Name: Agent Melinda May
TV Show: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Class: The Cavalry
Filed Under: Everyday Person/Extraordinary Circumstances
Portrayed By: Ming-Na Wen
Nobody solves a problem like Melinda.
Melinda May, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., is pretty much the epitome of an everyday person in extraordinary circumstances. From what we know, she hasn’t been “gifted” with her abilities, nor was she trained/experimented on from an early age in order to become the ultimate weapon. No, Melinda just decided at some point that she was going to work damn hard at life–in order to one day kick some bad-guy ass. And so she does.
Over the course of two seasons, we have learned a little bit more about Melinda’s character and what makes her tick. And while I have enjoyed this evolution, I have also always loved Melinda–even from the first few episodes, when she was in large part, a complete mystery. Melinda has some issues–who doesn’t–and she has seemed to process all this by perfecting her focus on the mission.
Embrace your emotions, your nerves. Use them… on your terms. – Melinda May
This means Melinda is often perceived as being pretty much all-business, all the time. She’s not the seductress, the sad sack, the joker, or the gal pal–at least, not intentionally–unless the mission requires her to play those roles. She’s just Agent Melinda May. But saying Melinda is “just” anything is doing her a disservice. There can be only one Agent Melinda May. Everyone else is just “not.”
Yet, whenever the fun in Melinda being “emotionally unavailable” is played for laughs, it has never felt–at least, to me–that it is at the expense of her character. You might be laughing, but you are definitely not laughing *at* her. In a lot of ways, Melinda perhaps personifies the idea that the ridiculous expectations society puts on women are absolute bullshit. She’s going to play by her rules and seriously, eff me and eff you if you think that’s somehow not good enough. And despite everything else I write here, Melinda *does* have a heart and will go to the absolute ends of the earth for anyone she cares about, but she’s just not always going to be the one to kiss your boo-boo when you get in a scrap with a juiced-up superhuman. She has a job to do.
I’m ready to kick some ass. – Melinda May
Strength: Melinda is pretty physically strong, but I feel like this is more due to her ability to both accurately assess her opponent’s weaknesses as well as effectively utilize her own skills. To me, that’s more an aspect of cunning and so whatever strength she has is more reflected by her force of dexterity. In other words, she doesn’t exactly have brute strength. Melinda does, however, possess a strong will. See the crap she’s been through and what she has had to endure if you have a question about that. 4.
Dexterity: As you can see, Melinda is BADASS. She’s a supersonic tornado of kicks and punches. She can pretty much use anything as a weapon, including herself (the deadliest kind, really). Mother-effing 5!
Intellect: Melinda is not only a fighting machine, but she also possesses a variety of other important skills. She’s the main pilot of “The Bus”–the aircraft that serves as the team’s mobile command center–and she is a brilliant strategic analyst and tactician. Pretty much considered a legend within the larger structure of S.H.I.E.L.D., she has more than earned her position as one of its most trusted and valuable agents. 5.
Charisma: 3. Oh, Melinda. Wanna hug? To the casual observer, Melinda may seem cold, calculating, and emotionally unavailable. To the people who know her well, however, Melinda may seem cold, calculating, and emotionally unavailable. (Just kidding!) Melinda absolutely has the ability to play any sort of “role” if that is what is required of her, but she won’t like it very much. Good for her.