With last week’s bombshell revelation it’s no surprise that we spend most of this week addressing one simple question: What will happen when May confronts Lash? It’s a good question, but trying to estimate a reasonable outcome is near impossible. “Why?” you may ask. Well, the answer is in the title: chaos theory. Actually, chaos theory is a complex mathematical quagmire that boils down to is this: while traditional science works to explain supposedly predictable elements, like gravity and electricity—which follow very specific and predictable rules—chaos theory addresses things in nature that don’t follow 100% predictable patterns, like the weather and the stock market. Oh, and, romantically enough, the human heart.
Just to clarify going in, Andrew and May love each other. Like, real love, love each other. I just need you all to know that. Oh, and Hunter and Bobbi love each other. And Fitz and Jemma are living the most adorably awkward love that ever existed. It’s beautiful. And Coulson and Rosalind, they…okay maybe they don’t love each other. Arguably Rosalind may not even like Coulson, but it still goes to the point of tonight’s episode. The human condition; our emotions, thoughts and feelings can’t be predicted. We can’t guarantee how we’ll act in any particular situation.
For example, say your name is, I don’t know, let’s call you… Melinda May. So Melinda May, you’re usually as straight-laced and by the book as it gets in this group of S.H.I.E.L.D. misfits. Nothing makes you break protocol. Nothing, until you find out that the love of your life may be an inhuman on the fritz, an inhuman who goes around murdering other inhumans. So what do you do? Do you report your fears to your team? Bring the loved one, let’s call him Andrew, in for a controlled interrogation session? Or do you dig up files and archives behind your team’s back, tell no one your suspicions, and run off half cocked to confront Andrew by yourself with no potential safety net? If you’ve already watched last night’s episode you know what the answer will be. It’s certainly not what I would have expected from you, May. I would have expected you to put emotion aside. To do the safe thing, the smart thing—and not put yourself in a position to be kidnapped no matter what your feelings are. I’m not disappointed, just surprised. But that’s what chaos theory and human emotions are all about. Oh, and I also wouldn’t have expected you to then shoot poor Andrew, but you had to get him in containment somehow, so we’ll let that one slide.
Need another example? Okay this time let’s call you… Skye…no, Daisy. You are Daisy Johnson, fueled almost exclusively on gut reaction and emotion. Oh, and you’re an inhuman hiding out right under the nose of the ATCU. You’ve seen what they’re capable of, given impassioned speeches about how it’s cruel to put people in stasis, and grudgingly won the respect of you’re nemesis. You’ve got the world figured out. S.H.I.E.L.D. good. ATCU bad. Inhumans variable; falling somewhere between you and the infamous Lash, who is obviously the most evil being in creation. Now, come to find that this most evil being is really a much beloved friend who can’t help himself; that the very same powers you’ve learned to appreciate and control—that you are teaching others to appreciate and control—have turned him into something monstrous. And the worst part is, he can’t control it, and any attempt you make to help him accept this new side of himself will only result in losing him completely. So what do you do? Do you keep him alert and watch as the person you know slowly slips away in front of you eyes, or do you reverse your position? In the case of our Daisy, it’s barely a thought. All arguments and self-righteous indignation get thrown out the window when someone you care for is on the line, and suddenly a deal with your nemesis seems like the best offer you could ever receive.
Okay, one more. This time let’s make you a guy. A guy named…Phil. But no one ever calls you that. It’s Coulson or Boss or Didn’t-Loki-Stab-You. Well actually, one person does call you Phil. She’s a bit manipulative and she works for the competition, but you’ve got the whole witty banter thing going. And actually, once you listen to her side of the story, her intentions are just as noble as your own. In fact, you could totally work together. I mean it’s been a little while for you, so if romance blossoms that wouldn’t be the worst thing either. You know what, go for it. And let’s name this woman Rosalind. We’ll name her after a Shakespearian heroine, you know one of the ones that lied about her true identity. Just try not to be too surprised when you find out she’s a double agent working for Hydra. And don’t beat yourself up too much, Phil. You couldn’t really help it. Because the human element, the human heart, is unpredictable. And that, my friend, is chaos theory.
Katherine Siegel is a Chicago-based writer and director, and a regular contributor to Paste. You can find out more by checking out her website at www.KatherineSiegel.com or follow her on Twitter.