We're finally getting some much needed Melinda May backstory on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Flashback episodes mean new characters and Tuesday's episode "Melinda" includes a character we definitely haven't met before. Who will Eva Belyakov be on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? She will be played by Winter Ave Zoli, best known for Sons of Anarchy. Insignificant guest characters aren't often given a full name — however, Eva Belyakov is not a character in Marvel comics. As far as we know, she's original. The promo for the episode suggests that May meets this woman in Bahrain where "The Cavalry" incident went down. Remember how reluctant May was to join Coulson's team in the first place? That series' pilot was many twists and cliffhangers ago, but all will be revealed soon enough.
We also can surmise that Eva has supernatural powers, and that she's interested in collecting pain. Her blue eyes also match her scarf. However, what any of this means in the context of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is unknown. Is she just evil, or does she need to collect the pain of others for some supernatural reason? Also, what is she doing in Bahrain? My theory is that she's not only gifted, but a former Black Widow Operative like Natasha Romanov. That's a lot, so hear me out.
I'm not just suggesting this because the last name Belyakov suggests Eva is of Russian descent, but that does fit within the theory. First of all, the name Eva Belyakov also bares a resemblance to Yelena Belova, the second "Black Widow" in Marvel Comics. The names are almost anagrams, but not quite — no need to call the Pretty Little Liars fandom in as backup just yet. However, Yelena has crossed paths with many characters that we've already seen on screen, including the Avengers and the Defenders that are taking over Netflix starting with Daredevil. It would make sense for her, or a character like her, to turn up eventually.
ABC has already given us a taste of Natasha Romanov's backstory with Dottie Underwood on Agent Carter . She was affiliated with Leviathan, which quickly dissolved. That leaves a gap in history as to what happened to the Red Room Academy where the future Avenger trained. We already know that Avengers: Age of Ultron is going to dig into Natasha's past. With that film's release on the horizon, could Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. be slipping us a hint of what's to come?
Second of all, the press release also lists a character called "Little Girl/Katya" — what else do we know about the Black Widow Training Program? They recruit young. Agent Carter gave us a bleak picture of the girls fighting one another to the death and chaining themselves to bunks at night. What if the Red Room gave their charges a version of the super soldier serum, or some kind of experimentation that gave them abilities beyond their ruthless fighting skills, and one went wrong? That's in line with the comics, and could explain why Melinda May had to "take one out" in order to save herself.
Image: Patrick Wymore/ABC