8. Rick Katze says:

    A very good show. And it really did tie together the points of why Mae did not want active service, what caused the marriage break-up, and a clear explanation of why she so dislikes the “cavalry” reference. And we have now have two weeks to tie things together before Age of Ultron. Will be curious to see what they do.

  9. justme says:

    I think Raina’s gift is interesting considering how obsessed she was with The Clairvoyant last season.

  10. Geo Padilla says:

    I thought May would say “Just look at the flowers…”

  11. DMK says:

    I like how they tied everything together. The notion that May’s infamous Bahrain mission was actually she and Coulson’s first Inhumans encounter was well done, imho.

    It’s also quite appropriate that Raina’s power is precognition. I agree with Justme; given her obsession with “The Clairvoyant” giving Raina the ability to see beyond really works.

    I’m also quite curious as to why Coulson has felt the need to hide Theta from May. My only guess is that he feels it would be traumatic for her; i.e. it would evoke Bahrain in some way.

    Skye’s training has been fun. I really liked the water glass stunt.

    Kyle MacLachlan continues to impress. Cal on his best behaviour is just as much fun as Cal in a rage.

    And for two weeks running the Fitz coda is full of win. I wonder if they’ll actually show us what the hot-air hand dryer has to do with shaking a tail?

  12. raisenofool says:

    Man, this was bad. I’m sure it doesn’t help that I spent the weekend watching Daredevil, the best superhero show ever. I don’t think anything landed in the episode, everything they were reaching for they missed.

  13. timewarpnut says:

    Awesome episode!! I enjoyed every bit of it, and yes, the emotion was overwhelming at the end, when May had to do the “right” thing… I can’t wait for the next episodes, in advance of the new movie!

  14. freemind1111 says:

    I liked it, especially the part with Fitz.

    I still think there is someone in the leadership of the “real SHIELD” that will end up being HYDRA.

    I watched the repeat of the Jimmy Kimbel show after. I found Clark Greg’s appearance interesting. The reactions to his question seemed like he might have been spilling the beans on something. Like everything else if he was it was definitely planned. Wouldn’t it be a shock if one or more of them made an appearance on the show in the next 2 weeks. I believe all along that Hawkeye was rumored to be making an appearance.

  15. I felt there is a story behind the inconsistency in Skye’s birth year. The look that passed between Cal and Jaiying said there was more to it.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Mmmhmm, I also found it conspicuous that they recalled the precise same details, using nearly the same words, in describing that day…

      • Gracie says:

        Matt- do you think its possible that there is more to Jiaying? I also found it odd that both her & Cal described Skye’s birth using the same details. Also, if Raina’s power is premonition she said she saw Skye having dinner with her father. It may just be that she didnt know that Jiayang, but I wonder if its a clue.

  16. Roy Hayes says:

    I felt it was a well written well acted episode.it humanized May while expanding the Mythos of Skye.

  17. Flick says:

    I really like the actress who plays Jiaying, she’s playing the character so well! Also, really enjoyed May’s storyline. I loved seeing her before Bahrain, so humane and warm. Plus Ming Na gets to smile! Haha

  18. Tiffany says:

    Great episode. Ming Na was amazing.

  19. Dee says:

    I really enjoyed the episode. I’ve been a fan of the show from the start. I have to say though, that if the show next season is going to be all about this Shield civil war, I don’t think I’ll dig it. I get they are tying into the latest Avengers movie. But if the show turns into Shield vs Real Shield, that is simply unappealing. To me anyway.

  20. GoFigure says:

    I think it’s a silly mistake that Skye thinks she’s 26. Yes she will become 26 soon, but she should be still 25 until July 2nd.

  21. Dee says:

    What happened to the recaps? This seems to be the last one you guys have done.