YOUR FACE! YOUR BEAUTIFUL FACE!
Rin says: I would choose May’s face over mine too.
ALTHOUGH AREN’T WE A LITTLE CURIOUS AS TO HOW THE FACE MASK MODIFIES EVERYTHING ELSE? Body build? Skin tone? ONE DOES NOT SIMPLY BECOME MELINDA MAY.
Sophy says: IF YOU TRY TO SIMPLY BECOME MELINDA MAY SHE PUNCHES YOU IN THE FACE AND IT IS AWESOME.
I kind of feel like the mask should have generated replicas of the person’s clothes too but then I guess they wouldn’t have had to undress May which would have been disadvantageous for all concerned.
THE TANGO MOULSONNN.
Rin says: But. There was a dance elective at the academy? Is that for situations exactly like this? It makes you wonder what other electives they have at the academy… crocheting?!
This was glorious and a moment straight out of a spy film, and probably a nice change of pace from the usual fight choreography they do week to week. Although I guess it was more of an addition because there was plenty of fighting this episode too. I DON’T KNOW HOW THESE GUYS DO IT.
Sophy says: WHAT EVEN CAN WE JUST? THE TANGO MOULSON I JUST? HOW DID THEY EVEN AND WHY DID THEY EVER STOP? I especially love how May is all slinky and latin but with this extra-May look on her face like she’s annoyed that she can’t help being a sex bomb right now. And how Coulson makes every move look kind of embarrassing even as it is perfectly executed.
They have everything at the academy. I’m pretty sure Simmons took a sandwich-making elective. SKILLS!!!!!
Best Reminder that Joss is back :’)
“Nonsense. You hate being alone.”
“As evidenced by you.”
Rin says: The progress or lack of progress of Fitz has probably been my favourite thing to follow this season. Iain has been absolutely captivating as Fitz these past few episodes and I have really enjoyed seeing the amount of depth he’s been able to give to the character. They definitely wanted us to feel the isolation that Fitz was feeling, with him being to the side during group scenes but not participating except maybe to mutter to himself. And it’s also something he gets to explore out loud while he has conversations with imaginary Simmons. And that’s kind of the brilliance of the decision to give Fitz an imaginary Simmons, sure it made for one of the biggest gut punches ever in the premiere, but it has also been a really awesome storytelling tool to get us inside Fitz’ head.
ALSO WHEN SHE TOLD HIM HE SHOULD JUST TELL THEM HOW HE’S FEELING, AND HE’S ALL ~CAUSE THAT’S WORKED SO WELL FOR ME IN THE PAST. My hearttttt. And IMAGINARY SIMMONS’ FACE! Are you kidding?! How dare you break my heart even when you’re a figment of someone else’s imagination. And I don’t know if it’s because sometimes Elizabeth Henstridge reminds me a lot of Emma Watson, but every now and then I get serious Harry/Hermione feels from them.
Sophy says: Oh my gosh, definitely. She’s so encouraging and supportive of him the way Hermione was with Harry and also kind of pushy and a bit of a mum and thinking she knows best about his wants and needs… especially when she’s in his head. Which is interesting. Fitz thinks Simmons knows him better than he knows himself. He literally imagines a Simmons who would get him more than he is able to get himself which is kind of ironic and wonderful in that his process of catharsis is her – his very precise idea of her – the affinity he feels with her. Fitz fixes himself through Simmons. Even when she isn’t there at all, she’s still the reason why he’s getting better – or getting happier, at least.
Fitz is struggling to understand himself right now on a daily basis, hour to hour, minute to minute. He’s become foreign to himself as a result of the injury to his brain and is having to struggle for thoughts that would once have come to him before he knew it. But even when he’s strange to himself, Simmons is always familiar. She always makes sense to him and she can always make sense of him.
“I just wanted to be alone.”
“Nonsense, you hate being alone.”
“As evidenced by you.”
You guys. YOU GUYS. This writing as so obscenely perfect.
And when he told her that’s worked so well for him in the past I just about flipped. Because a second earlier he’d mentioned the elephant in the room which was that she wasn’t an elephant in the room… or a Simmons… in the room. THAT SHE WASN’T THERE, OKAY? But the thing that has been aggressively not discussed since last season is the fact that this one time Fitz declared his love for Simmons – his big, scary, not-just-brain-twins, non-platonic, a-lot-more-than-that love – and they were about to die and she kissed him everywhere but his mouth.
THE ANGST. IT IS ALMOST TOO MUCH FOR MY BODY, OKAY? OKAY.
And I think the best part was that this perfectly functional imaginary Simmons just kind of shut down when he said that, and Fitz moved quickly past the statement and back to the subject of his relationship with his workmates, because there is no way he can imagine what the real Simmons might have said to that. That’s the one part of her that he doesn’t know. The one part of her that is still vast and mysterious to him. The part of her that doesn’t love him back that way.
OH FITZ. SHE DOES. OR SHE WILL. OR SHE’D BETTER. OR FUCK YOU WHEDONS FUCK YOU SHOW OH MY GOD.
“Yeah, hey, so, um, I don’t have an ex. But there was this girl that I like, and I told her how I felt, but she doesn’t feel the same way as I do, so she left.”
Rin says: Okay then.
So you know how most of this episode was fucking hilarious and left you in a fit of high pitched squealy giggles? Ugh. We should have known, NO GOOD COMES FROM AN ABSURD AMOUNT OF LAUGHTER BECAUSE THAT’S WHEN THEY LIKE TO GET THE SLEDGEHAMMER OUT AND START SWINGING. Fitz opening up so suddenly, and the way he continued on from the conversation the group were having earlier..it hit me like a tonne OF SLEDGEHAMMERS.
And it’s all in the delivery. From the way Fitz looked away after british guy offered the beer, to looking back at Simmons — looking for permission? support? encouragement? And she does that little hand gesture that is so simple but like.. ALSO A REALLY BEAUTIFUL MOMENT? And he takes the beer and when he looks back SHE’S GONE AND IT’S JUST SO STUPID HOW THIS SHOW CAN SAY SO MUCH WITHOUT SAYING ANYTHING AT ALL. And then he interrupts british guy and unloads the thing that has been weighing his heart down for months with such an ease, and without a stutter, that makes you think that Fitz will get better. Maybe Simmons was right, maybe he was better off without her there because she’s his safety net, and to make real progress and face the scary thing — the talking to other people thing — he can’t have a real or imaginary Simmons there when he stumbles. It’s like subconsciously he always kept Simmons around and relied on her like he’s always been able to do, but when he’s brave enough to let that go and to stand on his own two feet, that’s when he’s going to slowly rebuild himself.
AND I CRIED SO HARD DURING HIS CONFESSION YOU GUYS. I ACTUALLY LIKE.. WENT FROM SMILING AND FEELING SO GOOD AND HAPPY ABOUT EVERYTHING, TO BURSTING OUT IN SOBS. It was uncontrollable. I do not remember the last time that I literally burst into sobs, cause you know when you say that it’s rarely true. It’s always like eyes welling, maybe leading to crying and then asking why the world is so cruel. But never from 0-100. Sigh. Such is Fitz. Such is Shield.
British guy made me almost want to learn his name in this scene.
Sophy says: Almost being the key word.
But oh my stars. MY ACTUAL RACHEL BERRY SHINING STARS OF ALL OF US. I can’t say that I sobbed at this but there was definitely welling and maybe a hand clapped over my mouth. And Rin’s right, it is all in the delivery. Okay and a little bit the writing. Because the matter-of-fact, totally socially awkward statement about something so personal and intimate with no actual build-up or I just have to get this off my chest highlighted how much Fitz is still struggling with these kinds of interactions on a brain function level as well as an emotional level, and also made the moment even more, well… sledge-hammery.
And I guess… this is the first time that I really realized how much what happened with Simmons is bothering Fitz. Which sounds really fucking weird, I know, because why on earth wouldn’t it bother someone that they confessed their love to the most important human ever and that person didn’t reciprocate. Of course that’s the kind of thing that’s going to consume your heart and mind. But I guess the thing is that after that happened they both nearly died and Fitz wound up brain damaged and Simmons left and got swishy hair and Ward was insane in the basement and Shield didn’t even officially exist anymore and it was all just kind of chaotic and fucked and then suddenly… bam. There it is. There’s the thing that matters most.
Fitz has been struggling to find words all season, but these are the ones he knows he needs to be able to say out loud if he’s ever going to have a chance of recovering.
He loves Simmons and Simmons doesn’t love him. And their relationship will never be the same.
And like Rin says, with Simmons in his life he was never alone. Even if he wasn’t physically in her presence, he always knew that there was that one person there who kind of belonged to him. And what made it work was the fact that it was platonic. That’s what made it stable and sustainable. Because neither one of them ever wanted more than the other could give. Or at least Fitz could pretend that was the case quite comfortably as long as he wasn’t about to die for her – as long as he’d never said it, out loud – because as long as she never knew he felt that way about her she would never mind and if she didn’t mind then maybe neither did he.
Fitz will never replace what he had with Simmons and I’m sure he’s acutely aware of that. But he also knows he needs human contact. He needs relationships that are platonic and dependable. He does hate being alone and maybe if he makes friends with some people he is guaranteed to never have sweaty, naked feelings for, he’ll never have to be again.
IMAGINARY SIMMONS GIVING HIM THE LITTLE NOD AND HAND WAVE TO GO FORTH AND BE WITH PEOPLE OTHER THAN HER. I CANNOT. I also cannot wait for Real Simmons to come back and find Fitz being this beer-with-buddies-having person. There is nothing more exciting than watching characters who love each other change. Because that’s when all the discovery and rediscovery happens, for them and for us.
“I am not shooting you in the head. I will never shoot you in the head.”
Rin says: “I will never shoot you in the head,” might honestly be one of the more romantic quotes of our time.
Sophy says: Put it on a t-shirt for us. I think we need it on a t-shirt.
Also if someone ever said that to me and they were Melinda May I would swoon.
Also CABIN IN THE AUSTRALIAN OUTBACK. Because he likes kangaroos. And I just love that May has always been the most methodical and no-nonsense of them and the most likely candidate to make the tough choice for the greater good and now… with Coulson… that’s different. We’re seeing more of Skye’s toughness this season and more of May’s heart. Because I don’t think we’ve ever seen her be as intimate as she is with Coulson this season or as straight-forward about how much he matters to her.
Because she has prioritized him over the mission. Over the whole team. She has categorically stated that for her there is no option of taking him out – no matter how Paxtony he might get or what kind of risk that poses. She tells him her plan is to take care of him, no matter what. And he tells her that’s the sweetest, most selfless thing anyone’s ever wanted to do for him and I’m all Oh Coulson, Melinda May is not sweet. And this isn’t about being selfless, either. This is about loving somebody – so much that you’ll put them first even if they’re a shell of themselves and even if that shell is a motherfucking juggernaut from outer space that could destroy literally everything you have spent your whole life in service of. So. Basically you love them a lot.
Rin says: I know I’ve been talking a lot about Iain and Brett lately in regards to their acting and how much I adore them, but after watching this scene I couldn’t believe how much I haven’t talked about these two like the unappreciative bastard that I am. These two bring a maturity that saves it from being that cute show you watch with dinner every week, to that show you look forward to right after you’ve just finished the current episode, and while you’re watching you make sure no one is going to disturb you and shout at anyone who does. They are both very subtle in their approach, and that’s kind of what their roles demand. After a full season there is still so much we don’t know about them, and I kind of love that there is still so much mystery surrounding them. We met May’s mum for a split second but still know virtually nothing about May’s history and we still don’t know what went down with the Calvary and all of that! And Phil! We got the closure for what happened to him in Tahiti, in a way, but before that it’s like nada! Except he was in love with Amy Acker and who isn’t tbh?!! I’m kind of dying to know the ~origins of these two and hope they find a way they can give us flashbacks without funny wigs and weird makeup. Just something to give us an idea of who they were before they joined Shield and why they joined. I NEED ALL THE REASONS.
These two are amazing together and balance each other in their performance. The way May’s face slowly changes over time, it’s honestly like the 5 stages of grief in 5 minutes. Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance. (Still one of the best House episodes ever.) But seriously, go back to the top of these caps and scroll down and see how she hits each and every of those emotions in order. It’s fucking brilliant. Coulson always feels super reserved to me, because he has to be, even with May. But there is such a quiet ease between these two that it probably one of the main reasons that makes me ship them. They are so in sync with each other that I knew there would be no possible way that Coulson would fall for a Mayposter. He says it was the coffee but that was the confirmation that every suspicion he had in the car was true.
I really look forward to when these two have an explosive scene. I imagine there will be flailing and crying.
Sophy says: Being in love with Amy Acker isn’t information about a person. WE NEED MORE! But the thing is that the more secret they keep the history of these characters and their relationship the more sledgehammery those revelations are gonna be when they come. Basically the writers are dangling the smallest amount of Moulson in front of us week to week to make us care about them and they’re waiting till we’re head over heels for the flashbacks.
Casting call? I think Ming-Na Wen would be great to play a young Melinda May.
And yes, both she and Clark are totally magnificent in their roles. This episode in particular really demonstrated their range as performers what with all the frothy but engaging silliness on the mission and the pit-of-the-stomach seriousness in this scene.
IT’S NOT EVEN THE PIT OF THE STOMACH. IT’S THE PIT OF THE OCEAN. WHERE FITZSIMMONS NEARLY DIED.
Best Reminder that Joss is LOL
Rin says: AND AFTER I HAD JUST TALKED ABOUT HOW THEY BROUGHT A MATURITY TO THE SHOW. WORST.
Their. Stupid. Faces.
Let me love them forever.
Sophy says: OKAY I WILL LET YOU.
I love how May’s face barely changes throughout the caps. It’s basically like a Rophy macro without us having to make a Rophy macro.
“I think the worst of it’s over now.”
Rin says: So pretty much the entire sequence of May being undercover as a socialite is the greatest thing that has ever happened? WAIT THAT MIGHT BE LATER. I DON’T KNOW IT’S STILL A TIE. But it was so special getting to see her SO ANGRY and upset about having to schmooze and mingle with other people. It’s like her worst nightmare, and that makes me laugh and laugh and laugh. Especially when she FAKE LAUGHS SO LOUDLY and everyone is terrifyingly worried about her as if she hasn’t been in way more danger every other day of the week. The best part was also the way Coulson played along, saying that the worst of it is over. AND THEN MAY, TALKING THROUGH CLENCHED TEETH, SAYING HER FACE HURTS. I love her so much.
It was however very disturbing when she told the guy she was all about giving. I’m with Fitz, “That’s very alarming.”
Sophy says: Laughing and smiling and being a normal person at a party May is my favourite thing in the whole world. Seriously normal looks hilarious on her.
Also her saying that her face hurts is probably the cutest thing that has ever happened. Seriously, that line alone is making her a shoo-in for the Second Cutest Human Ever category in our Ropher awards and did anyone actually think when we first started watching this show that Melinda May would ever be the CUTE one?
SHE’S A MARSHMALLOW VERONICA MARS
“Alright. I got this.”
Rin says: A serious part of me, in fact all of me, desperately wanted Coulson to slither through that laser grid ala-catherine-zeta-jones-entrapment style.
He was so ready to as well.
Sophy says: My favourite thing was how long he hovered while she strode ahead. Coulson/Hovering/May/Striding is a new OT4.
Cutest of the Scoobies
The cutest high five of all time.
Rin says: DEAR GOD NO!
How does he manage to still be one of the funniest ones, when he’s in such a sad broken state? Witchcraft probably.
And then his lame face after he receives a high five! AND MAYBE I LIKE BRITISH GUY A BIT MORE FOR BEING SO LAME AS TO INITIATE SAID HIGH FIVE.
But the way Fitz is looking at his hand is totally…
Oh my god that episode is so good.
Sophy says: LITERALLY ALL I COULD THINK ABOUT WAS BART’S HAND.
I continue to find British guy mildly irritating but I can forgive that when he’s making my sad baby cardigan Fitz smile and feel included and never ever wash his hand until Simmons comes back and makes him.
THE WAY SHE RAN OUT
Rin says: I can’t be the only one who giggled all throughout this part? The more badass May is, the more I giggle. IT’S KIND OF LIKE HOW WHENEVER QUINN TRIES TO BE SEXY I FIND HER MORE ADORABLE AND LAME.
She fucking smashed the chair on the kitchen counter to break free, after a bit of torture no less, and then RUNS OUT in her undergarments and fucking charges the guy while roaring. And he recoils. THE BEST PART IS THAT HE RECOILS. He was legitimately intimidating before, but you can’t really blame the guy. Batman would have squealed.
Sophy says: May is legitimately terrifying. The blurred caps you’ve included make it seem like she’s moving at vamp speed. Which she can probably do but she only does it on birthdays and Christmas.
Rin says: I’M MAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Please sir, we’d like some more
Rin says: OH GOD WAIT. THOSE CAPS MAKE IT LOOK LIKE I WANT MORE TORTURING
No no no. I want more of the villains, I love these two as villains. They are both so great in their roles, and are seriously scary with how crazy they are. When he made the threat about operating on someone for a week..DEAR GOD. What in the actual fuck.
I also needed another excuse to add more dishevelled May into the fold.
OH ALSO. I have a feeling Raina might have to team up with Shield for a little while and the thought of that is super exciting.
Sophy says: I AM ACTUALLY STARTING TO LOVE RAINA AND WANT HER TO BE THE SPIKE OF THE GROUP PLEASE. She needs to join Team Shield and hate everyone ostentatiously. And get teased about her flowers by everyone a lot.
Seeing someone’s vulnerability on display when they’re threatened by an even more mean and powerful force than they are can really make you see them as a real person for the first time. She’s a villain but she’s still a person, you know? I’m unsure if Torture Boy is an actual person. I suspect he is made of maggots and sells cosmetics on the side.
Head In Hands
“Punch her in the face?”
Rin says: HAHAHAHAHAHA. I mean sure, Mayposter deserved to be punched in the face for even trying to May-post, but still! AND MAY’S LITTLE PUNCH HER IN THE FACE? BECAUSE SHE HATES COFFEE THAT MUCH. My goodness. I love coffee a lot, like maybe just a tiny bit less than Lea Michele, but if May was around I would spit it out in disgust and proclaim my allegiance to tea forever. (I love tea equally so it’s fine, I’ll sneak the coffee in behind closed doors and then brush my teeth.)
AND HIS LITTLE PROUD, ‘I DID’ AND ‘GOOD.’ Oh my god get married already.
Sophy says: DOWN WITH COFFEE. WE WILL BURN THE PLANTATIONS.
And seriously they are so married they are probably already married. That’s the surprise backstory. They actually got married 17 years ago and have just been too busy being badasses to go on their honeymoon.
May vs. May
Welcome to Thunderdome. Two May’s enter. One May leaves.
Rin says: I don’t even know what to say. Best girl vs girl fight in a while? Since maybe Buffy vs. Glory? AND MAY DIDN’T EVEN HAVE A WRECKING BALL.
Let’s just go about this systematically shall we? It seems like the only possible way to deal with this awesomeness.
That. Makes. Two. Of. Us.
WOWWWWWWWWWWWWW. Sophy got on my heels last week for making a lame Hydra pun, but WOW. WHEN EVEN YOUR SHOW GOES THERE? I THINK IT’S COMPLETELY FAIR GAME. Like she probably even spelt it “Maykes” in her head. And the way she balled up her first. HOW IS THAT LIKE. WHAT. It was like bruce lee shit, and then I’m all, OMG SHE’S A MODERN DAY FEMALE BRUCE LEE.
And then Coulson is basically all of us in this moment, gaping jaw and all, and it’s okay Coulson we all saw it too and yes, we will hold your hand through the catflap.
It was such an amazing fight and I have to give full props to the two stunt women who were awe-inspiring with their athleticism. There were two moves in particular where I let out an audible fffffffffff, which was the flip-kick and then the slow motion FACE SLAM ONTO THE TABLE. What the hell man. That was the greatest move I have seen in a while, how original May didn’t also face plant on the table is beyond me.
It is kind of horrible though that this former Shield agent was brainwashed and really is a good person who didn’t deserve to get a May beatdown and ultimately killed by face electrocution. I mean, she’s dead right? Or is she going to return later? Forever wearing the May mask as it has now fused to her face, like some May Phantom Of The Opera. Oh god now I really want her to turn up in a gondola with a white mask and a black cape. PLEASEEE.
And then Coulson at the end barging in and not giving a damn about the epic battle May just had with herself, or the fact that she looks completely exhausted and run down. NO REST FOR THE WICKED! She has such a “Oh come on,” face
Guh, this show. So good. They knew how much we were missing Orphan Black and were like, we’ll give you a little something to tide you over.
Sophy says: I still feel like there was a missed opportunity in all this for “May the best May win,” which I guess means I shouldn’t ever be getting up in anybody’s face about their puns. Also it’s worth noting that my mind went to the ‘maykes‘ place before I even read your commentary. So. There’s that.
Fake-May being the Phantom of the Opera is the best thing I’ve ever heard. I think we should write a pilot and send it to the network immediately. It’ll be the next ‘Play it again, Dick,’ only really, really, really serious.
And May/May is just… like Katherine/Elena on steroids. Tiny person steroids though. Like Rin said, the table move was absolutely stunning and it’s the grace and precision of every aspect of this fight scene that made it so entertaining for me to watch. I don’t normally enjoy watching fight scenes because people hurting other people is upsetting when it’s realistic and boring when it’s not. But when you basically go and turn it into a stunningly choreographed dance routine where at the end of it one person is the Phantom of the Opera I can watch it over and over and over…
THIS SHOW. IT KNOWS WHAT WE NEED. TWO MAYS ARE BETTER THAN ONE EVEN IF ONE IS BETTER THAN THE OTHER.