Agents of SHIELD's "After, Before" aired tonight and followed Elena "Yo-Yo" Rodriguez as she attempted to regain her powers at Afterlife. Accompanied by May (Ming-Na Wen), the two women sought help from Jiaying (Dichen Lachman), who informed Yo-Yo that her inability to use her powers was mental. Jiaying suggests using May's new empath abilities to help Yo-Yo confront past traumas, but the two agents find meditating together to be awkward and useless, so they do what they do best: fight. During a recent chat with Cordova-Buckley and Wen, we asked if doing fight scenes is easier with someone you trust.
Ming-Na Wen: Oh, absolutely.
Natalia Cordova-Buckley: Yeah.
MW: Natalia is a ballerina and is very athletic, so I totally trust her timing and her ability to do the stunts. In fact, she loves to do it so much that a lot of times I have to go, "Okay, girl. I need to take a break. Mama's tired."
NCB: And for me, I love learning that. I love having someone as experienced as Ming-Na. Sometimes say to me... I mean, she said it to me and I learned so much, not in this sequence, in the sequence where we were fighting Jessie Graff.
MW: Oh, the punching.
NCB: That sequence, I remember you telling me, "Nat," Ming knows this craft so well that she said to me, "They're not even going to get your face in the shot. So if you don't want to do this pull over and over, then don't do it. You can hurt yourself." And yeah...
NCB: Yeah. That is a bit of testing, like, "No. I have to do them all." And then I went and I actually did hurt myself... I mean, not badly, but I hurt my back. It just got a little jarred. And I remember learning from Ming that part of being professional is keeping yourself healthy, is keeping myself-
NCB: Because if I hurt myself, I ruin the shoot. So, that was really a huge learning curve for me, that that's why we have our stunt doubles and you allow them to do certain things that you can't do or that you can do, but you won't risk it. And Ming has that from her years of... She's worked more than all of the cast put together, I think.
MW: I don't know about that.
NCB: I think it's true, Ming. I mean, you came out of our season with like five jobs and all of us were like, "I just want one."
MW: Well, I've got some years on you too, so... But yeah, I need to go back to work the next day... And the day after that and next week. And so, it is really important to know your limits and not feel like you have to prove yourself because frankly, the crew and the director, they've seen it all. And they've seen actors who can't even throw a punch, let alone be able to do the kind of kicks that Natalia can do. And so it's like, you don't need to prove yourself. It's knowing your limits.
Agents of SHIELD airs Wednesday nights on ABC at 10 PM EST.