Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Tuesday’s episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Read at your own risk!
The Cavalry has been revealed.
After two long seasons of being a brooding badass who could pretty much kill you with one look, Agent May’s (Melinda May) origin story as The Cavalry was finally unearthed during Tuesday’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
In a flashback to seven years prior, a pre-Avengers initiative Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) enlisted May to track down a super-powered person in Bahrain. But this wasn’t the coldhearted and often ruthless May we had come to know and love. Showing a softer side—especially around husband Andrew (Blair Underwood)—May was sent into an under-siege warehouse in hopes of saving a little girl after her entire team went radio silent.
But May watched in horror as said girl actually took out the bad guys by, well, absorbing their fear. May was therefore begrudgingly forced to kill the little girl lest she fall victim to her Inhuman powers. This incident, of course, created the darker May we know today, who relegated herself to a desk job amidst the whisperings that she had single-handedly saved her whole team and took out all the bad guys.
The history lesson actually came via Skye’s (Chloe Bennet) mother, Jiaying (Diachen Lachman), who revealed her true identity to her daughter, but made her swear not to tell their fellow Inhumans in fear of repeating the mistakes of Bahrain. It’s therefore very interesting—and highly suspicious—that the reveal about The Cavalry interfering with Inhumans drama should come at a time when the Inhumans story is heating up. Are these moments more important than we realize? EW caught up with executive producer Jeffrey Bell to get the scoop on what’s next:
EW: Is there anything you can tease about Protocol Theta and what Coulson has been hiding?
JEFFREY BELL: This is the biggest secret that Coulson has carried in the series and the reveal will greatly affect how he’s viewed not only by Gonzales’ S.H.I.E.L.D., but also by Coulson’s team. One of the big stories this season has been the shift in Coulson’s attitude, from the season premiere where he’s running secret missions within secret missions to the revelation that he’s kept Deathlok’s covert ops hidden from his team. As the stakes have changed, Coulson’s methods have changed and not everyone will be accepting, even if he’s doing it for the right reasons.
There seems to be something off about Jiaying. What can you tease of what she really wants with Skye?
Jiaying wants to protect her family and the Inhumans under her care—that’s her priority and she hasn’t lied to Skye about anything. But it’s also clear she has a larger plan for her people and that’s something we’ll reveal very soon. That’s a constant theme running through the season with all [of Skye’s] parental figures. Coulson is trying to make the world safer, but he’s a bit colder this season and more willing to make the tough decisions, which everyone doesn’t always like, as evidenced by the “real” S.H.I.E.L.D. We’ve been careful to show that while Cal has committed horrible atrocities, he’s doing it to find his daughter and protect his family—something that we can all understand in theory though not always in execution. It sounds simple, but doing the “right thing” is rarely a cut and dry matter with one, unassailable execution—so some will see Jiaying’s methodology as “good,” some will see it as “bad,” but everyone is going to understand there’s a good reason for her perspective on the world.
Jiaying didn’t seem too pleased that May interfered with Inhumans business in Bahrain. Is this something we should be paying attention to?
Absolutely. There’s a reason we waited so long to tell this story and the events of Bahrain inform some major events to come. So much of this season has been about the consequences of the impossible decisions we make to do the “right thing,” and we’ll see this one reverberate through the series.
Raina appears to be able to foresee the future. What dangers might that power bring?
If her visions are indeed accurate, there are a number of questions, namely if she can do anything to affect that future or if she’s merely an observer of things to come. That said, if we’ve learned anything about Raina, it’s that she’s not the kind of person to take the passenger seat in life when she can get behind the wheel. But will these visions lead her to make the best decisions for her or the best decisions for those around her?
Fitz is now joining Coulson and Hunter. What’s their next step in getting S.H.I.E.L.D. back?
As Coulson mentioned, they need help from the last person any of them want to see: Grant Ward. One of the exciting things about Ward this year is that whenever he’s on screen, it means something big is happening—and nearly every other character wants to kill him. Now we’re sticking him in a Quinjet with the leader he betrayed, Coulson, the ally he turned over to Hydra for experimentation, Mike, and the friend who he left to die in the ocean, Fitz. Even though Hunter is new to the team, he’s aware of Ward’s betrayal and knows that he can’t be trusted and there’ll be tension in that relationship as well.
Skye enjoyed her first family dinner and actually appeared to be happy. How does this change her moving forward? And does Jiaying still plan to send Cal away?
At the beginning of the season, we saw how Skye was repulsed by the very thought of her father when she came upon the bloody results of his work, but now she’s found a way to not only be in his presence, but enjoy a family dinner. This has to change her fundamentally. She’s completed her quest to find her family and has the answers she’s been looking for her whole life. But now she’s going to learn how hard it can be to have family, especially when they have super powers and one of them has, to say the least, anger management issues. So if Jiaying commits to sending Cal away, you can imagine he’s not going to take that revelation well—and Skye will need to decide how much she truly wants this relationship with her father.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.