For Your Love, SHIELD Style: Why We Ship Coulson And May

Photo courtesy of Comic Book Resources
Photo courtesy of Comic Book Resources

It’s Valentine’s Day and that means everyone deserves a little love, even tough as nails S.H.I.E.L.D. agents.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is one of those shows that doesn’t need a main “ship” to make it function. It gets along more than fine without two characters’ will they/won’t they at the center. But! If we were to play some speculation ball, the ship to get on board with is CoulMay aka Phil Coulson and Melinda May. Here’s why.

They have a history. Maybe they were just partners. Or maybe they had a secret relationship that was torn apart by the intensity of their work and S.H.I.E.L.D. regulations. May’s cheeky offer to “lay out the mats” and “go a few rounds with him” in “The Girl in the Flower Dress” could indicate either. This is for sure, knowing each other’s past makes it easier to build a future. Together.

Skye and Ward. We know that on some level S.H.I.E.L.D. is driving us toward this pairing. While this doesn’t work for me on a number of levels and mostly because I think they have no chemistry, what it means is Ward and May is doomed to fail (for many reasons).  This leaves plenty of time for Coulson and May to happen.

They know each other’s pain. Sharing your deep, dark secrets with someone is one thing. Being vulnerable about your hurts, fears, worries and regrets is something much different. This would be true for anyone but for two veteran spies like Coulson and May it’s even more meaningful. You don’t just tell anyone about the time your whole team was killed and you held a dying child in your arms. Or show anyone your alien-staff-through-the-chest scar.

Equal parts awesome. For a relationship to work, partners need to be on equal footing. While May is probably better in the field than Coulson, he makes up for it with leadership and strategy. On the fields of sassiness and smarts, these two are perfectly matched. And nothing against Ward but he’s kind of a big dumb jock. Melinda May seems like she would prefer intelligent, athletic guys, maybe like the ones who wear adorkable glasses while undercover.

Photo: ABC/Carol Kaelson
Photo: ABC/Carol Kaelson

She trusts him. The Cavalry is tightlipped and stoic so when she opens up, you know it’s not on a whim. Who was it patching up May’s wounds in “T.R.A.C.K.S.”? To whom did she reveal her secret getaway plans if she ever decided to ditch S.H.I.E.L.D.? And who was the first person she told about her affair with Ward? Coulson. All Coulson.

The cellist can never know. Coulson’s lady love believes he’s dead. Not only that, she has to continue believing he’s dead for security reasons. So the brokenhearted Coulson will need to move on and who better with than his kickass partner in espionage?

Do you agree that Coulson and May are made for each other? Or do you just want to keep one or the other all to yourself?

Stephanie Coats


  1. Also totally agree. They understand one another in such a deep way. How Coulson spoke about her in ‘Repairs’ almost brought me to tears. He cares so much for her and we see her fear at thinking he might be dead in ‘T.R.A.C.K.S.’ (when he and Ward are on the ground post train).

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