Last season, S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly destroyed from within by Hydra. This season, the threat of superpowered Inhumans is just as deadly. We spoke with executive producer Jeffrey Bell about Jiaying (Dichen Lachman) and her gifted brethren and what she might be capable of going into Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Season 2 finale.
We also asked about this clip from the finale featuring Bobbi Morse (Adrianne Palicki) at the mercy of Agents Ward and 33 (Brett Dalton and Maya Stojan).
Later in the episode, there are actually some pretty gruesome shots of what they do with those needles (as well as another scene that could have been pulled straight out of a Quentin Tarantino film) that are not for the faint of heart. Bell says, “We view ourselves as a family show. Not necessarily for little kids, but I’ve got a 13-year-old daughter, and several of us have kids that are 9, 10, 11, and older. And we like watching it with them as well.” The producers try to keep the violence to about the same level as in the movies (which are PG-13), Bell adds.
“The only sequence that was questionable for us,” he continues, “was the episode where Jiaying gets cut up and you see what Whitehall did to her. For us, it was important for you to understand how horrible that was and what she went through and miraculously survived — that was a big part of our story.” Even still, “When we got there, I told my daughter, ‘OK, now would be a good time to look away.’” Though ABC had qualms, the network was fine with the sequence in the end. “They’re much more concerned that you might catch just slightest bit of side boob,” says Bell. “Honestly, we joke that you could have somebody’s head cut off and blood spurting, but if that person had a little side boob, they’d say, ‘I’m sorry, you’re going to have to blur that boob.’”
Given that she was the injured party in that sequence, Jiaying has good reason to hate and fear humanity. Her torture at the hand of Hydra actually makes her situation very similar to that of another well-known Marvel character who suffered at the hands of Nazis: Magneto.
Bell says, “We didn’t conscientiously mimic [Magneto], but what they both have in common is a valid motive. Jiaying was ripped to shreds by people calling themselves S.H.I.E.L.D.,” and, after healing and retreating to a remote hideaway, she is found again by S.H.I.E.L.D. “I feel like her motive is really earned in the same way that Magneto’s is fairly earned. We always want our antagonists to have good motives, and I think giving it to Skye’s biological mother and father this year really helped us with that.
“We tried to make everything she says be true.”
How far is she willing to go to protect her people? Gonzales is the first of many casualties as the war with the Inhumans rages on.
The two-hour season finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesday, May 12 at 8 p.m. on ABC.