An agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Nick Fury's right-hand-man. He was first introduced trying to debrief Stark of his captivity by the Ten Rings, and later assisting him in pursuing the Iron Monger and curing his poisoning. Some time later, he was assigned with excavating Mjolnir, and bumped heads with Thor and his new human companions. Those efforts paid off in recruiting the Norse god to the Avengers, and once assembled he remained a major figure in escorting the heroes.During the events of Loki's raid on the Helicarrier, Coulson was mortally wounded in an attempt to attack him. He was reported as dead to the Avengers and most of S.H.I.E.L.D., who promised to honor his memory and stop Loki for him. However, only the highest in S.H.I.E.L.D. knew that Coulson had survived, and soon after he was given in a new job in assembling a team to investigate strange events and rogue supers around the world.
A Father to His Men: Coulson cares a great deal for his team and would do anything to protect them, even if it means going into the field alongside them.
Ascended Meme: "Coulson Lives" is sometimes seen hidden in episodes of the Stan Lee-sponsored Bad Days cartoon, then Coulson himself does in Episode 12. Then when Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s teaser was revealed, Marvel announced tweeting said slogan would unlock a longer trailer.
Also, don't jeopardize your own well-being. He explodes at Agents Ward and Simmons in "FZZT" for jumping out of the cargo bay in midair. He considers especially Agent Simmons to be irreplaceable.
Beware the Nice Ones: On the surface, he's a pleasant man overall, but he's not called Fury's "one good eye" for no reason. And heaven help you if you betray him.
Coulson: You have a secret, Skye, and one chance to come out with it–that's now!–or I'm done with you.
BFG: He loves these. He uses one in The Avengers and several times in Ultimate Spider-Man.
Coulson:[points a prototype gun at Loki] Even I don't know what it does. [activates it] Do you wanna find out?
Breakout Character: Very much so. He started out as a random suit, but around Iron Man 2 and Thor, his current characterization began to emerge. Once his popularity reached its peak in The Avengers, he then received his own show.
Rewatch Iron Man 2, Thor, and the shorts starring him. It becomes apparent that he knows exactly how people are going to react, but feigns ignorance to confirm it and make them think they had a choice. Nick Fury is the same, but Coulson augments it by managing to seem remarkably inoffensive to those who don't know any better.
As it turns out, in Agents, Coulson knows more then he is letting on:
In "0-8-4", he was able to pin down that Reyes was gonna turn on them and used that to motivate the team into working together. He also may know about Skye being The Mole for the Rising Tide, when Fury asked him about if Skye could be trusted in The Stinger.
Cloud Cuckoolanders Minder: Though he was joking when he said it, "Super Nanny" is an apt description of his relationship with the Avengers, or at least with Tony Stark.
The Comically Serious: He's quite snarky and sarcastic, but you'd never pick up on that from his demeanor.
Cool Car: He gets one named "Lola" in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Don't touch her. It's revealed to be capable of flight by the end of the first episode.
Death Faked for You: According to Coulson, Fury faked his death on board the Helicarrier to help motivate the Avengers. Coulson claims that he "died" for forty seconds; Hill corrects him to eight, but mentions that he keeps extending the time each time he re-tells it. Hill implies there's more to it than what Coulson knows.
Disney Death: While seemingly killed by Loki, the knowledge that he survived was kept secret to all but Level 7 agents.
Heroic Sacrifice: Coulson's choice in facing Loki alone could be interpreted as one, especially given the fact that he thought his death would get the Avengers to stop bickering with one another to avenge him, as it were.
In the Back: How it happened. Courtesy of Loki in the Hulk cell room.
Don't Explain the Joke: It seems Coulson likes hanging lampshades on his jokes. In he pilot, he makes a dramatic statement while stepping out of the shadows, then apologizes for it and says he thinks a bulb's burned out. In episode 8, he puns on the fact that they have to dig for an artifact, then immediately points it out.
Coulson: See what I did there?
Dork Knight: He's what happens if your stuffy and uptight math teacher decides to go out and become a secret agent.
His reaction to an unidentified mecha opening its face and bellowing a flame up from within? "Oh, here we go..."
In "Girl in the Flower Dress" when learning of Scorch's name: "Ah crap. They gave him a name..."
Good Is Old-Fashioned: This is exactly what Coulson believes that the world needs right now in Avengers. The TV series continues this theme, with Coulson commenting to Reyes that "with the world changing so fast around us, we need some anchors to the past". The room they're talking in is filled with such things as a first-edition walkie-talkie wristwatch in perfect working order.
Fury considers him to be this to S.H.I.E.L.D., calling him his "one good eye."
Also functions as this to his team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Compared to Melinda May and Grant Ward, he tends to be more compassionate and favors nonlethal solutions to the problems they face whenever possible. Although Skye seems to be edging toward this role as well.
The Knights Who Say Squee: He's very fond of Captain America. He's got the trading cards, plus he designed Cap's modern-day outfit.
Last Name Basis: In The Avengers, Tony Stark snarks that Coulson's first name is "Agent", as opposed to "Phil". But after the agent's mortal wounding, Tony has a change of heart and when boasting to Loki about the various Avengers who are going to be coming for him, he finishes by referring to him by his first name. (See Sacrificial Lion.)
The Leader: He's in charge of The Team, and for all that he's a very nice, very good man, he never forgets his position.
Locked Out of the Loop: Despite believing he didn't die in The Avengers and just faked his death to motivate the team, it appears there's more to it than that. Maria Hill cryptically says to Dr. Streiten that Coulson can't ever find out the truth.
Papa Wolf: He's very protective of his proteges, as seen in "Eye Spy". After learning the identity of the person who was controlling Akela, he immediately springs into action in order to arrest the crook.
Perpetual Smiler: A part of his persona that he uses to help guide conversations. He's almost never seen without his serene, calm smile on his face, even during otherwise morose or trying situations. Since he never loses his cool, he never drops the smile.
In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson seems to feature a more stoic and serious demeanor. This is more than likely due to him coming back wrong. When the situation demands it, whether it's resolving a conflict within his team, or dealing with the shadier aspects of S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson has proven that you shouldn't handle him lightly.
Promoted to Opening Titles: He started off as just a standard suit in the first Iron Man movie, but his role was greatly expanded by Thor. Now, he's deeply entrenched into the Marvel lore, even getting his own comics, short films and TV series.
Reasonable Authority Figure: He is extremely tolerant of the antics his team sometimes gets into and in some cases even encourages them.
The Reveal: Battle Scars #6 reveals that "Cheese", Marcus Johnson's soldier friend, is actually the 616 counterpart of Agent Coulson.
Seen It All: Hints of Type 1, as is typical of MIB. He also has Type 2's Genre Savviness as he orders his men to let Thor try and lift his hammer, and realized just in time that Destroyer's head opening and glowing is a very bad thing. When he calls Black Widow, who's been captured but then subsequently beats the tar out of her captors, his expression is of complete boredom as he listens to the resulting scuffle as if it were hold music.
Shell-Shocked Veteran: His behavior is a little more erratic post-Avengers as seen in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Coulson eventually admits this to himself and May, who tells him that dying is going to change someone no matter who they are. The series also implies there's a Dark Secret about Coulson's death he's unaware of, so it's unknown how much of his behavior is due to that, and how much is due to this.
Team Dad: Whenever the team gets into an argument, expect Coulson to be the one to break it up. Skye even refers to him as such.
That Came Out Wrong: Coulson's fanboy love of Captain America intersects with some unintentional awkwardness when talking to the man himself.
Coulson: I watched you while you were sleeping. [awkward silence] I-I mean... I was present when you were unconscious from the ice.
Unfazed Everyman: There really isn't anything that can surprise him, be it thunder gods, men clad in flying wearable tanks, or superhuman WWII vets who were frozen for the better part of a century. note The WWII vet gets a reaction, but only because he's a fanboy. Justified in that this is the sort of thing S.H.I.E.L.D. does. Thunder gods aren't special, they're Thursday.
What the Hell, Hero?: Gives Skye two of them. The first is in "Girl inthe Flower Dress" after she betrays his trust (see Berserk Button and Beware the Nice Ones above). The second is in "The Hub" after he catches her prying into something about the mission of the episode meant for Level 8 eyes; this earns her a good talking-to and an explanation as to why secrecy is important in certain situations.
Wide-Eyed Idealist: His belief in heroes, old-fashioned notions, and in the Avengers to work together as a team can be seen as this. In the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot, he manages to talk down an enraged Mike because he believes people are good.
A highly experienced agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. who is an Ace Pilot and weapons expert. She is a member of Agent Coulson's team that is assembled to investigate strange events around the world.
Ability Over Appearance: The character Melinda May was originally supposed to be a white woman named Althea Rice. However, when Ming-Na Wen gave an impressive audition, the character was rewritten as Asian-American.
Ace Pilot: She serves as the pilot for the team, though a few team members are skeptical as to whether or not this is all Coulson has planned for her, given her fame within S.H.I.E.L.D.
Action Girl: Easily one of the strongest characters in the series, female or otherwise.
Almighty Janitor: It's hinted she's a famous and very experienced agent who decided to step away from the field for a desk job, and now officially is just the pilot of the team's jet.
Badass: May is easily the most badass member of the team, shown particularly in The Well where she uses two pieces of the Berserker Staff without visible effort when Ward goes Unstoppable Rage with just one.
Big Damn Heroes: She earned the name "the Cavalry" due to rescuing people right in the nick of time. She's done a lot of that so far in the series.
Simmons: Is that the extraction team? Ward: No, it's the Cavalry.
Broken Bird: The backstory that was somewhat revealed in "Repairs" shows she's a textbook example: whatever she had to do during that one mission changed a rule-breaking, fun-loving, kind woman into a stoic, cold and somewhat ruthless agent.
Cutting the Knot: Will often take the direct brute force solution when others are discussing what to do.
In "0-8-4", the team tries to figure out how to get into the lab with the doors sealed. May jumps into a S.H.I.E.L.D. SUV and rams it through the doors:
May: You guys talk a lot.
In "FZZT", while Coulson and Ward are trying to figure out how to get the locked and barricaded barn doors open, May just kicks in the nearby regular door.
In "Repairs", Coulson tries to calm down Hannah enough so she can trust her, but with the crowd getting more agitated, May shoots Hannah with the Night Night pistol.
Dark and Troubled Past: Enough to not make her want to work on the field and want to work in a dark, boring office.
Doesn't Like Guns: Not that she isn't willing to use one, but she doesn't like to carry them if she thinks it's unnecessary. This may simply be an extension of not wanting to be brought into combat. The one time it comes up, someone goes at her with a gun and she disarms him, steals it, and uses it.
Do Not Call Me Paul: Inverted. She's fine with being addressed by her given name, it's her old moniker of "the Cavalry" that she doesn't like to hear anymore.
The Lancer: Reluctantly stepped into this role because she can see that Coulson isn't what he used to be and is clearly the one in charge after him.
Living Legend: "The Cavalry" is well known among S.H.I.E.L.D. agents.
Fitz/Simmons:[simultaneously] She's the Cavalry! May: I told you never to call me that.
Made of Iron: At one point, May is thrown with enough momentum to shatter a normal human's spine. Despite being briefly knocked out and slightly battered, she just walks it off. She also dislocates and then relocates her wrist like it's nothing.
Not so Above It All: Seen a couple times. In "The Well," she echoes Skye's assertion that Thor is "dreamy," and not simply handsome, and at the end of "Repairs," she pulls a prank on Fitz.
One Woman Army: Her nickname is "The Cavalry" and a cavalry is a group of mounted soldiers. The implication is that she is a one person cavalry.
Perpetual Frowner: Mostly because she's extremely peeved about being brought out of retirement and getting into combat situations she was promised would be avoided.
Red Baron: "The Cavalry", and she doesn't like being called that.
Reluctant Warrior: She only joins the team after Coulson assures her she will only act as the team's pilot/wheelwoman. Otherwise she tries to avoid combat situations when she can.
Retired Badass: A former field agent so famous that Ward knows who she is just by the mention of her name, but she has no desire to do field work again. She brings herself out of retirement at the end of "The Asset", after sitting on the sidelines like she supposedly wanted.
Sarcastic Devotee: Much of what she says to Coulson in the early episodes is sarcasm, backtalk, or otherwise disrespectful but she left her desk job because he asked her to. In later episodes, though, she grows into his confidant.
Sexy Mentor: To Ward. He looks up to her as a more experienced and skilled operative, she sometimes gives him advice and they hooked up at the end of "The Well". "Repairs" implies that it was not their first night together.
Stealth Hi/Bye: Manages to pull this on Tobias despite his ghost-like teleportation powers.
The Stoic: She can dislocate her wrist, slip the ropes, knock someone out, and then reset her wrist without showing a hint of emotion. Even a completed Berserker Staff can't get more than a Battle Cry out of her.
Team Mom: Designated as such by Skye when she compares an argument between her and Coulson as "mom and dad fighting."
Too Spicy for Yog Sothoth: The Berserker Staff has no (noticeable) effect on her, since she hasn't repressed the trauma that drove her to her desk job. note Whether she's made any steps towards recovery is another matter, though it explains why she practices tai chi. That said, she is noticeably less stoic in battle then normal. She changes her facial expression.
Tranquil Fury: It's suggested that this is why she can handle the Berserker Staff; unlike Ward whose rage is locked away, May and all her rage and darkness are one.
An anti-social Level Seven (formerly a Level Six) agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. with a strong moral foundation. He is a member of Agent Coulson's team that is assembled to investigate strange events around the world.
Big Brother Instinct: According to his backstory, Ward learned how to fight in order to protect his little brother (and himself) from their big brother, who kept punching them all the time. He shows shades of this towards Skye, too. "FZZT" reveals that he has this towards Fitz-Simmons as well.
"How can I protect you from something I can't even see?"
The Comically Serious: His response to a joking question that Coulson asked him? A legitimately serious answer without a hint of irony. Then Coulson injects him with a Truth Serum in order to get Skye on their side.
Dark and Troubled Past: Coulson mentions that Ward's anti-social tendencies aren't surprising, given his family history. This is hammered home in "The Well": His older brother was one hell of a cruel asshole even as a child.
Deadpan Snarker: Despite his serious and no-nonsense demeanor, he has his moments.
Dumb Muscle: Comes off as one at first but then we learn a bit more about him, such as the fact that he's fluent in six different languages, and quickly pegged to the PMP officers being ready to hijacked the plane.
Forced to Watch: As a child, Ward's elder brother dropped their younger brother down a well. He was forced to watch their brother struggle to tread water and hear his pleas for help, but could not drop him the rope. If he did, the elder brother threatened that he would join their brother in the well. Ward says it was the first time he ever truly felt hate.
Genre Savvy: When he comes in contact with the Berserker Staff and becomes short-tempered and aggressive even towards the rest of the team, he's the first one to report this to Coulson and admit he cannot be trusted in the field, with Coulson remarking admitting this makes him trustworthy.
Hidden Depths: As shown in Mamas Boy below, he's softer than he lets on. He's also not as dumb as you may believe. A good example of this is in the episode "FZZT" when he imitates Simmons' imitation of himself.
Informed Flaw: His "prickly" personality and lack of people skills. However, he is never unnecessarily rude to his teammates and generally gets along well with them.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He has anti-social tendencies and tends to be serious and no-nonsense, but he's a lot nicer than he lets on.
Mamas Boy: When Skye is questioning him on Truth Serum, she asks him if he's killed anyone. Yes, but they were all terrible people and afterward he felt really bad about it. And does his grandmother know about this?
Meaningful Name: To "ward" means to defend, which goes hand in hand with being an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Mr. Fanservice: Provides the male eye candy in the main cast. Skye comments on his "firmness", and ogles him with some x-ray glasses in the stinger of "Eye Spy".
Necessarily Evil: Under truth serum, he said that he feels "very bad" about killing "terrible people."
No Social Skills: Maria Hill gave him the lowest rating in this department, even drawing a small porcupine (which Coulson mistook for a "little poop with knives sticking out of it") on his assessment sheet.
In the pilot, he denies that Coulson's syringe hurt him... until its truth serum takes effect and Ward admits "Yes, that did hurt, but I mask my pain in front of beautiful women to preserve my masculinity."
He barely reacts to a shallow bullet wound in "0-8-4". It's not until a few hours after the firefight that anyone else even knows about it. Skye freaks out upon seeing it, but Ward doesn't see what the problem is, since it's not killing him.
Only Sane Man: Though he doesn't know that Skye is the mole at the time, he's the only member of the team to suggest that letting the girl who hacked into the S.H.I.E.L.D. system on the team is a bad idea.
The Stoic: He generally has calm, collected reaction to most situations, whether it's taking on a group of armed guards or dealing with a Tesseract weapon that will kill him and the rest of the team if it blows.
Not So Stoic: However, he usually drops the stoicism when not on missions, like when he opens up to Skye about his brother or when he epxresses his disappointment at losing to her in Battleship. Then there's his encounter with the Beserker Staff: To say that it had an unpleasant effect on him would be a considerable understatement. Just touching one piece of it sends him into a rage for hours, resulting in him, among other things, yelling at Skye when she tries to calm him down.
An agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. who is an expert engineer. He works alongside Jemma Simmons, with the two of them sharing a close friendship. He is a member of Agent Coulson's team that is assembled to investigate strange events around the world.
Adorkable: Acts about machines and physics the same way Simmons does about biological mysteries. He even named his robots after the seven dwarves.
Lovable Coward: Fitz and danger do not mix at all. He had to be strongarmed by Simmons into accepting the field assignments, complains bitterly any time they're forced to leave the Bus, is squeamish about everything, can be seen clinging to pillars and hiding in corners when things get crazy, balks when faced with anything remotely actiony, etc. And yet, he's always portrayed as cutesy and adorable about it, and he can swallow his fear enough to still pitch in when there's absolutely no other choice.
Non-Action Guy: It's made very clear that he has no skills whatsoever with bullets or fists. Lampshaded when he laments not having learned kung-fu to prepare for the job. In "FZZT," this becomes a minor issue for him, hinting that he feels inadequate surrounded by the badass actions of people like Ward all the time.
An agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. who specializes in biology and chemistry. She works alongside Leo Fitz, with the two of them sharing a close friendship. She is a member of Agent Coulson's team that is assembled to investigate strange events around the world.
Agent Scully: In "The Well", she doubts any magical elements in their investigation and prefers to look for scientific reasoning instead.
Badass Bookworm: Explicitly averted, the first thing we learn about her and Fitz is that they're not combat-capable.
Bad Liar: When Agent Sitwell catches her helping Skye get into the Hub's database in "The Hub", her hilariously inept attempt at deceiving him starts with trying to convince him she's looking for a bathroom, heads on through an amazingly bad attempt at flirting/seduction, and ends with shooting him with the Night-Night gun because she talked to Skye over the earpiece right in front of him. All the while, Skye pleads with her to stop talking.
The Cutie: Lovely and adorkable woman who doesn't hold a grudge.
The Dividual: Fitz and Simmons spend so much time together that they're usually just referred to as "Fitz-Simmons."
Driven to Suicide / Heroic Suicide: She attempts this by jumping out of the cargo bay in "FZZT" when she believes a viral infection might cause her to die and take out the Bus. Fortunately, an antiserum had been successfully synthesized, and Ward is able to parachute after her and cure her mid-air.
Every time she encounters something weird, gooey, and dripping, she coos and squees over it like a little kid that just got a new stuffed toy.
Simmons: Oh wow, it's actually dripping! Fun!
In the second episode, this extends to being excited about being in a place with lots of dangerously venomous snakes around, which alarms Fitz.
Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Her well-meaning attempts to explain to others (especially Skye or Fitz) that something potentially deadly is in fact adorable and fascinating often just makes them more nervous.
Toyed with in "FZZT" where she's excitedly detailing to Coulson how a deadly virus spreads as the latter realizes that she's infected. As she rambles on, Coulson quietly quarantines her.
A civilian hacker who draws the attention of S.H.I.E.L.D. and is tracked down by Agent Coulson's team. Despite the objections of both his subordinates and superiors, Coulson makes her part of The Team.
Ambiguously Brown: Chloe Bennet is half-white and half-Chinese. As Skye is an orphan, her ethnic background is unclear.
The Atoner: After being outed as The Mole, she works at regaining the team's trust. "FZZT" shows her listing them off: memorizing S.H.I.E.L.D. protocols, "yes sir, no sir" and wearing the bracelet.
Audience Surrogate: She's a superhero fan and the only main character who starts out as a civilian.
Beauty Inversion: Averted. In the pilot, she is literally homeless, as she is living in her van. And yet, she is perfectly clean, her hair and makeup is immaculate, and there is not so much as a wrinkle in her clothes. Possibly justified by the fact she has a boyfriend who does have a place to stay, who most likely helped her stay pretty; most homeless people tend to look perfectly groomed by living off of friends' couches.
Be Careful What You Wish For: She tried to get Mike to embrace his powers. He did. Just not in the way she expected. In "Girl in the Flower Dress", Coulson warns her that the truth about her parents may be worse than not knowing.
Covert Pervert: It's implied in the stinger of "Eye Spy" that she used the x-ray glasses to see Ward naked.
The Cracker: She isn't malicious, but she was deliberately causing trouble for an international security agency. Quinn even calls her a "black hat," which is the term for this in the hacker community.
Dark and Troubled Past: Enough to make her erase her identity at least once. As the episode "Girl in the Flower Dress" reveals, so did S.H.I.E.L.D. at one point; the one document Skye was able to dig up from her past was a S.H.I.E.L.D.-redacted paper concerning her. It turns out that she was dropped off at the orphanage by a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. While Coulson lets her know this, he consciously decides to keep the full truth from her. Said agent was murdered for some reason and Coulson asks May to look into it.
Dawson Casting: Inverted. The S.H.I.E.L.D. document about Skye being dropped off at her orphanage is dated 1989, which makes Skye a few years older than Chloe Bennet.
Easily Forgiven: Played with. After the blow up in "Girl in the Flower Dress", Fitz-Simmons forgive her by the start of the next episode, Coulson is midway, Ward has not, and May (who didn't trust her in the first place) hasn't changed.
Even Hackers Have Standards: After joining S.H.I.E.L.D. as The Mole, she explicitly forbids the Rising Tide from hacking the organization, as seen in "Girl in the Flower Dress", and she breaks up with Miles for doing just that. That said, when she does hack S.H.I.E.L.D. in "The Hub", it's for a selfless reason, and she's upset to find out that there isn't an extraction plan for Ward and Fitz (what she doesn't know is that she and the rest of Coulson's team are being trusted to pick up Ward and Fitz themselves once the two have completed their mission).
The Face: Coulson says she has the potential to become this for his SHIELD team; talking to people, building rapport, acquiring information without being scary, etc.
Foster Kid: Part of the reason she seeks to fit in with the S.H.I.E.L.D. team; she wants a real family.
The Mole: For the Rising Tide. It seems to be an open secret, at least between Ward, Coulson, and the higher brass.
Ms. Fanservice: Provides the female eye candy in the main cast. Ward comments on her beauty under truth serum. She exploits this to make Ward squirm while she interrogates him. Towards the end of "The Asset", she's seen running around in a wet dress, and bare feet. She has an underwear scene in "Girl in the Flower Dress".
Orphan's Plot Trinket: The little data drive she keeps stashed away, containing all the info she could gather on her parents' identities.
Panty Shot: Shows up in the promo for "The Asset", as she jumps out of a window and into a pool. The television broadcast cut to the next scene earlier to avoid it. Her underwear scene in "Girl in the Flower Dress" makes up for it though.
Recruiting The Criminal: She's part of an anti-S.H.I.E.L.D. movement called "The Rising Tide" to reveal their coverup of the world's superheroes, but is quickly caught by them and hired.
Restraining Bolt: As of "Girl in the Flower Dress", she has been given a bracelet that will monitor her and restrict her use of electronics as well as other unnamed properties.
Security Vehicle: Having lived in her van, she'll crawl into one of the Bus's vehicles when she feels a need for safety or solitude. She seems a little surprised when Coulson first finds her there.
Sixth Ranger: She's recruited from the Rising Tide during the pilot while the other members of the team are already S.H.I.E.L.D. agents working for Coulson, and has to be convinced to join them.
The Spook: In the words of Coulson, "We know nothing about her. Do you know how often that happens? It never happens."
Techno Wizard: Managed to hack into S.H.I.E.L.D. databases, as well as gain some information before they were able to about Centipede. Oh, and did we mention she did this from a van that she was living in? The girl's impressive.
Took a Level in Badass: Ward begins her combat training at the start of "The Asset" and she uses it to effortlessly disarm Ian Quinn later on. The episode ends with voluntarily punching out a heavy bag.
Unperson: She can do this on request, and it's implied she did it to herself, hence why she's an unknown to S.H.I.E.L.D.
It turns out that this is her reason for learning how to hack in the first place. Her parents themselves have apparently been the subject of this, by S.H.I.E.L.D. no less.
Wrong Genre Savvy: She clearly assumes that she'll be Mike's heroic sidekick or mentor and they'll fight crime together. Instead, she encourages him to embrace his power just as he starts having a case of Sanity Slippage. Before that, she evidently believed that as she could hack into S.H.I.E.L.D., they were powerless to stop her.
Coulson's car that he brings with him on The Bus.
Companion Cube: Coulson refers to his car the same way he would a member of his team. Nick Fury once asked how 'she was doing'.
Unspoken Plan Guarantee: She didn't bother giving Fitz and Ward an extraction because she thought Coulson's team wouldn't need one. It's not clear if she expected them to escape on their own or for Coulson to figure it out and rescue them, but either way Coulson is not happy he was not told.
A famous hacker whom even Fitz-Simmons have heard of, and a high-level member of the Rising Tide.
Broken Pedestal: Skye saw him as a Wide-Eyed Idealist freedom fighter until he released top secret information for a million dollars, information that ultimately resulted in several people getting killed.
The Cracker: Same as Skye. We see him trigger a pre-prepared macro to hack the traffic system and cause gridlock in order to lose Coulson.
Cruel Mercy: What Coulson ends up doing him: stuck in a city he doesn't know, where everyone speaks a language he may not know, with no money to his name, and last but not least, a Restraining Bolt that doesn't allow him to hack anything (which is his only known marketable job skill).
Dark and Troubled Past: Implied to have this, as he tells Skye that at least she knows what she's looking for in her life.
Hypocrite: Espouses freedom of information, yet sells out a person for a million dollars to an organization he didn't research thoroughly enough.
Insane Troll Logic: When Coulson calls him out on stealing information, he claims that "information has a will of its own." Even ignoring that he's constantly spewing platitudes and believes in freedom of information, that particular phrase is just nonsensical.
Jerkass: An uppity hacker who blathers on in relentless platitudes and is a hypocrite to boot.
Moral Event Horizon: In-Universe, Skye decides that hacking S.H.I.E.L.D. and–even worse–selling someone out for a million dollars is his MEH. At the end of the episode, as S.H.I.E.L.D. strands him in Hong Kong with a Restraining Bolt that makes it difficult, if not impossible, for him to use electronic equipment for a while, it's clear that Skye doesn't want him around anymore, even if she's pretending to be nice to him about it.
New Old Flame: To Skye. Said flame burns out by the end of the episode.
Pet the Dog: Cared a great deal for Skye, checking up on her and allegedly doing what he did in part to improve her life. Whether or not he still cares for her is unknown.
Restraining Bolt: After the crisis is past, he's given a bracelet that Coulson vaguely describes as being able to do "anything we want". At the very least, it generates some kind of interference that makes using electronics difficult.
Spanner in the Works: By taking money to hack S.H.I.E.L.D. for Chan's location, he not only ruined his own life, but blew his chances with Skye and cost her the trust of the other members of the team when she stuck her neck out for him.
Techno Wizard: He taught Skye a good portion of her hacking ability.
Unperson: Not as thorough as Skye, but he has no family records and has been known to use aliases.
A friendly young woman who is far more dangerous than she first appears.
Bitch in a Flower Dress: Claims to want to help Chan, improves his powers, and gives him the alias "Scorch," but is only leading him on so they can harvest his blood platelets to further the Centipede project. She also leaves Debbie at Chan's mercy during his Roaring Rampage of Revenge, even mocking Debbie as the elevator closes on her.
Creepy Monotone/Soft Spoken Sadist: Leaves Chan and Debbie to their respective fates at the other's hands without so much as raising her voice while giving her blithe one-liners.
Dissonant Serenity: S.H.I.E.L.D. is storming your secret human experimentation facility; do you a) leave quickly, b) freak out at your bosses on the phones, c) attack the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, or d) keep sashaying like you're getting paid by the hour? Raina chose D.
Friendly Rivalry: Her relationship with Debbie. Until her own life is threatened.
Giver of Lame Names: She's the one who came up with Chan's completely unimaginative alias of "Scorch." Judging by Debbie's reaction, this isn't the first time.
Manipulative Bastard: Very cleverly plays on Chan's desire for exposure and purpose, further feeding his ego with a codename, and relies on double-edged wording: the world would know who he is... as the man Centipede dissected to make their super soldiers work; he does have a gift - and you give gifts.
Person with the Clothing: The eponymous "girl in the flower dress" from her introductory episode. Many characters identify her by said dress.
A sinister character currently held in a prison at an unknown location. One of Raina's associates and part of the Centipede group, he is tasked with getting in contact with "the clairvoyant" and obtain information about the project's necessary later stages.
Cryptic Conversation: Raina comes to him to tell him how their latest plan was derailed, and that's the only thing the audience has context for at the time. They then go on to talk about "phase 2" and "the clairvoyant."
Lack of Empathy: He doesn't seem to particularly care that one of his subordinates, Debbie, was killed. Apparently he expected her incompetence to off her sooner or later.
"You said if we worked hard, if we did right, we'd have a place. You said it was enough to be a man but there's better then man! There's gods... and the rest of us? What are we? They're giants... we're what they step on. "
An ordinary guy with a son who mysteriously receives superhuman abilities thanks to "Project Centipede", attracting the attention of both S.H.I.E.L.D. and Skye.
Action Bomb: Very nearly explodes due to the Extremis in his system, like the previous user of Centipede. Unlike the former, Mike is spared from this fate.
Anti-Villain: Coulson calls him a "good man with a bad break".
Bald of Evil: Sort of. He's not evil, just extremely unstable.
The Cape: At the start of his introduction, there's an explosion. While other people are running scared or taking pictures, his first thought is "someone needs my help!". Later on, he tells Coulson that his stalwart nature ("it depends on the kind of person you are") is why he can control Centipede. A combination of With Great Power Comes Great Insanity and bad circumstances make him an antagonist.
The Everyman: He was the most ordinary of Joes who was down on his luck and behind on his bills before he got his powers.
Kick the Son of a Bitch: Even if it was stemming from the Sanity Slippage due to his powers, it's not hard to side with Mike when he injured the foreman of his former job after he was harassed and insulted by said foreman.
Made of Iron: Being hit with a shotgun blast to the chest doesn't do much to him apart from knock him over a rail owing to the sheer blast, and he gets back up afterwards.
Super Strength: Due to the Centipede group's serum, or rather the Extremis aspect of it.
Super Toughness: Able to withstand serious blows without any injury, though it's implied that he can die from a headshot.
Villain of the Week: Though not the reason for the problems with Centipede, he's the primary face of it to the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents.
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Given all the trouble that he's been through, it's hard not to feel sorry for him, even as he starts having a psychotic breakdown.
Wrong Genre Savvy: He's obviously aware of the old tropes, claiming at one point that the events unfolding around him are the elements of a typical origin story of a superhero. However, see Obliviously Evil above.
I Can Rule Alone: Implied by Coulson to be her ultimate plan. She never replies.
Knight Templar: She wants the 0-8-4 to seize power and install herself as dictator in order to stabilize her country.
The Mole: She and her team joined Coulson and co. on the Bus in order to take the 0-8-4 for themselves.
New Old Flame: For Coulson. She's rather unsubtle when reminiscing about their past together and attempts to coerce Coulson into a romp in his office for old times' sake. In actuality, she's doing this to distract Coulson while her men take over the Bus. It doesn't work.
Put on a Bus: Last we hear of her, she's in a S.H.I.E.L.D. detention facility. Coulson mentions that the Peruvian government may eventually negotiate for her release.
A brilliant S.H.I.E.L.D. scientist who theorized on the existence of gravity manipulating element called Gravitonium, and who further invented a means of controlling it. When said element is discovered, he is kidnapped by an old colleague of his named Ian Quinn, who wants him to finish his research.
The Atoner: In his youth, he was quite enthusiastic about his research until he realized how if misused or worse, turned into a weapon, it could result in the deaths of millions. As an adult, he's very unwilling to continue work on it.
Not So Different: Hall claims S.H.I.E.L.D. is this to people like Quinn - and that their desire to control things led to the events of The Avengers. Coulson ultimately realizes that he and Hall are similar as well, and that they both make tough calls to protect people just before he seemingly kills Hall to save innocent lives.
Start of Darkness: In the comics, he becomes a gravity-manipulating supervillain named Graviton after a lab accident. And indeed, during the course of the episode, he falls into his device and is absorbed by a bubble of gravity manipulating matter... and is then seen at the end trying to claw his way out from the inside, complete with Scare Chord.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Was willing to cause the deaths of quite a lot of people in order to destroy the device and prevent it from ever being used to hurt anyone. Coulson agrees that he has a point and that he made a tough call, but doesn't let him go through with it.
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Is well aware that his research could and is going to be used to harm people, and is forced to accept the fact that if he doesn't do something about it, the world may very well be worse off for his contribution. And so he decides to destroy the device by causing it to go haywire, obliterating a wide area, sacrificing himself and causing the deaths of many innocent people in order to make sure this doesn't happen.
An old schoolmate of Franklin Hall, who stole his research and used it to create a multi-billion dollar company. Upon discovering that Hall's theory of graviton particles is correct, he becomes fixated on controlling this technology before someone else does and kidnaps Hall in order to make that dream a reality. He's also a libertarian opposed to any kind of government control or oversight over private businesses.
Affably Evil: He seems to honestly believe that he's advancing humanity, and that anyone slowing down progress (with laws or regulations) is just doing it for greed and lust for power. However, he himself is very greedy, callous towards the lives of his enemies, and is implied to perform ecologically dangerous strip-mining without thought of the consequences.
Corrupt Corporate Executive: Kidnaps people, steals ideas, and, by his own admission, has certain 'exploits' he doesn't want Skye leaking through the Rising Tide. As explained below, he prefers to see himself as a visionary. When he thinks Skye is treating him like any other corrupt figure to be exposed, he briefly loses his temper.
Diplomatic Impunity: Seeks a form of this - a place where no government has the jurisdiction to touch him.
Honest Corporate Executive: He thinks he's one of these, because he advocates freedom of information and freedom of enterprise. He also saw his kidnapping of Hall as a rescue from his real captors (i.e. S.H.I.E.L.D.) so he could complete his life's work. When he assumed Skye thought of him as one more corrupt to expose, he was offended even though there was no one to look good for.
Hypocrite: For all his blustering about freedom and accountability, "The Asset" spends quite a bit of time building him up as one;
He "frees" Hall from S.H.I.E.L.D. by tracking down and kidnapping him, then putting him to work deep inside said base (and gives an emotionally manipulative speech to Skye while talking about how S.H.I.E.L.D. use such methods to recruit people like her).
Hall himself points out that despite his insistence that information should be free for everyone's benefit, he made his fortune by keeping the flow one way. When he catches Skye poking around, he assumes she's investigating him for the Rising Tide and is outraged that she thinks he has something to hide and prepares to call security to have her taken away for poking around.
Know When to Fold 'Em: As soon as he realizes what Hall's doing, he gives the order to evacuate immediately.
New Era Speech: Gives one to his guests when he introduces gravity control techonology.
"Imagine a world where you don't drill for oil; it rises to meet you."
Code Name: Scorch, given to him by the people of Project Centipede to play to his ego.
Comic Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: A major plot point is the aversion of this. The assignment of a codename to Chan helps him embrace the idea that he must have gotten his powers for a reason and that he's someone special and powerful for them. When he refers to himself as Scorch, Coulson treats the information that "they gave him a name" as an Oh Crap and realizes how seriously he's taking things.
Foil: Of a sort to the hooded hero. Both began gaining superpowers, both were approached by the centipede project, and both were frustrated by their inability to make their lives work despite their powers. However, the big difference is that Mike thought more about helping his son survive than doing great things with his powers, and eventually realized that he could be hero with some direction. Chan just wanted to be seen, and it lead to his Sanity Slippage.
I Love Nuclear Power: It's theorized his powers come from living near a nuclear plant that caught fire. However, it's noted that no one else in the vicinity received powers of any sort, so in the end the source is unknown.
Jerkass: He first demonstrates his powers by scaring a couple who weren't impressed with his magic tricks. Apparently his S.H.I.E.L.D. file describes him as "kind of a tool."
A Norse Mythology professor that Coulson talks to about finding the pieces of the Berserker's staff. Turns out he's a part of it as well: The original Berserker himself.
Actual Pacifist: At one point during his interrogation, he mentions that he is pacifist now.
Deliberate Values Dissonance: With alien values rather than historical: Asgardian attitudes towards humans living brief lives in comparison to them return here from Thor: The Dark World. Randolph isn't very concerned about issues on Earth, as humans live and die in a time much less relevant to him, to the point where he doesn't really think a band of anarchists using his staff to wreak havoc is a real problem, since in his mind they'll all die soon anyway. Likewise, he attempts to reassure Ward by telling him the darker effects of the staff will wear off in "only" a few decades, apparently not thinking about how long that period of time is to a human. Coulson is noticeably unimpressed by this rationalization.
Dirty Old Man: Not too old by appearance, but he counts by sheer age. In his first scene, he is arranging a date with one of his students, and he spends a decent amount of screen time hitting on Simmons. Also, apparently the reason the Berserker story got out in the first place was because a French girl he was sleeping with liked stories, and he wanted to impress her. Turned out her brother was a priest, who wrote it all down.
Living Forever Is Awesome: The Team estimates that he's been alive for a thousand years and his only complaint is a student putting too much Lit Crit and not enough History in their paper. He's had numerous paramours over the ages.
Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: He's just your average Asgardian, a common mason turned soldier. On Earth, that makes him supernaturally strong, tough, and long-lived.
Retired Badass: His days of berserking are long behind him - now he's a professor of Norse mythology, though he plans to retire elsewhere after the events of his episode.
Seen It All: Part of what gave him away. He was far too calm for someone who was attacked by super-powered men and locked in an interrogation room. Coulson also points out that he didn't ask any questions when Coulson mentioned he had met aliens. "Most people are very curious about that."
Walking the Earth: He implies that he did this for quite a while before settling down, and that now that Asgardians have made contact with humans again he might do so once more. In fact, this is apparently why he signed up for the Asgardian army and came to Earth in the first place.
Randolph: Honestly, I think I just wanted to travel.
We Are as Mayflies: One of the perks he enjoys from living on a mortal world is the fact that his problems mostly die of old age if he waits a century or so.