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The seventh and final season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has introduced a new version of Melinda May due to her ordeal at the end of Season 6. May temporarily died after her battle with Izel and was brought back with some of Simmons' fancy tech. She woke up with no emotions of her own but the ability to empathically pick up on the feelings of others. While that has come in handy in rooting out Chronicoms, it has also presented challenges for May. According to actress Ming-Na Wen, she faced challenges as well playing this new May, and she turned to Joel Stoffer, who plays Enoch, for some help.
Ming-Na Wen spoke with CinemaBlend about S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 7, and she shared how Enoch was helpful in her approach to playing May with her new abilities:
Well, when the writers first told me that May was going to have less emotions, she was going to have no emotions, I just laughed. It was like, 'Are you guys kidding me? Seriously? I've been playing her for six years, and now you want me to play less [emotions]. Okay.' [laughs] I want to be able to cry like Simmons and just emote. But it was quite challenging, I have to say. I even asked the actor who plays Enoch, Joel Stoffer, because he plays Enoch so brilliantly. And even though I can't play May robotically, like he does, it was just nice to get an idea of how to convey information and thoughts without feeling them. It's a very strange experience as an actor. And then she's an empath and she goes from no emotions to being someone who has a panic attack or who's drunk and so it was it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed it.
May was never exactly known for showing her feelings through the first six seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., so Ming-Na Wen consulted the other major member of the cast who has extensive experience in playing a less emotional character for her work in Season 7. Joel Stoffer has been playing Enoch as he spends more and more time with humans ever since early Season 5. That's not to say that May has been robotic or could have been confused for a Chronicom. At least, not once she suffered her empathic panic attack!
Interestingly, Ming-Na Wen and Joel Stoffer's big Season 7 scene together at this point saw them coming to blows in an action sequence that culminated in May hitting him over the head with a fire extinguisher until his skin started peeling off. That encounter led to speculation that May had been replaced by a Chronicom somehow, or become part Chronicom. Once May surrounded herself with people whose feelings she could pick up, her empathic abilities became clear.
Ming-Na Wen also revealed that May would likely give up her empathic abilities and return to her normal if given the chance, even though those abilities have made her a unique asset to the team in Season 7. Those abilities certainly came in handy when May and Yo-Yo visited Afterlife to recruit Jiaying's help in recovering Yo-Yo's powers. May helped Yo-Yo unlock the memories and guilt that blocked her from using her speed, and Yo-Yo saved the day!
Well, Yo-Yo almost saved the day. Through no fault of her own, Yo-Yo's fix with the time drive evidently didn't work, and the next episode will seemingly see the agents trying to survive the fallout. Still, the return of Yo-Yo's powers will undoubtedly be a good thing for the heroes trying to save the world, assuming she survives the next episode! Without May and Yo-Yo visiting Afterlife, who knows what might have happened?