When a TV series focuses on spies saving the world from the weird and the otherworldly, romance often takes a backseat to the action. That doesn’t mean Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is lacking in the romance department. Quite the opposite, in fact.
The Marvel series has seen a lot of interoffice relationships develop amongst its agents. Some of them are much better than others. After all, the audience would much rather watch a pair who challenges or complements one another than one who manipulates each other for their own gain. We’ve taken a look back at the five-plus seasons of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. to separate the best couples from the worst.
10 Best: Bobbi And Hunter
There’s just something great about Bobbi Morse and Lance Hunter. He called her a she-devil and their marriage dissolved, but they found their way back to one another. They developed a surprisingly deep sense of trust for a pair of super spies.
According to Hunter, their relationship was born of out lies, while Bobbi was undercover and he was a mercenary of sorts. When they both worked for S.H.I.E.L.D. in Seasons Two and Three, the audience got to watch them fall in love all over again. All it takes is a few solo vacations - or Hunter taking a break to rescue Fitz - for the two to keep their bickering in check.
9 Worst: Elena And Keller
The audience wanted to like Elena and Keller together. After all, Elena deserved some happiness after her last boyfriend got a promotion and froze her out. They might have been a great couple, but we’ll never know.
They rank amongst the worst of the show only because the audience never got a chance to really see them as a couple. Instead, Keller was used as a plot device to show Elena’s hesitation to use her abilities in a crucial moment. He paid for it with his life when a parasitic alien invaded his body. Elena will still have to deal with the fallout of losing him, but the audience was robbed of a chance to get to see the pair develop.
8 Best: Coulson And May
There was no shortage of development when it came to Phil Coulson and Melinda May. This particular pairing was a fan favorite from the early stages of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Over the course of the first two seasons of the series, the audience learned that Coulson and May attended the Academy together. They’d known each other for decades, seen each other at their best and their worst, and still had one another’s backs. Other relationships and road blocks meant they didn’t actually get romantic until the end of Coulson’s life, but the audience got to go along for a great journey.
7 Worst: Will And Jemma
If Jemma and Will met under different circumstances, the pairing might have been more interesting for the audience. Instead, the audience found them to be a bit distasteful.
Jemma met Will when she ended up stranded on the planet Maveth. Will was the only other human there. He promptly trapped Jemma in a cage and treated her like the monster he thought she was. Over time, even as he started to trust her, he continually scorned her ideas and discounted her hope for finding a way home. Will wasn’t exactly Prince Charming.
6 Best: Daisy And Lincoln
The Inhuman formerly known as Skye took some time out from S.H.I.E.L.D. as she got to know her family and learn how to use her powers in Season Two. While on her temporary leave, she also got to know Lincoln.
Daisy and Lincoln formed a bond that was partially the result of being some of the only people to survive the former’s mother attempting to destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. Friends first, Lincoln ultimately sacrificed himself to save the planet so Daisy wouldn’t have to. It was admirable, but a sad end considering their relationship might have been the healthiest one she ever had.
5 Worst: Fitz And Ophelia
Quite possibly one of the most disturbing romantic pairings on the series, Fitz and Ophelia paired up in a virtual world. In the Framework, Fitz was the Doctor and Ophelia was the avatar for the artificial intelligence AIDA.
AIDA managed to combine technology and magic to turn herself into a real person, but not before she invaded Fitz’s mind and manipulated him into living an entire other life. That relationship, and everything that came with it, still exists in Fitz’s memories of living that whole other life. It still haunts him in the form of the Doctor.
4 Best: Mack And Elena
Part of the reason fans didn’t take well to Elena and Keller’s lack of development is because they were still reeling from Mack and Elena’s relationship imploding. The audience only got to see the good on screen.
We saw Elena begin to learn more English while Mack started to learn Spanish so they could communicate better. Elena even took the next step in their relationship when she thought Mack was dragging his feet. She also stayed with him in the Framework as it fell apart around them, to give him time with the daughter he lost. Though the audience knows Mack pushed her away during the time jump between Seasons Five and Six, so far, they’ve only seen the two meeting on middle ground.
3 Worst: Ward And Kara
None of the relationships involving Grant Ward could be considered the best of the show. They were, after all, built on a foundation of lies and manipulation.
Agent 33, AKA Kara Palamas, didn’t know who she was after being brainwashed by HYDRA. She found comfort in Ward after he “liberated” her, but it was a twisted version of comfort. Ward helped Kara torture people to get the supposed closure she wanted - all while they began their version of romance. All he ended up doing was turning her into a version of himself, the kind of person who used lies and violence to solve their problems.
2 Best: Fitz And Simmons
Sometimes referred to as the heart of the show by critics, Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons have a friendship nearly as long as that of May and Coulson - and they’re half their age. The duo partnered up at the Academy and became some of the biggest brains of S.H.I.E.L.D.
It took a few near-death experiences for them to admit their real feelings for one another, and a few more bumps in the road for them to finally end up in a relationship. No matter what the show throws at them, even death, they find their way back to one another.
1 Worst: Ward And Skye
Calling Ward and Skye a couple might not be entirely accurate, but before Ward was revealed as a HYDRA mole in Season One, there was an attempt at a relationship.
Before Skye learned her family history and took the name Daisy, she learned S.H.I.E.L.D. protocol and self defense from Ward. During that time, it seemed like they had chemistry. They even shared one kiss before Ward revealed himself to be working for HYDRA. Like many of his other relationships, Ward tried to manipulate Skye into seeing things his way, but it didn’t work the way he wanted it to. She never forgave him for his betrayal.