After that midseason finale, we feel like “Agents of SHIELD” has been taking a page out of “Westworld’s” book — everyone is a robot!
Ok, not everyone, just Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen).
In the final moments of Tuesday’s (Dec. 6) episode, robotic Aida (Mallory Jansen) reveals she has been keeping May prisoner at Radcliffe’s (John Hannah) lab, and the May currently inside SHIELD celebrating with her teammates is actually an LMD lookalike.
That little tidbit of information seems like an important thing for SHIELD to know, especially when you factor in how Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) relationship with May has been evolving of late. So what does this newest twist mean for “Philinda?”
“I think it’s important to remember that the android May — the LMD May — was built from the mind and spirit of the real May,” Clark Gregg says of this new development in Coulson and May’s relationship, “And those feelings have started to bubble up before any of this happened. It’s happening between the real Phil Coulson and real Melinda May, and just leave it to our sadistic writers to throw synthetic May into the mix. The A.I., ex machina love triangle. God forbid, imagine being thrown over for your Life Model Decoy?”
If that’s not crazy enough, we’re still not totally sure what LMD May’s agenda is — or where her allegiance truly lies. Ming-Na Wen says we might want to be more suspicious of LMD May’s creator than the robot herself.
“I think the big question too is what is Radcliffe’s motivation, not so much what is Aida’s motivation at this point,” Wen says. “Because he’s really the taskmaster in this whole scheme of changing out May for the LMD May. What is his agenda? Is it for something good, or for something bad, or is he the mad scientist that’s hoping to advance science? But that’s a big, naughty thing to do. He’s on Santa’s naughty list. To apprehend May and already planned out and created the LMD May — I don’t think he went through all that trouble just for sh*** and giggles.”
We’re hoping Fitz (Ian De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) are able to spot an LMD as easily as they spotted Aida’s true nature, mostly because we’re worried what kind of havoc these androids could cause given free range of SHIELD headquarters.
Worse, what kind of havoc will the team rain down on these LMDs when and if they figure it out? It’s hard to imagine that the reprieve Director Mace (Jason O’Mara) gave to Aida will last very long when his mantra of “A team that trusts is a team that triumphs” has been so blatantly disregarded.
“Trust is always an issue in a spy organization,” showrunner Jed Whedon says. “It’s much worse when you don’t always know if the person next to you … is the person next to you.”
Beyond the huge revelation about LMD May, the midseason finale also signals the end of the Ghost Rider arc, as Robbie Reyes (Gabriel Luna) found himself sucked into an alternate dimension with his power mad uncle, Eli (José Zúñiga).
We asked the showrunners whether or not this is truly the last we’ve seen of Ghost Rider — be it Robbie or otherwise — and they seemed to stick with Coulson’s opinion on the matter; never say never.
“If we were telling 10 or 12 or 13 [episodes] you could do a whole Ghost Rider [season] — but that’s a lot for 22, especially with everything else that we like and care about on the show,” Jeffrey Bell says. “I think we feel like it would be one flavor over a long period of time. We’ve certainly left it open.”
“He is trapped in another place,” Whedon adds. “Which usually means that he’s not dead.”
It’s up to the showrunners (and probably their CGI budget) whether we’ll ever see Ghost Rider again — but at least we know the door is always open for his return.
“Agents of SHIELD” returns Jan. 10, 2017 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.