Melinda Qiaolian May worked as a Level 7 S.H.I.E.L.D. operative, nicknamed "The Cavalry". A veteran pilot and soldier with years of experience and a good friend of Agent Phil Coulson, she withdrew from field duty after an incident in Manama, Bahrain, which left her mentally damaged. However, she returned to the field when S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury asked to her to secretly assemble a team for Agent Coulson and to monitor his recovery process. She worked with the team on all their missions.
When the HYDRA Uprising began, her true role on the team, to be Nick Fury's eyes and ears on Coulson, was discovered, leading to a rift between her and the team. Feeling unwanted, she left, searching to find out the truth behind Coulson's resurrection. She found the truth and brought it back to Coulson, who regretted the way he had treated her and welcomed her back to the team. She helped the team stop John Garrett and went with the team to the Playground to help restart S.H.I.E.L.D., under newly promoted Director Coulson.
As Coulson's unofficial deputy, May helped Coulson in fighting the forces of HYDRA led by Daniel Whitehall and dealing with Coulson's growing obsession with the alien writing. After the Battle for the Kree City in which HYDRA was dealt a heavy blow and resulted in Agent Skye gaining superhuman abilities, May helped them all to deal with the situation the best they could. When another S.H.I.E.L.D. faction led by Robert Gonzales emerged and occupied their base, May helped Coulson to escape, but later accepted a position on Gonzales' board. When the two factions united, May became a member of Coulson's council of advisors. Following the War against the Inhumans and the Kidnapping of Bobbi Morse, she retired from S.H.I.E.L.D. for a short time to be with her ex-husband, Andrew Garner. However, she returned to the field to kill Grant Ward once and for all with Lance Hunter. May's struggles started to arise when a shocking truth was revealed concerning the Inhuman killer Lash was actually Garner.
Childhood and Early Career
- "May used to be different. She was always quiet, she was just... she was warm. Fearless in a different way. Getting in trouble, pulling pranks, thought rules were meant to be broken."
- ―Phil Coulson
Melinda May was born to William and to the intelligence operative, Lian May. At age 7 she became an ice skater and admired the famous ice skater Dorothy Hamill, winning many rewards in competitions. However, she found the ice too hard when she fell on it, so at the age of 12, she switched to martial arts, where the floors were padded.
May eventually joined S.H.I.E.L.D., believing that the agency was the best defense of the United States of America and the world against any possible threat. During her career, she met and fell in love with Doctor Andrew Garner, and the two eventually eloped.
Trained by the best S.H.I.E.L.D. had to offer, May became an ace pilot and a weapons expert, a soldier who could perform above and beyond the call of duty. She was one of the few S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who had more black belts than the notorious Black Widow, whom she met and befriended.
May met Agent Phil Coulson, one of the highest-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and the right-hand man of Director Nick Fury, during a mission in which the two were paired up together. During the mission, their commander sent them to a coffee shop in Sausalito on a retrieval operation without an exit strategy. May wound up in the bay for five hours until Coulson eventually fished her out.
Coulson would describe May as warm, fearless and not afraid to break rules. May was quiet, but not above pulling pranks on her fellow agents. She also met Alexander Pierce, one of the leaders of S.H.I.E.L.D.
May and Coulson would often talk of being able to pick their own operations and to call their own shots without the bureaucracy and red tape.
- "Forgot I was working with 'The Cavalry'."
"Don't ever call me that."
- ―Grant Ward and Melinda May
In 2008, May, Phil Coulson and a team of agents were dispatched on an "Index Asset Evaluation and Intake" (or "Welcome Wagon") mission, investigating Eva Belyakov, a newly discovered powered individual with superhuman strength. They tracked Belyakov to Manama, Bahrain, where things immediately spiraled out of control; Belyakov, aided by various Bahrainian gangsters that she seemed to be controlling, took a young civilian girl and every dispatched S.H.I.E.L.D. agent except for May and Coulson, hoarding them inside of a warehouse.
After being unable to call in any backup, May took it upon herself to solve the problem. She went in by herself with only a knife, crossing off the controlled gangsters and Belyakov herself. However, she learned that the girl, revealed to be Belyakov's daughter Katya, was the one controlling people using a sensory manipulating ability. After witnessing the girl use her powers to kill the remaining gangsters, May was forced to execute Katya to prevent her from doing the same to the captured S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives. The incident scarred May mentally, and earned her the nickname "The Cavalry" within S.H.I.E.L.D., a designation she despised.
May never spoke of what happened during the incident, but it changed her. The warm, rule-bending nature of her personality seemed to be gone, despite Coulson's efforts to draw it back out. Her marriage with Garner also slowly fell apart as a result of her distance, eventually ending. Soon, May withdrew from combat duty, retreating to a desk-bound administrative position within the S.H.I.E.L.D. bureaucracy.
Back in the Field
- "You guys talk too much."
- ―Melinda May
After the battle of New York, May was approached by Nick Fury himself and ordered to be his eyes and ears on the newly resurrected Phil Coulson. May's orders were to report to him directly if Coulson showed any side-effects or dangerous behavior after his treatment with the alien GH.325 drug. Fury believed that given their shared history, Coulson would recruit her for his new team. To aid in her mission, she put together a team of agents that may be necessary to treat or act on Coulson. Coulson was then given specific mission parameters and was maneuvered into picking May's choices.
As expected, Phil Coulson came to the office where she worked and asked her to join his team. Still haunted by her past experiences in the field, she was genuinely reluctant to return to combat, but she agreed when Coulson told her that he just needs her to "drive the Bus." 
However, field work is not always a stable environment. May was angered after seeing inadvertent combat in Peru, but her skills helped save her team and re-take the Bus from Camilla Reyes's hijackers.
During the action in Malta, May initially assumed that she would be on the strike team to rescue Doctor Franklin Hall, to her dismay. When Coulson informed her that he was going in with Grant Ward instead, May expressed doubt, stating that field work and specialist work were two different things.
During the operation, May was frustrated at being stuck at the backend of the op, where she could not do anything to help her team. Upon Coulson's return, May informed him that she would report the next time combat duty came up.
- "You told me that you were ready for combat. That you had my back."
"Don't ever doubt it."
- ―Phil Coulson and Melinda May
May returned to combat duty without hesitation. She acted swiftly (and without authorization) to apprehend renegade S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and Coulson protégé, Akela Amador before she could complete her mission in Minsk, Belarus.
In Hong Kong, she participated in the attempted rescue of Index listed pyrokinetic Chan Ho Yin from his captors in the Centipede Project. When Chan started to use his powers against the S.H.I.E.L.D. team, killing Agent Quan Chen, May injected Chan with a dose the Centipede Serum, causing an explosive overdose.
She lived up to her nickname of "The Cavalry" when Agents Grant Ward and Leo Fitz were stranded in the middle of a hot operation without an extraction plan along the South Ossetian border. She piloted the Bus without authorization into an active hot spot where she and her team rescued their team-mates.
In Ireland, she took the strength-enhancing Berserker Staff in combat against the members of a Norse Paganist hate group. She was able to control the rage-inducing properties of the staff, and claimed it was because she lived with her rage every day. That night she slept with Grant Ward.
Hunt for Centipede
When Coulson decided to focus all of the team's efforts on bringing down the Centipede Project, he brought Mike Peterson, now in training to become a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent to assist in their fight against the Project's super-powered soldiers. She assisted Peterson, Coulson, and Ward in infiltrating the Centipede base in Oakland. Discovering Peterson was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Raina and Edison Po kidnapped Peterson's son, Ace using him to convince his father to bring Coulson to a hostage exchange. When Centipede took Coulson, she called in back-up, but the back-up failed to arrive before Coulson was taken and Peterson was apparently killed. 
The Phone Line
- "He knows. I repeat Coulson knows."
- ―Melinda May to Nick Fury
Fitz discovered the phone line at a time when tensions were already high: The team was searching for the Clairvoyant; Felix Blake was critically injured by Deathlok; Jemma Simmons was transferred to the Hub to be a consultant; and Grant Ward had killed Thomas Nash. He told Skye, who told Coulson, while he was interrogating Ward to see if he worked for the Clairvoyant. May hunted for Fitz to shoot him with an I.C.E.R. when Coulson and Skye surrounded her at gunpoint demanding answers. Suddenly the plane was rerouted to the Hub by Victoria Hand who planned to kill all but Coulson.
During her interrogation, May explained that the line went to Nick Fury, who wanted constant updates on Coulson's progress after his resurrection. She built Coulson's Team with specifications to that end. Coulson ultimately decided that for her secrets, she was an ally, no longer his friend.
Leaving the Team
After the team arrived to the Providence, May left her team and arranged to have her mother Lian pick her up in Canada, 500 miles from her mother's home. Her mother gave May contact information for Maria Hill, with whom she wanted to talk.
May found Hill under surveillance by various agencies after the downfall of S.H.I.E.L.D. After subduing Hill's tails, the two talked. May did not believe Hill's statement that Nick Fury was dead. She did obtain a clue concerning the leader of Project T.A.H.I.T.I. and dug up Phil Coulson's gravesite to find the answer. May found the team in Los Angeles in a hotel, where Coulson forgave her for her secrets, and she revealed to him a report that Coulson himself had made to Fury where he resigned as leader of Project T.A.H.I.T.I., asking Fury not to use it.
A Woman Scorned
- "Watch out, HYDRA. Here we come."
- ―Melinda May
The next morning, Coulson's Team had a meeting on how to find John Garrett and retrieve the Bus. After the meeting, May and Skye talked candidly about Grant Ward and how to focus their emotional pain effectively. May offered to be Skye's new S.O. May and Coulson went undercover as unemployed S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists seeking work with Cybertek in Palo Alto to get files pertaining to Deathlok. Eventually, Coulson's team learned of the old S.H.I.E.L.D. base that became the Barbershop Headquarters of HYDRA in Havana, Cuba. When they arrived however, May and the others became surrounded by Centipede Soldiers and Kaminsky carrying the Berserker Staff.
May quickly relieved Kaminsky of the Berserker Staff as the others fought and Skye uploaded a computer program that allowed her to find Garrett. When Coulson ordered her to "bring the house down," May destroyed the support beams of the headquarters, causing the building to collapse and burying her opponents.
The team went to the Cybertek Manufacturing Facility in New Mexico and May and Skye entered through an opening created by Coulson and Antoine Triplett. Inside, May battled Grant Ward, enraged about his betrayal. The fight spilled over into the neighboring construction site, where she used a nail gun on Ward's foot and broke his larynx, winning the fight.
After the defeat of Garrett, she, Coulson, and Nick Fury had a meeting, discussing Project T.A.H.I.T.I., S.H.I.E.L.D.'s founding principles, and Fury's status. She witnessed Coulson become the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and went with the team to meet Billy Koenig in the Playground.
The New Beginning
A few months after Coulson officially became director, Coulson tasked Melinda May, Antoine Triplett, and Skye to act as back-up for Isabelle Hartley, Idaho, and Lance Hunter, who were attempting to buy information from a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent when they were attacked by Carl Creel, who stole the information on an 0-8-4 that they sought.
When May returned to the Playground and had a meeting with Coulson, she reminded him that she was to watch over him and keep him out of field missions, but he was making her job difficult by constantly being away.
May then fought Creel when he attacked Glenn Talbot and assisted in Talbot's kidnapping.
May told Skye to stay with her as they, Triplett, and the others went into a Government Storage Warehouse that had the Obelisk. When the operation went badly due to Creel's interference, May led Skye and Triplett to fulfill the second half of the mission: to obtain a Quinjet, so that the new S.H.I.E.L.D. could travel undetected. As Triplett and Skye escaped in the cloaked vehicle, May took a motorcycle for her escape. 
May saw the crashed SUV Lance Hunter was in and helped him escape it before pursuing Creel on the motorcycle. When she could have shot him from behind, Coulson told her to stand down because she was among civilian traffic. May yielded and followed Creel to a restaurant where he accidentally killed a waitress who had touched him before he escaped.
May returned to the Playground where she and the other field agents met with Phil Coulson and witnessed his conversation with Raina to learn that the Obelisk could be tracked. However, she was knocked unconscious by an I.C.E.R. fired by Lance Hunter.
Later, May confronted Coulson about going into the field to stop Creel and why, after eighteen days, he had not released his urge to write the Words of Creation. Upon her prompting, Coulson yielded and began to carve the symbols on a wall in his office. Meanwhile, May documented the incident. 
The Moroccan Mission
- "And for the record, experience doesn't make it any easier to cross someone off."
- ―Melinda May
May continued her training of Skye in firearms, but advised her that killing is not an easy task. They were then interrupted by Hunter and Mack, the former asking if Skye attended the S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy to settle their wager; May reminded Hunter that she had not, otherwise he would have known better than to shoot them. Hunter tried to apologize again but May refused to take it, telling him to wait.
She accompanied Skye and Hunter to Morocco in pursuit of Blizzard. While there, she and Hunter were told that HYDRA had brainwashed Gill, so no HYDRA agent should contact him. As Hunter was aiming to shoot the agent talking to Gill, May recognized the agent as Jemma Simmons, Coulson's mole in HYDRA. She shot Hunter with an I.C.E.R. to save Simmons, but this alerted Gill to their presence. May and Hunter were then trapped in the freighter when Blizzard froze the door.
When they returned to the Playground, May admitted to Skye that she had known Simmons was Coulson's mole. She also told Hunter that she and he were now even for when he shot her with an I.C.E.R.; however, she was only speaking for herself.
- "I will pay five hundred dollars right now for a pair of flats."
- ―Melinda May
Posing as Heidi Martin, May accompanied Coulson to a fundraiser for Santa Maria de las Flores in Miami, Florida to obtain a 500 year old painting with the Words of Creation inscribed on its back. Following Glenn Talbot, who was truly a disguised Sunil Bakshi, to his hotel room, May discovered the brainwashed Agent 33 working for HYDRA. As they fought, May was distracted by Bakshi and rendered unconscious.
Agent 33 then used the Photostatic Veil to copy May's face.
When May awakened, she was tied to a chair with Bakshi threatening to torture her for S.H.I.E.L.D.'s secrets. The commotion of Coulson's and Agent 33's struggle outside the room distracted Bakshi enough for May to escape. Then she challenged Agent 33 who continued to wear May's face. After a prolonged fight, May electrocuted the HYDRA operative and exited before backup soldiers could arrive.
After calling the real Glenn Talbot to inform him of HYDRA's latest scheme, May and Coulson talked about May's plan if Coulson went insane from the effects of GH.325. Though she told him that she would care for him, Coulson ordered her to put him down instead. May just nodded her head.
When S.H.I.E.L.D. learned of a massacre in which the U.S. Navy's anti-HYDRA task force was affected by a weapon resembling the effects of the Obelisk, May assumed it to be in HYDRA's possession. As she, Skye, Antoine Triplett and Lance Hunter went to Phil Coulson for information, Skye spotted Coulson scribbling the alien writing into his desk. When asked for his source on the writing, Coulson remained tight-lipped. As everyone else left, May advised Coulson that keeping Skye in the dark would not end well.
May later barged into Coulson's office in the middle of his argument with Skye, who had discovered Coulson's condition, announcing that Raina was calling them again and wanted to meet.
Coulson agreed to meet and brought May, Skye and Hunter along as his lookouts. While Hunter sat on restaurant floor, May and Skye watched through the kitchen window. After Raina entered the restaurant, she and Coulson had a debate about the Obelisk before the Director questioned what she had up her sleeve. Raina then revealed that she discovered Jemma Simmons working undercover at HYDRA and threatened to expose her if Coulson does not allow her take Skye. When questioned why, she revealed that she knows Skye's Father. Though May insisted that she was lying, Skye said that Grant Ward said Raina knew her father and it could not be a coincidence. Coulson then refused the bargain, prompting Skye to attempt to go out and surrender herself; May blocked her, ordering her to stand down. Though Skye insisted that Simmons' life was on the line, May claimed that Coulson had a plan and was forced to restrain her. Coulson allowed the situation with Raina to play it out, showing that he had a plan and was not going to be threatened by Raina.
With her leverage gone, Raina was forced to confess that she was trying to reclaim the Obelisk from Skye's father to spare herself from Daniel Whitehall's wrath. After injecting a tracker into Raina's leg and getting Skye's father's location, Coulson sent her off. May then took note that the address Raina gave was only a few blocks away. She then signaled Coulson to switch off their earpieces to privately discuss what Richard Lumley told them about Skye, suggesting that her father was the one whom the ex-agent feared. They then noticed that Skye had gone ahead and managed to catch up with her. They found the condemned building deserted, save for two corpses, one killed by a scalpel and the other by brute force. This causes Skye to label her father a monster.
Attack on the United Nations
- "It's always a shame when a good soldier falls."
- ―Glenn Talbot to Melinda May
Melinda May led Bobbi Morse and Lance Hunter to Okinawa, Japan when they discovered that the Splinter Bombs used in an attack by HYDRA hired mercenaries on the United Nations were created there. During the flight, Morse asked May whether she still spoke to her ex-husband; May did not say a word.
May's team though arrived too late to save Noelle Walters' team from being killed by those same mercenaries. Their leader, Marcus Scarlotti, killed Walters personally. When the team did arrive, May fought Scarlotti unarmed as he used his personal weapon, the Rope Dart Knife. She eventually knocked him unconscious for Glenn Talbot to take him into custody as Talbot gave his condolences to May on losing six agents. 
The Hunt for Ward
May was field commander of the mission to capture Grant Ward after he escaped federal custody. She told Skye that if Coulson began carving the symbols while she was away to monitor him. While she was flying the Quinjet, Antoine Triplett and Bobbi Morse both answered to her when he failed to capture Ward in Philadelphia and her cover was blown in Atlanta.
In Boston, May gathered her field agents, including Lance Hunter, to raid the Goldbrix Tavern to capture Ward. There she found three dead HYDRA agents and Sunil Bakshi in a back room, tied to a chair and unconscious.
Returning to the Playground with Bakshi, May witnessed Coulson ask Hank Thompson to join the organization. She then assembled with the other senior agents when Director Coulson gave them a new mission: find the city that matched the City Blueprints before HYDRA can.
Interrogation of Sunil Bakshi
May was in charge of the Playground while Coulson, Antoine Triplett, and Skye went to find the city. She told Coulson that Christian Ward wanted his own people to find his brother because S.H.I.E.L.D. was politically toxic.
Attention was given to Sunil Bakshi and Bobbi Morse's interrogation of him in Vault D. During the session, Morse wondered how Daniel Whitehall was connected to the Red Skull, so May revealed the keys to Vault B, where the Strategic Scientific Reserve kept its files. During their research, the agents learned that Whitehall was around during World War II as Werner Reinhardt, but they could not discern how he kept his youth.
When the Bus returned from Australia after finding the location of the city that matched the City Blueprints, May was among the assembled agents that Phil Coulson prepped to enter the city. However, Coulson learned from Billy Koenig that Agent 33 was assigned by HYDRA to retrieve Raina in Vancouver. So May became the mission commander of a team to protect her. Sam Koenig was looking forward to see her.
In Canada, May shot two HYDRA agents in a van, then used that van to hit two more operatives as they approached Raina when she attempted to surrender.
Aboard the cloaked Bus, everyone was wondering how May felt about Agent 33 having May's face. Skye came to her in a panic, talking that Coulson needed to be warned before he entered the city, but communications went down as four HYDRA Quinjets surrounded the plane.
Grant Ward traced Raina through the signal emitted by her tracker. May led the agents, guns drawn, in surrounding Ward as he entered the Bus. Ward promised that the quinjets would not fire, killing everyone, if Raina and Skye came willingly. Skye convinced May to allow her to leave.
- "Know what we could use?"
"Another 50 men?"
"I was gonna say a dozen. But I like your idea better."
- ―Phil Coulson and Melinda May
May managed to save the rest of agents from an attack by the HYDRA Quinjets with a smart maneuver to cloak the Bus and eject the pods inside the plane to make HYDRA pilots believe they managed to destroy them. Arriving at San Juan, May told Phil Coulson what happened. In the Bus May blamed herself for letting Ward take Skye, but Coulson told her that her actions saved the others and that Skye would be fine as she had trained her into a fully capable field agent.
When Coulson learned that HYDRA was in the Ponce de León Theater, May, Morse, Hunter, and Coulson prepared for the Battle for the Kree City. May landed the S.H.I.E.L.D. Quinjet upon the roof, and she and the agents went down firing as HYDRA operatives came up. When she reached the Plasma Drill at the bottom, she attempted to stop Coulson from going into the Kree City, but Coulson was determined to save Skye and to see what all of the writing meant. When Morse and Hunter came, May told them to flee before the bombs that Antoine Triplett set could explode. She was over the hole as an earthquake shook the area.
Director Phil Coulson called a meeting of the senior agents to discuss what he wanted done with Sunil Bakshi and how he planned to make HYDRA pay for Triplett's death. During the meeting, Alphonso Mackenzie and Coulson began to argue; May told Mackenzie to remember his rank when speaking to the Director. This statement was not liked by Lance Hunter who began arguing with May. Ultimately, Coulson pulled rank and dismissed the squabble.
May and Coulson began transferring Bakshi to Glenn Talbot's custody when the S.H.I.E.L.D. SUV she was driving was hit by a truck filled with mercenaries. After a firefight where May proved her marksmanship and acrobatic superiority, she was shot by a mercenary who escaped with Bakshi. However, all of this was planned to lead S.H.I.E.L.D. to HYDRA's new superior since Daniel Whitehall was dead.
May returned to the Playground and visited Skye in her quarantine. She saw Skye bleeding and asked what happened; before she could answer, Leo Fitz assured May that everything was fine. May went to call Coulson, who was visiting Mrs. Triplett.
May attended the vigil the senior agents had for Triplett.
Phil Coulson and she went to Portugal to retrieve Sif, who had lost her memories but was seeking something called "Kava". Skye found on YouTube a video of Sif fighting a man; May showed the video to Sif but it did not help her. While talking to Sif, May complimented the Asgardian on her skills as a warrior.
Eventually, the man was apprehended and revealed himself to be a Kree named Vin-Tak. He came to Earth because a Diviner had been activated and he wanted to destroy the Inhuman who had transformed. Vin-Tak told them that he caused Sif to lose her memory using his Truncheon. He used the device on Sif again, curing her amnesia.
May continued to listen as Vin-Tak further explained the origin of the Inhumans. When Skye was questioned about what she saw in Kree City as Raina transformed, she became nervous and caused the Playground to shake. May, Coulson, Sif, and Vin-Tak all realized Skye was an Inhuman. Sif and Vin-Tak both decided that Skye needed to be destroyed; May and Skye ran with them in pursuit.
May took Skye to Vault D and activated the Inertial Confinement Laser Barrier to be alone with her. May tried to talk Skye into using the calming techniques that they had practiced; however, Skye could not stop herself from causing the quakes. When Sif used her sword to break the barrier, Skye used May's I.C.E.R. to knock herself unconscious to keep from harming anyone. May used that act to get Sif to stand down, showing that Skye was not harmful to those she considered her friends.
May and Coulson escorted Sif and Vin-Tak away from the Playground so that the Bifrost Bridge could take them to Asgard. After they were gone, she and Coulson remembered how the first mission of Coulson's Team involved Skye and wondered if it was fate that brought everyone together. 
Reunion with Garner
With it known that Skye was an Inhuman, Phil Coulson and May put her on the Index. A psychological assessment was a requirement for Index candidates, so May went to Culver University to request the assistance of ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. consultant and her ex-husband Andrew Garner. He told May that he would assist Skye, not her, not S.H.I.E.L.D. While in his office, she noticed a picture frame, but did not ask about it.
She brought Garner to the Playground, but asked him to allow her to speak to Skye first before his interview. May revealed to Skye that Garner was her ex-husband; this made Skye want to meet him to try to learn of May's past. After the interview, May and Garner had an amicable talk that Leo Fitz, who had not previously known that she was married, noticed made her smile and laugh. The conversation was interrupted by the Bus shaking; May awakened the sleeping Skye to stop the tremors.
Meanwhile, Coulson and Bobbi Morse were dealing with a prison break orchestrated by Calvin Zabo to release David Angar. When Zabo and his Slicing Talons were located in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, May quickly took the Bus to that location to backup Coulson, despite Garner and Skye being on-board. May told them to remain as non-combatants, but Skye insisted on helping; May decided to use Skye's relationship with Zabo to her advantage.
May brought Skye at gunpoint to the location of Zabo's and Coulson's confrontation; this caused Zabo to hesitate and explain his motives. Before David Angar could attack, Zabo was teleported away. May told Garner to take Skye off the battlefield as she ran to fight Francis Noche. She kept the super-strong villain from making contact as best as possible, but all fighting stopped when an earthquake started.
Back at the Playground, May told Skye that she would do everything she could to help her. Garner decided not to rejoin S.H.I.E.L.D.; as May escorted him off the grounds, he decided not to rejoin with her as well, because of the person in the picture frame.
May gave Garner's recommendation that Skye be relieved from field assignments to Coulson. They discussed that May was having difficulty working with Skye because May did not want to repeat what happened in Bahrain. Coulson assured her that she could adapt.
Alphonso Mackenzie returned to the Playground without Lance Hunter; when May asked why and if he saw Bobbi Morse while he was out, Mackenzie lied, telling May that he had not. May then called Phil Coulson and asked him to return from a S.H.I.E.L.D. Safe House where he had taken Skye.
Turning their attention to more immediate matters, Coulson asked May if she believed Mackenzie's alibi; they did not and decided they would confront him.
Deputy Commander Duties
May found Bobbi Morse in Phil Coulson's office with the Toolbox in her hand, and she drew her gun on the intruder. Morse said that she could give an explanation, but then jumped through the window, hoping to escape. May pursued Morse and the two fought viciously; Morse activated an EMP to escape May in the resulting blackout.
May found Leo Fitz in the blackout of the Playground and the two found Coulson. The three compared notes; Alphonso Mackenzie was on the run and Morse had used a Vibranium tracking device to find the Toolbox. May remembered that Mackenzie was given the blueprints of the Playground earlier, but Coulson assured her that no one knew the facility better than they did.
Searching Morse's locker for where Morse would go if she left the base, May found a gas mask in a hidden compartment; she immediately realized that Morse was not leaving, but inviting an invasion.
- "What's the catch?"
"No catch. We're gonna bring Coulson in with or without your help. And when we do, he should have a strong advocate on the board."
- ―Melinda May and Robert Gonzales
Two days later, May sat silently as Robert Gonzales attempted to interrogate her about the whereabouts of Phil Coulson or Skye, both of whom having escaped capture. He attempted to break down her loyalty to Coulson, reminding her of her previous directive to monitor Coulson for Fury and her subsequent order to terminate Coulson if he went insane, all because he could not trust himself. When he questioned if she was loyal to Coulson or to S.H.I.E.L.D., May responded that they are one and the same. Gonzales countered that Skye injured seven agents with her powers. May defended her protege, insisting that the Diviner, not Coulson, was responsible for Skye's powers. Gonzales deconstructed that fact by reminding her of how GH.325 drove Coulson to the Kree City, but May defended that they went to stop HYDRA because it was their job, and argued that it is what S.H.I.E.L.D. should be doing instead of wasting their time on a witch-hunt. Gonzales held up the file of May's actions in Bahrain to remind her of the dangers of individuals with superpowers; this still did not make her talk. She promised Gonzales that Coulson would eventually face him on his terms.
Later, Gonzales took May aboard the Bus to the Iliad. He passed her his gun and told her to shoot him if she believed he was a traitor to S.H.I.E.L.D., if not, to hear his proposal. He asked May to join the leadership of his faction of S.H.I.E.L.D. as an advocate for Coulson, so that when he was captured, someone could understand and defend Coulson's motives against the other leaders. May gave Gonzales back his gun, saying that it was just for show; Gonzales emptied the clip and chamber of the loaded gun to show that he was deadly serious. May began to contemplate.
Return to the Playground
Aboard the Iliad, May was asked by Bobbi Morse and Anne Weaver if she could tell them about Deathlok and about Theta Protocol, but May gave only a little information about it. Morse and Weaver explained to her the massive investment of Phil Coulson on Theta Protocol and that the reason why they wanted to open the Toolbox was answers. May asked them if she could become the person in charge of the Playground and investigate those accusations. On a Quinjet back to the Playground, Morse realized that May had no idea about Theta Protocol. As May returned to the Playground, she was greeted warmly by Jemma Simmons, whom May asked to assist her. They discovered that Coulson was commissioning Simmons to upgrade Deathlok without her knowledge, was having clandestine meetings with Andrew Garner, and was spending a lot of money. With growing concern, May ordered Simmons to open the Toolbox.
- "I can't believe what I'm hearing. You're on their side."
"It's not about sides. It's about the truth."
- ―Jemma Simmons and Melinda May
In Coulson's office, Simmons revealed to May that she worked on a fake Toolbox and the real one was with Leo Fitz. May told Simmons that she would handle it, and she told Bobbi Morse about Simmons' action. When she told Simmons what she had done, May asked Simmons if she could hack into Mike Peterson's hard-drive and see, through him, where Phil Coulson was. Simmons agreed to the question but with disappointment over May's actions. May tried to convince her that her actions were the right thing to do in order to reveal Coulson's secrets. May, Simmons, Morse and Alphonso Mackenzie were in Coulson's office when Skye called. May asked her where she was and Skye told her she was with Calvin Zabo. May signaled to Simmons to locate Skye's location. Skye told May that she would not stay with Zabo much longer and S.H.I.E.L.D. needed to retrieve him before he hurt someone. Morse suggested that she take a team and retrieve Skye and her father.
Phil Coulson returned to the Playground with Grant Ward and Agent 33. Later, May, Coulson, Ward, Robert Gonzales, Bobbi Morse, Anne Weaver and Oliver had a meeting about Coulson's plan to infiltrate the Arctic HYDRA Research Facility, destroy it and rescue Deathlok with the help of Sunil Bakshi, a spy in the facility. Gonzales' board voted on whether or not to approve Coulson's plan. Before May made her vote, she spoke with Coulson about his previous lies and his meetings with Andrew Garner, but Coulson told her that the meetings with Garner were only for counseling on his alien writing compulsions. He assured May he would apologize to her at length after they had saved Peterson and the other powered people. May agreed to Coulson's plan and joined his infiltration team.
When Coulson, May, Jemma Simmons, Leo Fitz and Ward boarded the Bus, they heard a loud noise. May immediately pointed her gun toward Ward, but he said it had not been him. Skye appeared; teleported from Afterlife to assist their mission. On the way to the base, Coulson asked Ward to give the team the information about the base sent by Bakshi. As Ward was speaking, he quickly stopped and tried to explain his actions as an undercover HYDRA agent, but none of the team members were convinced of his choice. Near the base, HYDRA spotted the Bus' location and sent missiles to shoot it out of the sky, but the team escaped with a Quinjet and entered the base. Once they were inside the base, the team regrouped with Sunil Bakshi and were split into two groups: Skye, Simmons, Ward and Bakshi went to save Mike Peterson; and May, Coulson and Fitz went to take down the defense system, so Robert Gonzales' men could destroy the base. May defended Fitz while he hacked HYDRA's system. When he succeeded, she looked for Coulson and found him hacking into another computer. She ordered him to leave, and once he had finished, he did. When the team saved Peterson and Lincoln Campbell, May informed Gonzales that they had succeeded in their mission.
During a meeting with Phil Coulson, Robert Gonzales, Bobbi Morse, Anne Weaver and Oliver on the Iliad, Coulson revealed that Theta Protocol was a hidden Helicarrier which, during the events in Sokovia, was activated and used against the threat of Ultron. Coulson suggested that the two factions unite into one S.H.I.E.L.D. where he would be the Director and Gonzales' council would act as his advisors.
A New Threat
Later, May and Bobbi Morse spoke about how things had gone back to normal, but May did not believe that. May asked Morse if she thought that if she forgave Coulson, Lance Hunter would forgive her. Soon after, the ship's alarm was triggered and May and Morse found the invaders, Gordon and Raina in the cargo hold, where the Monolith was. However, Gordon teleported himself and Raina before they could be captured.
May was present in a meeting with Phil Coulson and his council, who discussed the new parties and the Monolith. Coulson and May returned to the Playground and asked Skye if she knew what the Monolith was, but she said neither she nor Lincoln Campbell knew what that was. May watched as Coulson asked more about the new group, but Skye only said they wanted to be left alone. Coulson asked how they should call them; Skye said they called themselves Inhumans. May claimed that the Inhumans were very dangerous, but Skye retorted that the same thing could be said about May. Skye told May that Jiaying had told her the story of what happened to the little girl and her mother in Bahrain, and revealed that the two were Inhumans.
May and Coulson were in the hangar, and she told him she missed the Bus. Coulson told May that Jiaying was Skye's mother, but May did not respond. Coulson wanted to apologize to May, as he had promised, but May did not want to talk about it. She revealed what really happened to the little girl in Bahrain and the choice May had to make to save the agents' lives. May also claimed that Coulson had lost control when he carved the City Blueprints. Coulson said he had control, but May said that Skye was a living proof that he had not.
The next day, after S.H.I.E.L.D. found the Inhumans' settlement, Coulson and the council planned Coulson's meeting with the Inhumans' leader, Jiaying, and finding a solution to their conflict, but Robert Gonzales claimed that he should go to meet her because Couslon was too close to Skye. He gave the example of the Ultron's creation by Tony Stark, and how the Avengers had let one man do whatever he wanted. Coulson asked for May's opinion, and she said that Gonzales should go.
- "What about you? Why can't you be in there right now?"
"I told you. We needed someone objective."
- ―Skye and Melinda May
May flew Gonzales and Anne Weaver to the Inhumans' base with a Quinjet. She walked with Gonzales until he entered to meet Jiaying. She saw then Calvin Zabo arrested by S.H.I.E.L.D.. Skye asked her where Coulson was, but May told her there had to be someone objective to meet her mother. Skye said that Gonzales sent people to kill her a few weeks ago, but May said that he was a much better person than she thought. May told Skye she hoped her mother was everything Skye had wanted her to be.
As a seeming peace-keeping gesture, Jiaying handed over Calvin Zabo to S.H.I.E.L.D. to be punished for his many crimes before beginning with discussions with Robert Gonzales. Once Skye had dropped off her father and as Zabo was being handcuffed and searched by Anne Weaver and her team, May informed Phil Coulson that the Inhumans had turned over Zabo. Not quite understanding what this could mean, Coulson told her that they would deal with that later.
May informed Phil Coulson that Bobbi Morse had not arrived yet nor answered her. Coulson asked how Skye was, and May replied she was disappointed that he did not meet Jiaying. Jemma Simmons came and said that Robert Gonzales had allegedly shot Jiaying. Coulson asked her where Gonzales was now, but Simmons did not know. He ordered the agents to find Gonzales and rescue him, so May ordered the agents to be prepared to take off when she returned and warned them about Calvin Zabo, who might be somehow involved.
May found Skye fighting against an agent, so she ordered her to stand down; Skye claimed that May needed to stand down, after Gonzales shot her mother. May asked where he was so they could fix this, but Skye said it was too late for fixing; May needed to take her people and get away from there. May said she would leave after she found Gonzales, but Skye did not let her keep going and eventually, the two fought each other. Skye used her Inhuman powers to knock May out.
May awoke in a Quinjet to the singing of Calvin Zabo. She joined the argument of Coulson, Simmons and Anne Weaver about whether or not Gonzales attacked Jiaying. After Weaver cut off, Coulson said he could not believe Skye turned against them; May said he did not see Skye attack her. Coulson understood Skye's confusion and Simmons asked why Jiaying had invited S.H.I.E.L.D. only to attack them. Coulson said that he did not know why but maybe Zabo did.
- "There is a piece that Ward doesn't understand. When I find him, I'm going to kill him."
- ―Melinda May
After they returned to the Playground, Coulson discovered that the attack of S.H.I.E.L.D. on Afterlife was actually an order of Jiaying to her men to attack their home, so her people would think that they declared war on them. Lance Hunter and Leo Fitz then entered and said that Bobbi Morse was taken by Agent 33, disguised as May, on a Quinjet which landed in Spain. Hunter asked for a pilot, and May volunteered to join him. Coulson followed with them and their team and realized that Grant Ward left Agent 33 for this reason. May said that she was planning to kill Ward once and for all. Hunter and May found where Morse's Quinjet landed and they saw signs of a struggle in the plane. May comforted Hunter by saying that Morse could handle herself against Ward. While they flew there in their Quinjet, Hunter discovered that Morse's phone was back in service and it should not be a problem to find her location. May said that it could be a trap, so Hunter asked if she was ready. May said she had an opportunity to kill Ward, so she was all in.
- "Hunter is the only agent left."
"She doesn't know that."
- ―S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent and Melinda May
May, Lance Hunter and their team raided the building where Bobbi Morse was held. May took two agents to search for Morse while Hunter took only one. During her search, she came across Agent 33 and started shooting at her, but Agent 33 avoided her shots. May noticed that Agent 33 had stolen a radio from a knocked out agent, so she had an idea how she could make Grant Ward kill Agent 33. She then issued a call on the radio for all agents to move to the south side of the building and only lower their guard once they saw her face, knowing that Agent 33 listened to this call. An agent near to her said that only Hunter was left and May responded that Agent 33 didn't know that. Eventually, her plan worked and Ward killed Agent 33 as she had disguised herself as May.
Before they landed in the Playground, Bobbi Morse stopped breathing, so May resuscitated her. Once they landed, she and Lance Hunter brought Morse to a room for surgery by Jemma Simmons. As she saw Morse recovering but still in a coma, May made a phone call to Andrew Garner. As soon as he answered the call, May said that he just wanted to hear his voice. Garner knew that something was wrong, saying that May had not made a call like this since Bahrain. He asked her how bad the situation was, and she responded that there was no way it was ending well. She also said that there was a lot she had not said that she wished she had. Garner said that he had too. He asked her to do good and to get home safe.
The Inhumans hijacked the Iliad and captured most of the crew, and a distress signal was sent from the ship to all of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s channels around the world. Phil Coulson organized a squadron of Quinjets to fly to the ship and shut down the Inhuman threat. May was with Coulson and Leo Fitz in one of the Quinjets along with Calvin Zabo, although May told Coulson she had doubts of bringing Zabo on the mission. Coulson responded that Zabo had lived among the Inhumans so he knew what they were going into and he could be useful for them. Fitz recognised a code being included in the distress beacon, which Coulson knew was a message from Skye warning them they were going into a trap. Coulson ordered the other Quinjets to fall back while his own continued on.
As they landed on the ship, Fitz said that another message from Skye had came saying there were synthetic Terrigen Crystals and they must go to the room which controls the ventilation of the ship. Zabo said that Jiaying's plan was to gas the ship with the Terrigen Mist and kill all of the agents. Coulson and Fitz went to find the Crystals while Zabo went to find Jiaying. May went to the ventilation control room. On her way, May came across with Lincoln Campbell and they teamed up to save Skye from Alisha's duplicates. Once they saved her, Skye went to find Jiaying while May and Campbell continued fighting Alisha and her duplicates, until they succeeded in knocking her out. Skye and S.H.I.E.L.D. were able to stop Jiaying's plans, leading to the deaths of Jiaying and the teleporter Gordon.
Time Off from S.H.I.E.L.D.
With the War against the Inhumans finished, Andrew Garner spent a few days in the Playground for Phil Coulson's evaluations. They agreed that May should take time off from her duty as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.; Garner revealed that they will travel together. May then asked Coulson, for the first time in her life, for a confirmation for timeout from S.H.I.E.L.D.; Garner and Coulson discussed this and Garner said that was time for her to rediscover the world outside S.H.I.E.L.D.. May then emptied her locker and took her gun with her, just in case.
Phil Coulson felt that he lost his right hand as well as he left, when May did not return from vacation after a few months of absence.
Vacation with Andrew Garner
May and Andrew Garner did their vacation in Maui. On the last scheduled day, Garner took an impromptu picture of May as she watched the sun set. They began talking and she decided that she wanted to continue to be on vacation in order to continue the rekindled spark between her and Garner. Garner agreed and asked May if they could exclusively date again. May could not believe the happiness she was feeling.
May heard that her father, William May, had broken his hip in a car accident. May was afraid that Grant Ward was involved in the accident, so she went to guard him in his house in Sun City, Arizona. She covered her motive from her father by saying she was with him to help him recover his hip, although her father knew she was hiding something.
They played golf and William commented on her hits. May said that he needed to work his hip. William revealed to her that he did not believe that she was with him only to help him recover. He knew something was not right because she returned from her vacation with Andrew Garner to spend time with him. May kept her silence, so he said that he would figure out by himself what was the reason.
Later, May and her father looked at an old picture of her, at the time she was an ice-skater, and they talked about her childhood. Suddenly, May saw a man coming to the door. May picked up a knife, surprised the man and neutralized him, but she saw that it was Lance Hunter.
- "My daughter always got back up."
- ―William May
May and Hunter sat in the yard. After Hunter explained how he found her and the rumors of May's departure from S.H.I.E.L.D., he said that he needed her help to find and kill Grant Ward. But May immediately refused, saying that her father needed her. Hunter was aware about the accident, and he knew that May was concerned that maybe Ward was behind it and that is why she was with him. May asked how he was going to kill him and he responded that he will climb the ranks of HYDRA until he will close enough to Ward to put a bullet in his head. He told her where he was going to be if she changed her mind to join him.
May then returned to the house where her father asked if Hunter's visit was an unfinished business. May remained silent, so he knew she meant for yes. May said that she wanted to know if she could have a normal life without S.H.I.E.L.D., but her father said that it was not possible if she always expected an attack.
Revenge on Ward
Joining Hunter's Mission
May took a phone call from Andrew Garner, where he informed her that Jemma Simmons had been rescued and was safely returned to Earth. May relayed the information to Hunter, who praised how smart Leo Fitz was and insisted that he and May celebrate over a beer.
- "How 'bout I do you a favor and not tell anyone that a tiny little Asian woman kicked your ass."
- ―Melinda May
May accompanied Lance Hunter, under the alias "Gina", to a bar to meet Spud, an associate of Hunter who worked with HYDRA in the United Kingdom; their cover was selling weapons to HYDRA and wanting to meet its leader. Upon meeting her, Spud felt that "Gina" looked too good for the likes of Hunter.
May wanted to talk business, but the men insisted on drinking first. Eventually, after they were so drunk they could hardly enunciate, May was allowed to tell Spud that she and Hunter had powerful weapons that they wanted to sell. Spud informed them that to get an audience with the leader, they needed to win in the fight club that was established for new members to prove themselves.
Waiting for the established time, May offered to fight instead of Hunter; Hunter noted that a small Asian woman with remarkable fighting skills would get the attention of Grant Ward too soon. May then offered to train Hunter; he planned to tire out his opponent, but he took the brass knuckles May had. Discussing her relationship with Andrew Garner, May revealed that she was not the one who left him in Maui.
Entering the warehouse where the fights occurred, May and Hunter noted that the fights were to the death. When Hunter entered the fighting circle, Spud was his opponent; he began beating Hunter mercilessly.
May found herself surrounded by three huge men led by Tat, who insisted on buying her drink. Though she refused, they made their desires clear. May took the three to an adjacent room, then proceeded to demonstrate her superior fighting skills on them. She, needing to keep her cover, told them that they would be embarrassed if they let it be known that a little Asian woman beat them.
May returned to the fight circle in time to see Hunter use the brass knuckles to kill Spud and gain entrance to its higher levels.
- "Hunter needs back-up."
"More than I can provide."
"That's saying a lot!"
- ―Phil Coulson and Melinda May
A week later, Lance Hunter got an assignment from Kebo. He had no idea what the assignment was or where it would be; May berated Hunter for going to a mission ignorant. The two agreed that they both wanted Grant Ward dead; however, Hunter was going to have his revenge, no matter the cost.
May went to the Playground and alerted Phil Coulson that Hunter was in a situation too deep for her to handle alone. Coulson assured her that he would assist when needed; he also wanted to know if his working with Andrew Garner was what caused her not to return. May was not considered about that, only that Hunter was in danger. May noted that Coulson was not wearing a tie; showing her his prosthetic hand, Coulson said he was stilling learning.
Garner caught May as she was leaving; he wanted to talk, but May had few words. Garner told her that he had a good time with her in Hawaii. Garner explained that it was his fault that things did not go well, but May insisted he just did not love her. He told her he was to blame for why they separated again; May agreed, citing that it was payback for when she had left him herself years ago. Garner asked her to dinner, but she refused and left.
May followed Hunter to his rendezvous with Kebo and killed five of the eleven HYDRA operatives surrounding Hunter as he attacked Grant Ward. During the assault, May called Coulson, but he said he was twenty minutes away and recommended that they escape; Hunter refused and pressed the attack. Ward revealed that he had Andrew Garner surrounded, but he would release him if Hunter allowed Ward to escape. Once again, Hunter refused, despite May's concern for her ex-husband. Ultimately, Ward escaped, leaving May angry.
Return to S.H.I.E.L.D.
- "Are you back?"
"Yeah, I'm back."
- ―Phil Coulson and Melinda May
May and Lance Hunter returned to the Playground, timely enough to see Andrew Garner in a gurney and being helped by S.H.I.E.L.D. medics. May asked Garner how he survived the assassination attempt; he revealed that Phil Coulson had sent an agent to tail him, who engaged the HYDRA operatives who pursued him. Garner then told a tale of how he escaped. Deciding to allow the medics to care for him, May left Garner and ran into Hunter who had wished to see Garner; May adamantly refused to allow that. Coulson exited the room and saw the conversation; he took Hunter off the assignment for his failure and emotional issues.
May went to where Bobbi Morse was doing her rehabilitation routine and attacked her. Morse and May fought until Morse pinned her. May congratulated her on passing her test for combat readiness; Morse said that she was not medically cleared, but May dismissed her excuse. When the women saw Coulson, he asked May had she returned to the agency; May declared that she was back.
Search for Strucker
May revealed to Bobbi Morse that she had researched the Attack on Andrew Garner and had learned that Werner von Strucker was one of its participants. She also had learned that Strucker had activated a bank account in the Cayman Islands. After assuring that Morse knew how to speak Mandarin Chinese and that Leo Fitz had made appropriate alaises for them, May and Morse went to Grand Cayman Island.
There, May pretended to be a socialite who only spoke Mandarin and had Morse as a translator; in reality, May and Morse were communicating secretly. The two met Jerome Deschamps who left them alone in the bank vault. As they were going through Strucker's lock box, an alarm was activated and Deschamps returned with security. May, in Chinese, told Morse to prepare for battle, but Morse tried to talk her way out of the situation. One of the guards was not fooled and a fight to escape the bank happened anyway. Later, May chided Morse for hesitating in battle and told her that she was better now than when she was in S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy because Morse now has the "experience" from the Grant Ward incident on her side.
May and Morse discovered that Strucker was in a penthouse in Lisbon, Portugal. The two kicked in the door and saw Kebo torturing the young man. Kebo remembered May from the Attack on Grant Ward she performed earlier, stabbed Strucker, then attempted to escape. Morse gave pursuit while May fought and defeated the other HYDRA operatives.
Finding Out About Lash
- "That's not true."
- ―Melinda May
May removed the restraints that were holding the gravely injured Werner von Strucker and demanded that he reveal the location of Grant Ward. Strucker started to breathe heavily and, upon hearing Ward's name, told May that he was trying to follow directions and feared Ward because he failed in his Attack on Andrew Garner. May requested to know the truth about the incident and Strucker slowly told her of how Andrew Garner transformed and killed his HYDRA teammate before Strucker barely escaped; May was in disbelief. When asked what Garner was, May answered that she did not know.
- "Go on. Might as well. I've thought about my death enough times. The different ways that I could go. I just never thought it'd be you. I never knew why you married me. I was never as kind and empathetic as you. That's why it was so easy for me to walk away, why I gave up on you. I lost something when I left you. I won't do it again. But you have to stop this."
- ―Melinda May attempting to talk down Lash
Returning from Lisbon, May struggled to believe that her husband was Lash. She realized that she could check Werner von Strucker's story, immediately searching for Garner's flight records. She learned that Garner had been within thirty miles of several Inhuman deaths. May went to the lab and found Garner's medical file, but could not find his blood samples, all but confirming von Strucker's story. Asking where Garner was, she learned that he was in a different S.H.I.E.L.D. facility reassessing Joey Gutierrez. May immediately left to find him.
At the Cocoon, May pushed her way past several guards and interrupted Garner as he was interviewing Gutierrez. She ordered the others from the room, and told Garner that von Strucker was alive, and that he had told her that Garner was Lash. She also informed him of her search into his records. As May confronted him, Garner grew unstable, drew an I.C.E.R., and shot May unconscious.
May awoke in an old building at Culver University, chained to a water tank. Immediately, Andrew Garner ran to her side and apologized for her treatment, saying that he had needed to get away from S.H.I.E.L.D. to explain. May listened as Garner explained when and how he had undergone Terrigenesis, and his first transformation into Lash. She asked if Garner would have killed Joey Gutierrez; he assured her he would not have. May and Garner reminisced about their relationship, and the two shared a kiss, only to be interrupted by Phil Coulson. May assured Coulson she was all right, then watched as Coulson informed Garner that he wished to bring him in safely. Garner explained to Coulson that he had only done what he needed to do; suddenly, the lights flickered and burned out. May watched as Lincoln Campbell entered, angrily claiming Garner had torn his friends apart and had no right to do so. Garner, in a rage, transformed into Lash as May watched, sadly accepting what her former husband had become. As Garner and Campbell fought through the building, Coulson gave May a file, which she used to escape her chains.
Following the battle, May blocked Garner's path just as he was about to kill Campbell. May begged Garner to stop and asked that he kill her, noting that she never would have thought he would be the reason she died. May told Garner that she had never known why he had married her, and assured him that she would not walk out on him again. Her words caused Garner to revert to human form, and as he stood before her, May shot him in the chest, knocking him back into the Containment Module and closing the door just as he transformed back into Lash. May watched as gas from the chamber sedated Garner.
With Garner sedated and safe, Rosalind Price offered May the chance to have Garner put in a medical coma to slow his transformation. May asked Daisy Johnson what she would do; Johnson replied that she would take the chance. May told Price to do it, then walked away.
May returned to the Playground saddened and angry. She attended a meeting and listened as Phil Coulson described Operation Spotlight. Learning she was in charge of extracting Lance Hunter and Bobbi Morse, she requested Lincoln Campbell as her partner in the mission.
On the Zephyr One, May listened as Hunter and Morse infiltrated Endotex Labs, and left to extract them in a Quinjet with a reluctant Campbell following. In the Quinjet, she tried to find words to apologize for Lash's killing Campbell's friends, only to have Campbell confront her over her silence. May told Campbell that she was sorry for Lash's killings and that she should have known. Campbell told her that he should be thanking her for shooting Lash; he was interrupted by a warning that the extraction needed to be sped up. May increased the Quinjet's speed.
- "No one knows what's in May's head except May."
- ―Grant Ward
Melinda May is a quiet person who was once described as "warm", "fearless" and unafraid to break rules. May was a veteran pilot and soldier until she was 'damaged' from an incident in Bahrain.
May has an unwavering respect for Phil Coulson and follows his orders even when it conflicts with her desires, as when she yielded in her pursuit of Carl Creel. She was deeply hurt when she heard he had died. May was married to Dr. Andrew Garner, but she doesn't discuss her past with her teammates.
May is fiercely protective of her teammates, going back into the field to protect Coulson despite having retired from field missions, taking up the Berserker Staff instead of Grant Ward, and going so far as attacking Ian Quinn after he shot Skye. She is very secretive and often answer questions with a look, using short or no words at all. Despite her protectiveness of them, it took May a long time to bond with her team. Skye even claimed that she acted like a robot, as everything for her was just "Target- acquired. Threat- eliminated." Melinda May puts up a cold and stoic front but inside she is kind and selfless. She uses her own experiences to connect with other people.
- "The only word for that kind of flying is "fancy"."
- ―Antoine Triplett
- Master Pilot: May is an accomplished pilot, able to perform such feats as flying through the eye of a storm with a plane as large as the Bus, or deceiving a series of HYDRA Quinjets into believing the plane had been destroyed using a clever cloaking maneuver. She, as mission commander, is usually in charge of piloting the Quinjet as well.
- "I know all of your moves. I was once S.H.I.E.L.D."
"Not all of them."
- ―Agent 33 and May
- Master Martial Artist: May is one of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s best martial artists, possessing more black belts than the notorious Black Widow. She was able to take down a Centipede assassin and beat Grant Ward in a sparring match and twice again, once when he was under the influence of Lorelei and the other time when they fought at Cybertek. Agent 33 underestimated May in their fight because both were trained by S.H.I.E.L.D. Even after being tortured she was able to defeat Agent 33. She has been overcome in physical combat on very few occasions, especially by opponents with superhuman strength, such as Michael Peterson when he took her by surprise in an alley in Los Angeles, or the Asgardian Lorelei.
- Master Acrobat: May is seen using her acrobatic skills to her advantage. She was able to surpass the speed of a running Cybertek security guard doing multiple handsprings to take him out.
- Expert Marksman: May prefers not to use firearms during her missions, unless strictly necessary. If forced to use them, May usually chooses handguns as her weapon, even when the agents that accompany her choose assault weapons. She has displayed high accuracy, being able to kill most of her enemies with a single shot, or being able to shoot Lance Hunter in the shoulder to avoid compromising Jemma Simmons' mission cover within HYDRA.
- Multilingualism: May is fluent in English, Cantonese, Mandarin and Spanish. She used this skill in missions in Hong Kong, the Cayman Islands, and Miami, respectively.
Despite being well-trained in the use of all kind of firearms, Melinda May prefers the use of her martial arts skill and unarmed combat unless the situation requires it. In case she needs a weapon, she prefers to use small handguns even while her teammates are using high caliber weapons.
- Smith & Wesson M&P: The Smith & Wesson M&P pistol is the standard sidearm carried by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, and, as such, May has used it to threaten or shoot most of his enemies. She used it during the assault on the Maribel del Mar, to kill HYDRA operatives, stop Donnie Gill and even to shoot at Lance Hunter to prevent him from unawarely killing Jemma Simmons. She also used it to threaten Grant Ward when he kidnapped Skye on the Bus, to shoot at Bobbi Morse when it was revealed that she had infiltrated the Playground as a member of the S.H.I.E.L.D. faction led by Robert Gonzales, and to kill many HYDRA operatives in a mission to rescue Deathlok and Lincoln Campbell in a HYDRA base in the Arctic.
- Smith & Wesson M&P Compact: May has used the compact version of the Smith & Wesson M&P during mission that required high mobility, such as the assault on an abandoned facility to apprehend Deathlok and hopefully tracking down the Clairvoyant, finding Thomas Nash inside the building.
- Glock 19: May took a Glock 19 from a disarmed soldier from the Policia Militar de Perú in Llactapata when the soldiers began to surround them, and used to aim at the rest of soldiers before Phil Coulson cleared up the situation.
- Auto-Ordnance M1911A1: May took a Auto-Ordnance M1911A1 from a disarmed soldier from the Policia Militar de Perú in Llactapata when the soldiers began to surround them, and used to aim at the rest of soldiers before Phil Coulson cleared up the situation.
- Ruger GP100: May infiltrated alone the building in Bahrain where Eva Belyakov had retreated, in hopes of rescuing a young girl that was kidnapped and the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents that went before her. However, May did not know that the girl, Belyakov's daughter Katya Belyakov, was responsible for controlling her mother, some Bahraini local mobsters and even the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, so she was forced to kill Katya, using a Ruger GP100 revolver carried by one of the Bahraini criminals.
- Night-Night Gun: May coldly used a Night-Night Gun to incapacitate Hannah Hutchins when she believed that she was a telekinetic whose powers were going out of control.
- I.C.E.R.: May tested the I.C.E.R.s as Leo Fitz showed them to his teammates during their mission to capture the rogue Asgardian Lorelei. She has used it during missions that required the use of non-lethal force, such as her attempts to prevent her teammates from discovering her direct line to Director Nick Fury, the attack against the Cybertek Manufacturing Facility, the infiltration into the Government Storage Warehouse or the extraction of Raina in Vancouver.
- Berserker Staff: Melinda May grabbed the Berserker Staff from Grant Ward while confronting a group of Norse Paganists, gaining superhuman strength to defeat Petra Larsen and the last remaining paganists. She also took it from Kaminsky in Cuba, using it to demolish the Barbershop Headquarters over a group of Centipede Soldiers.
- Heat Signature Detector: In order to track pyrokinetic Chan Ho Yin, May used a Heat Signature Detector device inside a Centipede Project laboratory in Hong Kong, easily finding his location within the building.
- Infrared Goggles: A pair of goggles able to see the infrared spectrum, that May used to locate a package delivered by Cybertek to Ian Quinn in Italy.
- Tactical Parachute: May wore a Tactical Parachute while walking over the train sporting the Cybertek package, as a safety measure in case of need. She ended up using it when a member of the security team started to shoot her, and she was forced to jump of the train.
- UHF Pin: May wore this pin during her undercover mission at Cybertek Corporate Headquarters, allowing Skye to scan the UHF signals to access information. However, as she found nothing, May and Phil Coulson had to examine the building, finding that all Cybertek files were hard copies.
- S.H.I.E.L.D. Uniforms: May wore two S.H.I.E.L.D. uniforms during her time as a member of Coulson's Team, prior to the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Her primary uniform consisted of a skintight blue shirt with finger hooks and the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo on both shoulders, a leather vest that extended past her waist, black pants, and tall, black boots. She wore a variation of this during her first mission with Coulson's Team, which consisted of a black version of her blue shirt, a blue leather vest with a large belt, black combat pants, and low, black boots. May wore a black catsuit while on a mission to apprehend Ian Quinn in Italy. During her work with Coulson's S.H.I.E.L.D., May mostly abandoned her primary uniform and during missions often wore simply a blue and black leather jacket.
- This character was originally listed with the name Agent Althea Rice (a.k.a. The Cavalry) on casting sheets. However, the name was changed once Ming-Na Wen was chosen for the part, to avoid the controversy of calling an Asian woman "Agent Rice".
- In the comics, The Cavalry is the name of a Georgia-based superhero team.
- Melinda May is the title of a song written by Stephen Foster and published in 1851.
- May hates coffee and high heels.
- According to her ex-husband Andrew Garner, May loves Las Vegas.
Behind the Scenes
- Due to her popularity, Melinda May was introduced into the mainstream Marvel Comics universe.
- ↑ S.H.I.E.L.D. ID Cards
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 3.02: Purpose in the Machine
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.13: One of Us
- ↑ Agent Coulson's Team
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.04: Face My Enemy
- ↑ CHARACTER PROFILE: AGENT MELINDA MAY
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.09: Repairs
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.19: The Only Light in the Darkness
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.01: Pilot
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.17: Melinda
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.17: Turn, Turn, Turn
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.02: 0-8-4
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.03: The Asset
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.04: Eye-Spy
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.05: Girl in the Flower Dress
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.07: The Hub
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.08: The Well
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.09: Repairs
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.10: The Bridge
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.15: Yes Men
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.16: End of the Beginning
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.20: Nothing Personal
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.21: Ragtag
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.22: Beginning of the End
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.01: Shadows
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.02: Heavy is the Head
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.03: Making Friends and Influencing People
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.05: A Hen in the Wolf House
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.06: A Fractured House
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.07: The Writing on the Wall
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.08: The Things We Bury
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.09: Ye Who Enter Here
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.10: What They Become
- ↑ 34.0 34.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.11: Aftershocks
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.12: Who You Really Are
- ↑ 36.0 36.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.14: Love in the Time of HYDRA
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.15: One Door Closes
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.16: Afterlife
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.18: The Frenemy of My Enemy
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.19: The Dirty Half Dozen
- ↑ 41.0 41.1 41.2 41.3 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.20: Scars
- ↑ Avengers: Age of Ultron
- ↑ 43.0 43.1 43.2 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.21: S.O.S. Part One
- ↑ 44.0 44.1 44.2 44.3 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.22: S.O.S. Part Two
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 3.01: Laws of Nature
- ↑ 46.0 46.1 46.2 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 3.07: Chaos Theory
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 3.03: A Wanted (Inhu)man
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 3.04: Devils You Know
- ↑ 49.0 49.1 49.2 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 3.06: Among Us Hide…
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 3.08: Many Heads, One Tale
- ↑ S.H.I.E.L.D. Casting
- ↑ S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 coming in December