Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Repairs

"I don't mean to scare you, I just need to use you as bait."

Who is Melinda May? It's a question I'm not sure I want the series to ever really answer.

What do we really know about Melinda May? Well, we do know that Melinda May is awesome. Melinda May is so awesome that dimension jumping psychopaths can't sneak attack her (seriously, how cool was that?). And that is mostly it. We know very little about her beyond the fact she is awesome. Part of me doesn't really want to know more about Melinda May other than the fact she is awesome. I am very content with simply knowing that Melinda May is awesome. I fear that if I learn more about Melinda May that she will become somewhat less awesome.

You have to tread carefully with characters like Melinda May. One of the reasons enigmatic badasses are so badass is because they are enigmatic badasses. Once you start to peel back the layers and reveal what lies beneath they often lose their appeal. Did anyone really want to know where Boba Fett came from? Hell no, and if you did I'm willing to bet you regretted it the minute Lucas told you. The trick is to never reveal too much. Give us some details about the character, enough so that we see there's an actual  human being behind May's steely, seemingly ageless exterior, but never so much that we could write an extensive bio after one episode.

This episode explored the legend of Melinda May and how she came to be known as the Cavalry. If there’s one thing I know about legends it is that they are usually exaggerated and May's is no different. We are treated to three different version of the tale in this episode, although one version was deliberately false (and also doubles as the worst prank of all time). Coulson's version was the closest one to the truth, but even that was incomplete. We're never given a clear picture of what exactly happened to May on that mission. For all we know she saved the day by challenging the bad guys to an epic, agonising game of Twister. Which is why I no longer wish to know any more about this. Whatever the writers come up with will pale in comparison to the madness going on in my head.

The case of the week was more interesting than usual, although this is still proving to be the area where the show is at its weakest. What started out like your basic Carrie situation took an interesting turn when it appeared that she really was being haunted by demons. Then it took a slightly less interesting turn when it was revealed the demon was just a guy with some seriously stupid ideas about how to talk to girls.

Mate, next time you want to get to know a girl better ask her out for coffee or something. Don’t sabotage a particle accelerator. That's how supervillains are made. Not that there will be a next time what with we him being trapped in another dimension or something. But you never know. There might be some nice people in those hell dimension, including some lonely souls looking for company on those cold winter nights.

Intel and Assets

--I first found out what aglets were from Justice League Unlimited. I sure do miss that show.

--We need more scenes of the team playing boardgames. It is the only time when Ward is likeable.

--Fitz and Simmons are the worst pranksters of all time.

--At first I thought the game they were playing was Scrabble, but it was actually Upwords.

--Laure Seay (Hannah) kept reminding me of Natalie Zea. Someone should really cast them as sisters in something. Just not Justified.

Skye: "I get it, I didn't go to your stupid S.H.I.E.L.D. Hogwarts or whatever."
--I wonder what the house names are at S.H.I.E.L.D. Hogwarts?

May: "People believe what they want to believe to justify their actions."

Ward: "She used her Britishness against us."

Coulson: "I'll lose the tie. If she is telekinetic, I don't want to have a noose around my neck."

Three out of four plastic tips on the ends of shoelaces.


tricksterson said...

Oh, come on he's just gone to the special dimension comic book characters go until the writers find it convenient to bring them back. Some call it "Limbo", others "Hiatus".

Seriously it might have been Hell, or a Hell, since, like the Buffyverse, the Marvel universe has several.

sunbunny said...

I liked this one, but I'm still having issues with the show. I really loved the May / Ward hook up. And the end scene with Fitz getting pranked by May was adorable. Does May remind anyone of Zoe?

Vero said...

This was one of the weakest episodes for me, especially because of the case of the week, which I thought was terrible. It could have been something the Winchesters boys would have had to deal with, not the big wigs from S.H.I.E.L.D.

Also, I'm not sure I actually want to know more about May or not, because this episode just left me confused about her. Oh, so a mission changed her. So, ehhh, okayyyy? What am I supposed to do with this information? I don't know, it didn't really make any sense to me.

drnanamom said...

I enjoyed the episode but I've enjoyed most of them. I like this team and I particularly like May. Maybe she will become an interesting badass rather than an enigmatic one. I thought the terrible pranks of Fitz and Simmons were right in character. They are brilliant and clueless at the same time, like most of the geniuses I know. I agree with Mark that taking apart a particle accelerator is probably a bad way to meet girls but I'm not sure one should have to go to hell for it! Thanks for the great review.

Iago said...

I really enjoyed this episode, but then I seem to be enjoying most of them. We got some insight into May's character, but not too much: as sunbunny says, she's reminiscent of Zoe. Last week we were told she had a major trauma and has come to terms with it, this week we found out a bit about it, and how she got her reputation. I did find it quite ominous that pre-legend May sounded a lot like Simmons.

At the same time, she isn't just a one-dimensional warrior woman, she has a sense of humour and an appreciation for the finer Norse demi-gods in life. I like that that side to her.

I found myself really liking Skye: her conversation with Hannah was lovely and I thought it was a good way of addressing the issue of religion. I do wonder if there's some deep mirroring going on (which we know Joss is a fan of): where Skye is a reflection of Coulson and Simmons could be a reflection of May. It'd leave a nice dynamic because Fitz is nothing like Ward and doesn't want to be.

Still, it was stupid idea to take Hannah onto the Bus. Couldn't they have just driven her?

Anonymous said...

Good review, and I'm pretty much with you on everything. Also, I find it hard to buy that May suddenly become unstoic (sorry for language perversion) enough to pull a prank.

My favorite bit was the Hogwart's reference, because 1) it was funny, and 2) it reminded me of my one of my favorite Dawn Summers moments:

Buffy: We're going to the magic shop. No school supplies there.
Dawn: Yeah, Mom, I'm not going to Hogwarts.
Dawn: [Buffy stares at her blankly] Jeez, crack a book sometime.

Lamounier said...

If the pranks Fitz and Simmons were pulling were from The Academy, I have to say the pranks of The Academy suck big time. I did laugh of Skye passing on the fake story of The Calvary to Ward, though. And the Hogwarts reference was funny too. In fact, Skye was likeable this episode. The writers actually pulled off a “God is love” conversation without being cheesy. Wow on that.

After seeing a couple of reviews that criticized this episode a lot, I was surprised by how much I liked it. Jed and Mo did a pretty good job on ramping up the tension, but what were they thinking with that final twist? Everything happened because a boy was in love? So. Lame. But, really, overall it was an enjoyable episode

I’m with Mark on not wanting to know too much about Melinda, but she needs more layers because “Melinda May is awesome” can become one note pretty quickly.

Elfie said...

I found myself enjoying this episode, which is funny because I haven't enjoyed most episodes yet. The story of the week was weak, but they all are, and the ending was terrible, why couldn't he just be a dimension hopping badass out for some revenge or who had some twisted obsession with her? Why did it turn out that he had some sappy crush on her? All that boy needed was therapy 101: "We do not blow up particle accelerators for pretty girls". Also? This story felt like something right out of the Supernatural playbook, every two minutes I was just waiting for the Winchesters to ride up in their Impala and be like "Really? You needed a special ops team for this? It's just a Tuesday in our world."

I like Melinda May, but I think you're right, her awesomeness is born out of her enigma. I hope the show toys around with that for a while, but my expectations aren't too high. I liked Skye this episode, I thought they made that scene between her and Hanna sweet without making it hokey. I wasn't even bothered by Ward in this one! Fitz and Simmons are adorable as always, even if someone needs to teach them how to prank.

The only complaint I have which, I'm not sure if it even is a legitimate complaint, but I'll state it anyway... Is that it still doesn't feel like a Joss Whedon show. Usually, I can tell if it's a Whedon show, but I swear if nobody told me Whedon was behind the wheel with this one, I wouldn't have guessed. Maybe my expectations are simply too high after Buffy and Angel. I don't know?