Agents of SHIELD’s episode “Devils You Know” ended in an explosive shocker, literally. Ward threatened and seemingly killed May’s ex-husband, Andrew. Yet a body was never fully shown, just his feet and no actor or producer from Agents of SHIELD wants to confirm Andrew’s death. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, when asked directly about Andrew’s death all Ming Na Wen would say is Andrew’s “life is in danger”. This suggests that Andrew still might be among the living but would Agents of SHIELD be better served by killing off this calm, reasonable therapist?
Pros of Keeping Andrew Around
Andrew is often a frustrating presence for the characters of Agents of SHIELD. He is the practical and rational man who keeps the team in check. This is Andrew’s function as a character, he stops the fun. Yet it’s a necessary function because these characters are kind of nuts. Not without reasons or trauma mind you, but the team on Agents of SHIELD are severely messed up individuals. Even though he’s no longer spending all hours of the night sketching alien graphs, Coulson should be seeing a therapist daily, if not hourly. Since his introduction, Andrew has grounded the team in reality and by consequence that pulls the audience in closer. We are able to understand Daisy, Coulson and Simmons better with an outside perspective.
Andrew’s biggest influence has been over May. Melinda was a striking character in the first few seasons of Agents of SHIELD. I maintain there is nothing better than a Melinda May fight scene. May just didn’t have much personality or history, or her personality and history was that she didn’t have one. She was mysterious, aloof and bitter. There was the suggestion that May merely popped into existence fully formed as a tiny Asian ass-kicker. Andrew opened the door to May’s past and later became a window into seeing a different part of her character. Around Andrew, May is a calmer, relatable and much more tangible human being.
There is also so much left to explore with that relationship. This is what makes the tragedy of his death, if he did die, all the more powerful. There are so many things left unsaid but it’s not a satisfactory end for his character. Andrew is a secondary character but he still deserves a bigger finish than an off-screen, ambiguous death. There is no sense of closure or that his story has come to an end. Even in shocking deaths, there should be some sense of finality to a character’s arc.
Cons of Keeping Andrew Around
All that being said, it would be incredibly daring move for Agents of SHIELD to kill off Andrew. The final sequence of “Devils You Know” was one of the tensest things Agents of SHIELD has pulled off. It seemed unthinkable that Agents of SHIELD would pull the trigger on Andrew and it made it so effective when they actually did or appeared to anyway. There have been deaths on Agents of SHIELD, even shocking ones. Casting Lucy Lawless in the show only to kill her off in her first episode was a bold move, yet it lacked emotional substance, The same goes for Trip’s demise in the mid-season finale of Season 2.
Agents of SHIELD has killed off familiar faces but not faces we really know. No previously killed off character has gotten as much development as Andrew and that makes his death hurt. It’s bad for us as the audience but good for the show because it makes us care. The danger has stakes. The audience really shouldn’t need more reasons to hate Ward but Andrew’s death certainly adds more fuel to the fire.
If Andrew were to die it would make the already magnetic partnership between May and Hunter more intense. Andrew was killed on Ward’s orders and the blood is on his hands but Hunter forced the issue. Hunter pressed where May wanted to back off and seemingly killed Andrew. You could argue, quite successfully, that Hunter is every bit as much to blame for Andrew’s death as Ward.
May and Hunter working together has never been companionable because their personalities are so very much at odds. The tension would be at all-time high after Andrew’s death. Assuming it remains tense and not just outright hostile. There is so much glorious conflict to be mined from May being forced to work with the man who effectively killed the man she loves/loved.
Of course the same thing can be achieved if May just believes Andrew is dead. This is a path that Agents of SHIELD could take, even are likely to take. This would explain why the show is being so mum on Andrew’s death in the press. They don’t want to spoil themselves on a later reveal that Andrew somehow survived his attack. I do think that this would be a mistake. Agents of SHIELD would get the emotional fallout of Andrew’s death but ultimately to would feel empty and hollow. I’m fine with a show twisting and ripping out my emotions but I’m not OK with being tricked. I would rather Agents of SHIELD stick to its guns and kill Andrew off forthright than reap the benefits of the emotions without facing the lasting consequences.
Agents of SHIELD season 3 airs Tuesdays at 9pm on ABC
(Images courtesy of ABC)