In tonight's episode of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Melinda May is back. After an island vacation with Andrew, and time away from the team and protecting her father, Lance Hunter's offer of to help take out Grant Ward brought her back into the field. Now, the unexpectedly consequences of Hunter's actions are bringing her back to S.H.I.E.L.D.
The apparent death of Andrew leaves Agent May is perhaps the most emotionally compromised position viewers have ever seen her in. So what does that mean for May and her relationships going forward? We caught up with the actress who plays her, Ming-Na Wen, to find out.
May’s been away from the rest of the team for most of the season so far. Have you been itching to get back on the front lines and into the action scenes, or have you been enjoying the change of pace?
MW: A little of both, you know? It’s always one of those things where - as an actor, and a workaholic - you want to constantly be doing something that’s challenging, and exciting, and working your ass off. It’s a nice balance this year, I think, because we do have a little bit of a rest period between some of these episodes, since some of them are focused on one particular character, like Elizabeth [Henstridge]’s episode with Simmons that just aired. I don’t know, I think we’re always going to be happy and then unhappy [laughs], but I’m excited to be back into the fold.
Obviously, after what happened with Hunter and Andrew, May is a little upset…
MW: Yes, a little bit.
Who do you think May places most of the responsibility and blame on for what happened to Andrew? Lance for going after Ward? Coulson or giving Lance his orders? Bobbi? Or is it all on Ward?
MW: I think Ward is definitely the focus, because he did the most damage and the greatest harm. I really don’t know if May puts the blame on anyone. I think more so she is just frustrated and angry at how chaotic her S.H.I.E.L.D. family has become. Definitely with the introduction of the Inhumans, with Coulson and never really being certain where he’s coming from, and even with Andrew. I think she’s quite upset about all of it, and I think it’s going to make her judgement more confused, as opposed to like in Season 1 and Season 2, where she was pretty certain who the bad guys were, who the good guys are, and now it’s kind of up for grabs.
On a similar note, the team’s mission and makeup has changed quite a bit since the series began. How do you think May feels about the team’s current status, their mission, and their methods? How does she feel about Inhumans? Does she think they should be registered, controlled, and/or monitored?
MW: I think for May, she’s still going to take it on a case by case basis. Unlike S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, who have gone through the program and supposedly their backgrounds have been checked [laughs] – obviously that didn’t work out too well. I think for her, everything has to be a case-by-case situation now, and she needs to be even more clearheaded. For me, I think it’s very, very tough for her to keep her emotions in check this season, and it’s going to be a constant struggle for her to try to make choices that are based on what’s best for the mission, or what’s best for the situation, as opposed to how she feels about it. She’s definitely compartmentalizing a lot of fear, a lot of anger, a lot of pain, and just doing what she is best at, which is accomplishing and fulfilling a mission. I think that’s where her comfort zone is.
In the last scene we saw of her, she looked pretty angry…
MW: You think? [Laughs] I think it would scare my kids, that’s for sure. And my husband.
Do you think she can at all sympathize with the decision Lance made, to go after Ward despite the situation?
MW: No. It’s funny, because her relationship with Hunter is once of necessity, as opposed to one of endearment [laughs]. He’s just like that annoying brother, or the guy that never seems to get it right, that’s always going by his emotions. I mean, she respects his skill and everything, but just how he goes about doing things really pisses her off, and this is just another validation that he shouldn’t be on mission unless he can keep his emotions in check.
So it’s pretty safe to say he’d have a hard time regaining whatever little trust she did have in him.
MW: Yeah, I think so. I think the only reason why she went on the mission with Hunter is because what he did say made sense to her.
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.