|For the Framework version of Grant Ward, see Grant Ward|
- "I'm not looking for mercy or absolution. I just want you to know, I've been where you are right now. Filled with rage, wanting revenge... I chose HYDRA for petty, personal, selfish reasons... for a father figure, for vengeance... for closure. But what I saw today gave my life meaning. For the first time ever, I have a sense of satisfaction that I never experienced when I was seeking revenge."
- ―Grant Ward to Phil Coulson[src]
Grant Douglas Ward was one of the leaders of HYDRA and the most personal adversary of Phil Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D.. A former HYDRA infiltrator in S.H.I.E.L.D., disguised as a Level 7 operative, he was abused as a child by his family. As a teenager, he tried to burn down his family home. Ward was imprisoned until he was freed by John Garrett, who trained Ward to become a cold-blooded killer. Ward eventually became more loyal to him than to HYDRA. As a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Ward was recruited onto Coulson's Team, working with them on all their missions, pretending to be gruff and anti-social and to become emotionally attached to the team.
During the HYDRA Uprising, he killed Victoria Hand but still maintained his cover as a loyal S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. He broke cover on John Garrett's orders and rejoined HYDRA. Despite harboring feelings for Skye, he followed all of Garrett's orders. When Garrett's HYDRA cell lost the Battle at Cybertek, he was imprisoned by Coulson. Ward managed to escape many months later and rejoined HYDRA under Daniel Whitehall. However, he left the organization again after Whitehall's death along with Kara Palamas. They started a path in order to close their wounds and move forward that culminated in kidnapping Bobbi Morse, whom they considered responsible for Palamas' brainwashing.
Ward ended up accidentally killing Palamas, and he rejoined the remnants of HYDRA, deciding to rebuild the organization and become its new leader. His quest brought him in conflict with Gideon Malick, one of the last heads of HYDRA's old guard, but eventually, they made an alliance to destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. and fulfill HYDRA's oldest goal: the return of Hive to Earth. While on Maveth, he was finally killed by Phil Coulson, but his corpse was taken as a vessel by Hive and brought back to Earth.
Grant Douglas Ward grew up in Massachusetts and had a difficult childhood. He had an abusive older brother who would frequently force Ward to beat up his younger brother. His parents were even worse. Ward also had a sister with whom he no longer has contact. An incident in particular that had a profound effect on Ward was when his older brother threw his younger brother into a well and would not allow Ward to rescue him. Ward eventually managed to do it without his brother knowing.
Attack on Christian Ward
- "A pissed off young cadet with off the charts hand-eye coordination who went AWOL, stole a car, drove over a thousand miles home only to try and burn the place down. I must say, I find a young man like that intriguing. I'm curious, did you know your brother was in the house when you set it on fire?"
"No, sir, I did not."
- ―John Garrett and Grant Ward[src]
In 1999, Ward went AWOL from the military academy to which he had been sent, stole a car, drove over 1000 miles home, and set fire to his parents' home in a furious rage. Unknown to Ward, his older brother Christian was inside and came close to burning to death in the fire. Christian survived but had Ward arrested by the police and pushed for the courts to try Grant as an adult to get the maximum punishment against him.
Recruited by John Garrett
While being detained inside a Juvenile Detention Center, Ward was unexpectedly visited by John Garrett, who offered him a choice - leave with Garrett now and be taught the skills needed to survive, or face prison, where his family was pushing for Ward to get the maximum sentence for his crime. When Ward asked why he should trust Garrett, Garrett responded by telling him to never to trust anyone, especially not him. Ward agreed, and Garrett's men broke him out of prison.
Trained for HYDRA
- "First few weeks were rough, then I realized my thinking was limited. So I started raiding cabins. Got some tools, tent, life got easier. Gonna build a cabin over there."
"See, I told you you could do it. Damn, son, you stepped up in a big way, I couldn't be prouder if you were my own."
- ―Grant Ward and John Garrett[src]
Ward was driven into the middle of a forest by John Garrett who shot ducks and reassured him that his brother and the rest of his family were happy to be rid of him and therefore the police would not be looking for him. While Ward continued to ask questions about S.H.I.E.L.D., Garrett revealed that he would be leaving him there with just Buddy, telling him that from now on he would have to survive on his own, hunting for his food and building a place to sleep.
Garrett promised to return within a couple of months, but he instead left Ward for six months. Although Ward suffered during the first few weeks due to the loneliness and heavy rain, he soon managed to raid nearby cabins, build his own camp and survive with ease. By the time Garrett returned, he was impressed by Ward's efforts and he claimed that he could not be prouder. Garrett then pulled a gun and aimed it at Ward, before firing it at nearby cans with incredible accuracy, promising to teach Ward to shoot and that within a few months he would be able to shoot even better than he could.
For five years, John Garrett subjected Ward to a number of grueling survival tests in the Wyoming wilderness, eventually molding him into a cold, driven survivalist with the skills he needed. While eating in their campsite, Garrett told Ward the story of how he had gained his many cybernetic enhancements when he had been left to die. Garrett eventually revealed to Ward that he was not loyal to S.H.I.E.L.D., but to HYDRA who were working within the organization.
By this point, Ward followed Garrett's many orders without question or hesitation, so he agreed without question to join HYDRA and continue serving with from within S.H.I.E.L.D. if he were accepted into the organization. They continued Ward's weapons training as they went out to hunt deer at the incredible range, sending Buddy out to collect the dead deer once Ward had killed it with his sniper rifle. While Buddy ran out to collect the corpse ready to be cooked for their dinner, Ward jokingly commented that the body was so far out that it would take the dog a while to find it and bring it back to them.
Garrett happily revealed to Ward that he had just been accepted into S.H.I.E.L.D.'s operations division and would be leaving immediately. When Ward went to thank Garrett for everything he had done for him, he was told not to thank him, as Garrett believed that he had done it all himself. Ward was told that the next few years would undoubtedly be very tough for him, as working for HYDRA within S.H.I.E.L.D. meant that he could not ever get attached to anyone or anything as he would have to be prepared to betray them at a moments notice, but Ward agreed to this prospect without question.
As they prepared to pack up the camp at leave for the S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy, Garrett made Ward prove his emotional detachment by ordering him to kill his loyal dog Buddy. When Ward hesitated, Garrett questioned if this was a weakness in him, but Ward insisted that it was not. While Garrett was gone, Ward aimed his pistol at Buddy, but could not pull the trigger, instead of firing it upwards causing Buddy to run. However, Ward's loyalty to Garrett forced him to take his sniper rifle and he killed Buddy with a single shot as the dog ran through the forest, giving Ward an emotional detachment. 
Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
About five years outside the S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy, Ward was posed for sixteen months as a Russian attaché at the embassy in Warsaw, Poland. After proving his worth, Ward became a full-fledged agent, rising through the ranks under Garrett's tutelage and supervision. Deputy Director Maria Hill gave Ward top marks in combat and the highest espionage rating since Natasha Romanoff, giving him low marks only in his people skills. In 2008, Ward saw action in Georgia during a rebel uprising. He made several contacts along the South Ossetian border during this time, including Uri Dubrovsky.
Mission in Paris
Ward was assigned by S.H.I.E.L.D. to a mission in Paris, France, where he was ordered to break into a hidden vault belonging to the international criminal and black market dealer Vanchat and steal a Chitauri neural link which had somehow come into Vanchat's possession in the aftermath of the Battle of New York. Knowing that Vanchat intended to sell the neural link to an unknown buyer Ward was ordered to find and obtain the link as quickly and quietly as possible.
Finding the man who intended to buy the link, Ward disguised himself as a waiter and used an X-Ray Plate to copy the man's fingerprints off his wine glass before heading upstairs and using some stolen room keys to break into the man's apartment before using his fingerprints to activate a secret room hidden behind a false wall where he soon found the link. However, just as Ward took the link, he was discovered by the man's girlfriend who called security, who quickly arrived in the room and attacked Ward, forcing him to throw the X-Ray Plate at them before fighting his way through the men.
Using his top-level S.H.I.E.L.D. training, Ward was soon able to overpower and subdue all of Vanchat's bodyguards, using whatever items were nearby to his advantage, including hitting one man with a blender. With the Neural Link now in hand, Ward ran to the top of the building, where he was extracted by S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicopter, taking the rope they dropped down for him and flying across the rooftops out of France, completing with mission successfully before any of Vanchat's remaining men could find and stop him and retake the neural link.
Recruited by Maria Hill
Before the Battle of New York, Phil Coulson was killed at the hands of Loki and days later restored to life through unknown means. John Garrett, whose health was beginning to fail, tried to find out how Coulson was revived, hoping he could restore his own health. When Coulson assembled a new team of specialists, Ward was suggested to join, but in reality, Ward was Garrett's undercover asset to discover the truth about Coulson's resurrection.
Having returned from his successful mission, Maria Hill vetted Ward and prepped him to join Coulson's Team. First, she questioned Ward about what Vanchat had wanted with the Chitauri Neural Link before testing Ward's loyalty to S.H.I.E.L.D.. Eventually, Hill revealed to Ward that Coulson was alive and they discussed their first mission to locate and assist Mike Peterson, a known enhanced individual. However, Ward questioned if joining a team was the correct use of his talents as he claimed not to be a very good team player while Doctor Streiten confirmed that Ward was highly fit and mission ready.
Despite his objections, Ward was recruited onto the team regardless and ordered to pack his bags and regroup onboard the Bus, which would become his home for the coming months. Once onboard, Ward was introduced to Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons, the team's young scientists working on engineering and biochemistry who in turn enthusiastically greeted him before somewhat roughly taking his phone before smashing it and taking his DNA. As Simmons asked what his views were on joining the team and going on their mission, Ward sarcastically compared it to Christmas.
They were interrupted by the arrival of Phil Coulson who drove Lola onto the plane. As they explored the plane, Coulson revealed that the Bus used to be standard issue for new teams until the Helicarriers were created. Melinda May then appeared and explained that they had found the location of one of the Rising Tide's most prolific hackers, although Ward was more interested in the fact that May was part of the team, due to her legendary status as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. Coulson insisted that she was merely the pilot and was not there for combat missions.
During the new team's first mission together, they encountered the Rising Tide "hacktivist" known only as Skye, who was their only lead in the case of Michael Peterson. Having had some negative as well as violent encounters with Rising Tide after their release of classified data during ongoing operations, Ward took an instant dislike to Skye, whom they soon found recording a message in her van where she was arrested.
Both Ward and Phil Coulson took charge of Skye's interrogation, with Ward accusing her of being an Avengers fangirl while she accused them of covering up the Battle of Puente Antiguo until Skye revealed that she was aware of Peterson's connection to an organization known as the Centipede Project, which Ward claimed to not be aware of to hide his HYDRA connection. To gain Skye's trust and learn more about Centipede, Coulson and Ward came up with a plan to pretend to give Ward a truth serum and have him tell her some very low-level intel about S.H.I.E.L.D.'s activities, with Ward also claiming to be saddened by killing people due to his grandmother.
Using the information given to them by Skye, Leo Fitz was able to use the Echo Chamber to recreate the CCTV footage of the explosion within the lab and determine the cause. Ward looked on closely as Coulson confirmed that the explosion was clearly caused by a man who had overloaded on the Extremis that was in his body, spotting a Centipede Device that was locked onto his arm, which Jemma Simmons confirmed was highly similar to the Super Soldier Serum developed by Abraham Erskine during World War II. They then began working on their plan to subdue Peterson before he overloaded.
While Coulson's Team learned more about the situation, Michael Peterson kidnapped Skye and assaulted Melinda May. Before long, Skye managed to hack into the Bus' computers and informed them of her and Peterson's location, so Ward joined the rest of the team to stop him. As they located Skye's Van, Ward insisted that they move Peterson away from such a public location or simply kill him to protect others, claiming that Peterson was just a nobody who was now a major risk, although Phil Coulson insisted that they must try to save him.
With Peterson failing to comply with the orders given to him by the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents asking him to surrender peacefully, he instead went on the run into Union Station, Ward gave chase and tried to subdue Peterson with a tight chokehold, explaining to him that the Extremis in his body was unstable and could kill everybody nearby if he was to explode. Peterson, however, was too enraged to listen and instead used his enhanced strength to throw Ward hard on the ground and began desperately searching for his son Ace Peterson, who Coulson had given to the police for his own safety.
As the hunt for Peterson continued, Ward witnessed a member of the Centipede Project sent by Debbie shooting at Peterson while disguised as a police officer. Coulson welcomed back May while giving orders to Ward to take aim at Peterson, although he insisted that he only fire if he had to, which Ward reluctantly agreed to. He later took a higher position and aimed a sniper rifle at Peterson while Coulson tried to calm him down as Peterson furiously ranted about how S.H.I.E.L.D. dealt with people like him, insisting that he was a good person who could be a hero like the Avengers.
Fearing that Peterson would explode regardless, Ward prepared to fire; however, Leo Fitz arrived and gave him a Night-Night Gun and Ward shot Peterson with it, knocking him out cold and cooling down his Extremis in his body, saving him. After the mission, Phil Coulson took Ace back to his family while Peterson recovered in a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility. Later, Coulson recruited Skye into his team as a consultant, over Ward's objections. While Coulson met with Skye, Ward called him and informed him that an 0-8-4 had been discovered and they had been tasked to go to Peru and investigate it.
Finding an 0-8-4
When Ward was informed by Phil Coulson that Skye would now be brought onto their team, he questioned the decision, claiming that Skye did not have what it takes to be a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, although Coulson noted she was a consultant, explaining that many people, even Tony Stark, had been a consultant. While Ward argued that Skye's history with the Rising Tide made her a risk, Coulson insisted that her skills would prove valuable as she did not think like a traditional agent.
The team's second mission took them to Peru to investigate an 0-8-4, as they prepared to take off, Ward gave Skye the handbook for the Bus and ordered her to read it cover to cover. While Ward assisted the situation and ensured that they were all alone by searching for vehicle tracks, Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons investigated the item itself, which turned out to be the Peruvian 0-8-4, a weapon seemingly powered by Tesseract technology and had become lodged within an ancient temple which had caused an archaeologist to panic and to contact S.H.I.E.L.D. to investigate it further.
Ward and Melinda May discussed her nicked name of the Cavalry and how she gained it during a mission in Bahrain until they were attacked by the Policia Militar del Perú, as Ward and May used their S.H.I.E.L.D. training to overpower and disarm their attackers before they found themselves being overpowered by reinforcements. They defended themselves until Ward contacted Coulson who appeared and revealed he knew their leader, Camilla Reyes. Once the standoff was finished peacefully, Coulson ordered Ward to let the rest of their team know that everything was now okay again.
Ward informed Fitz, Simmons and Skye of the near attack against them and engaged in a brief debate with Skye about the rebels of Peru rising up against their government, with Ward noting that such violence should not be celebrated, accusing the Rising Tide's own methods of being dangerous. The encounter remained pleasant until the team was attacked again, this time by local rebels. Ward used a Thunderstick to knock out many of the attackers but the team was forced to retreat. Ward pulled the 0-8-4 out of the wall and they escaped to the Bus with Reyes' soldiers.
Once they escaped, the team began to catch their breath while Skye joked about missing her own van. Ward then questioned Coulson's decision to bring the Policia Militar del Perú onto the Bus before he asked Fitz what the issues were with him stealing the 0-8-4 from the wall. Fitz then explained that the 0-8-4 was not only fueled by the Tesseract technology created by HYDRA during World War II, but it was also filled with Gamma Radiation which made it much worse than nuclear. With this information in mind, Ward, Coulson, Fitz, Simmons and Skye all backed away from the 0-8-4 together.
As tensions continued to rise due to the presence of the Peruvian 0-8-4, Ward argued with Leo Fitz about their actions during the mission and who was to blame for bringing the 0-8-4 onto the plane. Before long, the argument was stopped by Phil Coulson was claimed that the mission was a success as nobody on their team was killed and they had saved Camilla Reyes' men as well. Skye questioned the team's dynamic while Ward insisted that if he was working alone he could have gotten the mission completed, but Coulson ordered them to work it out.
Taking some time to himself, Ward read the Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War which had been recommended by John Garrett until he was visited by Skye. They began discussing the ideals of the Rising Tide before they discussed the experience of being inside a war zone as Skye asked Ward about his own experiences of being in combat until Skye noticed that Ward had been shot during the firefight, although he insisted it was nothing to worry about. Ward explained that as a specialist he felt he had been trained to be the whole solution and put himself on the line to protect his team by any means.
Glancing at the Policia Militar del Perú soldiers, Ward noticed that none of them had touched their drinks and were sending messages to one another. Sensing an attack was about to happen, Ward asked Skye for the bottle she had brought over and warned her to be ready for a fight. Ward engaged in a brawl with Nahui and the other soldiers, knowing they would be targeting Melinda May and although he tried his best to protect the team, he soon discovered that Cusi had taken Fitz and Jemma Simmons hostage, threatening to cut Fitz's throat and forcing Ward and Coulson to surrender.
Tied up together, Ward and the rest of Coulson's Team discussed who was to blame until Ward distracted them by telling them all about Melinda May secretly being the legendary Cavalry, only for her to awake and remind him not to call her that. They discussed their plan as May broke free by dislocating her own wrist before defeating Vilca and freeing Ward and the rest. As a team, they then decided to use the 0-8-4's power to ambush and defeat the Peruvian military before rescuing Phil Coulson from Reyes during the chaos. Ward ensured the team was ready before they went to work.
The team were able to retake the Bus by using the D.W.A.R.F.s to activate the 0-8-4 and blow a hole in the side of the Bus, killing many of the soldiers as they were sucked out. During the chaos, Ward ordered the team to collect the 0-8-4 while he dealt with the soldiers, reassuring them that Coulson could handle himself. While May retook the cockpit and flew the plane to a safe altitude and Coulson captured Camilla Reyes, Ward, using his own S.H.I.E.L.D. training, easily overpowered and subdued the soldiers before trying and failing to save Nahui from being sucked out of the plane, inadvertently killing him during the fight.
Ward, however, suddenly found himself in danger of being sucked out of the plane as he lost his grip and fell towards the hole in the side of the Bus. However, Skye's quick thinking also helped to save Ward's life when she activated a lifeboat which blocked the hole and saved Ward. With the plane reaching a safe altitude, Ward collapsed with exhaustion and adrenaline and his looked at how close he had come to a fatal fall from the plane while Coulson helped take out the final soldiers by knocking out Lopez while May flew them back towards the safety of a S.H.I.E.L.D. base where they could relax.
The team then flew to the Slingshot to deal with the 0-8-4 as soon as possible while also arresting Camilla Reyes and the surviving members of her team. Ward spoke to May about how he saw a way to learn more about Skye, thus removing any unknown element she might bring into the mix. Under May's recommendation, Ward agreed to be her "Supervising Officer" and oversee her next stages of training and education to become a true S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. Taking time to relax, the team sat down and drank as they watched as the Peruvian 0-8-4 was shot into space to be destroyed.
Acting as Skye's S.O.
Ward began her training in combat and weapon training, specifically how to disarm an opponent. However, he felt that Skye was not fully committing herself to it or to S.H.I.E.L.D.. Coulson suggested a different, more personal approach. Ward responded by giving some details of his personal life and rough childhood to Skye, describing his so-called "defining moment" to her.
The team received a call that a S.H.I.E.L.D. scientist named Dr. Franklin Hall had been kidnapped in an attack which involved an invisible substance picking up and throwing down trucks. The team investigated and Fitz and Simmons learned that the attack was caused by an element called Gravitonium, which could change the effects of gravity. Ward and Coulson investigated who had supplied the vehicles and equipment for the attack, leading them to a man who had been paid in gold. When they learned where the gold had originated from, they learned that Hall was being kept by Ian Quinn.
Ward's training became useful when Skye went on an undercover mission to rescue Hall in Malta, Ward objected when Skye volunteered to infiltrate Quinn's compound, citing the fact that she was not nearly qualified yet for such an operation. When Skye completed her mission, allowing Ward and Coulson to infiltrate the compound, she used Ward's training to good effect when disarming Quinn. However, she felt she was not ready to shoot someone so she made her escape, but had to be rescued by Ward in the end who fought three of Quinn's guards to protect her. After the operation, Skye seemed to fully commit herself to her training and S.H.I.E.L.D.
Searching for Akela Amador
Phil Coulson requested that his team investigate the case of Akela Amador who was believed to have been killed but had turned up doing dangerous and seemingly impossible missions with her eyes closed. Coulson and Ward retraced her steps and tried to locate her, arriving in Zloda, Belarus. They spoke to an Innkeeper, who claimed that Amador had correctly sensed the woman had a tumor, making Amador's abilities more of a mystery. While they were continuing their investigation, Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons traced a video signal that seemed to be Amador's point of view; they quickly realized that Amador was looking at them. Fitz, Simmons, and Skye were in a van that was attacked by Amador, who drove into its side, knocking it over.
After Melinda May and Coulson captured Amador, Fitz used the signal from the video technology in her eye to building Backscatter Glasses to impersonate her. Ward wore these glasses and went on Amador's next mission. He used the key card Amador bought with the diamonds she stole to enter the Todorov Building in Minsk. There, he was given the awkward mission to seduce the guard. When this failed, he knocked out the guard and entered a room with a series of strange symbols on the wall. After seeing the symbols, the Englishman informed him the mission was complete. As Ward left the building an alarm was triggered, and he fought his way out of the building. Along the way, he accidentally looked in a mirror, alerting the Englishman of the deception, luckily Fitz and Simmons were able to remove Amador's false eye before it exploded.
After the mission, Ward played cards with Fitz, who seemed strangely confident about his chances of beating Ward. Fitz claimed Ward had a tell which would reveal to Fitz if he was lying. However, all of a sudden, Fitz folded and left the table, leaving Ward confused. What Ward did not know was that Skye was behind him using the Backscatter Glasses to spy on Ward's cards, and when she told Fitz she would be able to see him naked, he panicked and left the game, although Skye did still use the glasses to see Ward naked.
Questioning Skye's Loyalty
A few days later, the team was seemingly betrayed by Skye, who alerted Miles Lydon that S.H.I.E.L.D. was closing in on him while tracking down a leak that endangered Chan Ho Yin's life. Ward cuffed Skye and took her and Lydon into custody aboard the Bus. When Ward produced evidence that Lydon had accepted payment of one million dollars for the information that endangered Chan's life, Skye was infuriated and felt betrayed by Lydon.
Later, when the operation to extract Chan from captivity by the Centipede Project went sour, Ward released Skye from custody and accepted her help in rescuing Coulson and Melinda May. Skye very quickly managed to hack Centipede's mainframe and release the locked doors, allowing Coulson and May to escape. Coulson later agreed to let Skye remain on the team as long as she came completely clean with the team and agreed to wear a Tracking Bracelet at all times.
Saving the Scientist
Fitz continued to modify the new Night-Night Guns for Ward to inspect, he was however unsatisfied with the weight, and when he left he heard the team mocking him with funny voices. When strange deaths started occurring where the victims' bodies were found floating with a hole in the forehead, Coulson's team was sent to investigate. Ward found Skye following him and getting a little too close for comfort, although she insisted she was simply observing her S.O. The team eventually found a connection between the victims and were able to find another man just a few minutes before he died. This man revealed that he was friends with the other victims and they had taken a Chitauri helmet during the Battle of New York, which had given them all an alien virus. The man later died and Simmons checked the team for the virus.
When the team regrouped on the Bus, it was discovered that Jemma Simmons had been infected by the virus. Trapped on the Bus, they knew that when the virus killed her, it would cause an EMP which would crash the plane. Fitz helped her in an attempt to find a cure, and in a last ditch effort they used samples to the Chitauri helmet to produce one; however, it appeared to be fruitless. Simmons knocked out Fitz and jumped out of the plane to save the others, but the cure did in fact work and Ward jumped out of the Bus to rescue her. Ward administered the cure to Simmons during free-fall and used a parachute to save both their lives. This action earned him unquestionable trust with the group.
When the team had a stopover at the installation known as The Hub, Victoria Hand explained that enemy forces had obtained a weapon called the Overkill Device in Georgia, which had the power to wipe out their own missile systems and render S.H.I.E.L.D. defenseless. Ward volunteered for the mission, as did Melinda May; however, Hand said they needed someone who could disarm the weapon so she assigned Ward and Leo Fitz to the mission.
Ward entered the assignment watching the back of the inexperienced Leo Fitz. He went in search of his previous contact Uri Dubrovsky, only to learn that Dubrovsky had been killed and another group of mobsters had taken over. They were taken hostage by Marta. Ward suggested various ways they could escape, none of which Fitz liked as they involved cutting off body parts or risking their lives. However, Fitz' technical knowledge came in helpful as he was able to repair the mob's television after a black-out, which earned them a safe trip to where they needed to go.
The next morning, the pair used a camouflage blanket to hitch a ride on the underbelly of a truck which brought them to the compound. Ward took out the guards and they discovered the Overkill Device. While Fitz disarmed it, Ward learned that Hand had not sent in a rescue team. He tried to convince Fitz to leave before the alarm was sounded but Fitz refused, proudly stating that he was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent just like Ward and just as brave as him. Fitz surprised Ward with his quick thinking, adaptability, and courage during the assignment, they managed to escape when Phil Coulson and Melinda May sent the Bus to rescue them.
After Thor saved the Earth from the wrath of Malekith and the Dark Elves, Ward, along with the rest of the team and S.H.I.E.L.D., proceeded to clean up the mess the battle had left in Greenwich. Any piece of alien technology was taken and stored away with S.H.I.E.L.D.; Ward discovered a piece of Malekith's ship and took it away for storage. Later, they were called to investigate the mystical weapon known as the Berserker Staff, which had been discovered by Norse Paganists leaders Jakob Nystrom and Petra Larsen.
While searching for the second piece of the Staff, Ward came across the piece and Elliot Randolph, who the team had earlier consulted about the staff. Ward stopped Randolph from stealing the staff piece but as he attempted to take it from Randolph, the Staff infected Ward with its mystical strength but also brought back a dark memory he had long hidden. As the effects of the Staff continued to affect Ward, his anger rose, causing him to lash out at the other team members. Randolph was locked away on the Bus and questioned, and Coulson developed a theory that Randolph may, in fact, be an Asgardian. He had Ward test the theory by trying to stab Randolph in the neck, and Randolph bent the blade. He revealed he was an ancient warrior who had destroyed the Staff and hidden the pieces across the world.
The team finally located the final piece of the Staff thanks to Randolph. When Ward and the team arrived, they were confronted by Nystrom, who had beat them to the location. He stabbed Randolph in the heart with a piece of the staff, nearly killing him. Seeing no other choice, Ward grabbed a piece of the Staff and attacked Nystrom. After a difficult battle, Ward defeated Nystrom and the remaining Paganists, while also fighting through his own dark memory, which caused him to collapse at the end of the battle. When Larsen and another Paganist arrived, Ward was exhausted and could barely stand, so Melinda May took the staff herself and defeated the Paganists.
Manipulating Melinda May
Later at a bar, Ward apologized to Skye who let him know if he ever needed to talk she was there. As he went to his room, he saw Melinda May with a bottle; after a brief moment of eye contact, she entered her room, leaving the door open, and Ward soon followed. Seeing May as the biggest threat to his mission, he allowed things to get intimate.
Ward defended his team again when they were charged with investigating and protecting a woman called Hannah Hutchins from mysterious destructive events happening around her. The team learned the attacks were being done by Hutchins' old friend Tobias Ford, who had become trapped between dimensions. Ward tried to fight off the attacker and could not. In the end, May was able to convince the man to leave Hutchins alone, and Hutchins allowed him to die.
Ward and May continued their relationship, often training together when they weren't going to bed together to release stress. They soon learned that a criminal called Edison Po had been broken out of prison with the help of Centipede Soldiers. Seeing the difficulty of their upcoming missions, Coulson recruited the help of Michael Peterson, who had been training by S.H.I.E.L.D. Ward protested but Coulson was sure Peterson would be an asset to the team.
Coulson and Ward went on a mission to investigate one of the Centipede Soldiers who was identified in the CCTV, Brian Hayward. As they drove to the location of Hayward's sister, Ward managed to get Coulson to open up about his previous relationship, which included dinners at the Richmond. When they met the sister of Hayward, Ward approached her telling her Heyward had won the lottery and needed to contact them. They traced her call when she called her brother to tell him what had happened, giving them the current location of Centipede.
The team attacked the location of Centipede and engaged in a battle with the Centipede Soldiers. During the fight, Ward threw himself in the path of a punch intended for May, much to her annoyance. In the aftermath of the battle Peterson was wounded and Brian Hayward was executed by Centipede. Back on the Bus Peterson received a call from Raina that his son Ace had been kidnapped by Centipede. The team met with Raina and Ward took a position with his sniper rifle; however, the position of the meeting did not allow Ward to see their conversation. When they came back into view, Coulson was being taken by Centipede. Before he could react, a massive explosion seemingly killed Mike Peterson, and Ward was shot in the shoulder while Coulson was taken away in a helicopter.
Ward was involved in the mission to rescue Phil Coulson, this first involved the capture of Vanchat, a criminal who had connections to Raina. After threatening to throw him out of the Bus, Vanchat revealed vital information about Raina. Victoria Hand took a personal interest in the mission; however, she had a strong distrust of Skye. When Skye tried to hack into S.H.I.E.L.D. Hand ordered her off the plane, she first asked Ward and Melinda May's opinion, although Ward defended her May said she was not of enough use. When Skye was leaving the plane Ward, Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons provided her with an untraceable phone to call them, trusting her to do her own investigation.
This plan was successful and Skye was able to give them Coulson's correct location; however, Hand believed he was in a different location due to her own intel so did not provide back-up. The team arrived at the area together, with some new gadgets provided by Fitz to take out the Centipede Soldiers. Ward engaged with one of these soldiers, and after a long and intense fight, used a Night-Night Bracelet to knock him out. Coulson was rescued by Skye and Raina was captured. Ward and the rest of the team gladly welcomed Coulson back onto the Bus and watched as Raina was taken away to prison by S.H.I.E.L.D.
The team's next mission took them to the S.H.I.E.L.D. academy where Anne Weaver informed them that someone was attacking the students with freezing weapons. Ward was tasked with interviewing the students involved, including Seth Dormer and Callie Hannigan, to learn the truth about the attacks.
Through his investigations the team was able to learn that the attacks were being done by Seth Dormer and Donnie Gill, the two students who had been injured in the attacks, as they had attacked each other to ensure they were not the suspects. The pair were being funded by Ian Quinn, and they launched their weather machine which caused a super storm; Ward became trapped with the other students in the middle of the storm. The machine was destroyed in the storm and Dormer was killed by a lightning strike and Gill was arrested.
Ward had then assisted his team on other missions with his skills as an undercover specialist. He and Melinda May were teamed up on a mission to infiltrate a train where they had learned an item Ian Quinn had purchased was being moved. Ward was tasked with appearing as a train conductor while the team searched for Quinn's purchase. While he was speaking to May while changing into his train conductor clothes, May revealed that she had told Phil Coulson about their relationship, much to Ward's horror. Ward continued the mission but was attacked by one of Quinn's assassins. He then alerted Coulson and the pair jumped from the train to safety. One of Quinn's guards threw a Dendrotoxin Grenade which knocked them out; when they awoke they believed no time had passed and that the train had simply vanished.
Ward and Coulson made their way back to the Bus to try to figure out what had happened. They both, however, had a great deal of trouble operating the Holotable while they tried to research the grenade that was thrown at them. Ward took the opportunity to speak to Coulson about his relationship with May; Coulson warned him that if it ever endangered the team, Ward would be punished by being forced to guard Emil Blonsky's cryo-cell, located at a facility in Barrow, Alaska. They were interrupted by the arrival of their seeming ally Luca Russo who was promptly murdered by Melinda May, who had been tortured by the traitorous Russo.
The team were able to locate Simmons back on the train and learned that Fitz and Skye had moved to Ian Quinn's Villa, alone. The team attacked the villa to rescue them. Ward arrived and shot Quinn's guards with the Night-Night Guns. Ian Quinn was quickly arrested but was found with blood on his hands. telling Coulson it was dangerous to make Skye go in alone. Skye was later found with two bullet wounds to the stomach after she had been shot by Quinn. Simmons was able to save her life by putting her in a Hyperbaric Chamber.
Back on the Bus, the team began thinking about finding some kind of medication for Skye to save her life. Melinda May tried to comfort him and told him not to blame himself, but he responded by saying he was not blaming himself. May thought he was speaking about blaming Fitz and Coulson, but in reality, he was blaming John Garrett, whom he knew had given the order for Skye to get shot. At the thought of losing Skye, Ward's feelings for her grew as his relationship with Melinda May waned.
The next day, John Garrett arrived on the Bus asking to take Ian Quinn into custody, Phil Coulson ordered Ward not to allow Quinn off the Bus, this led to a fist fight between Ward and Antoine Triplett, Garrett's new subordinate. However, Coulson and Garrett were able to come to an understanding where Quinn would stay on the Bus until Skye's life had been saved.
The team traveled to the Guest House where Coulson had been treated for his own injuries, once they arrived they were unable to get through the doors as they did not have the correct passcode. So the team broke in and engaged in a fierce firefight with the guards. Garrett and Ward were able to kill both the guards but soon learned that the base had been set to self-destruct. Coulson and Fitz searched the base to find the GH.325 which had saved Coulson's life, while Ward and Garrett tried to turn off the self-destruct.
Coulson and Fitz were able to find the GH.325 and the team made their escape, Ward took Fitz back to the Bus to give the GH.325 to Simmons. Garrett and Coulson soon arrived just as the base exploded, when Coulson arrived he ordered Simmons not to give Skye the serum but she already had. Skye began to spasm but soon her heartbeat became more regular and she began to recover. As Skye recovered, Ward admitted to her that he blamed himself for her injury, but Skye reassured him by promising him that she would train harder after her recovery.
Encounter with Asgardians
The team found a signal in the desert which Coulson recognized as the arrival of an Asgardian. The team drove to the location of the signal and witnessed the arrival of Lady Sif, whom Coulson had briefly met in New Mexico. Lady Sif explained that a powerful sorceress named Lorelei had escaped the Asgardian dungeons during the war with Malekith and the Dark Elves. She had the power to control the will of men with her voice and touch, and this power had previously allowed her to almost take control of Asgard.
The team tracked her down where she had already amounted a small army of local police and a biker gang, who were all blindly loyal to her. Ward fought many of the bikers, and his fighting skills greatly impressed Lorelei, who was able to use her touch to put Ward under her power, after failing to control him with her voice, which indicates a stronger will than usual. He drove her away to safety and willingly gave her information about the team. After spending the night together in Las Vegas, Ward was candid with Lorelei about his feelings toward Skye and May and told her that Coulson's Team stood between her and world domination.
Together, they hijacked the Bus and took control of Leo Fitz. When Coulson arrived back on the Bus with Sif, Fitz told her he had repaired the Asgardian Collar needed to stop Lorelei, but in reality, Ward locked her in the room and ejected her from the plane. Ward appeared with Lorelei and she kissed Ward in front of May to mock her, Ward had a lengthy fight with May. After Sif managed to place the collar on Lorelei, ending her control on Ward, Ward pulled out a gun and attempted to kill May. Upon failing to kill her, he pretended that he had done so under mind control, and was punched by May, effectively ending their relationship.
Hunting the Clairvoyant
When Deathlok attacked John Garrett and Antoine Triplett, Coulson arranged a meeting with some of the heads of S.H.I.E.L.D. including Victoria Hand, Jasper Sitwell and Felix Blake. They discussed a plan to find and stop the Clairvoyant. Grant Ward witnessed Skye becoming an official S.H.I.E.L.D. agent so she could access the Index allowing S.H.I.E.L.D. to investigate the Clairvoyant. Ward was teamed with Triplett to investigate Elijah Fordham, they discussed what they would do when they found the Clairvoyant, Triplett discussing how he had lost his partner in an attack by the Clairvoyant, and asked Ward what he would do if Skye had died. Before they could find Fordham, they were called to help Felix Blake against Deathlok.
Deathlok was found in Pensacola, Florida, and Coulson and Garrett led a raiding party, including Ward, to Thomas Nash's location. After a few short battles with Deathlok, Nash was located, who was paralyzed and could only speak through a computer. Phil Coulson swore to lock him away, Nash none-the-less continued to mock Coulson but when Nash threatened Skye's life, Ward fired a single shot into Nash's heart and killed him.
With Nash dead, Ward was arrested and locked in the Cage. After a while, Coulson had learned that the true Clairvoyant was, in fact, a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. Coulson came into the Cage and confronted Ward, asking if he had been ordered to kill Nash to protect the real Clairvoyant, although Coulson was correct, Ward continued to lie and deny any knowledge about the Clairvoyant. However, Skye informed Coulson that they had a serious problem, Coulson came back a few minutes later with Melinda May unconscious, now believing she was connected to the Clairvoyant. The Bus was then taken over by S.H.I.E.L.D. and rerouted to the Hub.
During the HYDRA Uprising, Ward explained to Phil Coulson that Victoria Hand, who was believed to be the Clairvoyant, could not get the research and items stored on the Bus, so Coulson had Skye download all of the data onto an encrypted hard drive. They were later joined by John Garrett who had also been attacked by S.H.I.E.L.D., while they were on the Bus they received an encrypted message that revealed HYDRA was coming out of the shadows.
S.H.I.E.L.D. fired upon the Bus and the team escaped with the help of Leo Fitz's Mouse Hole. Ward and Skye worked together to battle through the Hub. As they hide in a storage room to prepare for the battle, Ward volunteered to go out alone to fight the guards so she could complete her mission regardless. Ward and Skye expressed their feelings for one another and shared their first kiss. With the kiss giving him new energy and determination, Ward ran out of their hiding place and fought off a dozen of the guards before re-teaming with Skye to cut the power across the Hub.
When Coulson, Leo Fitz, and Melinda May were surrounded by HYDRA agents and John Garrett, who revealed himself as both the Clairvoyant and a HYDRA operative, Ward and Skye were able to switch off the power in the facility which gave Coulson the opportunity to fight Garrett, they were able to overpower the HYDRA agents and Victoria Hand arrived to arrest the Garrett and the other HYDRA agents. Ward witnessed Garrett being taken away by S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson tried to comfort him and explain that his mentor was HYDRA. Ward, however, was already working out a plan to free Garrett.
Ward requested to join Hand in transporting Garrett to the Fridge, claiming that Garrett was his S.O. and he'd like to be the one to lock the key to his cell. Once airborne, Victoria Hand mocked Garrett and asked Ward if he'd like to kill the true Clairvoyant. Ward silently stood up and loaded his gun, Hand smiled awaiting Garrett's death, much to her surprise; however, Ward immediately shot and killed agents Chaimson and Jacobson, before turning the gun on Hand and shooting her three times, killing her. He then freed Garrett and they escaped. As Garrett piloted the plane he retold Ward one of his many war stories while Ward contemplated his next move.
Ward traveled to Raina's prison, fought and killed the guards and unlocked her cell door. Having only known Ward as an enemy up to this point, Raina was immediately suspicious of his presence. To gain Raina's trust, Ward presented her with a gift from the Clairvoyant - a new flowered dress. Ward took her to Havana, Cuba to introduce her to their mutual benefactor. At the Barbershop Headquarters, John Garrett introduced himself and explained he was not the Clairvoyant as she expected, but a S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent with a high security clearance, Ward smiled at her confusion and disappointment. Garrett welcomed her to HYDRA. Ward and Garrett presented Raina with the drugs from the Guest House and the encrypted hard drive which Skye had created so she could perfect Project Deathlok.
Afterwards, they went off with Agent Kaminsky to raid the Fridge, Ward arrived pretending to be delivering John Garrett to his cell. However, the guards refused to let them inside without Victoria Hand present, Ward claimed Hand was going to meetings to finish the HYDRA invasion. Realizing they would not be able to convince the guards to let them in, Ward had Kaminsky fire at them from a helicopter until the guards let them in.
Once inside, Ward shot both guards and Garrett released a gas which killed all the remaining guards. Once inside, Garrett revealed to Ward that the Slingshot Program was a fake and Nick Fury had kept all the alien weapons he had found. While Garrett began releasing its prisoners, including Blackout, Ward took a team of agents and obtained the Fridge's confiscated weapons, including the Berserker Staff, the Peruvian 0-8-4. Ward made a bet with Garrett that there was something hidden under the floor and revealed the Gravitonium, winning him a steak dinner.
Raina spoke to Ward about how difficult it must be for him to have betrayed Coulson, Ward explained that although he owed Coulson something, he owed Garrett everything. Later, however, Raina reported that only Skye could decrypt the hard drive, Ward was ordered to return to Coulson's Team to get the pass codes from her. Knowing that Coulson would have learned that the Fridge had been raided, it was decided that Ward should look like his been in a fight. Before he went to Providence, Ward had Garrett hit him several times, damaging his face and cracking his ribs, as he punched him, Garrett made Ward recite that he was an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D..
"Ward is HYDRA"
When Ward arrived at Providence, he was greeted by Skye and taken to Jemma Simmons to look at his injuries. While Simmons watched up his many cuts and injuries, Ward lied to Coulson's Team about the Raid of the Fridge, telling them that when they arrived HYDRA had already taken over and he killed John Garrett as Garrett was freeing the prisoners. Coulson decided to take half the team to Portland, Oregon to pursue one of the escaped inmates named Blackout, but Agent Eric Koenig insisted that they all pass the Lie Detector first.
Ward barely passed his test. He did this by using a thin piece of metal stabbed into his finger; when he told the truth he stabbed himself to give the machine the impression that his reaction to telling the truth and lying were the same. During the test, it appeared that this technique was not working as Eric Koenig became suspicious of his answers and drew a gun. Ward worked out clever answers to questions like "Are you HYDRA?" and when Ward was asked why he was there, he chose not to lie and simply answer he was there for Skye, which was true. Agent Koenig accepted these answers and welcomed Ward onto the base.
Skye and Ward sat together and discussed recent events, with Ward telling Skye that he was not a good man, which she strongly denied and told him that he was before the pair shared a romantic kiss. Later, when Skye and Koenig discussed using NSA satellites to watch the prison break, Ward knew it would expose his part in the scheme; therefore, he pretended that he agreed with the plan to ensure Skye remained unsuspicious before he murdered Koenig, strangling him and hiding his body in a closet.
When Ward struggled to find Skye in the Providence base, he went to the closet to check she had not discovered Koenig's body. He soon found and convinced Skye to leave with him on the Bus, telling her that Coulson had sent them orders for her to unlock the hard-drive, holding hands with her as they left. Unknown to Ward, Skye had already found Koenig's body and realized that he was a member of HYDRA. She had left the message "Ward is HYDRA" for her teammates to find and went with him.
Ward flew the Bus to Ruthie's Skillet in Los Angeles since Skye had informed him that the encryption for the Coulson's Team Hard Drive was location-based. He began to get nervous the longer Skye took to unlock the drive, but she insisted that it was more complicated than he understood. Ward noticed that more and more police officers were arriving inside the cafe and quietly asking members of the public to leave.
Knowing he was about to be arrested, Ward tried to get Skye to leave with him, but Skye revealed she knew his true affiliation to HYDRA and had called the police. The officers attempted to arrest Ward, but he easily fought them off while Skye attempted to escape by getting herself arrested. However, before Skye could be put in the police car, Ward shot the two officers and tried to order her to stop running. Skye got in the car but as she tried to escape, Deathlok, Ward's back-up, apprehended her, using his Cybertek Prosthetic Leg to leap onto the front of the car and violently rip her out of her seat.
Ward and Deathlok took the now captured Skye back onto the Bus, where Ward handcuffed her and tried to explain that his feelings for her were real, but Skye was too upset to listen, telling him that he made her sick. Still furious at Ward's betrayal, Skye called him a murderer and a Nazi due to HYDRA's history with Red Skull back in World War II, much to Ward's anger. Skye refused to listen to what he had to say and told him she would not unlock the hard drive for him, explaining that he was right that she would not like the real him as he had assured her she would not. Ward, however, remained calm and told her that one day she would understand his actions.
Seeing that Skye would not answer to Ward, John Garrett ordered Deathlok to take over the interrogation, promising more violent methods. However, as per Garrett's orders, Deathlok shot Ward with a Heart Stopper to induce a heart attack. As Ward lay on the ground struggling for breath and slowly dying, Deathlok told Skye that he would only save him if Skye unlocked the drive. Although Skye hated Ward, she could not bear to watch him die so she agreed to unlock the drive. Deathlok brought Ward back to life by restarting his heart beat, but Ward remained bitter about the incident.
As Ward prepared to fly the plane away to safety, he was stopped when Maria Hill arrived on another jet with Antoine Triplett. The two traded insults, with Ward explaining that he had hoped Hill had been killed during the Battle at the Triskelion while Hill called him a lowlife for his betrayal. Eventually, Hill threatened to shoot Ward out of the sky if he attempted to escape, but Ward confidently said that not only did she no longer have the authority any more now S.H.I.E.L.D. was gone, but Phil Coulson would have never allowed her to put the lives of Skye and Mike Peterson in jeopardy and took off.
Having escaped from Hill, Ward took the Bus to a high altitude which unlocked the Coulson's Team Hard Drive as Skye had promised to them. However, what Ward did not know was Hill had simply been distracting Ward long enough for Phil Coulson to board the plane and rescue Skye. Ward realized the deception too late and Coulson managed to get himself and Skye aboard Lola and drove out of the plane where they managed to fly safely back down to the group despite Ward firing at them and Deathlok using his Forearm Rocket Launcher to try and shoot them out of the sky.
Not willing to lose his hostage, Ward tried to turn the plane around and go after them, but John Garrett instead ordered them to continue with their main mission and regroup with him back at the Barbershop Headquarters in Cuba as they had gotten the information they needed from Skye by unlocking the Hard Drive. Furious at this humiliating failure, Ward took a moment to threaten to kill Deathlok if he ever did anything like stopping his heart again. However Deathlok remained completely calm and merely informed Ward that he had only been following Garrett's direct orders like he did.
A Terrible Choice
With the codes, Grant Ward returned to Cuba, and Raina was able to finish recreating GH.325. Garrett ordered the abandonment of the Barbershop Headquarters for the new Cybertek Manufacturing Facility, and Raina told Ward about rumors she had heard about Skye's parents. Before the members of the Centipede Project could leave, Ward found Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons spying on them. After Ward captured the two and brought them onto the Bus for questioning, Fitz activated the EMP Joy Buzzer that further damaged Garrett's cybernetic parts, nearly killing him as he was already suffering from organ failure.
Garrett ordered Ward to kill Fitz and Simmons. Fitz and Simmons were able to escape their guards, resulting in Ward chasing them until they locked themselves in a Medical Pod. Ward demanded that the two unlock the door, but Fitz tried to remind Ward of their friendship and stated that he knew Ward cared about them. Ward finally admitted that he still cared about his former friends, but he called it "a weakness" and then ejected the pod with Fitz and Simmons in it from the Bus into Atlantic Ocean. When he returned to Garrett, Ward lied to him and claimed to have definitively killed Fitz and Simmons. At the same time, Ward learned that he had had Raina inject him with the GH.325. He witnessed Garrett's body beginning to spasm and glow; when he stopped, Ward asked him how he was feeling, Garrett simply answered, the universe.
Worrying about John Garrett
- "Our alliance with HYDRA was always a means to that end, right?"
"And here we are. It's not like we're true believers, right? Don't get me wrong, I'll go where you go. Having our soldiers in key positions is great but, then what? Are we really planning a coup?"
- ―Grant Ward and John Garrett[src]
Ward witnessed John Garrett showing off his new strength as he ripped a door off it's hinges and began carving strange symbols on it, claiming that he was writing down the ideas that were now in his head. Ward tried to talk some sense into Garrett, telling him that he was a little freaked out and questioning their loyalty to HYDRA, but he had little success as Garrett continued to rant and promised that now it was time for Ward to take whatever he wanted.
Ward traveled with John Garrett to the new Cybertek Manufacturing Facility. On the flight there, he became worried about the state of Garrett's mind. He confided his worries with Raina, who agreed to talk to Garrett. Despite his concerns, he stayed with Garrett. When they arrived at the Facility Garrett began to mock General Jacobs, who was being given a tour by Ian Quinn. When Jacobs demanded to know why he could hear gunfire, Garrett brutally murdered the General without warning by ripping out his rib and stabbing him in the neck with it, as Ward could only look on in horror. When he asked Garrett what this was the beginning of, Garrett told Ward it was the beginning of the end.
Ward was forced to lock up Jacobs' entourage. After he had done that, he caught Raina and Ian Quinn attempting to flee with the Gravitonium. He accused Raina of putting thoughts in Garrett's mind but she then changed the subject, claiming that Skye is the key to the evolutionary change and when comes to pass, she and Ward could be together. Although Ward knew Skye perceived him as a monster, Raina cast doubt on that and asked if he was truly was a monster or was what Garrett made him. She then claimed when Skye's hidden darkness comes to light, they could be monsters together.
When Coulson's Team broke into the Cybertek Manufacturing Facility, Ward demanded John Garrett give him some new orders as to how to deal with this situation, only for his mentor to respond with confusing words about independence. He then received a call from Skye, who boasted that she had taken control of the Centipede Soldiers control center. After taunting Skye about Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons' supposed deaths at Ward's hand, Garrett tasked Ward with apprehending Skye.
He found Skye who had taken Kyle Zeller hostage with a bomb strapped around his chest. He called her bluff, reminding her that she could have let him die the last time, but she did not. Skye expressed pity for him for betraying their team, declaring Fitz a hero for wanting to believe there was good in Ward. As she stated that some people are just born evil, Ward concurred, admitting she that woken up a weakness inside him. He aimed his gun at her head and threatened to take what he wanted from her whether she wanted it or not.
Skye, however, remained strangely confident and told him she had a weapon more powerful than a bomb which would destroy him; when he asked why that was, she explained because he slept with her, and she was immensely furious. Ward was then attacked by Melinda May, with whom he engaged in a long battle through the facility while Skye used Zeller to free Ace Peterson and communicate with Deathlok. During the fight, Ward and May tried to desperately kill each other with buzzsaws and various other weapons they could find as they charged through a building site in the facility, with them both proving to be equally matched fighters.
Ward managed to pin May down on a work bench and attempted to slice off her arm with a buzzsaw, mocking reminding her of their sexual history as he sat on top of her; however, May managed to break free and began hitting Ward through various walls head first. The fight ended when May managed to get her hands on a nearby nail gun and started bolting Ward's foot to the floor. Despite pleas from Ward who was now defenseless, May punched him in the jaw and fractured his larynx rendering him unable to speak, before telling him that she was done listening to him as she knocked him unconscious with a final hard kick to the skull.
Ward was brought before Phil Coulson, angry that Ward had lied to them from day one. Coulson asked Melinda May if she got all her anger out, she said she had not as Ward was still alive, she also told him that Ward was unable to speak due to his fractured larynx. Coulson told him that Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons had survived his assassination attempt, although Fitz may never be the same again. Coulson left him a question: Who are you without John Garrett? He was then taken into custody by U.S. Marines.
Prisoner at the Playground
Grant Ward became a prisoner in one of the vaults in the Playground. In his time he hurt himself by running at the walls and other tactics. He also attempted suicide by cutting his wrists with a folded piece of paper. Once he recovered, he refused to speak to anyone except Skye. For three-and-a-half weeks, Phil Coulson sat outside Ward's cell, but Ward refused to speak. Ward was eventually questioned by Skye about Carl Creel's connection with John Garrett and HYDRA. Ward told her about Creel's abilities. He also provided information on how HYDRA was communicating between its factions. Before Ward could give any information about Calvin Zabo, her father, Skye left and returned Ward to isolation.
Later when the team was attempting to track down Donnie Gill who had now gained cryogenic powers, Skye came down to gain information from Ward. The two were sidetracked, discussing Ward's alleged abuse by his family who are now considered well-known, respectable people. Ward told her that HYDRA, when coming after a gifted, will first try to recruit them or, if the former fails, terminate them. He also told Skye that S.H.I.E.L.D.'s morals were going to lead to its defeat.
Leo Fitz's Revenge
- "Garrett ordered me to kill you and Simmons, he expected me to put a bullet in your head, but I couldn't. I gave you a fighting chance to find a way out, like you always do, like you did."
"Save me? Do you... Do you... Do you know what the... What your... No... I have trouble with words."
- ―Grant Ward and Leo Fitz[src]
While inside his cell, Ward heard somebody coming downstairs, as he prepared to greet them, only to be greeted by Leo Fitz, who had felt that the others were keeping secrets from him and so had discovered Ward in his cell. Ward was happy to see Fitz again and told him that rather than kill Fitz and Jemma Simmons, he ejected their pod into the ocean to give them a fighting chance, rather than shoot them as John Garrett wanted. Enraged, Fitz explained how the loss of oxygen caused him brain damage and that he was now useless to his team, who he revealed had left to go after Donnie Gill. Fitz then tried to make Ward feel his pain by removing the oxygen out of his cell to kill him. A gasping Ward, desperate to stay alive and concerned about the team's well-being, revealed that HYDRA had brainwashed some of its agents, including Gill, who was used by HYDRA to take the Sandbox. Fitz allowed Ward to live and, with Alphonso Mackenzie's help, informed Phil Coulson and the group about this.
Skye's Next Question
Upon returning to the Playground, Skye confronted Ward, who reminded her of his promise to always tell her the truth. She wanted to know if he was brainwashed into working with HYDRA; he told her he was not. He then told her that he could lead her to her father.
Bonding with the other agents, Skye admitted that she once had a crush on Ward. Meanwhile, Fitz felt that Ward was getting more respect than he was from the others.  Ward thought Skye wanted to talk about her father when she returned to Vault D weeks later, but she came to ask him about the Words of Creation. Ward told her that Raina was the one who gave him the information on Skye's father but she believed that Raina was playing him. Ward desperately hoped that she was not carving the Words of Creation. Their conversation gave Skye the clue she needed to recognize that Phil Coulson was the one writing them. Later when Raina told Coulson that she wanted to bring Skye to her father, she realized that Ward was right after all.
Transfer and Escape
- "You are not, not will you ever be, on my team. You dropped FitzSimmons out of a plane, you murdered Victoria Hand and Eric Koenig, you betrayed every one of us, you deluded son of a bitch. The only reason you're still alive is because you were of use. And the only reason you're being transferred is because your brother is of more use."
- ―Phil Coulson to Grant Ward[src]
When HYDRA attacked a United Nations summit posing as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and Grant's older brother Christian attempted to hunt down the agency, Coulson had Skye talk to Grant about his brother in hopes of finding out anything. Grant begged Skye not to let him know he was there. He then changed the conversation to Calvin Zabo, which provoked Skye to angrily denounce Cal as a murderer. As a result, Coulson interrupted them and cut them off. Skye came back and Ward revealed to her that her father was trying to rescue her from HYDRA agents and that her mother was killed in the rescue attempt.
Ward then tried to convince her to set him free so he could take her to him. Skye, however, revealed to him that he was being transferred to his brother's custody, much to his horror. Phil Coulson later came down as Grant tried to convince him he could still help them and that he was still part of his team. Coulson angrily listed the many atrocious actions Ward committed (dropping Fitz and Simmons out a plane, killing Victoria Hand and Eric Koenig) and told him that the only reason he was imprisoned at the Playground was because he was of use and the only reason that he was being transferred was because Christian was of more use.
Coulson escorted him into a truck, advising the FBI agents not to give Ward a single inch. As he walked to the truck, Ward saw all of his former friends, including Fitz, and other agents watching him. Ward then saw Skye and Simmons and called out to Skye, but Simmons then told him that if she ever saw him again, she would kill him. As Ward was about to enter the van, he told Coulson to tell Skye that he would keep his promise to take her to her father. Inside the van, Ward, had been practicing this in his cell, dislocated his thumb, freeing himself of his handcuffs, and overpowered the agents.
Ward knew that S.H.I.E.L.D. was pursuing him so he went a bus station in Philadelphia and, in a locker, got money and supplies. He also strapped explosives to himself which deterred Antoine Triplett from pursuing him.
The bus took Ward to Atlanta where he saw Bobbi Morse on page 117 of her book. Calling himself Zack, he then helped Eliza and her son, Graham, onto a bus to Dallas. When Eliza wanted further conversation, he opted to sit with Morse reading her book, who was also on that bus. After flirting with her, Ward revealed that he knew she was an agent of Phil Coulson because she is still on page 117. Ward showed her his bomb and left the bus. However, he boarded another bus headed to Boston with Lance Hunter on board.
In Boston, Ward met Sunil Bakshi in a bar run by a member of HYDRA. During the meeting, Ward asked Bakshi to whom he answered, as Strucker was overseas, to which Bakshi replied that he answered to Daniel Whitehall. Ward also asked if he could meet Whitehall, to which Bakshi replied that Whitehall was busy, but then Ward told him that he could get them close to Coulson. Ward then killed the bartender and the two HYDRA agents that accompanied Bakshi; Bakshi was then tied up and left for S.H.I.E.L.D..
Stopping off at a hotel, Ward took a shower, shaved off his beard and put on a new clean suit before calling Sunil Bakshi's phone. When Skye answered, he greeted her and said he hoped that she liked his present of Bakshi, explaining that he had promised Bakshi a face-to-face with Phil Coulson. He told her that he was planning on delivering similar presents to S.H.I.E.L.D. in the future. He hung up the phone before she could trace the call, then made plans to track down and confront his brother.
Killing Senator Ward
Ward soon found Christian as he was talking to his wife and setting up a date with his mistress. Ward sneaked up to the car and silently murdered his brother's security team in seconds before smashing Christian's car window with a man's head and violently pulling his brother out of the car. As Christian rolled down a hill and looked up in horror, Ward simply smiled and said that he had heard Christian had been looking for him.
Ward handcuffed Christian and forced him to walk through the woods where they had grown up, Christian continued to try and manipulate Ward by reminding him of his many crimes, but Ward ignored him and forced him to continue walking. Eventually, Ward had them go to the well from their past  that their parents buried as their younger brother Thomas had almost drowned in it. Christian was forced to uncover the well while Ward watched, the brothers continued to debate their past and Ward insisted that Christian was still living in denial about his abusive past towards him and their brother. Eventually, Christian found the well, but took a chance and attacked Ward before attempted to flee. Ward soon caught up and bushed Christian's head against a tree.
Ward dragged Christian to the well and threatened to drop him inside if Christian refused to admit to his part in torturing Thomas in their youth. Eventually, Christian tearfully admitted his part. Grant then embraced his brother and they walked back to the road together, making it appear to Christian that he had forgiven him, but in reality he was setting him up. Grant had recorded what Christian said. When they got back to the house, Grant killed Christian and their mother and father and burned down the house, making it appear to be a murder-suicide case. Grant put the recording of Christian's confession in the remains of the house to further ruin Christian's appearance to the public.
Return to HYDRA
Meeting Daniel Whitehall
Later, Ward had a meeting with Daniel Whitehall, asking if he could work with him in HYDRA. Whitehall accepted and showed Ward news footage of the alleged murder-suicide of Senator Christian Ward and his parents. Calvin Zabo entered the meeting, Zabo was immediately interested in Ward due to his experience being a part of Coulson's Team. Ward asked Zabo about his experiences meeting Coulson, claiming that it can be a tough experience.
Tracing the Tracker injected into Raina, Ward found her aboard the cloaked Bus and Whitehall had it surrounded by four HYDRA Quinjets. Ward boarded the Bus with other operatives as Skye, Melinda May, Lance Hunter, Antoine Triplett, Billy and Sam Koenig surrounded him with guns drawn. When Skye saw Ward back working with HYDRA, she told him to pick a side, reminding him of how he had kidnapped Sunil Bakshi for them earlier; he told her that he had.
Ward then told them that if a shoot out began, all would die as the HYDRA Quinjets flying outside would shoot the Bus out of the sky. He promised that if Raina and Skye came willingly, nothing would happen and they would be allowed to go free. Sam Koenig asked what promise did he give his brother before killing him. Ward simply replied by asking who Koenig's brother was. Though the Koenig brothers and the rest of the S.H.I.E.L.D. team had Ward in a cross fire, they chose not to shoot. The women left with Ward; however, Daniel Whitehall ordered the Bus to be destroyed regardless.
Keeping His Promise
Ward took Skye to the HYDRA base at the Ponce de León Theater in San Juan; as they walked together Ward admired how much Melinda May taught her while he had been gone, noticing Skye was already looking for an escape strategy and remaining calm under the circumstances. Skye continued to question Ward's loyalty to HYDRA and why he had taken her, and Ward assured her it would be revealed soon. He took Skye to reunite her with Calvin Zabo, her father, who was waiting patiently. He left the pair alone to meet.
Daniel Whitehall decided to have a meeting with Ward, Raina, Skye, and Calvin Zabo to discern Ward's motivation for bringing the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent to their base and defying his order to destroy the Bus. Raina revealed that Ward loved Skye and his desire for her outweighed his allegiance to HYDRA. When Whitehall ordered Skye to pick up the Diviner, it caused a dangerous stand-off, with Ward aiming his gun at the HYDRA guards. Although they were able to kill a few of Whitehall's men, Ward, Skye and Zabo were captured by HYDRA.
While bound and guarded by Agent 33, Ward asked her about her resemblance to Melinda May. She talked of her loyalty to Whitehall and Ward commented on how he was once loyal to John Garrett who had gone insane. Ward witnessed Whitehall torture Zabo and mock Skye about her mother's death. When the Battle for the Kree City began, Ward talked to the guard that replaced Agent 33 long enough for Zabo to free himself, sneak up behind the guard and kill him. Ward asked Zabo to free him, but he refused, citing that he did not want Ward and Skye to see him kill Whitehall.
Ward managed to free himself from the chair shortly after Zabo left, then freed Skye, saying that he would get her to safety. However when Ward's back was turned, she took the dead guard's gun and shot Ward four times in the side and left him for dead, noting that he should never turn his back on the enemy. Ward was saved by the Bulletproof Vest he wore. Agent 33 came to him emotional over the death of Daniel Whitehall. He told her that she was free from HYDRA and, together, they can find her place in the world. She then helped the injured man leave the scene.
Closure of Kara Palamas
Repairing Agent 33's Mask
Over the next few weeks, Agent 33 treated Ward's gunshot injuries and eventually nursed him back to health, they developed a strong flirtatious relationship and Ward felt he owed Agent 33 a debt for saving his life. Seeking to begin making amends for his debt, Ward was able to track down the inventor of the Photostatic Veil to a diner where he was enjoying a meal with his family; once there, he and Agent 33 discussed their short history together while Ward politely ordered the pancakes from the waitress Rhonda for the two of them to enjoy.
Agent 33 still struggled to make decisions for herself now that her controller Daniel Whitehall was dead and they discussed what had happened with them in the aftermath of the Battle for the Kree City. Before their pancakes could arrive, the inventor of the Veil got up to leave, with Ward noting his disappointment and not getting to eat them. Ward left Rhonda a tip before he and Agent 33 pulled out their guns, with Ward shooting the CCTV cameras and helping Agent 33 threatening the inventor, who begged them to take his wallet and leave him alone, only for them to kidnap him together.
They took Selwyn back to their hotel room and forced him to fix the mask. Although he was unable to remove the mask, he was able to get it working again to cover up her scars and fix her voice, allowing her to transform her face into anyone at will. Once he was finished, he and Ward discussed how Agent 33 could use an old photograph to make the mask give her old face back, and Ward revealed that he was unaware of what she really looked like. Once they were satisfied that Selwyn had done all he could to assist them, Ward killed him to ensure he did not tell anyone about their actions.
Ward later found Agent 33 in their hotel room experimenting with the Photostatic Veil, creating new faces to cover her own scars, settling on using Melinda May's face. Ward offered to buy some clothes for Agent 33 while he was out, when Agent 33 questioned where he was going, Ward would only tell her that he was going to pick up another surprise for her. To Ward's surprise, Agent 33 asked him to stop helping her, as she felt guilty for not being able to give him something back; however, he insisted that this was not why he was doing this and promised to come back within a couple of hours.
When Ward returned, Agent 33 had turned her face into Skye's and tried to seduce Ward, but he insisted that he wanted to be with her, not anyone else. He explained that his feelings for Skye had gone when she shot him. As she was clearly upset at the rejection, Ward cheered up Agent 33 by handing her Sunil Bakshi's file, who was being held in a prison by Glenn Talbot. He then proceeded to tell her how John Garrett saved him from his family's cruelty and how, after he had a confrontation with them, he was free to be a new man. Ward promised they would kidnap Bakshi and get revenge.
Using the Photostatic Veil to successfully disguise herself as Brigadier General Glenn Talbot's own wife, Carla who was due to meet the General there, Agent 33 gained entry into the facility where their target was being held by tricking the guard that she had simply forgotten her access card. Once she was inside, she turned off the security cameras, allowing Ward to arrive without being tracked, finding the guard on the security desk paying so much attention to fixing his monitors that he did not see Ward coming towards him with a weapon.
With no cameras to capture his actions, Ward quietly murdered the guard at the desk and hid his body before stealing his access cards to help them get through the facility. While he was checking the dead guard's pockets, Ward found himself being watched by Brookton and prepared to draw his weapon to kill the United States Armed Forces soldier, before realizing that it was in fact Agent 33 in disguise, as she had already murdered Brookton. Ward teased her for her choice of disguise with her noting that he was the smallest man she could find, which was why the uniform was slightly too large for her.
Together, they located Sunil Bakshi, who was initially delighted to see Agent 33, believing her to still be loyal to HYDRA and following the orders given to her by the late Daniel Whitehall, although as soon as Ward appeared, he knew he was in danger, questioning who was truly giving orders to Agent 33 and being horrified to learn that they were working on their own orders. When Bakshi attempt to control her using the Faustus method, Agent 33 knocked him out and Ward smiled at her successful before together they took Bakshi outside in a wheelchair and made their hasty escape from the facility.
Once they were back at the hotel, they tied down the captured Bakshi and used the Faustus method to brainwash him, holding his eyes open as he starred into the screen. Agent 33 was able to turn the mask off to reveal her true scarred face. Ward smiled at seeing her true identity and, to show her that it was time for a new beginning, introduced himself to her again, and she introduced herself by her real name, Kara Palamas. Palamas then began to taunt Bakshi when he asked if his compliance would be rewarded, while Ward watched closely from the side, amused at Bakshi's suffering.
Recruited by Phil Coulson Again
In Mexico, Ward bought a cactus for his and Agent 33's house while she called her mother, who was helping her get better reacquainted with her old life by sending her old pictures of herself which allowed her to recreate her original and unscarred face with the Photostatic Veil. However, just as Ward was leaving the shop, he got a call on Agent 33's phone and learned that she had been captured by Phil Coulson.
Ward immediately drove to the restaurant where Agent 33 was and found her unharmed by being guarded by Deathlok. Ward greeted his former ally from his days with John Garrett and was ordered to remove all his weapons. Ward complied with these orders, dropping his guns, knives and garrote, although he tried and failed to keep one small blade on him which Deathlok spotted with his Backscatter X-Ray Eye Implant. With Ward now unarmed and defenseless, Deathlok directed him to a booth where Coulson was waiting to speak with him while he stayed back to keep guard over Agent 33.
Ward and Coulson exchanged false pleasantries as Coulson noted that he knew Ward could kill him if he wanted to. Ward then listened as Coulson explained that he was not after him anymore but was looking to find Wolfgang von Strucker and List, hoping that Ward could find a way to locate the pair. Although Ward was skeptical about the plan, Coulson mapped out a deal, in which Ward would help infiltrate HYDRA and then have his bad memories wiped using Project T.A.H.I.T.I. which would allow him to begin a happy and completely peaceful life with Palamas by his side.
Ward agreed to take the deal, and he and Agent 33 were taken back to their home by Deathlok where they gathered their belongings in preparation for the mission, also taking Sunil Bakshi and locking him inside the trunk of the car. While Deathlok spoke with Coulson, Ward commented that something was amiss as Melinda May was not involved with the mission. Although Palamas insisted they run, Ward reminded her that they could use Coulson to get to Bobbi Morse and find the closure that they were seeking. They then discussed finding another house to continue their relationship in.
Just as Ward and Palamas shared a kiss, Deathlok opened the door and ordered them to break it up, much to Ward's annoyance. They then opened the boot and Ward showed Coulson Bakshi, explaining that he had now undergone the Faustus method and would obey their orders completely. Ward explained that he had brought Bakshi to help with the infiltration as he knew List and could get them inside HYDRA, assuring Coulson that Bakshi was now loyal to his and he was happy to comply with anything Ward or he ordered him to do.
Bakshi reached out to his old HYDRA allies and soon arranged a meeting with Doctor List. In Coulson's Quinjet, they discussed the mission plans until Ward asked how Leo Fitz was doing. Fitz exploded out of his seat at him, and quickly had to be restrained by Coulson and Lance Hunter, leaving Ward's question unanswered. Fitz pleaded with Coulson that both Bakshi and Ward would undoubtedly betray them the first chance they had, but Coulson reassured Fitz that he was aware of the risks and as a result Deathlok would join Bakshi as his bodyguard while he attended the meeting with List.
Using Sunil Bakshi
Ward watched from onboard the Quinjet as Sunil Bakshi and Deathlok met with Doctor List. Looking through Deathlok's prosthetic eye, they watched as List discussed the death of Daniel Whitehall and the resulting Assassination of HYDRA Leaders, questioning if Bakshi himself was involved, which he denied, even turning the suspicion onto List himself while Ward smugly commented that he was right all along.
When Bakshi offered to trade Deathlok to List for his experiments in exchange for a meeting with Wolfgang von Strucker, Ward was accused of betraying the plan. A standoff ensused with Phil Coulson and Ward aiming their guns at each other while Agent 33 held Leo Fitz by a knife and Lance Hunter drew his gun. Ward convinced Coulson to trust him and lower his gun so Fitz could instruct Deathlok to go along with the plan and not fight back against HYDRA. With the situation calmed, Coulson warned Ward that if he tried that again he would be thrown off the Quinjet to his sudden death.
When List's plan took off, Ward assumed it was because Strucker was overseas and Coulson gave the order for Ward to fly the Quinjet and follow them. They listened as List explained his desire to track Inhumans and his belief that there was a teleporter they were close to capturing as he had been located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Ward overheard Coulson and Fitz noting that this was the same teleporter who had taken Calvin Zabo, Raina and Skye, allowing Ward to learn that the mission was to find Skye, although Coulson still refused to explain why HYDRA would want to find and capture her.
When Doctor List took his plane to Milwaukee, Ward and the others followed him and landed the Quinjet on top of Calvin Zabo's Building, where Sunil Bakshi and a team of HYDRA agents stormed inside the building in an attempt to capture any gifted individuals they could find. Ward, Phil Coulson, Agent 33, and Lance Hunter armed themselves and went in the building as well, separating in an attempt to find Skye before she could be found and captured by Doctor List's HYDRA agents.
Ward and Coulson fought their way through many HYDRA agents, before locating Deathlok who had been fighting Lincoln Campbell but advised them on where to find Skye. Coulson and Ward were forced to subdue more HYDRA agents before they turned to see Skye, who started towards them before suddenly being interrupted by the arrival of Gordon. Before Coulson or Ward could get to her, Skye was teleported away with Calvin Zabo by Gordon. Frustrated by the failure, Ward responded by kicking a HYDRA agent hard in the skull and shot another while Coulson looked on in dismay.
When Agent 33 found them with an injured Hunter who had been shot in the firefight, Ward listed the many ways they were currently at a disadvantage in this fight and advised Coulson to retreat, since they were outmanned and outgunned and their only backup was Leo Fitz. Coulson chose to allow Ward, 33 and Hunter to escape onto the Quinjet while he decided to surrender to Bobbi Morse and Alphonso Mackenzie so he could then be taken back to S.H.I.E.L.D. where he would request Robert Gonzales' assistance in tracking Doctor List and rescuing his teammates from HYDRA.
On the Team Again
Ward followed the Bus with a Quinjet while Phil Coulson was being questioned, as they flew Ward suggested that Kara Palamas could fly, offering to teach her how. Palamas, however, refused, jokingly telling Ward that if she was allowed to fly she would forget the mission and take them away on vacation. Palamas questioned why they were going to S.H.I.E.L.D. as Ward had fulfilled his promise to Coulson, but Ward insisted that he still had a promise to her that he wished to set right.
When Coulson was finally allowed to continue his plan following his interrogation, in which he offered the Toolbox as a peace offering, he messaged Lance Hunter and Leo Fitz onboard the Quinjet and Ward landed the Quinjet on top of the Bus. Once at the Playground, he was placed under guard with Kara under the order of Robert Gonzales, with Melinda May making it clear that if Ward ever stepped out of line, he and Palamas would be gunned down without any hesitation. In response, Ward mockingly told Palamas that May could be very friendly once you got to know her a little better.
Ward was present at a meeting with Coulson, Gonzales, May and Bobbi Morse, with Anne Weaver and Oliver speaking to them from the Iliad, where they discussed the plan to attack Doctor List and rescue Mike Peterson and any other enhanced individuals that HYDRA was holding hostage before destroying the facility. Ward explained that Sunil Bakshi was no longer working for HYDRA but was instead working for him, although May remained skeptical. Gonzales put the matter up to a vote and it was decided they would move ahead with the mission, using Coulson's Team only.
Ward later spoke to Agent 33 alone and convinced her to stay at the Playground in an attempt to learn more about who she was as an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. before being captured by HYDRA and then subjected to Daniel Whitehall's brainwashing. Although Palamas remained highly skeptical about the idea as she claimed that these methods of reconnecting with her past only worked when she called her mother, Ward insisted that a key part of her life had been stolen from her and this was the only way that she would be able to get it back and learn who she was before Whitehall's torture.
Having gathered their weapons and been fully briefed on the mission plan, Ward arrived onto the Bus alongside Phil Coulson, Melinda May, Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons. However, just as the doors closed behind them, a loud noise was heard causing everyone to raise their guns at Ward who denied any involvement with whatever had caused the strange noise. It was quickly revealed that the noise was Skye being teleported onto the Bus from Afterlife by Gordon. With everyone having now calmed down and lowered their weapons, Ward noted they finally had gotten the team back together.
On route to the Arctic HYDRA Research Facility, Coulson asked Ward to brief the team on Sunil Bakshi's intel before the mission. Ward began breaking down the plan to attack the base; however, sensing that there was too much tension, Ward chose to speak out about his previous actions since being revealed to be an undercover HYDRA Operative working under John Garrett. He expressed that his greatest regret was not the people he had killed but the fact that his actions had destroyed their once great team. Despite this speech, Skye remained pleased that she had shot him.
When the Bus was spotted by HYDRA, the team ran into the Quinjet and Melinda May used that to escape while the Bus was shot out of the sky. Once they landed, they ran to the base and soon they encountered Sunil Bakshi who had just killed one of List's soldiers. Ward calmed Bakshi's mind before they continued on their mission, with Bakshi insisted on joining Ward. Ward and Bakshi joined Skye and Jemma Simmons as they were attacked by soldiers, Skye demonstrated her new powers of creating shockwaves and knocked out the guards.
When Ward suggested she should thank him for allowing her to gain her Inhuman powers in the Kree City, Skye said she would simply not try to kill him again. While subduing many of the attacking guards and forcing List to retreat, the team soon found Mike Peterson, who had been tortured by HYDRA and had lost his robotic eye implant and his cybernetic leg. Ward stood guard while Jemma Simmons attended to Peterson's injuries, until she accused Ward of standing around doing nothing and ordered him to find a stretcher to help get Peterson out of the base safely, which he did without question.While Ward was searching for a stretcher as requested, Simmons sneaked up behind him and attempted to assassinate him with a Splinter Bomb while his back was turned. Ward, however, was saved when Sunil Bakshi sacrificed his own life to protect his master. Realizing what had happened, Ward aimed his gun at Simmons and demanded to know why she had tried to kill him, she reminded him that she had promised to kill him if she ever saw him again. Ward noted that Simmons had changed and he was disappointed in her, before making his escape from the facility.
Leaving Kara Palamas
As Coulson's Team had successfully destroyed the HYDRA base and freed Mike Peterson and Lincoln Campbell, Ward called Phil Coulson, saying he had decided that it would be better for him to escape before ending up either in a prison cell or with his brain being erased. Ward explained that he knew the team would never forgive him but Kara Palamas did deserve forgiveness and so he had decided to leave her at S.H.I.E.L.D. so she could have a chance at rebuilding her life as an agent.
In reality, however, Ward had organized a plan for Kara Palamas to use the Photostatic Veil to disguise herself as Melinda May and fly herself and Bobbi Morse to Ward's location where they planned to kidnap and torture her. Once Morse learned of Palamas' deception, the pair had a prolonged fight and Morse knocked Palamas out with a strong kick to the jaw, but as Morse walked out of the Quinjet, dazed from the fight and unsure of her current location, Ward fired a single shot from his I.C.E.R. and shot her in the head, knocking her out cold.
Ward and Palamas dragged Morse's unconscious body back onto the Quinjet and tied her up. They expressed their love for each other, with Palamas telling Ward that she had found it difficult to be away from him for so long. Although Palamas wished to execute Morse straight away in revenge for betraying her to Daniel Whitehall and beginning her brainwashing torture, Ward told Palamas that in order for her to get full closure, they would have to ensure that Morse's suffering be prolonged before she died. He then shot Morse, who was regaining consciousness, with the I.C.E.R. three more times.
Torturing Bobbi Morse
Ward and Kara Palamas took Bobbi Morse back to an abandoned warehouse, where they tied her to a table. Ward revealed to her that they had learned from Sunil Bakshi that it was Morse who had sold out Palamas' location to HYDRA, leading to her capture and torture at the hands of Daniel Whitehall, and they wanted her to confess this to them to give Palamas closure. When Morse remained calm, Ward opened his toolbag and took out a long sharp needle before revealing that he knew Morse hated needles.
Ward explained to Morse how she would be tortured, that he had used an anesthetic to remove any sensation of pain from her while he pushed needles under her fingernails, knowing that Morse could push away most pain he inflicted to her. He explained that this way, the sensation of unbearable pain, would hit her body all at once. He offered to avoid this pain if Morse confessed. Morse, however, told Palamas that she had made a choice while at HYDRA to give away the location of one S.H.I.E.L.D. Safe House, not knowing if it was empty or not and believed she had done the right thing.
Eventually, Palamas saw in Morse's eyes that the pain was finally engulfing her entire body, she told Ward and they embraced as they watched Morse suffer. Morse attempted to convince Palamas that Ward was playing with her emotions, explaining that Ward was using symbolic targets from her past life to make her believe he cared about her. Palamas, however, revealed that she knew all about Ward's past with John Garrett, and how he had killed many S.H.I.E.L.D. agents including Victoria Hand, but she was in love with him nonetheless and as a result she would always stand with Ward.
Bobbi Morse's Escape Attempt
As Kara Palamas slept, Ward visited Bobbi Morse, who had now been suffering from the pain for many hours. Ward complimented her on her resilience before comparing himself to her, as they both hid their true identities from the world, noting that this was why neither she nor Phil Coulson could ever see them coming. Ward attempted to convince her once again to end her suffering by admitting she betrayed her and thus giving Palamas the closure she needed, but Morse refused, calling Ward a complete hypocrite as he had betrayed his entire team.
Without warning, Morse managed to rip off her restraints and attacked Ward, ripping the needles out of her fingers and attempting to stab him in the neck. The pair engaged in a fierce fight, throwing each other at the walls and through windows until Palamas came to Ward's aid and together they overpowered Morse before Ward shattered her kneecap by stomping on it. Ward offered Palamas the chance to shoot Morse, but she refused, citing that it did not feel right as she did not feel remorse. Ward told her he knew what to do instead, making a plan to break her mentally while also finally killing her.
A Terrible Mistake
Ward and Kara Palamas tied Bobbi Morse back to a chair and rigged a rifle behind her. Ward explained that as Morse had clearly shown no regard for her own life, he would force her to watch as someone else, presumably Lance Hunter, was killed while attempting to save her. He told her that the rifle was set to fire at the doorway the moment it was opened, killing them instantly in front of her eyes, which would give them the closure they desired. As they left Ward mocked Morse, noting that whoever opened the doors would have their head blown open.
When a S.H.I.E.L.D. team led by Hunter and Melinda May arrived to rescue Morse having located their Quinjet and followed Ward's bait. Ward watched them enter with Palamas still by his side, mockingly watching Hunter knowing that he would undoubtedly be dead soon. As Palamas was concerned about May's involvement as she could give the S.H.I.E.L.D. team the advantage in the fight, Ward reassured her that he would kill May as payback for the Battle at Cybertek where she had nailed his foot to the floor and fractured his larynx before arresting him and handing him over to Phil Coulson.
Seeking to take out several agents of the S.H.I.E.L.D. team one by one, Ward and Palamas split up so they could hunt down the agents while they were searching the warehouse. Ward hid in a bathroom and waiting for an agent to appear, at which point he attacked and disarmed the man before subduing him by smashing his head over a sink before moving on. At one stage, Ward overheard a message on the S.H.I.E.L.D. radio for all agents to move to the south corner and await May's arrival, so Ward prepared to finally gain his revenge against his former friend and lover.
Ward hid himself and the moment he saw May, he grabbed her and fired three fatal shots into her stomach. To his horror however, he discovered that he had accidentally killed Kara Palamas after she had used the Photostatic Veil to disguise herself as May. As Palamas fell to her knees and began drowning on her own blood, Ward begged her to stay with him but she died in his arms as her Photostatic Veil switched off, revealing her true scarred face. As Ward looked down at the woman he loved he began to cry as his heart broke before he made his escape before he could be discovered and killed as well.
Return to HYDRA
Ward escaped to Goldbrix Tavern; there, he sat staring at a photo of Kara Palamas. A group of HYDRA thugs that he had hired to find the remaining leadership showed up and gave him a list of names. Ward told them that he wanted more, but Kebo, explained that HYDRA no longer had any leadership, and that he cannot give them orders. Unhappy with this answer, Ward smashed Kebo's head into the bar and ordered the others to get more names so he could form a team. When one of the thugs asked him what the plan was, Ward looked down at Palamas' picture and replied "Closure".
Director of HYDRA
A few months following his return to HYDRA, Ward had successfully found many new recruits who were fiercely loyal towards him and his control; all of whom were loyal to the founding values of HYDRA that had been lost during the leadership of Wolfgang von Strucker as well as Alexander Pierce, among others. With Kebo as his new second-in-command, Ward made his goal to reunify HYDRA's splintered cells, and to clean the organization from soft and greedy members who cared only about wealth and not about power, which he blamed as the main reason for HYDRA's decline and inevitable failure, desiring a HYDRA made of strong and loyal fighters.
Hunting HYDRA's Leaders
Seeking to find new members who could bring something to his organization, Ward set his sights on Werner von Strucker, the son of Wolfgang von Strucker. Ward found Carmine, a HYDRA agent who knew of von Strucker's location. He stole Carmine's new sports car and drove into him, driving through his warehouse base with the completely terrified Carmine still on the bonnet.
As they drove with Carmine clinging on for dear life, Ward and Kebo spoke about the old HYDRA's greed, and how they were entitled and mistook wealth for success and privilege for power. Eventually, Ward slammed on the brakes, sending Carmine flying across the floor of the warehouse, at which point he, Kebo and the rest of their loyal soldiers then walked over to him and demanded to know where the could find the young von Strucker's location.
Under fear of torture and death, Carmine quickly gave up the information and told Ward that Werner von Strucker was living on a boat, purchased with his father's money. Ward and Kebo scouted out the area and spotted von Strucker having a party on the boat surrounded by beautiful women in bikinis and his security team. Ward and Kebo once again spoke about how the old HYDRA wasted their money and never used it to its fullest potential, as von Strucker would never let his ship out of the dock. Ward then ordered Kebo to sneak onto the boat and unleash a bag full of rats to scare away the women so they would not be harmed in the upcoming fight.
Once the women had run away, leaving only the young von Strucker and his personal body-guards, Ward casually walked onto the boat where he was soon stopped by a large security guard who demanded that he turn around and leave. Without stopping, Ward used the skills he had learned from his S.H.I.E.L.D. training and knocked out the guard before walking onto the boat, prepared to fight anyone who was foolish enough to try and stop him. Despite multiple guards attempting to stop him, Ward continued to walk forward and knocked out guard after guard with minimal effort on Ward's part.
Within mere minutes, Ward had fought every guard on the boat and succeeded in disarming them before knocking them out or throwing them overboard, deciding not to use deadly force on them. Before long, however, Ward came across Werner von Strucker, but was hit in the face by one final guard; angered by the blow to his jaw, Ward pulled his gun and fired a single shot into his heart and killed the guard, dropping his corpse into the sea. Remaining calm, Ward told von Strucker that he was an exterminator before knocking out and kidnapping von Strucker with a solid punch to the face.
Recruiting Werner von Strucker
Ward and Kebo brought Werner von Strucker back to their base where they told him that he had never earned a single thing in his life and had wasted his family's money. Ward demanded that he hand over all his wealth to them by giving over his banking passwords. When von Strucker resisted, Ward punched him in the face and made it clear that he was not asking for his money but was going to get it. He ordered Kebo to torture von Strucker until he handed over the money.
Before long, Ward returned to find Werner von Strucker trying to kill Kebo. When von Strucker tried to use his family's name as leverage, Ward made it clear that he knew who he was, noting that Wolfgang von Strucker was one of HYDRA's greatest leaders before dying a meaningless death. Ward told him that he had earned his respect and, in a technique that John Garrett had used with him years earlier, gave him tacos as a reward. Ward and von Strucker then explored the base where they discussed their families before Ward explained his goals for the new HYDRA. For his first mission, Ward sent von Strucker to get close to Melinda May's ex-husband Andrew Garner by posing as a student.
Kebo was able to recruit a new soldier in HYDRA, who offered them a crate full of weapons as a show of faith after killing Spud to gain entry. As they examined the box Ward and Kebo discussed their plans for the new HYDRA, noting key comparisons between his vision and S.H.I.E.L.D.'s values, claiming he almost viewed it as a shame that he was going to destroy the agency.
Showdown with S.H.I.E.L.D.
Ward met with Kebo when he arrived at their base with the recruit, who he tried to introduce to the director. Ward greeted the new recruit who seemed oddly reluctant to show his face, however, to Ward's horror, the recruit turned out to be Lance Hunter, who was on a mission to kill Ward. Before Ward could draw his gun, Hunter grabbed a nearby machine gun and ran behind containers to hide from Ward's soldiers.
A firefight broke out with Hunter using the stolen gun and firing at the HYDRA agents, one of whom used his own body to shield Ward from a bullet. Ward and Kebo were able to get to cover and discovered that Hunter had seemingly come without any backup; leading to the pair mocking each other. Ward noted that he would have rather fought against Bobbi Morse who he thought would provide a better challenge while Hunter reminded Ward of how he had killed Kara Palamas by mistake. Ward ordered his men to surround Hunter, but before long, Melinda May arrived to assist Hunter, killing Ward's men.
Finding himself now at a major disadvantage during this battle, Ward ordered Kebo to tell Werner von Strucker to film the murder of Andrew Garner to threaten May. Ward explained how he had planned to use the weapons Hunter had provided him with so HYDRA could cause chaos and draw S.H.I.E.L.D. to him but now she had come to him instead. When May tried to insist that Ward had no way out, he told her not to interrupt before throwing the phone with the footage of Garner being surrounded by Strucker as well as two HYDRA operatives who would kill Garner if Ward died.
Although the video horrified May, Hunter refused to surrender, instead advancing on Ward and Kebo while firing his gun at the pair. With no other choice, Kebo managed to break a window by throwing a desk through it and ran to the truck with Ward behind him; however, Hunter managed to fire a shot which wounded Ward in the shoulder, causing him to fall hard on the ground. Kebo was able to bring his boss to safety as they drove away and escaped while Hunter continued to fire down at them without landing a shot. With Ward not giving the order to stop Garner was attacked and very nearly killed.
Gideon Malick's Offer
Having found themselves a new hideout, Ward and Kebo watched as their new weapons were unloaded from a van. Ward discussed how S.H.I.E.L.D. had sent Lance Hunter to try to kill him and accused Kebo of being sloppy as he had allowed him into HYDRA, noting that everyone wanted him dead. They changed the subject to Werner von Strucker, who had disappeared after failing to kill Andrew Garner. Ward ordered Kebo to hunt down and assassinate von Strucker before S.H.I.E.L.D. could find and interrogate him.
As more weapons were being unloaded, Ward was shocked to see that Kebo had returned without Werner von Strucker. When Ward attempted to question him, Kebo handed him a phone. Ward picked up the phone and found himself speaking to Gideon Malick, an ally to Wolfgang von Strucker who was feared by everyone who knew of his reputation. Malick accused Ward of making many mistakes during his time as the Director of HYDRA and offered his assistance in locating Strucker. Ward questioned why Malick would do this and was told that he had chosen a side. Ward then sent Kebo with a team of operatives to Strucker's location in Lisbon, Portugal.
Meeting Gideon Malick
Ward again met with Gideon Malick and they discussed Werner von Strucker, who had survived the assassination attempt and fallen into a coma. Malick asked Ward if revenge was his only goal, but Ward insisted that his goal was to assassinate Phil Coulson and destroy S.H.I.E.L.D., as he believed without Coulson, S.H.I.E.L.D. could never return. As they were speaking they were interrupted when Malick received a phone call from Rosalind Price, who apologized for missing her meeting with Malick due to having to capture Lash with Director Coulson.
Malick had a dinner of octopus served up for the pair of them and explained why the octopus was HYDRA's symbol, describing it as smart and the ultimate killer. Malick continued to press Ward for a request and they discussed how HYDRA's leadership had been destroyed due in part to Ward; Malick made it clear that he knew Ward was looking for Wolfgang von Strucker's secret vault, which was said to contain HYDRA's greatest weapon, but Malick insisted the vault did not exist. However, Ward argued that Malick had killed Werner to become sole owner of it. Ward suggested that they put the mysterious weapon inside it to good use for HYDRA.
Malick was called away by Giyera and explained that he would not support Ward's plan of revenge against S.H.I.E.L.D. as he believed that it would not fit in with his current plans for HYDRA. Ward insisted that he would find Wolfgang von Strucker's vault with or without the help of Malick, but Malick informed him that although he had proven himself to be a fine predator, he was not top of the food chain as he left, leaving Ward to finish off his final drink. Malick's team of HYDRA assassins then stepped into the room and aimed their weapons at Ward who took his one chance to defend himself.
Managing to use his S.H.I.E.L.D. training, Ward managed to disarm one of the assassins, using his gun to shoot, kill or wound his attackers. When the gun ran out of ammunition, Ward used whatever weapon was closest to him to fight back, hitting the men with pool cues and cracking them over the head with whatever was nearby. With only one man left standing, Ward succeeded in overpowering and plunging the man's knife into his own throat, smiling as Ward watched him choke on his own blood and die. After the brief but violent fight, Ward was able to kill all but three.
Torturing Gideon Malick's Men
Ward put the three of Gideon Malick's surviving assassins in a row and noted that the fact that Malick had tried to assassinate him clearly showed that he was on the correct path. Ward calmly showed them a blowtorch and explained just how hot it would burn, noting that he had been a pyro as a kid and indirectly told them that he had nearly burnt his brother to death. Ward then demanded that they surrender the location of Wolfgang von Strucker's vault and explain how to access it.
When they refused, Ward threatened them with torture. As the men managed to stay strong, Ward took a torch and explained that he had always been a fan of fire; he then dragged one of the men out and held the flame to his face, explaining that the key was to breaking someone was to ensure the person knew how much it was going to hurt as he pressed the flame down to his neck. Finally, one of the men told him the vault was in Zepkow, Germany. Having now gained the information he needed Ward thanked the men, noting one would have fit in with his campaign before he shot and killed them.
Hunt for the Vault
- "Ladies and Gentlemen, please return to your seats with your seat-belts fastened. You may experience some turbulence coming up, don't be alarmed, that's just your pilot diving to equalise cabin pressure before you freeze to death. Oh and from all of us here at HYDRA, thanks for flying with friendly skies."
- ―Grant Ward[src]
Ward boarded an airplane to Moscow to hunt down Wolfgang von Strucker's vault. When they reached cruising altitude, Ward flirted with a Flight Attendant who provided him with a drink. They continued to flirt and she suggested that he come stay with her when they reached Moscow; however, Ward explained that he would not be going to Moscow, but that this was the only plane which just so happened to be flying over where he needed to get to.
He informed her of his intention to leave the plane while causing it to crash in mid-air by preparing to blast open the doors and ordered her to strap in. Ward then put on a parachute and spoke on the intercoms, telling the other passengers to strap themselves into their seats, explaining that soon the pilot would be forced to make the plane dive down before they all froze to death due to the high altitude, noting that it was HYDRA that had hijacked and brought down the plane. Ward then used an exploding watch to rip off the door, allowing himself to be sucked out as the plane crashed.
Learning HYDRA's History
- "Do you know much about our history, our origin?"
"Yeah. World War II. Red Skull used Nazi funding to build this whole–"
"Oh, no, no. Red Skull was following the principal that HYDRA was built upon, that the ultimate power was not of this world. But HYDRA... well, we're much, much older than that."
- ―Gideon Malick and Grant Ward[src]
Ward eventually located Wolfgang von Strucker's hidden vault and broke inside, ripping a hole through the ceiling and dropping in with his gun raised. Ward discovered that Gideon Malick was already there and waiting for him. Malick explained that he had not been impressed by Presidents or alien technology but he was impressed by Ward and suggested that Ward should be HYDRA's second head next to him, but Ward expressed his desire to kill Malick for his betrayal.
Malick asked Ward if he knew HYDRA's origins, Ward said that it was founded during World War II by Red Skull, but Malick explained that their history was far older than that. He opened Strucker's safe and pulled out a piece of the Monolith, explaining that it had the power to teleport users to another world. He explained how an Inhuman was born thousands of years ago, so powerful he was banished from Earth, and HYDRA aimed to bring Hive back, using the ATCU to build an army. Malick vowed to help Ward destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. in exchange for learning how Jemma Simmons returned from Maveth.
- "You see, S.H.I.E.L.D. showed us how to turn the monster off, now we want to know how to turn that back on. Oh, uh, I also wanted to thank you for helping me find closure. You see, I thought I knew all the best ways to bring Melinda pain. But you... May thinks I'm a monster, but you actually become one."
- ―Grant Ward to Andrew Garner[src]
Having spent a few days researching HYDRA's long history, Ward went to visit Andrew Garner, who was being kept in a S.H.I.E.L.D. Containment Module. Garner threatened to kill Ward by ripping a hole through his chest, but Ward remained confident. Ward explained that he would not be sedating Garner but instead would use a gas which would force Garner to transform into Lash. Ward then told Garner that he had found a new way to torture Melinda May using him, before filling the Containment Module with gas and watching Garner suffer.
Having learned that Rosalind Price had discovered Gideon Malick's connection to the ATCU, Ward was sent to assassinate her. Ward took position across the street and shot Price in the throat while she was having dinner with Phil Coulson. Once she was dead, Ward phoned Coulson and compared Price's death to Kara Palamas', noting that he wanted Coulson to watch someone he cared for bleed out and die in his arms while he watched helplessly. As Ward defended Malick's plans, he informed Coulson that he had sent a team to kill him before hanging up and leaving him to die.
Returning to the HYDRA base, Ward was complimented on his successful mission by Malick, although he was confronted about nearly killing Coulson, who had barely escaped with his life. Ward claimed that he wanted to put Coulson through his paces, but Malick claimed that this was not something he wished to leave to chance, despite Ward's desire for Closure. Malick told him more about HYDRA's history with the Monolith, claiming Ward was risking everything, but Ward told Malick that he knew Coulson better than Coulson knew himself.
In order to discover the secrets of returning from the Monolith in order to finally complete his plan, Gideon Malick organized the kidnapping of Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons, ordering the death of Luther Banks in the process. The pair were brought before Ward and Malick, who explained the situation. Simmons quickly realized their end goal; when Simmons tried to attack Malick, Ward noted that her rage was new. When they both refused to help, Ward recommended that Malick separate the pair in order to mentally as well as physically torture them both.
Ward went to speak to Simmons alone, who claimed she was not scared for him while Ward noted that while being trapped on Maveth may have helped her bravery, he felt that when he dropped them in the sea he had made her a stronger woman. As Simmons told him to do his worse, he promised he would not hurt her; however, he left her to be tortured by Giyera instead. While Simmons screamed in pain, Ward visited the enraged Fitz. Ward mocked Fitz while he begged him not to harm Simmons, but Ward sat down and listened to Simmons' screams of pain and watched Fitz suffering as he listened.
As Ward continued to mock Fitz, he got a call from Phil Coulson. To Ward's horror, Coulson revealed that he had kidnapped his brother Thomas Ward, who was being held at gunpoint by Lance Hunter, before hanging up. Ward soon called back and was allowed to speak to his brother and tried to claim that S.H.I.E.L.D. were the bad guys who had killed the woman he loved. Thomas explained that he had been hiding from Ward all these years and confronted him about killing their parents and Christian Ward. Ward then tried to justify his actions but Thomas refused to hear any of Ward's excuses.
Coulson then picked up the phone and revealed he had traced the call to Ward's location and S.H.I.E.L.D. were now on their way to the HYDRA Castle to capture him and stop Gideon Malick's plans before hanging up. Enraged, Ward then threw his phone onto the ground, smashing it to pieces before he charged into Jemma Simmons' room and moved Giyera out of his way before furiously demanded that she finally reveal her secrets, beginning to torture her and causing her to scream in agony, much to the pain of Leo Fitz who was forced to listen to his beloved friend's screams of pain.
Voyage to Another World
Ward's methods proved effective and soon Leo Fitz agreed to help them by going on the mission in exchange for ensuring the safety of and wellbeing of Jemma Simmons. Ward brought Fitz to the HYDRA Castle to meet with both Gideon Malick and Simmons who were already there waiting, and Ward mockingly noted that Fitz now finally had the chance to give up the world for the woman he loved, while Simmons looked on in horror at seeing her friend's decision.
As Ward armed himself and prepared to fight S.H.I.E.L.D., he was approached by Malick, who told him that he needed him to lead men into Maveth. Ward hesitated as he had desired to kill Phil Coulson ever since Kara Palamas' death; however, Malick told him this hatred was a weakness, to which Ward took great offense. Malick explained he had tried to find a suitable partner for years, testing Alexander Pierce and John Garrett, but he had his faith in Ward himself. He told him to lead their men to the other side and look the ancient Inhuman in the eye so they could work with It to control the world.
Agreeing, Ward put on a military uniform and prepared to go through the Monolith's portal with his team of HYDRA agents. As the room began to shake, the Monolith pieces created a portal which Ward's soldiers jumped through. Malick took a moment to remind Ward to find It and bring it to the same spot within twelve hours when they would reopen the portal, shaking his hand and wishing him good luck. Ward and Fitz then jumped through the portal and arrived on Maveth in the middle of a sandstorm. Ward then ordered his team and Fitz to get moving so they could find the Inhuman quickly.
Having arrived on the surface on Maveth through the Monolith portal, Ward and his HYDRA team surveyed the area while Leo Fitz paused to look at his program, annoying Ward who reminded him that they only had six hours until they could find the second portal and return to Earth. As Fitz argued that data they had was hypothetical, he began moving towards Ward and explaining a function. As he talked, Fitz made a move for Ward's gun; Ward stopped him and thrust him down a ridge, climbing down after him.
While one of his men aimed his gun at Fitz, Ward threatened to break his arm and reminded Fitz that if he did not return from Maveth when he was ordered to, Jemma Simmons would die a slow and horribly painful death and it would be Fitz's fault. Not willing to give up, Fitz questioned if they would ever find Hive and told Ward that the only reason why Gideon Malick had only sent him because he was expendable; Ward ignored the comment and ordered him to keep moving. One of Ward's soldiers called him over, and Ward and Fitz ascended a rise to see an ancient HYDRA shrine.
As Ward, Fitz and the HYDRA team continued on their mission, and Fitz continued to berate Ward about how unlikely it was that they would ever discover Hive due to the vast size of the planet of Maveth, comparing the hunt to attracting a cat with blood instead of milk. However while Ward was distracted and ignoring Fitz's insults, Fitz turned and ran towards the hideout of Will Daniels, with Ward then following closely behind so Fitz would not escape from him as he was the only one who could possibly help them find their way back home to Earth once their mission was finally completed.
Fitz entered the cave and Ward followed him inside, threatening to shoot the man Fitz was talking to, who both Fitz and Ward believed was Daniels. Believing him to be a possible threat, Ward held his gun to "Daniels"' head while Fitz frantically explained that "Daniels" was their only hope at finding Hive as he had been trapped on the planet for years and would be able to teach them how to survive. Ward saw the Project Distant Star Return insignia on "Daniels"' uniform and decided to leave him alive to guide them, knowing that it was HYDRA who had funded the Project many years earlier.
Ward walked just behind "Daniels" and Fitz and watched them closely. Eventually "Daniels" stopped and explained to Ward that he would have to lead them to the "no fly zone" if they ever wanted to reach the second portal in time. Ward later spoke to "Daniels" alone and asked about the HYDRA statue he had seen as "Daniels" explained what he knew of Hive's history, noting that all he had ever seen on this planet had been death. They then briefly discussed how "Daniels" had survived alone for so many years on his own while also mentioning the Inhuman Outbreak that was happening.
As they walked, a sandstorm arose and Ward ordered the team to take shelter while Fitz and "Daniels" stayed together. As they stayed behind some rocks, Ward realized that they had to keep going as they were now wasting time, only to discover that "Daniels" and Fitz had killed his agents and escaped. As he stood with his remaining HYDRA agents, they were shot by Phil Coulson, who then shot Ward in the shoulder, only for Ward to confidently remind him that he would not find Fitz without his help. Ward was taken prisoner by Coulson and the two followed "Daniels" and Fitz to find the portal.
As Ward and Phil Coulson walked across the landscapes of Maveth, Ward then told Coulson how everything they had seen on this planet had changed his mindset about HYDRA. Ward then explained that he had joined HYDRA for selfish reasons, like finding a father figure in John Garrett and getting his revenge for Kara Palamas, but he now felt like he was a part of some grand plan that Gideon Malick had set in motion for him.
As they continued walking, with Coulson shooting Ward in the arm to keep him quiet and stop his continued discussions on the meaning of HYDRA, they had then located Leo Fitz, who was with the supposed Will Daniels, who attacked Fitz. Coulson shot at Daniels from behind, but at this moment, Ward broke free and had fought against Coulson, leaving Fitz to fight "Daniels" alone. Due to all his injuries and the fact that his hands were tied together, however, Coulson managed to gain the upper hand, as he then begun beating him down into submission. Eventually, Coulson had beaten down Ward to the verge of death.
Coulson then stood over the defeated Ward, as he thought about all the lives that he had taken during his life, including Victoria Hand, the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Jacobson and Chaimson, Eric Koenig, as well as the assassination of Rosalind Price, for which Coulson was seeking revenge for. Fuelled from his hatred for his former ally, Coulson knelt down before slowly and powerfully pressing down on Ward's ribcage with his mechanical hand. With Ward unable to defend himself as he had desperately gasped for air, his ribs were soon crushed under the intense pressure, bursting Ward's heart and finally killing him.
Though Grant Ward was effectively killed on Maveth, his corpse still had a role to play. The Will Daniels that was attacking Leo Fitz during Ward's final bout with Phil Coulson was actually the dark Inhuman Hive possessing the astronaut's corpse. While Daniels' body was soon incinerated by Fitz through use of a flare gun, Hive's embodiment then escaped from the now burning corpse and made his way into Ward's body. Making use of the dead body as a new host, the dark Inhuman followed Coulson and Fitz, finally escaping back to Earth through the portal where he sought out Gideon Malick.
During his crusade several months later, Hive stepped into a trap which caused a machine to overload his brain and surge the memories of all his hosts at once, including Ward; Hive spent the next few minutes blurting out random quotes from his more recent hosts as a result but managed to regain coherence by fixating on Ward's memories. Ward's body was destroyed when Lincoln Campbell sacrificed himself, by detonating the nuclear warhead shortly after the Battle of the Playground, incinerating both Campbell and the dark Inhuman.
A computer simulated version of Ward existed in the virtual reality of the Framework, where he was in a relationship with Skye, both working as agents for HYDRA. In the Framework, however, Ward was a double agent for S.H.I.E.L.D., which was acting as a resistance group, wishing to protect the woman he loved when he figured out she was Inhuman.
This version of Ward was recruited by Victoria Hand as opposed to John Garrett, and thus grew up to be a moral, loyal and heroic man. While this was in stark contrast to the real Ward, Daisy Johnson realized the one thing both Wards had in common was their love for her, and she told the Framework version that meeting him made her finally understand the real Ward and how there was some good in him all along. Over three years later, when faced with the idea of killing a young version of Ward to wipe away all the death he caused, Phil Coulson's Chronicom LMD remembered the version of him they met in the Framework and came to the same conclusion as Johnson did; Ward would've been a good man had he not been recruited by Garrett.
Because of the Chronicoms altering the timeline from various points in the past up until 1983, Ward was on a list of names that Kora created for people to kill off to restore the original timeline, although Ward was only a child during this time and had not yet been recruited into HYDRA by John Garrett. Phil Coulson's Chronicom LMD reminded her that it was Garrett who made Ward into coldblooded murderer he was. When Kora said Ward would've been worse without Garrett's influence, Coulson revealed they had seen a world where Ward was good had he been recruited by someone else, showing that anyone could change.
Grant Ward, while infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D., generally had a bad temper but was able to stay calm and collected during sticky situations. He was slightly anti-social with strong morals and was known to be "deadly". On his days off, however, he enjoyed a nice book or even singing along to his favorite West Side Story song. As time progressed, Ward seemed to soften somewhat, developing friendships with his fellow Agents, which was eventually cemented upon rescuing Jemma Simmons after she jumped from the Bus. Ward did not seem overtly interested in relationships but for a time had a purely sexual relationship with Melinda May. However, when he began to develop feelings for Skye, this arrangement ended.
In reality, Ward was a master manipulator, who was able to adjust his personality in order to gain the trust of others. While he still managed to retain a calm and collected personality, he had very little of the loyalty or morals that he previously demonstrated. His only loyalty was to John Garrett, to whom he claimed to owe everything. He did seem to have some reservations about Garrett's actions. Beyond that, he seemed more than willing to work against Phil Coulson and his team. However, when Raina pointed out that Coulson was a good man and asked him if he owed something to a man like that, Ward admitted that he did owe Coulson something, but he owed Garrett everything. At the same time, he could not bring himself to directly murder Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons and instead ejected them into the ocean.
During his imprisonment, Ward evolved to being his own person, as he was previously restricted by his almost blind loyalty towards Garrett, to the point of even ignoring his own desires. Ward became more remorseless and manipulative as he demonstrated when he knew Skye's pressure points and attempted to use his knowledge of her father to exploit them. He also murdered numerous guards during his escape and his brother and his parents as revenge for the years of abuse they put him through. When he was reinstated as a member of HYDRA, he still continued to aid S.H.I.E.L.D. to re-earn their trust, particularly Skye's, but this ultimately ended when she and Simmons attempted to kill him on separate occasions. As a result, he grew a far darker personality and sadistic tendencies, as shown with the kidnapping of Bobbi Morse and torturing her in order to give Kara Palamas the closure she needed. When he was tricked by Melinda May into killing Kara Palamas, that was the last straw for Ward; he vowed revenge against S.H.I.E.L.D. and was willing to join HYDRA as its new leader into order to gain "closure".
As the new head of HYDRA, having killed Kara and lost all connections to the team, Ward had effectively severed all ties to his humanity and whatever form of conscience he retained before had been erased. Now his only goal was to make S.H.I.E.L.D. and Coulson suffer as much as he had. Presumably because of this campaign to rebuild HYDRA, Ward had also become more arrogant and narcissistic. He was dismissive of the previous generation of HYDRA, believing their greed was what led to the organization's collapse. When he recruited Werner von Strucker, he assumed that after one act of savagery that the boy could murder Andrew Garner, an act that caused Gideon Malick to chastise him. Even with his dark personality, Ward cared deeply for his younger brother, Thomas; after fifteen years separated, Grant still loved him. When Coulson had Hunter point a gun to Thomas's head, Grant swore that he would cut Fitz from head to toe if they hurt him.
Ward realized his life had gained a purpose during his mission to bring Hive back to Earth as Gideon Malick's second in command of HYDRA. He reflected on how he lived his life, how he joined HYDRA and what his motives were for it, from a father figure, to vengeance, to closure. After looking back and thinking of how things were at that point, and that the fact he was chosen for this mission, he felt that for the first time, that his life was important for something. He actually felt loyal to the HYDRA organization rather than any individual HYDRA operative, and even spoke the words "Hail HYDRA" as a way of accepting his purpose.
Hive states, months later and after possessing Ward's body that his final memories were that he was almost glad to be dead. This insinuates that despite his relentlessness, he secretly wished to end his pain and suffering having finally undergone a life of turmoil, from his family, to Garrett, to Kara and was ready to be killed.
Powers and Abilities
- Enhanced Strength: Once Ward had made contact with the Berserker Staff he then gained augmented strength. Ward used his strength to battle against the Norse Paganists. However, this strength was fuelled by Ward's rage, causing him to become exhausted from it's effects, until Melinda May took the power from him. Fearing the lasting consequences from this power, Ward had questioned Elliot Randolph, who then warned that it could take an entire year to wear off.
- Master Martial Artist: Ward was a master in unarmed combat, with extensive training from S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA. Maria Hill evaluated his fighting skills with the highest available marks for S.H.I.E.L.D.'s standards, and able to match the agency's best fighters. Daniel Whitehall considered him to be one of the best killers. Ward often used this to take down many opponents at the same time, whether security or other S.H.I.E.L.D agents. He managed to defeat multiple opponents whose strength surpassed his, even defeating the enhanced Centipede Soldiers.
- Master Marksman: Ward was an extremely accurate marksman skilled in sharpshooting and sniping. John Garrett recommended Ward to take this course in S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy after Ward spent time in the woods using this skill to hunt for food. Ward has famously made a shot from over a thousand yards; but Ward said it was two thousand. He was also able to shoot Rosalind Price from an incredibly long distance, aiming accurately at her neck in order to let her die slowly in front of Phil Coulson. Ward displayed his superb precision when he shot Mike Peterson in the forehead with the Night-Night Gun and fought his way out of an ambush by Gideon Malick's men with nothing but a pistol.
- Multilingualism: Ward was fluent in six languages, including English, French, Italian, Russian, Spanish, and one more. Ward used this skill in missions in Paris, South Ossetia, and Peru, most times as an undercover agent. He had used such skills on the train in Italy, in the Todorov Building in Belarus, and when arriving at the Barbershop Headquarters in Cuba.
- Master Spy: Ward was an extremely proficient agent trained in espionage, stealth, disguise and infiltration. He has spent years on some missions as an undercover agent. When taking a Lie Detector test, Ward put splinters of cable wire into his fingers to confuse the sensors. Infamously, Ward used this skill to infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D. as a HYDRA operative, spending years gaining trust and respect. When questioned by Raina, he explained to her methods that he used to solidify his place on Coulson's Team. Ward's willpower and strength of mind were such that he was capable of briefly resisting Lorelei's enthralling.
- Expert Pilot: Ward was a competent pilot, able to maneuver a huge aircraft such as the Bus.
- Expert Tactician: When Ward suspected that S.H.I.E.L.D. was pursuing him, he knew that they would send agents that he had never met. Ward observed that Bobbi Morse was not changing her page as she pretended to read a book. He also spotted Antoine Triplett at the bus station, subtly revealing his explosives to the agent. After the death of Kara Palamas, Ward made his goal to rebuild HYDRA from the ashes, starting with a small cell of only four operatives. Six months later, Ward had dozens of operatives under his command, all of them unscrupulous and trained in brutal fights to the death.
As an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and a HYDRA operative, Ward was highly skilled with all types of firearms.
- Smith & Wesson M&P: The Smith & Wesson M&P pistol is the standard sidearm carried by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, and, as such, Ward used it to threaten or shoot most of his enemies, such as the soldiers from the Policia Militar del Perú that surrounded him in Llactapata, and killing Thomas Nash in Florida. He also used it as his sidearm when working for Daniel Whitehall in HYDRA, grabbing it to defend Skye in Puerto Rico. He obtained one of these when he briefly worked with Phil Coulson again searching for Skye in Milwaukee and in a mission to rescue Deathlok and Lincoln Campbell from HYDRA in their base in the Arctic, and kept it while he kidnapped Bobbi Morse, using it to kill Kara Palamas believing she was Melinda May.
- Smith & Wesson M&P Compact: Ward started using this pistol as his standard sidearm when his alliance with HYDRA was revealed, and used it to threaten Skye during the Battle at Cybertek.
- Heckler & Koch USP: Ward obtained one of these pistols while he was enthralled by Lorelei, and he used it to try to kill Melinda May inside the Bus.
- Browning Hi-Power: Ward obtained one of these pistols used by the guards of the Todorov Building in Belarus when he infiltrated the facility.
- FN Five-seveN: The standard side-arm used by HYDRA security officers. Ward began to use it following his recovery from being shot in Puerto Rico, being the gun that Agent 33 was carrying when she saved him.
- FN Five-seveN USG: The standard side-arm used by HYDRA operatives after its apparent demise and under Gideon Malick's leadership. Ward took one of these weapons from one of the men sent by Malick to kill him, using it to kill all of them but one, who was tortured with the weapon into revealing the location of Wolfgang von Strucker's vault.
- Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380: Ward carried a small compact semi-automatic pistol as one of his hidden weapons when he went to a rendezvous with Phil Coulson in Mexico. However, he had to put it in a table along the rest of his weapons when Deathlok scanned him to protect Coulson.
- Heckler & Koch HK45: Ward began to use a tan frame variant of this handgun as his main sidearm when he assumed leadership of his own HYDRA cell. He carried it when he went to kidnap Werner von Strucker in Ibiza, to defend himself from Lance Hunter, or when he went to investigate Wolfgang von Strucker's vault, finding Gideon Malick inside.
- Smith & Wesson Model 64: A revolver handed by John Garrett during his time in Wyoming, Ward fired in the air when Garrett ordered him to kill his loyal dog Buddy.
- Heckler & Koch UMP45: Both Grant Ward and John Garrett used these submachine guns during the infiltration into the Guest House.
- High Standard Flite King Shotgun Series: A shotgun that Ward managed to obtain by 1999 while living alone in the forests of Wyoming.
- M4A1 Carbine: The standard weapon used by S.H.I.E.L.D. Strike Team members, that Ward also used while tracking Deathlok and the Clairvoyant in Florida.
- McMillan Tac-50: Ward obtained one of these rifles and used it to hunt during his days in the forest of Wyoming.
- Nemesis Arms Vanquish: During his first mission with Phil Coulson and his team, Ward assembled a Nemesis Arms Vanquish rifle along with a telescopic sight, bipod, suppressor and railed handguard in case Michael Peterson had to be killed due to the instability of the Extremis in his blood.
- Desert Tactical Arms Stealth Recon Scout: Ward used this rifle to act as a sniper during the hostage exchange when Ace Peterson was to be liberated by Raina and Phil Coulson became kidnapped by the Centipede Project.
- Remington MSR: Ward assembled a sniper rifle to take out Rosalind Price and kill her in front of Phil Coulson, to let him feel the same he felt when Kara Palamas died in his arms. Once he shot Price in the neck, making her choke in her own blood, Ward disassembled the rifle while calling and taunting Coulson.
- Garrote: Ward carried a polyfiber garrote with metal handles as one of his hidden weapons when he went to a rendez-vous with Phil Coulson in Mexico. However, he had to put it in a table along the rest of his weapons when Deathlok scanned him to protect Coulson.
- Wenoka Squeeze Lock Knife: Ward carried a knife as one of his hidden weapons when he went to a rendezvous with Phil Coulson in Mexico. However, he had to put it in a table along the rest of his weapons when Deathlok scanned him to protect Coulson.
- Blowtorch: Ward used a blowtorch to torture a HYDRA agent that worked for Gideon Malick in order to find the location of Strucker's Vault.
- Thunderstick: A small staff that releases a wave of sonic energy to incapacitate surrounding targets, Ward used it to escape from a group of rebels that were surrounding his inexperienced teammates in Peru.
- Night-Night Pistol: Sometimes, Ward needed to apply non-lethal force to subdue a target without permanent harm, favoring the use of the Night-Night Pistol designed by Agents Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons. This weapon renders the target unconscious to be safely captured, such as when he raided Ian Quinn's mansion in Italy while searching for Skye.
- I.C.E.R. (Pistol Version): After Agent Leo Fitz improved the technology of the Night-Night Gun, Coulson changed the now obsolete weapon and favored the use of the pistol version of the I.C.E.R.s. He used two of these in a fight during the Battle at the Hub.
- Berserker Staff: Ward accidentally touched the staff in Seville, gaining superhuman strength, but being overwhelmed by memories of his childhood. Having already suffered its side effects, Ward used the staff as a weapon in Ireland to defeat a group of Norse Paganists.
This section requires expansion
- Peruvian 0-8-4: To be added
- X-Ray Plate: Ward used this Plate to locate Vanchat's secret safe where he stole a Chitauri Neural Link which Vanchat planned to sell on the black market. He was later forced to use the plate as a weapon, throwing it at Vanchat's bodyguards who found and attacked him.
- Bulletproof Vest: Throughout his numerous combat missions as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Ward would employ a bulletproof vest as his main form of protection, protecting him from the enemy gunfire. Once the truth about him being the HYDRA agent was revealed, Ward would occasionally wear a bulletproof vest, as he was provided one by Phil Coulson while they attempted to rescue Skye. Ward was given a bulletproof vest by Gideon Malick, ahead of his mission to Maveth, however, this was lost when Coulson captured Ward and forced him to remove the vest.
- Backscatter Glasses: During an undercover mission, Ward had been provided these glasses in order to mimic Akela Amador's eye implant and complete her mission in Belarus while Jemma Simmons extracted her implant.
- Remote Beacon: Ward and Leo Fitz were ordered to activate this beacon to let S.H.I.E.L.D. know the moment they deactivated the Overkill Device developed by a group of separatists in South Ossetia. Despite Ward tried to make Fitz leave before the separatists attacked them, Fitz stayed with him, and Ward activated the beacon.
- Flash Bomb: Ward used a Flash Bomb to interrupt a transaction between Emily Deville and Vanchat in order to first distract and then arrest him.
- Night-Night Bracelet: A small device developed to inject dendrotoxin directly into a Centipede Device, Ward realized that its design was not practical in combat against Centipede Soldiers, and during its "field test", he had to remove the dendrotoxin capsule from the bracelet and made the soldier swallow it.
- Monolith: In order to be transported onto Maveth, Ward and Gideon Malick had then used a shard of the Monolith inside the HYDRA Castle to create a gateway into the other planet, which Ward stepped through, alongside Leo Fitz and his team.
- S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy: To be added
- Hub: To be added
- Caesars Palace: To be added
- Barbershop Headquarters: To be added
- Providence: To be added
- Cybertek Manufacturing Facility: To be added
- HYDRA Warehouse: To be added
- Ponce de León Theater: To be added
- Grant Ward's HYDRA Warehouse: To be added
- "You could walk into Strucker's vault with me. You just have to show me how. We can go in there together, share what we find."
"You can torch us all you want! There's nothing to tell! He uses different people when he travels to Zepkow. And even they don't know where the vault's buried."
"Zepkow, Germany. I lied. Strucker has many vaults. I know them all. Just didn't know Zepkow was the one I needed."
- ―Grant Ward and HYDRA Operative[src]
- In the comics, Agent Ward is the HYDRA operative who appeared in Secret Wars: Hail Hydra who was later introduced to the main Marvel Comics universe.
- Ward's death marks the third time Phil Coulson had killed the main antagonist in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..
Behind the Scenes
- Ward shares his birthday with Brett Dalton.
- The writers of the show limit the actors' knowledge of future events. Due to this, Dalton himself had no idea Ward was a member of HYDRA until shortly before the reveal.
- Matt Mullins, Greg Rementer, Sam Hargrave and Derek Johnson were stunt doubles for Brett Dalton in the role of Grant Ward.
- Ward was the first antagonist to be credited as a main character.