Melinda May is a woman of few words. She prefers doing rather than saying. As a result, many of her lines in Agents Of SHIELD are very carefully chosen, especially in the early seasons of the series. In fact, more often than not in the first season of the show, she would convey her meaning with a single look rather than uttering any words at all.
As the final season approaches, however, Melinda May has learned to speak her mind instead of allowing others to guess what she’s thinking. She’s also become better at doling out instructions and giving comfort when it’s needed. As a result, she has a lot of memorable lines, and plenty of fan-favorite ones as well.
10 “I Care About You. A Lot.”
The Agents Of SHIELD writers are masters of slow-burn romance. Phil Coulson and Melinda May have known each other since the ‘90s, and it’s Coulson who convinces May to get out into the field after a particularly traumatic mission. They don’t, however, start a romance until the end of the fifth season.
Way back in season one, however, the May of very few words sums up her feelings quite nicely when she matter-of-factly tells Coulson that she cares about him.
9 “We Failed In Our Mission. We’re Outnumbered, Trapped, Hoping Not To Get Killed. Feels Like The Old Days To Me.”
Sometimes, it feels like the team at the center of the series is always facing impossible odds. As May points out in this exchange with Coulson, however, that’s where they’re most comfortable.
May and the agents she works with are used to being underestimated underdogs who pull out all of the stops. That’s what’s made the show what it is over the years.
8 “If I Need A Gun, I’ll Take One.”
This might be one of May’s most oft-repeated lines in the series. May has proven more than once that she doesn’t need bullets to be effective. Her reliance on herself instead of a weapon demonstrates just how skilled she is.
That’s actually refreshing for an action series. Most action movies and series today rely on guns and explosions to get things done. Agents of SHIELD relies more on hand-to-hand methods, especially the women of the series, which is probably because most of them are trained by May.
7 “When Someone Breaks Into My House, I Usually Don’t Invite Them To Stay, But That’s Me.”
In the first season of the series, May isn’t sold on Skye being a part of their team. She sees her as an unknown variable. Discovering that Skye has continued her contact with the hacktivist group Rising Tide after joining SHIELD prompts this statement to Coulson.
May isn’t as trusting at the start of the series as she is later on once she takes Skye under her wing. Once May is responsible for training younger agents, she becomes less standoffish, though she’s still not as quick to trust everyone around her as some of her teammates.
6 “Have A Cookie…”
Though May is incredibly comforting toward the members of her team in later seasons, she’s not one to try to comfort strangers early on. That’s why this line is such an outlier for fans.
While questioning a witness, May offers up some pleasantries, even sharing a plate of cookies. It’s a bit of an unsettling moment, even if she means well when it happens. The line, as a result, has stuck with fans.
5 “Maybe You’re Not Supposed To Get Over It. Some Things You Can’t Move Past. They Scar You, Change You Permanently.”
When Coulson gets a new hand, it never “feels right” to him, but May sees his rejection of several prosthetics as something more than just an ill fit. She realizes that other traumas have stuck with him.
May understands more than most that certain events in a person’s life aren’t things that can just be gotten over. Instead, life changes and the person adapts to their new circumstances. May’s own experiences make her uniquely suited to understand that.
4 “I Don’t Give A Damn About Your Powers. They’re Not What Made You An Agent; I Did.”
May has done a lot for her little team of SHIELD misfits. The team member she’s done the most for over the years, however, is definitely Daisy.
She replaces Ward as Daisy’s supervising officer in the first season. May then becomes her partner in the field in the second season. When Daisy gains her Inhuman abilities, May tries her best to help her find her focus. She is always there for the younger agent, which is why she’s definitely correct in her estimate that she is responsible for making Daisy an agent long before those abilities manifest.
3 “Where’s The Body?”
Those fans watching the series live, or even on streaming platforms, might not have actually seen the moment May utters this line. That’s because it’s from a scene deleted from the season one episode, “The Hub,” and appears on the Blu-Ray special features.
When Simmons shoots Sitwell with the night-night gun, she runs to May for help. While May repeatedly tells Simmons, “No,” while the scientist tries to recount her story, it’s not until Simmons tells her that she shot someone that May gives in. She asks this question with a sigh and an eye roll, so it’s probably fair to say that this isn’t the first time she’s had to clean up the mess of an inexperienced agent.
2 “We Have A Small, But Active Fanbase.”
It’s always nice to see the fans get a shout-out. In season six, when the chronicoms are busy observing Earth, there’s a note made that SHIELD is mentioned a lot while observing potential threats, much to the surprise of those doing the observing.
May explains that SHIELD has a “small, but active fanbase.” That particular phrase has also been used to describe the fans who have stuck with the series during its live broadcasts since the beginning.
1 “You Guys Talk A Lot.”
It would be wrong to end a list of May’s most memorable quotes and not include this gem from the second episode of the series. When the entire team is tied up onboard their own plane, the less experienced agents try to form a plan with May’s help. May gets sick of them talking about acting fairly quickly.
She acts out pieces of their plan almost as quickly as they talk through them, which is why her line is incredibly appropriate. May rarely wastes her time on words when she could be getting the job done.
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