Phil Coulson's team on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is comprised almost entirely of couples now, but sadly, tragedy might be just around the corner for them. When ABC's flagship Marvel TV series entered its fifth season and the cast whittled down to the current core group of Coulson (Clark Gregg), Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), Alphonso "Mack" Mackenzie (Henry Simmons), Yo-Yo Rodriguez (Natalia Cordova-Buckley), Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), Leo Fitz (Iain de Caestecker), and Daisy Johnson (Chloe Bennet), most of them began to pair up romantically. In fact, Daisy, who lost her boyfriend Lincoln at the end of season 3, is the only one of the seven agents without a love interest within the team. Everyone else is happily (more or less) spoken for.
"You two are adorable. I ship it," Ruby (Dove Cameron) quipped to FitzSimmons, but fans have shipped this couple since we met them in the pilot. FitzSimmons' wedding midway through season 5 was a heartwarming culmination of the best love story in the MCU, and happily, it went off without a hitch (only later did Fitz manifest as a super villain in the form of the persona of his evil Hydra doppelganger from the Framework). The love story between Coulson and May, however, has been simmering just as long. Known affectionately to fans as "Philinda," they had a long-awaited breakthrough when May finally told Coulson she loves him. Meanwhile, Mack and Yo-Yo have been into each other for a couple of years, and they're clearly devoted to one another, even if they've never made it "official".
While there have been sweet romantic high points for the S.H.I.E.L.D. couples, things are about to get a lot worse for them. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. remains a show about spies who are, at this point, fighting desperately against enemies old and new to prevent the apocalyptic future they escaped from in the first half of the season. They've just endured time travel, and waged war against robots, a killer teenage girl, a supernatural fear dimension, and old Hydra enemies and technology come back to haunt them. As they head towards the endgame of season 5 (and possibly the end of the series) they're about to face an alien invasion. Because of the relentless crises they face, it almost seems irresponsible for the agents to continually pursue romance, but they admirably fight for each other as much as they do to save the world (they also fight against each other a lot, but they come back together just as quickly).
It's no surprise the characters have paired off romantically. The agents' lives are constantly surrounded by danger and death with no opportunity to take a break or develop outside lives. At this point, no one else could possibly understand what they've endured besides each other. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is also a show by the Whedon family and, as exemplified by Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse, soap opera romances have played a pivotal role in each of their TV series. S.H.I.E.L.D. seems to take that formula to the Nth degree, with six of the seven main characters romantically involved with each other. Not to mention poor Deke (Jeff Ward), who is hopelessly in love with Daisy yet finds his feelings not reciprocated; Quake is focused on trying to be the next leader of S.H.I.E.L.D. (she also can't stand Deke).
However, the other trademark of a Whedon TV series is tragedy, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. seems to be careening in that direction. Fans hope our heroes can ultimately save the world but rightly fear what that victory will cost them: with Coulson dying, there seems to be no happy future for him and May unless they find a miracle cure; it's improbable that Daisy will suddenly fall for Deke; Yo-Yo knows Mac doesn't survive into the future (although S.H.I.E.L.D. changing the timeline could mean a reversal of that outcome). Fans' best hope remains with Jemma's resolute faith that FitzSimmons' love is "invincible" being proven correct, now and forever. But when has Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ever been that simple?
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Fridays @ 9 pm on ABC.