Where do the good guys go? Who can they trust?
Coulson has that alien, Kree, GH-325 serum coursing through his veins. Is it affecting his genetics? Is it adapting his DNA to something... else?
Does he know the paths his thoughts are now taking as they ramble through his brain? Whose thoughts are they? What dangers do they hold for mankind?
We finally did get some "truths" in Season 2's Episode 17: Melinda. What we don't know is just how much misdirection or diversion lies in those truths.
Coulson appears to be moving massive amounts of men and supplies all over the world. His team knows where he has been going when he makes these trips, but now, it appears, Gonzales' S.H.I.E.L.D. team is ready to present evidence that Coulson was going to places other than where he reported he was going.
And, their evidence shows he was building domiciles - dormitories - for housing armies of people. It's called "Theta Protocol".
And, he has been working with Melinda May's ex-husband, Andrew Garfield, for some unspecified reasons.
Agents Weaver and Bobbi Morse have presented Melinda with all of this evidence. And, it has caused her to sort through her memories - including that fateful day in Bahrain.
She killed a little girl. Shot her. Straight on. Point blank. With prejudice.
And, she had no choice. It showed us how May became "The Cavalry".
But, this episode is all about Phil Coulson.
What is he doing? Is he actually doing what it is being said that he is doing? Or, are his activities being misrepresented by an organization that wants to obtain the very important assets that Coulson has - his team... and, the toolbox.
May has encountered them before. She killed that little girl because the girl had gone insane after being exposed to the Terrigen Mists. She had gained the ability to leech the feelings - the life force - of others. And, it made her strong.
And, she was upset with Melinda May.
From the Beginning
May and Coulson were in Bahrain to investigate a powered woman. This woman had fled Russia leaving crumbled cars and dead police and military in her wake.
The Russians wanted her.
S.H.I.E.L.D. wanted to know more about her. And, they wanted to keep her from the Russians. It was imperative that she not be used as a weapon against the good ol' U.S. of A. We're the good guys.
While Coulson was interviewing the woman, some Bahranian thugs appeared and kidnapped one of the agents and a little girl. The thugs, the agent, the girl and the woman disappeared into a building - apparently, living quarters for a family or an extended family.
It was decided the agents accompanying Coulson & May would conduct an assault of the building. Their leader was Agent Hart and he called his guys, "The Cavalry". They would only come in as a last resort.
An agent and a little girl were in danger and Coulson and May were no longer able to do the negotiating required to convince the woman to join their side.
The agent and the girl had to be rescued.
The assault began
Almost immediately - within a minute of the beginning of the assault - all of the men in the assault team went off the air. No one responded. They were gone.
Coulson & May contacted S.H.I.E.L.D. (sounded like Nick Fury on the phone, but I'm not sure - it was never specified). S.H.I.E.L.D. told them to stand down - they had no authority to operate in Bahrain.
The Bahrainian military showed up and May decided she needed to get her agents out before they got crossways with the local militia. Coulson agreed, in spite of the orders just given.
May went in.
She took out a couple of the local thugs inside the house then opened a door and found Agent Hart. He was just standing there. He was being controlled by someone else. The woman.
"She needs to feel your pain", he said.
Then, Melinda realized all the other agents were also in the room - and, they were all enthralled by this woman. The lights were all on, but nobody occupied their shells. May locked them in the room and went to look for the woman. A couple more thugs later, she found her. And, the woman attacked her.
She "needed to feel" Melinda's pain.
In the melee, another thug ended up shooting May in the leg, but she managed to stay in the fray. She took out the thug. Then, the woman attacked again. May stabbed her in the heart with a metal pole from a lamp she had shattered.
But, all was not well. The thugs in the room were still attacking May!
The agents she had locked away were now free and they were coming for her as well. They were still under the spell of that woman. But, she was dead.
"She's dead!" May demanded. They didn't hear her.
Then, the little girl walked in behind them. It was her mother May had killed. And, she was upset. She waved her hand and a couple of thugs died. Then, another and another. She was taking in their life force to make herself stronger.
And, she needed a new mother. Melinda May would be her new mother - the one to look after her.
She got closer and May backed away. She tried to get the girl to stop. No deal. She continued to approached. She reached for May ... to take her just like she had taken the others. She would be lost. All of them would be lost.
A gun. May backed across a gun lying on the floor and seized it. She warned the little girl. She had to stop. But, the little girl was already lost. She was lost in the Terrigen Mists that had changed her body. And, she was deadly.
May shot her.
Coulson found May sitting, holding the little girl in her arms. She was crying over the body of that dead girl. A child. Something that she, up until that very moment, had desperately wanted for herself and her husband.
A part of Melinda May also died with that girl.
Hart's team, once the little girl was dead, regained their senses, but they didn't remember anything from after they were touched by the girl. All they knew was that the thugs were all dead, they had been incapacitated and May was there as they were restored to themselves... What their entire force couldn't do, May had done.
I guess May - and not their men - was "The Cavalry", after all.
And, the Evidence Shows that Coulson is Gathering More Powered People to His "Army"
Is this a good thing?
May has seen the Avengers. She saw the good they could do. She saw the destruction that occurred when they were called upon, but she is a good enough warrior to recognize that destruction was not caused by the Avengers - it was caused by the attacking war fleet of the Chitauri.
In the absence of the Avengers, the destruction likely would have been at least the same - likely worse. So, she has seen both sides of the "coin" that is powered people.
Meanwhile, In Lai Xi
Skye is working with the woman who has chosen to be her mentor. She learns that this woman is the leader of the facility and ... that she has never mentored anyone since Lincoln has been resident there.
So, for her to take on Skye is a surprise to everyone at the retreat facility. After a couple of lessons, Jiaying finally confides in Skye that she is Skye's mother. She recounts the pain of losing her daughter and confirms that they had been looking for her ever since - emphatically.
She even mentions that Skye's father, Calvin, had "stiched me back together" and that they had searched together. Often in a very destructive fashion. S.H.I.E.L.D. had taken the brunt of some of that search. Hydra, too.
Then, she tells Skye why their relationship cannot be made known to the other Inhumans - it all went back years ago... after Skye had been lost. A woman had stolen several Diviners and had exposed her own daughter to the Terrigen Mists - unsupervised and against the wishes of the elders.
Jiaying had assessed the girl and concluded she was not suitable for transformation. The daughter had a darkness inside her, but her mother was determined that her daughter should know her gifts and chose to disregard the laws of the Inhumans.
It was an incident in Bahrain, where they discovered that their laws - their rules - must be taken to heart. The Inhumans must adhere to the laws to prevent their exposure to the outside world.
Skye knew of that incident! She had heard stories of Melinda May dying "on the inside" that day.
The mother of that girl had also been an Inhuman - and, she had been powerful. But, she was in the thrall of her daughter, apparently, so she wasn't clear and focused on her attack on May giving May the opportunity to take her down before the girl came to the fore.
May had killed those Inhumans - that mother and daughter.
"It wasn't as simple as that", Jiaying confided in Skye. They had, ever so briefly, exposed the Inhumans to the general populace - to the public - and caused a great deal of danger to their community. This could not happen again.
So, her stepping in to protect Skye could be perceived as a similar occurrence. A mother's love of her child getting in the way of the preservation of "the people". So, the Inhuman community will not know that Skye is Jiaying's daughter.
But, she has a favor to ask of Skye
After confiding in Skye all of the angst and loss and emotion that went into searching for their lost child, Skye's dad, Cal, had lost himself in the effort. The good parts of him had gotten wiped away. Only the promise he had given to Jiaying that he would find their daughter had any meaning and he gave himself in to the effort wholly.
Would Skye help her mother honor a promise she had made Skye's dad? Would she join them for dinner?
What? Woah! No way!
This guy was a killer!
Jiaying knew that. But, she also knew there was still love in him. That the love of his daughter - and her loss - had completely consumed him. But, that love was still in there.
Skye agreed to join them.
In the encounter over dinner, it became immensely apparent that his love for his family is still there. Cal fawned over his daughter and his wife with love born from the joy of family - of the completeness he now felt having his daughter and wife together with him.
Then, Lincoln walked in.
The sound of Raina's voice as she described this event rang in his mind... but, he didn't seem to understand the "currentness" of the situation: "It isn't a dream". What was going on in that room with Cal, Jiaying and Skye sitting at dinner with all the appearances of a happy family struck Lincoln like Skye had struck the mountain earlier in the day.
How is this going to affect Lincoln? What will be his response?
Earlier, he and Gordon had been attempting to gain the trust of Raina. Gordon was upset with Lincoln's interference with his efforts exclaiming that Lincoln could never "understand the change".
No? Lincoln had changed. But, his change was inside - no outward manifestation like Raina. Like Gordon. His ability to control the electrical bonds between molecules can be hidden.
How could Lincoln understand?
Raina, in her pity wallow, cries that she sees these dreams! She can't sleep because of the dreams! She keeps seeing Skye with her dad and that woman happy at dinner! Like a family!
That Clairvoyant for which Raina had so desperately searched all this time? Yup. She was in her mirror all along.
Another very interesting sidebar. Lincoln's character is going to be pivotal over the next few episodes. His relationship with Gordon will come into play. His relationship with Jiaying will be tested. And, his relationship with Skye will have to be explored.
There are some serious parts being put into place in Lai Xi.
May and Simmons become convinced by the mountain of evidence (the one dropped on them by Bobbi Morse and Agent Weaver) that entry into that toolbox is essential. They have to know what Coulson was doing and they had to be able to confirm that he is still the man they believe him to be.
Fitz, meanwhile, is at a convenience store holed up in the bathroom. He is attempting to gain access into the toolbox. Two goons are waiting outside for the door to open and for Fitz to come out. They are Gonzales' guys and they have been tailing him.
And, they're getting impatient.
Fitz finally gets the toolbox to activate! The goons are banging on the door demanding entry. Fitz futzes around with the database for a couple of seconds then is able to ring Hunter's tablet.
Hunter is stunned. Coulson is surprised.
Fitz explains that he has hacked into the toolbox and the connection to the tablet was in there. (This is likely how Coulson has been keeping tabs on Deathlok. It's all in communications links in the toolbox.) Fitz alerts his team to the fact there are two guys tailing him and asks for some coaching on how to ditch them. He wants to come home to the Coulson Gang.
Lance is walking him through what to do as the episode ends.
A lot of loose strings have been tightened up in this episode. But, a lot of new subplots have been released.
- What is the basis for Gordon's anger?
- What is Skye doing laughing with Jiaying and the monster (per Gordon) that is her dad, Cal?
- How is that going to affect how he feels about Skye?
- How is Lincoln's power to control molecular bonds relate to the situation?
- The Lai Xi portion of the episode ends with Gordon finally convincing Raina to trust him and the Inhumans. Or, was it Raina convincing him that she is ready and that he can trust her?
Apparently, Skye (and Lincoln) come back into the picture rejoining Coulson's forces as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. set the table for the Age of Ultron.