SPOILER WARNING-Spoilers from the most recent episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. follow throughout this article. You have been warned.
Since the season three finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., it has been obvious that LMD’s would be coming to the show. Thus far, however, instead of decoys of real people the writers have only given viewers Aida, a unique creation. With the revelation that “May” at HQ is, in fact, an LMD the next pod of season four is set up to delve into Dr. Ratcliffe’s inventions and just how they work. Speaking to EW, Ming-Na Wen shared a little bit of how they will function in the MCU.
“One of the key factors about an LMD is that, right now, AIDA has created a replica of May using all her brain data that they downloaded when she was dying,” Wen says. “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 her]. 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.”
This brings in some interesting plot details and raises some questions. It suggests that not only does an LMD talk like the person they are modeled after, but they also have their memories and are aware of their past. This is sensible because it would make them far less detectable. A simple, “Where did we first meet” litmus test would find out the LMD otherwise. These are very close replicas to the original person. Now the question that flows naturally is if the LMD is aware that they are an LMD. It’s a fascinating existential question, how a copy who is unaware of their facsimile nature goes about living. The other question that bubbles up is this: will the LMD act in ways contrary to how the original would? And what does that mean for May’s potential romance with Agent Coulson?
The show, and Wen, in particular, has been dropping major hints about finally seeing the two characters engage in a romantic relationship. What will it mean if an LMD goes after Phil? Is this the natural outpouring of what is in May’s brain?
It was a real clever way for the writers to come up with a way to fulfill the Philinda fans’ fantasies,” Wen says, “and also delve further into May, because she doesn’t open up about much. It’s an interesting way to look into her mind through Robo-May.
I for one was not excited when May was replaced by an LMD. It seemed too similar to the way she was replaced by Agent 33 years ago on the show. On the other hand, May seemed to be criminally underused in season three, and really altogether since the big “Cavalry” story reveal. What’s nice about the LMD story for May is that at the very least her character and motivations will get detailed story time. After being superfluous to so many stories, a full-on exploration of May seems to be coming and the show will probably be better for it.
Are you excited about the May LMD twist? Do you want to see the Philinda pairing? Share your thoughts in the comments below. Also, check out the interview in EW for some more details on May’s frustrations about capture.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns next week (1/10) for the first episode of the second pod of season four, subtitled “LMD.”