Ming-Na and Elizabeth Henstridge explain the unexpected bond between Simmons and May coming up on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
In a small but highly significant development, Simmons will begin training in defense with Agent May. The two women are now connected not only by S.H.I.E.L.D., but by Andrew/Lash — in the mid-season finale, Simmons’ made a desperate choice to release May’s ex from his containment unit in order to save herself from Hydra soldiers.
Speaking with Hypable on the set of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Henstridge acknowledges that Simmons’ new interest in the physical side of agenting has its origins in that moment.
“Selfishly, in hindsight, she sacrificed all of those Inhuman lives to save her own,” Henstridge says. Simmons is “just done with not being able to look after herself in that way… she’s going to try to better arm herself against those situations happening again.”
“I also think she’s beating up on herself that she allowed herself to make an emotional decision,” the actress muses. “Making emotional decisions, she’s still kind of new at it. She doesn’t trust that instinct in her as much as she trusts the scientific side, and it came around to bite her in the bum a little bit.”
With that in mind, Henstridge promises that — in classic Simmons fashion — the plucky scientist will take more away from her physical training than just defense.
“Yes, she’s going to try to arm herself, but also it’s a period of growth for her to realize you make mistakes and you make decisions in an instant,” she says. “It’s another thing she’s got to carry on her back. It’s another motivating factor to keep being a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and keep trying.”
Ming-Na, meanwhile, notes that training with Simmons may lead to a certain consternation for the impassive agent. (Presumably, the 300-pound Lash in the room won’t ease the tension much.
“May’s just not very comfortable [with Simmons],” she admits. “She’s not comfortable with anyone when it comes to sentimentality or talking about things. She’s more like, “Just give me a gun. Let me show you how to work a gun.””
That said, fans can expect that May’s deeply sublimated emotions will still have an impact on her actions.
“She still wants to protect her family,” Ming-Na says. I think one of the bonds with [Simmons] will change. She has a maternal role in wanting to protect [her] because as things get more dangerous and heightened, she feels [she needs] to learn some new skills.”
It may be too much to hope that Simmons teaches May the skill of emoting, but even so, we’re looking forward to a very nerdy training montage.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3×14, “Watchdogs,” airs Tuesday, March 29 at 9:00 p.m. on ABC.