Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the little brother of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Following the events of The Avengers, it was the first TV foray into the MCU. The series brought back Clark Gregg’s Agent Phil Coulson as the leader of a new team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. They all live and work together on a plane called The Bus. The stories are just as action packed and dramatic as the films, but with the added humor of a workplace comedy. The team’s forced proximity often leads to emotional attachments, misunderstandings and a fun family atmosphere. With more time to examine the everyday workings of the agency, it gave viewers an inside look at how regular people cope with being surrounded by aliens and superheroes.
The characters all have their own lives they must balance with the crazy world they live in. This becomes especially hard when experimental science is misused and causes events like the Framework or the Inhumans. All of these aspects of the show blend together to make it an emotional roller coaster of tragedy, action and a lot of fun. We’ve put together some of the best Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. memes to highlight all the best parts of the series.
15. COULSON’S IRON MAN JOKE
Phil Coulson is an OG of the MCU. He first appeared in Iron Man and has always had a weird friendship with Tony Stark. After he died in The Avengers, Nick Fury used Kree technology to bring him back. Agent May (Ming-Na Wen) was assigned to keep an eye on him by Fury.
Coulson knew May was worried about how he was holding up and often tried to diffuse the tension with humor. It helped establish the comfortable nature of their relationship right from the start. Unfortunately, comedy is not one of the many things Phil excels at. His bad jokes are sort of a thing now. This is without a doubt a horrible dad joke, which is fitting since Coulson is pretty much the dad of the team. Speaking of that…
14. COULSON IS THE DAD OF S.H.I.E.L.D.
Right from the first episode it was established that Coulson was a well-liked leader among his team. He keeps a tight hold on the missions, but everyone is treated with respect and all their opinions are heard. Except for May, he had the most experience and knowledge.
All the younger agents like FitzSimons and Skye looked up to him. This coupled with the fact that the team all lived together on the plane made Coulson the obvious dad of the group. May even says several times that he loves Skye like a daughter. Things get even more complicated when it’s revealed that Fitz, Ward and Skye all have serious daddy issues. When you think about it, Coulson is actually a pretty cool dad the way he supports his kids and always has their backs. And of course, May is totally the mom.
13. THE FRAMEWORK’S MIND CONTROLLING SOAP
In season four evil robot AIDA created a weird bizarro computer world called the Framework and trapped the team in it. In this universe Hydra had taken over and was running things with an iron fist (no not that one). Daisy and Jemma entered the program to save their friends. Daisy found Coulson as a paranoid teacher convinced that Hydra was controlling everyone through blue soap. Naturally, he made his own soap to get around this.
It was hilarious to see Clark Gregg as the conspiracy theory crank with none of Phil’s confidence or skills. All he needed was a tin foil hat. The mind controlling soap even came back around as a joke between Daisy and Ward later on. It was a nice comedic element in the otherwise super depressing Framework.
12. GENERAL TALBOT EXPLAINS SCIENCE
Since he first appeared in season one, General Talbot has been a thorn in the team’s side. His original mission was to take down the rogue S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who he thought were working for HYDRA. However, over time he became an ally of the team, with he and Coulson becoming friends.
It was in season four that he introduced everyone to new director Mace, an Inhuman with super strength. Of course Mace wasn’t really an Inhuman, just a man using a dangerous super serum to make it seem like he had powers. Talbot, in his own funny way assured everyone the bad stuff had been taken out. For such a gruff character, Adrian Pasdar is just hilarious in his portrayal of a rigid military frustrated by the ridiculous world he now finds himself in.
11. JEMMA EXPLAINS WARD TO FRAMEWORK COULSON
In the first episode, Grant Ward was the audience’s entry into this new side of the MCU. He was presented as the perfect agent. Obviously, he wasn’t, since he went on to betray the team and kill several agents. Over the first three seasons Ward became progressively worse. Finally Coulson killed him when they went to another planet to rescue Jemma. He returned as the evil Hive and was killed again by Lincoln.
Inside the backwards Framework, Ward got a chance to be the hero we all thought he was back in season one. Though he was secretly spying on HYDRA for the resistance, Coulson still felt like there was something off about him. Jemma had to explain their complicated history, which sounded even more ridiculous out loud than it was to watch it.
10. FITZSIMMONS LIE DETECTOR
Though Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is an ever changing show of aliens, Inhumans and evil robots, one of the constants is FitzSimmons. Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons are the science experts of the team. Fitz handles all the tech, while Jemma is the biological genius. They’re best friends who have their own shorthand and speak their own language. They’re so connected, everyone calls them by one name. Most of this comes from the amazing chemistry between Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge.
When Eric Koenig (Patton Oswalt) gives the team lie detectors to test their loyalty to S.H.I.E.L.D., the funny truth about how the rest of the team really sees them comes out. FitzSimmons don’t get the joke, but it become clearer as the series goes on that there is more to their connection (but more on that later).
9. EVIL FITZ
Leo Fitz is one of the truly good guys of the MCU. He always wants to do the right thing. When he began working on AIDA with Radcliffe he only had good intentions. It was Radcliffe who corrupted the program for his own gain. Fitz was concerned with protecting his friends and being in love with Jemma. Unfortunately, his work on AIDA eventually led to the Framework, where we met evil Fitz.
Framework Fitz was the brutal, sadistic head of HYDRA. He was a stone cold killer, who performed experiments on Inhumans. Iain De Caestecker created a completely new Fitz who we had never seen before. There was never a moment where the real Fitz showed up. Even in the face of torturing one of his best friends, he was 100% evil Fitz.
8. AIDA IS AN ANDROID
Following the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, the Sokovia Accords were created in part to keep The Avengers in check, but also to prevent something like that from happening again. As such, work on artificial intelligence was extremely restricted. However, Radcliffe created AIDA anyway. Just like Tony Stark he started out with good intentions, but you know what they say about those.
Once Radcliffe got a glimpse of the Darkhold he became obsessed with immortality. Meanwhile AIDA found a way to alter her programming, trapped everyone in the Framework, then killed Radcliffe when he got in her way. Yes, just like with Ultron, the robot outsmarted its creator, defied its directives and tried to save the world by destroying it. How is Mace the only one that sees these parallels?
7. A SPY’S GOODBYE
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., being a spy is a hard life. They have to constantly lie to their family, relationships almost never work and people keep trying to kill them. The one positive is that they get to save the world with their friends. It took awhile for Bobbi Morse and Lance Hunter to be completely accepted by the team, but once they were, that was it, they were family.
In season three, a mission in Russia went wrong, and Bobbi and Hunter were arrested by the Russian military. To avoid exposing S.H.I.E.L.D., they agreed to be disavowed and leave the agency. In one of those beautiful “we’re a family, not a team” moments that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. does so well, everyone gathered at a bar to give Bobbi and Hunter “a spy’s goodbye.” We’re not crying, you’re crying.
6. MACK IS READY FOR ROBOTS
Mack is the most sensible S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. He’s got a weapon for every possible contingency. In a world of aliens and superheroes, he always finds a way to stay logical. Knowing that and considering they had been through this with Ultron, it completely makes sense that he was ready for an evil robot.
In fact, Mack is so smart he has a special life insurance policy prepared for killer robots. His girlfriend YoYo seems very surprised by this, but really at this point, she should totally understand. Also, since they spend most of the hour listing off all the movies where robots go bad and end up killing people, it seems like something she knows a little about too. You just know Mack has a secret apocalypse bunker ready to go.
5. FITZ LOVES JEMMA
As we discussed earlier, FitzSimmons is the constant of S.H.I.E.L.D. No matter what happens, they’re always there for each other. As we learned in season one, this is because Fitz is in love with Jemma. His love for her has never wavered, but it took her a little longer to get there.
In the season one finale he sacrificed himself and suffered brain damage to save her life. In the season two finale he finally got the courage to ask her out, then held those reservations while she was trapped on another planet. He then worked tirelessly to find a way to get her off said planet. Fitz has never lost faith in Jemma, so it was great when she finally repaid the favor and rescued him from the Framework. Though it’s unclear what season five holds for them, you know FitzSimmons will find a way back to each other.
4. HYDRA ARE TOTALLY NAZIS
Anyone who’s spent five minutes reading a Marvel comic book or watching a Captain America movie knows HYDRA are Nazis. In the MCU they started as Hitler’s science division. Later, in Captain America: The Winter Soldier they may not wear the uniforms, but everything they stand for shows that they’re absolutely still Nazis.
In the Framework HYDRA takes over and rewrites history. They spin it that these lies are circulated by HYDRA’s enemies. After Daisy watches paranoid teacher Coulson reject a student’s questions about history and spit out the party line to the rest of the class, she runs into one of them in the parking lot and sets him straight. It doesn’t matter what world it is, HYDRA will always totally be Nazis.
3. MAY MEANS EVERYTHING TO COULSON
Coulson and May have been friends for a long time. It was clear from day one that they had a special relationship. They trust each other in a way that no one else on the team does. It wasn’t romantic…at first. In season four, their friendship began to show signs that it was heading toward romance. They often talked about finishing a special bottle of scotch together.
When AIDA kidnapped May and replaced her with an LMD, it took him too long to figure out, but once he did, nothing would keep him from finding her. He had no trouble admitting what she meant to him and why he needed the real Melinda May. Like FitzSimmons, Phil and Melinda seem to always find their way back to one another.
2. MING-NA WEN IS ALWAYS THE CALVARY
When we first meet Agent Melinda May, she’s pushing papers, having decided to not go in the field anymore. A traumatic mission has shaken her faith, but when called on by Coulson she saves the day. Her nickname, gained during that awful mission, is the calvary. She hates it, but everyone knows that’s who she is.
Long before she was Agent May, Ming-Na Wen was famous for playing another kickass female heroine, Mulan. As the voice of Mulan, she taught young girls that they were just as important as boys. She was part of a new wave of Disney princesses who didn’t need to wait around for a prince to rescue them. As a matter of fact, it’s she who saves China. So, maybe it’s not the character that is the calvary but the actress who plays her.
1. COULSON IS GHOST RIDER
There was a lot of excitement when it was announced that Ghost Rider would be in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s fourth season. During the first pod we met Robbie Reyes, learned his backstory and discovered his connection to the Darkhold. Once he and the Ghost Rider left, it seemed like that was the end of his S.H.I.E.L.D. story.
Then he showed back up for the end of the season to help the team battle AIDA. Knowing that the Ghost Rider was the only thing that could hurt her, she never let Robbie get close. Coulson came up with an unconventional plan when he surprised AIDA by turning into the Ghost Rider. Apparently he made a short term deal. Before he left, Robbie told Coulson he didn’t envy the deal he made, so we still have that to look forward to.
Which of these memes is the funniest to you? Let us know in the comments!
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