Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns this week after its winter break and there are certainly plenty of plot points for fans to ponder heading into the new set of episodes. For instance, will Robbie Reyes - the Ghost Rider - be able to return from the alternate dimension he dragged his evil uncle into in the show's last episode? And after finally working together to solve a case, will the core S.H.I.E.L.D. team now be able to trust their new Director, Jeffrey Mace?
Perhaps the biggest point of interest however is the Life Model Decoy storyline and the current predicament of Agent Melinda May. Built by S.H.I.E.L.D.'s new resident Einstein, Dr Radcliffe, AIDA the LMD has been highly useful to the team so far, helping them out in more than one tight spot. Since reading the mysterious Darkhold book however, AIDA seems to have developed an agenda of her own and the post-credits sequence in the show's winter finale revealed that the android had kidnapped Agent May and switched her with a lookalike LMD.
Now, in an interview with EW, the actress behind Melinda May, Ming-Na Wen, has revealed some thoughts about what the future may hold for her character, having spoken on some of the challenges that come with the role and also offered a little insight into how AIDA managed to pull off the stunt. On the reveal, the actress claims:
“When they told me that there was going to be an LMD May, it was a real surprise... AIDA has created a replica of May using all her brain data that they downloaded when she was dying. I think she’ll [May] be a little pissed, don’t you? And a little disappointed in herself for having been imprisoned.”
Of course, with Ming-Na Wen having to play both her usual character and a LMD replica of that character, there are bound to be challenges involved and the actress also had a few words to say about how she handled the new challenge, stating:
“For me, when I was playing LMD May, it’s not very different from playing the real May, so the challenge was keeping track of what’s going on, who’s who, and how to somehow find little moments [to differentiate the characters]. You could have twins that are identical, and yet you’ll always find a little something that’s a little different, so that’s what I try to incorporate into it.”
The clarification of exactly how AIDA succeeded in creating a LMD May that would go undetected is certainly useful given that the post-credits reveal was, naturally, very brief. However, Ming-Na Wen's suggestion that the real May will be both angered and disappointed by her imprisonment will surely have fans excited at the prospect of seeing a fired-up Agent May cracking artificial LMD skulls when she finally gets free.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s fourth season has been largely well-received thus far - thanks in no small part to the addition of Ghost Rider - and the LMD story has the potential to further the show's good run. By exploring the dangers and pitfalls of artificial intelligence, A.O.S. will have the chance to build upon a theme already seeded into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Avengers: Age of Ultron. The television format will give the MCU more time to explore the subject's nuances and gray areas in a way Joss Whedon's Avengers sequel perhaps didn't have room to do.
However, the story arc will need to be aware of several pitfalls in order to be a success. Firstly, with the Ultron plot already dealt with, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. must be sure not to go over any old ground already covered by Whedon, lest it will run the risk of feeling like material fans have already seen. Additionally, mistaken identity or infiltrating impersonator stories tend to have a limited period of time before becoming frustrating for audiences and as such, the LMD May arc will likely have to reach a resolution sooner rather than later.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns with 'Broken Promises' January 10th on ABC.