THE SHOW: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
THE PAIRING: Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) and Dr. Andrew Garner (Blair Underwood)
THE EPISODE: “Chaos Theory” (Aired November 10, 2015)
THE MOMENT: Melinda will never give up on Andrew. She will save her ‘beast.’
Andrew and Melinda May have had their ups and downs over the years, but Andrew becoming an inhuman killer is the ultimate obstacle in their relationship. Last week, Melinda discovered that her ex is actually Lash, an inhuman beast that kills other inhumans. While some might think this is the opposite lead-in to a romantic moment, I’m taking a different view. Everything about “Chaos Theory” was romantic chaos and indeed a sort of version of the Beauty and the Beast archetype. Melinda May, while nothing like your typical Beauty character, will do just about anything to save her beast.
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The Build Up – Andrew and Melinda
After running off with Andrew at the end of last season, we discover at the beginning of this season that he just seemed to have deserted Melinda after Hawaii. But why? That question finally gets answered. Going through an inhuman ledger of Daisy’s Mom, Andrew catches a big whiff of what I call the testing mist. Either he turns into stone and dies or he becomes inhuman. Andrew, of course, becomes inhuman.
Everything about “Chaos Theory” was romantic chaos and indeed a sort of version of the Beauty and the Beast archetype.
Soon he turns into Lash and realizes he has to keep this from May to protect her and takes off. There’s this beast inside of him, calling for Andrew to kill other inhumans like it is his inner nature, his instinct. In his mind, he’s killing the “bad” ones and would never hurt someone like Daisy who he cares about.
May being May, she keeps this information a secret because she needs to confront Andrew first. She needs to know the truth. Getting there in the nick of time, May prevents Andrew from hurting an inhuman during a therapy session and she demands he tells her the truth.
Knocking her out, Andrew kidnaps May. Not to hurt her, but to tell his side of the story. He never stopped loving her after all! Their talk of a first apartment using an oven to keep warm just shows how deep their bond is, how many memories the two have together. This conversation reveals just how much May would be willing to fight for the man she loves, even though Andrew is turning more and more into this beast. He doesn’t want to hurt people, but he has to.
Andrew touches her face and says, “I know we can’t pretend it all away, but I’m still the same man you fell in love with. I never gave up on you. Please don’t give up on me.”
The two kiss but the stage has been set. Melinda, our Beauty, isn’t going to give up on her beast, someone who is still a good man beneath his new mask. Coulson and SHIELD turn up and Lash is about to be hunted…
Thankfully, unlike Smallville with a similar story in Davis Bloome, SHIELD (excepting Lincoln) wants to save rather than kill their friend. They are working on a cure.With Lincoln’s attack, however, the beast takes over and Andrew begins to transform.
Turns out, Lash doesn’t want a cure. The team engages but still to save him (this is a huge relief that the show is taking this much more positive direction). Their goal is to capture him, trap him into the module. SHIELD has no desire to kill Andrew.
But Lash doesn’t want to get captured. No one can tame the beast, no one but the woman he loves: Melinda May.
The Romantic Moment – Andrew and Melinda
Melinda, now free from Andrew’s handcuffs sees firsthand Lash’s destruction. She knows he has to be stopped.
With determination, she runs in front of Lincoln to save him, to prevent Lash from hurting anyone else. Lash tells her to move, but she won’t, telling him that he might as well, even though she never thought he’d be the one to kill her. In fact, she tells him, that she never understood why he picked her, why he loved her. She was “never as kind and empathetic” as Andrew. That this is why” it was so easy for her to walk away.”
With her words, the beast begins to tame and transform back into his human side, May continuing to tell him: that she lost something when she left him. Andrew, still part beast, looks up at the woman he loves.
She tells him that she won’t leave him again, but he has to stop doing what he’s doing. Now, fully human again, Melinda gives him one last smile before she raises her gun and shoots him into the containment module. She trapped the man she loves.
And even though she didn’t know that shooting him while in human form wouldn’t kill him, this is her chance to continue to try and save him. The stasis will keep him from permanently becoming Lash. Melinda has a short time to try and find the cure. Melinda isn’t giving up on him.
What is so interesting about this choice is that the writers created a “Beauty and the Beast” type couple with the most unlikely of Beauties and the most unlikely Beast. Beauty is typically the empathetic one, and as May pointed out, that trait belongs to Andrew, not her. It should prove interesting to see how this love story continues to play out. I, for one, hope they can find a way to save him.
As Melinda flies home, she looks back at a special moment between her and Andrew in Hawaii. She tells Andrew, that “she never thought she deserved this.” She never thought she deserved “happiness.” Andrew believes the opposite: of course she deserved happiness. “They both do.” The two kiss, but it is a bittersweet memory. Now, for the time being, neither one has found happiness.
What did you think about this romantic twist? Are you rooting for Andrew and Melinda to make it and for Andrew to be saved? For Andrew and Melinda to find that happiness? Sound off below…
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