|For alternate versions of Grant Ward, see Grant Ward's Character Hub|
- "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. 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. However, in time, he became 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 at 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, with two brothers, Christian Ward being the elder, and Thomas Ward being the younger, where they all had difficult childhoods. Ward's eldest brother would frequently force Ward to beat up his younger brother, while his parents were even worse, with Ward suffering abuse from both his mother and father. Ward also had a sister with whom he eventually lost contact with. These beatings could be suffered for any minor reason, including when Ward had taken a slice of Christian's birthday cake, and was brutally beaten for it.
The Well Incident
An incident in particular that had a profound effect on Ward was when Christian Ward threw Thomas Ward into a well and would not allow Ward to rescue him. As Thomas desperately cried out for Ward to save him before he drowned, Christian warned him now to throw him the rope, or he would be thrown into the well with him. Ward eventually managed to pull Thomas up to safety without his brother knowing, however, this event had caused Ward to feel true hatred towards Christian, as well as his mother and father for the first time.
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 a thousand 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.
Freed by John Garrett
While being detained inside a Juvenile Detention Center in Plymouth, Ward was unexpectedly called for a visit, as he was surprised to be greeted by a man who introduced himself as John Garrett. Garrett explained that the quarter master at Ward's military school was an old friend of his, who had told him about Ward's skills in training before going on the run, stealing a car before attempting to burn his family home to the ground, with Garrett claiming that this history had intrigued him.
As they sat down together, Ward was asked by Garrett if he had known that Christian Ward was in the house when he set it on fire, which Ward denied. Garrett told Ward that he had also been a pyromaniac as a child, which he made into a career. Garrett then explained that he had come there to make Ward a one-time offer, explaining that his family's lawyer would be arriving in twenty minutes, as his family would be putting charges against him for arson and attempted murder, but Christian was also petitioning for him to be tried as an adult, to get the maximum sentence.
Garrett suggested that Ward could spend the next twenty years in prison, blaming his mother and father for his situation, or he could allow Garrett to set him free and teach him how to be a man. As Ward remained silent, Garrett explained that he worked for a secret organization that was looking to recruit men like him. Remaining unsure of Garrett's intentions, Ward had then questioned why he should trust Garrett, to which Garrett insisted that he should never trust anyone again, especially not him, much to Ward's surprise.
With Ward still unsure, Garrett explained that if he went with him, it would be the hardest thing he ever had to do, but he promised that if he did, then nobody would ever attempt to screw with him ever again. Garrett told Ward to say yes, once again promising that it would be hard, but fun, before giving Ward ten more seconds to make a decision before he walked away. Finally, Ward said yes to Garrett's offer, and he was immediately interrupted by armed guards bursting into the room and demanding that everybody get down, as the shocked Ward looked to Garrett, who commented that he promised it would be fun.
John Garrett's Test
Having been freed from the Juvenile Detention Center, Ward was then taken to Wyoming by John Garrett, as he joined him hunting ducks. As they walked back, Garrett also commented that he intended to retire there someday, noting that he had land which had already been paid for. However, Ward had remained silent, before questioning if the police found them, to which Garrett insisted that nobody was looking for him, noting that Ward's family would be happier to never see him again.
With Garrett noting that the police would prefer to stay out of the way of S.H.I.E.L.D., Ward questioned if the S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy was close by. However, Garrett had then noted that Ward's priority should be to figure out what he was going to eat that evening, to which Ward noted that he thought they would eat the ducks, only for Garrett to insist that only he would eat the ducks as he killed them, whereas Ward would go hungry. Garrett told Ward that if he wanted something from that point on, he would have to earn it himself, before then throwing Ward his bag.
As Garrett told Ward to build his shelter and find his own food, Ward was horrified, insisting that he did not have any equipment for this, noting that this was not fair on him, as he would have brought tools and food if he had known that he would have to live in the woods. However, Garrett then demanded to Ward stop whining about his problems, suggesting that if he wanted an easy life he could return to the Detention Centre, which would confirm that Ward was weak and worthless. Garrett had then explained that he would leave Ward and Buddy alone there for two months before he would return.
As he got into his truck, Garrett noting that believed that Ward would be able to get through this, before driving away. Upset and frustrated that he was being abandoned, Ward threw his bag onto the ground while Garrett drove away. Although Garrett had promised to return within a couple of months, but Ward and Buddy were instead left alone for six months. Although Ward suffered during those first few weeks due to the loneliness and the heavy rain, he had managed to raid nearby cabins, build his own camp and survive with ease.
Proving his Worth
- "First few weeks were rough, then I realized my thinking was limited. 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]
Having established his own camp, Ward continued to live out in the woods of Wyoming for six months, with only Buddy as his companion. One day, Ward caught sight of John Garrett arriving at the camp, as Ward snuck up on Garrett and aimed a shotgun at the back of his head. Ward questioned why he should not blow Garrett's head off, to which Garrett simply noted that he had brought tacos for them, while also noting that he had half expected Ward to have been long gone from these woods.
However, Ward furiously noted that he expected to never see Garrett again, noting that he had been gone four months longer than promised, to which Garrett explained that S.H.I.E.L.D. had sent him out of the country on assignment. As Garrett noted that Ward and Buddy had done okay, Ward explained how he had survived by raiding cabins for tools and a tent, making his life out in the woods easier for him and Buddy, noting how he intended to build a cabin. Garrett complimented Ward, noting that he had stepped up in a big way, insisting that he could not be prouder of Ward if he was his own son.
However, Garrett then turned around and aimed a revolver at Ward's chest, much to his shock, with Garrett noting that he had lied about the tacos, having kept the gun hidden inside of the back. As Ward questioned what the gun was for, Garrett noted that this was actually for his next lesson, before then turning around and shooting various items around Ward's camp with remarkable accuracy, to Ward's surprise. Garrett had then handed Ward the revolver, telling him to stick by his side, as he would train Ward to be able to shoot with even more skill than that.
Learning About HYDRA
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, Ward had given some food to Buddy, with Garrett questioning if Ward was aware that Buddy was still just a dog, to which Ward insisted that Buddy was better than any human, due to his smarts, loyalty and trustworthiness, only for Garrett to question where being loyal would lead.
Garrett noted that loyal dogs would be abandoned in the woods or dumped in a pound, noting that he had learnt that lesson the hard way, before knocking on his own cybernetic implants. Despite Ward not saying anything, Garrett noted that he must be curious about his implants, and explained that he had been struck by an IED while outside Sarajevo. Ward listened as Garrett explained that he had called for an evacuation, he was refused by S.H.I.E.L.D., explaining that he realised in that moment that he was more loyal to S.H.I.E.L.D. than they were to him.
Ward said nothing as Garrett explained that he barely survived the ordeal, and had sworn to himself that he would treat S.H.I.E.L.D. like they had treated him. Garrett then reminded Ward of their first meeting at the Juvenile Detention Center in Plymouth, where he told him that he worked for a secret organisation, as he explained that he actually worked for an organisation within that organisation, asking if Ward knew HYDRA, which he denied, as Garrett explained to Ward that HYDRA understood the importance of survival.
Ward's Final Test
Having been trained by him for so long, Ward followed John Garrett's orders without question or hesitation, so he agreed without question to join HYDRA and continue serving from within S.H.I.E.L.D.. They continued Ward's weapons training as they went out to hunt deer at the incredible range, with Garrett explaining that he had some news. Ward requested that he wait until after he take the shot, and then fired, killing the deer. He sent Buddy out to collect the corpse.
Once Buddy had gone to get the deer, Ward asked what Garrett had wanted to tell him, to which Garrett explained that Ward had been accepted by S.H.I.E.L.D.'s operations division, which he would be departing for immediately. As Ward excitedly attempted to thank Garrett for everything that he had done for him, Garrett insisted that he did not owe him anything, insisting that Ward had achieved this on his own. Garrett had then explained that working for HYDRA within S.H.I.E.L.D. would be tough for him, as he could not get attached to anyone or anything.
Garrett explained that Ward would have to fight that weakness within himself, which Ward agreed to without question. However, as Garrett walked away, he casually ordered Ward to kill Buddy before they departed, much to Ward's considerable shock. Garrett questioned if this was a weakness for Ward, which he denied, leaving Ward to kill he companion for six years. With Garrett gone, Ward aimed his revolver at Buddy, but could not bring himself to kill him, shooting in the sky instead. However, as Buddy ran into the woods, Ward took his sniper rifle and shot Buddy as he ran, giving Ward an emotional detachment.
Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
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. 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. 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 T. 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 T. 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 J. 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 for the situation, until Ward distracted them by telling them all about Melinda May secretly being the legendary Cavalry, much to the considerable amazement of Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons, only for May to awake and remind him not to call her that. They discussed their plan, with Ward quoting Skye's earlier advice to him, before 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 Camilla Reyes during the chaos. Ward ensured the team was ready before they went to work, telling them not to turn back or freeze up, as this would risk them all dying. As Ward briefed the team, May interrupted by revving the engine of one of their S.H.I.E.L.D. SUVs, noting that they all talked a lot. Ward then pulled their team out of the way, as May had then driven the SUV straight through the wall, and into the laboratory.
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 all the surviving members of her team and holding her in a detention facility. While they loaded up all their equipment together, Ward had spoken with Melinda May about Skye, noting that he believed that she could become more than a consultant down the line. As Ward noted that Skye could even about a real asset to Coulson's Team, once she got some more serious training behind her.
Under May's recommendation, Ward had agreed to become Skye's Supervising Officer and oversee the next stages of her 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 waited for Slingshot to begin, with Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons excitedly explaining the process behind Slingshot. While Coulson questioned who shot the hole in the Bus, Ward insisted it was a team decision, as Coulson complimented their work in saving them. Ward and the others then watched on as the Peruvian 0-8-4 was shot into the Sun to be destroyed.
Beginning Skye's Training
Taking on his role as Skye's Supervising Officer, Ward began her training in combat and weapon training, specifically how to disarm an opponent. However, Skye would turn up late to their next training session, as Ward began using the punching bag while he waited for her, with Skye complaining that she was still tired from their morning work out. Ward explained that this was all required, and warned that next time she would be given fifteen pushups for every minute that she was late.
While Skye noted that pushups were better than pull-ups, Ward insisted that pull-ups could be necessary if Skye ever found herself hanging off a tall building. Ward then demonstrated the correct way for Skye to throw a punch against the punching bag, ordering her to do it for ten minutes. As Skye began to punch, Ward asked what the hardest part of boxing was, to which Skye jokingly asked if it was being punched in the face, as Ward explained that it was actually keeping your hands up. However, Skye questioned if Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons' supervising officers made them undergo such physical training.
Ward noted that Skye wanted to be a field agent like Phil Coulson, before deciding to demonstrate what Fitz and Simmons had to go through during their training, as Simmons explained that their drills included naming every mechanical, chemical and thermal and electrical properties of materials. With Skye accepting his point, Ward noted that there would come a time when Skye would accept her role as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, or leave, insisting that every agent had a defining moment, including Coulson, noting that his job as her supervising officer was to make sure that she did not die before this moment came.
As Ward reminded Skye to keep her hands up, she questioned what Ward's defining moment was, although Ward did not respond and simply reminded Skye to keep her arms raised while using the punching bag. With Skye continuing to question what Ward's defining moment was, she suggested that she could get more Truth Serum to use on Ward once again. However, Ward noted that he had overshared some level one intel to her which got her to cooperate, before explaining that S.H.I.E.L.D. did not actually have their own Truth Serum, and this had all been a plow to get her on side, much to Skye's considerable shock.
Ward would join the rest of Coulson's Team in the main room of the Bus, as he was brief about an attack on a S.H.I.E.L.D. transport, resulting in the kidnapping of Doctor Franklin Hall. However, Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons had both expressed their shock about this news, as Hall had been one of their professors at the S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy. Ward asked who attacked the truck, to which Phil Coulson explained that the attackers had seemingly been invisible, which Skye found exciting, while Ward gave her a stern look.
Having travelled to Sterling, Colorado, Ward listened to Coulson explaining Hall's relationship to S.H.I.E.L.D., before they noticed that several of the S.H.I.E.L.D. SUVs that had been protecting Hall, had ended up stuck in trees. Ward then looked through the scene for clues about what could have caused this attack, before Simmons had used the Full-Spectrum Goggles to uncover that the Electro-Static Field Scanner had activated a gravity surge in the area, causing the dirt around them to fly through the air, shooting stones towards them, before finding a small device on the ground.
While the team had taken the device back to the Bus to be examined by Fitz and Simmons, Ward searched for their records to match tractor tracks found on the scene, which were seemingly used to take Hall out of the S.H.I.E.L.D. truck. As he returned, Skye was offering to do the same thing, as Ward explained that the tractor had been identified as a 2010 model, linked to a purchases made by three men with priors or financial concerns, who were suspected of selling the equipment to the kidnappers. Coulson then ordered Ward to join him in questioning these men and attempting to find a link to locating Hall.
Ward had then joined Coulson in travelling to Barnroof Point, Colorado, to speak to Todd Chesterfield, one of these suspects who had seemingly sold their tractors to the kidnappers of Hall. Ward kept himself hidden, while Coulson spoke to Chesterfield and asked who he had sold the tractor to and why, although Chesterfield instead responded by drawing his shotgun and refusing to answer any questions. Ward was then able to ambush Chesterfield, swiftly disarming him and throwing him off his horse, as Ward took the shotgun and commented to Coulson that this entire situation reminded him of the Wild West.
With Ward aiming the shotgun at him, Chesterfield finally admitted that he was paid to sell the equipment and that was all he knew, insisting that he never saw a face and never heard the name of who he was doing business with. As Coulson questioned how Chesterfield was paid, he pointed to his saddle bag, as Ward examined it and found bars of gold inside, with Ward insisting that with a cowboy being paid in bars of gold, the situation really did feel like the West Wild. Ward and Coulson then took possession of the gold and brought it to the Bus, hoping to be able to trace it back to the original supplier.
Making their Plan
Having scanned the gold that Todd Chesterfield had been paid with, Coulson's Team were able to determine that Ian Quinn had been behind Franklin Hall's kidnapping. However, despite their desire to rescue Hall, Ward had argued with Phil Coulson that there was no way for them to get inside Quinn's Mansion without either a large task force or a man on the inside to shut down Quinn's security systems, with Coulson noting that they would risk global outrage by sending in a task force.
However, as Coulson noted that Quinn was hosting a shareholder's party, he noted that if they went on the mission alone they could give S.H.I.E.L.D. deniability, only for Melinda May to insist that it was impossible to do without a man on the inside. Although Skye told the team that she could go in, Ward ignored this and claimed that he could be dropped off outside of Valletta, where he could spend weeks establishing a cover to get inside. Despite Ward attempting to dismiss her by pitching his own plans, Skye simply explained that, as she was not an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. she could go in legally.
Frustrated by her claims, Ward noted that this was not a situation that the Rising Tide could simply hack into, while Leo Fitz reminded her that Quinn's mansion had Neodymium Laser Fencing to prevent anybody from breaking inside. Ward then listened as Skye noted that clearly Hall needed their help, as he was at risk of being tortured, jokingly claiming that he could be getting put through strength training. As Ward noted that Skye did not have the training, clearance or experience to handle this mission, Skye explained that she had already hacked Quinn Worldwide and gotten an invite to his party.
Concerned about the risks involved with sending Skye on this mission alone, Ward went to speak to Coulson in his office, although Coulson noted that they did not have many other options. Ward had acknowledged that he was impressed by Skye being able to get the invitation to Quinn's party, but insisted that sending her in without any training was a risk. Ward then noted that Nick Fury might have felt he owed Coulson after he sacrificed himself to Loki, with Coulson noting that he also sacrificed his card collection, but Ward still insisted that Coulson was taking too many risks with this plan.
Coulson questioned if Ward was concerned over Skye's safety or loyalty, to which Ward insisted that it was both, noting that the Rising Tide was the reason that Skye got the invitation, suggesting that Skye had violated several protocols. However, Coulson insisted that Skye's job was to ignore these protocols to find the connections and backdoors that S.H.I.E.L.D. agents may have missed. Coulson then noted that something else was clearly bothering Ward, to which Ward explained that Skye was holding back, claiming to want to be a field agent, but not committing herself, as he noted that she made jokes and did not listen.
As Coulson questioned if Ward was hard on her during her training, Ward explained that he had attempted to be hard on her, and had attempted to play nice with her, but was still struggling to get Skye to commit to the training involved with becoming an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., as he suggested that he needed a new strategy to get through to Skye, or he was concerned that she would never become an agent. In response, Coulson had then suggested that Ward could potentially try no strategy, and attempt to work less like an agent and more like a person, as Skye might let that person help her think like an agent.
Skye's Mission Training
Ward had then continued to train Skye, as he began to show her how to disarm an enemy with a firearm, although Skye continued to joke, as Ward got her in a headlock and she suggested that he was flirting with her, although Ward remained focused on showing her how to take the gun away. Ward told Skye that if she did not focus, she would die on the mission and leave their team vulnerable, insisting that she needed to learn the fundamentals of self defence, while Skye continued to joke.
Ward had then questioned how Skye had learnt her computer skills without committing herself to it, to which Skye insisted that it simply came naturally to her, apologising that she did not naturally have Ward's skills with combat. However, Ward then told Skye that his skills did not come naturally, telling her about how Christian Ward used to beat him and Thomas Ward when they were children, and therefore he had to learn how to defend himself and his brother, and now he was protecting Skye and the rest of Coulson's Team, telling Skye that this had been his own defining moment as an agent.
Skye then apologised to Ward for pushing him on the subject, before revealing to him that she had managed to take away his gun while he had been distracted by telling the story. Ward then took the gun back, before telling Skye that taking the gun away from her enemy was one thing, but insisted that pulling the trigger was something else. Ward and Skye then continued their training, with Ward telling her to go through the steps slowly, focusing on the first thing to do. Once their training was complete, Ward and Skye rejoined Phil Coulson to go through the plan to infiltrate inside Ian Quinn's Mansion.
Ward listened as Coulson explained that, while Skye would arrive at the party, a two person extraction team could arrive via the beach, while Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons discussed how the beach was surrounded by the Neodymium Laser Fencing, as they gave Skye a device that could disable the system. With Fitz and Simmons insisting that this would be easy, Ward noted that it would be, if Skye would be able to fully stick to the plan. Ward was selected for the extraction team, although Melinda May was ordered to stay on the Bus, while Coulson would be going in with Ward to rescue Hall.
Ward and Phil Coulson used a boat to sneak onto the beach just outside of Ian Quinn's Mansion, as Coulson warned that Franklin Hall could be traumatised from his experiences, as he advised that he be the one to speak to him, as Ward's personality could put him on edge. While Ward had commented on Coulson's attempt at humor, he noted that his personality could be the least of their concerns if Skye failed her mission to get them inside the mansion.
Ward and Coulson soon arrived at the Neodymium Laser Fencing, which they discovered was still active, with Ward noting that the next patrol of guards would be coming by soon. Melinda May had then informed them that Skye had gone offline, with Ward noting that aborting the mission was not an option, and they still had to get to Hall, before the guard patrol returned, forcing Ward and Coulson to hide. Ward and Coulson then ambushed, and swiftly subdued the guards, as Ward took one of their guns and threw it into the fence, instantly destroying it, while Coulson had questioned where Skye had gone to.
They soon came under fire from even more guards arriving, as Coulson ordered Leo Fitz to reset the systems to shut down the fencing, with Jemma Simmons asking them not to rush Fitz, as it would not help him to hack into Quinn's systems any faster. Eventually, Fitz told them that the system had successfully rebooted, as Ward and Coulson had managed to get to the other side of the fencing before he reset, separating them from all of the guards, who had continued shooting at them. As they infiltrated the mansion, Coulson noted that he would go to the laboratory to rescue Hall, while Ward to go after Skye.
As Ward made his way through the mansion, he commented on the size of the place and asked for help from Coulson's Team with finding Skye, while May questioned if he had the situation covered, as Ward insisted that he was working on it, while he felt the entire base shaking from the unstable Gravitonium. Eventually, Ward found Skye being surrounded by three of Quinn's guards, as he rushed in and managed to take them off guard. Using his element of surprise to his advantage, Ward was able to fight all three and swiftly subdued them, knocking one down into the pool, before questioning if Skye had been hurt.
As Skye rushed over to his side, Ward had then told Skye to follow his orders, as he led her towards safety, first intending to rescue Coulson and Hall. Ward and Skye had then made their way to the laboratory to assist Coulson, just as the gravity across the mansion went back to normal. As they looked at the machinery that had been containing the Gravitonium, they realized that Coulson had been forced to throw Hall inside it, killing him, since Hall had been the one behind the entire situation and had been attempted to destroy the entire mansion, and kill everybody inside with the unstable Gravitonium.
Having retuned to the Bus, Ward found Skye training with the punching bag, as he went to join her. Skye then questioned where Ward and his brothers had grown up, to which he answered Massachusetts, as she asked if he had grown up in a house, which he confirmed. Ward then listened as Skye explained that when she was nine years old, she had been sent to live with the Brody's, who sent her back to Saint Agnes Orphanage after a month, claiming she was not a good fit.
As Skye noted that this was not an unfamiliar situation, she claimed that with the Brody's it was different, with Ward noting that she wanted them to like her, which Skye agreed with, admitting that she once tried to call Mrs. Brody mom. As Skye returned to the punching bag, she told Ward that hoping for something and losing it hurt more than never hoping for anything. Ward then held the bag in place, promising that S.H.I.E.L.D. would not turn their back on her, although Skye claimed that it did not matter, claiming that she made her choice, and she wanted badly to become a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
Akela Amador's Return
- "Swedish Customs confirmed that Amador left the country using an alias on a Swedish passport. She flew into Belarus, bought a train ticket to a town called Zloda. I've also put together a list of individuals who could fence that many diamonds. There's been no contact or activity."
"Maybe she's saving them for a rainy day. Buying something special."
- ―Grant Ward and Phil Coulson[src]
Ward took some time to visit the lab onboard the Bus, where he had inspected the upgrades to the Night-Night Gun, noting that he only got one shot with the rifle, and that the shot needed to knock his enemies away, as well as out. In response, Leo Fitz had presented Ward with a handgun version of the Night-Night gun, noting how many rounds could be held in the gun, which Jemma Simmons had then claimed was in case he missed his shot, or if had gone up against multiple assailants at once.
Although Ward attempted to examine the gun, Fitz insisted that it would be ready for use soon, although Ward denied that they would be calling it a Night-Night Pistol, which Simmons had agreed with. Stepping out of the lab, Ward greeted Phil Coulson, who asked if he had seen Skye, to which Ward noted that he had not seen her since weapons training. Coulson then asked Ward about how well Skye was doing with her training, to which Ward noted that she stopped saying bang, but struggled with the difference between the safety and magazine release on a gun.
Ward learnt that they were looking for Akela Amador, who had been linked to multiple jewellery heists across Europe, as Ward brought up the information that they had on the Holocom, explaining that Amador had left Sweden using a fake passport, where she had been tracked through Belarus and then Zloda. Ward went on to explain that he had made a list of names of dealers who could handle the amount of diamonds that Amador had stolen, but had found no contact having been made, to which Coulson suggested that she could be waiting for the right sale.
Coulson told the team to focus on finding Amador, as Melinda May suggested that they inform S.H.I.E.L.D. Headquarters that Amador was alive, so they could assist with the man hunt. However, Coulson refused to contact Headquarters until they knew more about the situation, as he turned to Ward and asked him to contact Belarus authorities and find somewhere to park the Bus, and to also made a list of potential locations where Amador could be staying in Zloda, as it was a small area and they would likely be able to track down Amador, which Ward agreed to.
Searching for Akela Amador
Taking a van, Ward drove the team into Zloda, Belarus, as he listened to Jemma Simmons expressing her excitement about visiting Zloda, as it was the birthplace of Zhores Alferov, while Leo Fitz had teased and argued with her about their knowledge of Alferov and the area. As Fitz expressed his nerves about going on a mission in the wake of their conflict with Camilla Reyes, when they had last been in the field, as he was reassured that they would not need to leave the van this time.
Answering a call, Ward spoke to Melinda May, using the code name of "Short Bus", which was mocked by Phil Coulson, who insisted that Ward could no longer chose code-names. May informed Ward and the others that S.H.I.E.L.D. Headquarters had requested an update, but that May had reassured them that they had the situation under control, which Coulson thanked her for. Once Ward parked, Coulson advised on how to track Akela Amador, while Ward ordered them to maintain radio silence unless they needed help, but did not answer Fitz's request for specification.
Walking to Zloda together, Ward had commented to Coulson about how painful this must be for him, suggesting that Amador had betrayed his trust, although Coulson insisted that they did not have all the facts yet, while Ward also reminded Coulson that Amador had seemingly betrayed the other two S.H.I.E.L.D. agents on her mission when she had disappeared. As Ward questioned what Amador could have gotten for betraying her team mates, Coulson insisted that until they knew more about it, they would not assume anything about what Amador was involved with.
Ward had then gotten a call from Skye, as he questioned if they had been able to locate Amador yet, which Skye denied, although she noted that they had managed to find a strange signal which Amador could be using for her communications. However, Skye had then explained that her reason for calling was to ask how they should be taking bathroom breaks on the mission, much to Ward's annoyance. Despite being annoyed, Ward suggested using a container in a box, which Skye discovered was a simple water bottle, questioning how the women should use this.
Ward had then dismissed Skye and Fitz's questions about snacks in the van, as he and Coulson continued with the mission to track down Amador. Stepping into an inn, Ward and Coulson spoke with the Innkeeper and asked if she had seen Amador, to which the Innkeeper immediately recognised Amador's picture, calling her an angel. As Ward questioned why she said this, the Innkeeper explained Amador seemingly had gifts, as she had told the Innkeeper to go to a doctor, where they found a tumor, which she was getting removed, suggesting that Amador saved her life.
Coulson told the Innkeeper that it was important that they speak to Amador, to which the Innkeeper suggested that, with Amador's gifts, it was likely that she already knew that they were coming to speak with her. However, Ward and Coulson would then learn that while they had been speaking with the Innkeeper, Amador had somehow managed to track down Skye, Fitz and Simmons' van, which she had then rammed off the road and into a ditch, although none of the agents inside had been injured as a result of this attack, as they regrouped to discuss what had happened.
Learning of the Eye Implant
- "Sir, Amador attacked you and your people. Whatever regard you hold for her isn't reciprocated. She just kicked us in the teeth."
"How's the team?"
"Rattled. No broken bones. We're lucky she just knocked the van over so she could get away. Probably take a while for our folks to refocus."
- ―Grant Ward and Phil Coulson[src]
Returning onto the Bus, Ward had confronted Phil Coulson about his seeming protection of Akela Amador, insisting that since Amador had just attack them, it was clear that Amador was unwilling to show the same protection towards them. Coulson had then asked how the team was doing, to which Ward insisted that they were shaken, despite being fortunate enough to not have suffered any broken bones from the crash, as Ward had also suggested that their team needed time to get refocused.
However, Ward was then interrupted by Skye, who explained that she believed that she could recover the data signature from the broadcast she had been studying when Amador had attacked the van. Ward and Coulson followed Skye into the lab, as they put the Amador's camera feed onto the monitors, and watched the feed showing a mirror that Amador was looking into. As they continued watching, Ward saw Amador using surgical tools on her own eyeball, as Melinda May confirmed that her eye actually was the camera, which could switch into X-Ray mode.
While they watched the X-Ray of the robotic eye, Skye jokingly asked Ward if he could also do this, calling him a robot, which Ward rolled his eyes at. Ward then asked Leo Fitz who had this technology, as Fitz confirmed that S.H.I.E.L.D. did not have this yet, insisting that it was at least a decade ahead of what they had, with Fitz and Jemma Simmons discussing how the technology worked and could be replicated. Coulson insisted that they had to bring Amador in for questioning, while May argued that she was a weapon who needed to be taken out.
Ward watched as May told Coulson that she would contact S.H.I.E.L.D. Headquarters and request a task force, although Coulson insisted that their team could handle it. Ward listened to May suggesting that Coulson felt guilt, and claimed he was putting Amador's life above the lives of his team, to which Coulson insisted that they protected their own, while Ward had argued that Amador was not a member of their team. Watching the feed, a message came up as Coulson realised this was proof that Amador was being controlled, ordering Ward and the others to watch the feed.
- "I've come this far. I'Il finish. Whatever it takes... Help."
"I'm sorry, did you say, help? Because a minute ago you said you didn't want or need my help."
"That was before they asked me to go all Mata Hari on this guy. I'm just gonna knock him out."
"Ward, wait. We may need him to get through the next door."
- ―Grant Ward and Skye[src]
Eventually, Akela Amador was found by Melinda May and captured, while her eye implant was hacked and the feed was transferred to the Backscatter Glasses. Ward would then wear these glasses and follow Amador's mission for her, in the hope that they would be able to convince her handler that it was still Amador on the mission, while her eye implant was removed. Ward drove to the Todorov Building where Amador had been ordered to go, with Skye finishing her work on the glasses as he drove.
Once they arrived, Ward noted to Skye that the building looked more like it was designed for research, rather than military, with Skye noting that it looked like a prison. Skye had then confirmed that the glasses were ready to go wireless, as she unplugged the cables, tickling Ward as she touched his ear, which she mocked him for while also reminding Ward not to look back at her, in order to maintain the illusion that the handler was looking through Amador's eye implant. As Skye noted how hellish Amador's life had been, Ward focused on testing out the glasses.
Before going inside, Ward noted that he could not look at Skye, and therefore could not help her if she got into trouble, before leaving the car. As Ward stepped inside the building, Skye noted that Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons were prepping Amador for surgery, while also telling Ward not to look at his hands while he scanned himself inside, as he and Amador had different hands, although Ward insisted that he did not need reminding. Moving through the base, Ward successfully avoided attention and looking into mirrors as he continued on with his mission.
Moving towards the offices, Ward received a message from the handler, who confirmed that the man at the desk was Amador's target, with Ward suggesting to Skye that this would mean that he would likely have to kill or at least badly injury the man behind the desk. While Ward refused to give up on the mission, no matter what, he received another message, ordering him to seduce the man, resulting in Ward awkwardly asking Skye for help. In response, Skye had mocked Ward over this, as he had said earlier that he did not need or want any of her help.
Ward suggested that he simply knock the man out, to which Skye suggested that they might need him to get them through the next doorway, while Ward noted that it was unlikely that he would be the man's type that he was attracted to. Skye instead suggested that Ward engage him as a friend, recommending that they discuss sports and vodka, asking if Ward was capable of being friendly. Stepping into the room, Ward was immediately asked for his identification, which Ward pretended to have lost while trying to talk about football matches with the man, which he ignored.
Ward attempted to engage the man by claiming to have spent the night with two girls from Ukraine, which he did not respond to. As the man showed no response to anything, Ward gave up with this tactic, and proceeded to slam the man's head into the desk, knocking him unconscious. Using his card, Ward then stepped into the next room, where he found two men working, with mathematical equations written on the walls. As he looked around, Ward found strange symbols that had been displayed, and was told by the handler that the mission was complete.
As Ward left the room, he realised that he needed to keep the guard awake, so he could ensure that the alarms across the base were not set off, as he needed to input his password into the computers. Although Skye suggested she could fix it, they were too late as the alarms across the entire building went off, as Ward grabbed the guard's gun and ordered Skye to meet him on the south side of the building. Ward attempted to leave without being noticed, but this soon failed and he was forced to run when a guard spotted him, as he fled down the hallways.
While he was attempted to get away without being caught, Ward was then called by Fitz, although he did not answer, instead using his glasses' X-Ray vision to see where the guards were, as he proceeded to shoot through the wall, killing three of the guards, before answering Fitz's call, impatiently questioning what he wanted. As Ward hid from the guards, Fitz explained that he was currently holding onto Amador's eye implant, which was still attached to her and could potentially explode at any moment, as Ward questioned what state the wires were currently in.
However, Ward had then accidentally looked into a mirror, revealing that he was behind the feed that the handler was looking at. Knowing that the eye's detonator would be triggered as a result, Ward ordered Fitz to immediately cut the wires. Ward had then focused on his own escape, telling Skye that he was on his way to her, as he avoided the gunfire from the guards who had found him, and proceeded to shoot at a window before leaping through it. Ward had then jumped from the containers and landed in front of Skye's car, as he got in and they drove away together.
Cards with Leo Fitz
With the mission complete, Ward had returned to the Bus, where he had played cards with Leo Fitz, who had seemed extremely cocky during the game, while Ward remained emotionless, watching Fitz eating his pretzels. Checking his cards, Ward called Fitz's bet, and raised him another hundred dollars. Fitz questioned if Ward understood why he knew he would beat him, to which Ward claimed that Fitz would lose, only for Fitz to insist that Ward actually had a tell when he was bluffing that he could read.
Fitz then stared closely at Ward, claiming that he would watch him carefully to find the tell, before awkwardly saying the same phrase a second time. However, following a brief pause, Fitz instead folded his cards, telling Ward that he had won the game, much to Ward's confusion. What Ward had been unaware of during this game, was that Skye was in her room behind Ward, and had been planning on using the Backscatter Glasses to see Ward's cards, but Fitz gave up when he realised that Skye would see him nude, although Skye took the opportunity to look at Ward nude.
Disappearance of Chan Ho Yin
While they were onboard the Bus, Ward and Skye sat down for a game of Battleship, which Ward took extremely seriously, telling Skye that every decision she made would have consequences, while Skye had successfully managed to hit Ward's battleship. Skye had then questioned why Battleship was part of her training, to which Ward claimed that it was important, as her SO, for him to evaluate his student's thought process, but had also confessed that he simply enjoyed the game.
Ward then made his move, only to be told that he had missed, with Skye claiming that this game was more about blind luck than tactics, while also confessing to preferring this to working out. Ward told Skye that she deserved the break, admitting that Phil Coulson's decision to trust a former member of the Rising Tide had paid off more than he would have expected, with Skye expressing her shock that Ward had actually paid her a compliment. Once Skye finished teasing Ward, she made another move, as Ward confessed that she had sunk his battleship.
The game was interrupted by a call on the Holocom, as Ward and Skye joined for others for a briefing with Coulson, where they were then presented with the picture of Chan Ho Yin, who was described to be a street performer, who had begun to exhibit pyrokinetic abilities. Ward listened as Coulson explained that Yin had been close to a nuclear power facility that had caught fire, and that he got onto S.H.I.E.L.D.'s radar when his performances had been reported on, and he was put on the Index and was also ordered to keep all of his powers under wraps.
As Skye expressed her shock at the concept of an Index of powered people, Ward confessed that sometimes the Index was needed in case S.H.I.E.L.D. had to take action against someone on the list. Moving on, Coulson explained that Yin's case agent found him missing, before Quan Chen spoke to them on the screen, as everyone except Ward waved at Chen. Chen briefed the team, noting that Yin had disappeared twice before, but this time he had been taken by a professional team who wore fireproof clothing, as Ward noted that they clearly knew about his powers.
Chen explained that it would likely be because their systems had been hacked into, and therefore Yin's powers had been known by the people who had taken him. When Chen explained that it was the Rising Tide, everyone, including Ward, had looked at Skye. Ward and Skye then went to Coulson's office, where Skye argued that the Rising Tide was a huge organisation, so she did not know who was responsible for hacking into the Index, promising that it was not her. While Ward insisted that he was not accusing her, Skye insisted that they were clearly considering this.
Skye argued to Ward and Coulson that, as she had been living with them onboard the Bus for weeks, it would be impossible for her to hack into S.H.I.E.L.D., although Coulson suggested that it could also have become easier for her. As Skye offered to help them track down the hacker, Ward insisted that he believed her and suggested that they would need to track down the hacker who was actually responsible for this. In response, Coulson had then ordered Skye to find something on the hacker quickly, as Yin would be in danger the longer that he was missing.
Ward would join the team in watching Skye hacking through the systems to find out who had hacked into the Index, with Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons expressing their excitement over watching her work, while Ward and Coulson had been confused by the technical talk. Eventually, Skye determined that the hacker was in Austin, Texas, noting that he had been working through a cafe, and learnt through credit cards paid inside of the cafe at that time that it was Miles Lydon who was seemingly the one who was responsible for hacking into the Index and leaking all of the information about Yin.
Coulson questioned if Skye knew Lydon, to which she claimed that every hacker in the world knew him, while Fitz and Simmons noted that he was also famous for hacking into the Kremlin and leaking the shirtless pictures of Vladimir Putin on horseback. Ward noted that Lydon was also responsible for Yin being kidnapped, before Coulson ordered them to fly into Austin to arrest Lydon, with Melinda May confirming that they were on their way. Ward was told by Coulson that their best bet to find Yin would be to find and question Lydon about what he knew.
Betrayed by Skye
Upon arriving in Austin, Texas, the team had split up to search the area for their target, with Ward walking up and down the streets, while Skye left the cafe where she had tracked Miles Lydon to and claimed that the cashier had not seen him in over a week. However, Ward had then caught sight of Lydon, who was just exiting a shop, only for Lydon to catch Ward watching him and attempt to flea, with Ward then chasing right behind him, giving the team his updates on Lydon's current location.
Chasing down Lydon, Ward witnessed him getting into a car and being driven away, as Phil Coulson had then continued with the chase in his S.H.I.E.L.D. SUV, only for Lydon to hack into the city's street lights and cause cars to block the road, trapping Coulson's SUV and allowing Lydon to escape. However, the team would discover that Lydon was only able to realise that he was being watched and catch Ward, because Skye had given him a warning, as they had been in a relationship, as Ward and the rest of the team caught Skye and Lydon back at his apartment.
Ward had then assisted the team in looking through all of Lydon's belongings, while Melinda May had questioned Lydon about the information that he had stolen and who it had been told to, and Coulson had questioned her about her relationship with Lydon, with Skye insisting that he was a dead end who knew nothing about Chan Ho Yin, although the team remained unconvinced that this was all that was happening. While looking through papers, Ward had stood by Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons while they discussed what Skye's true motivations for this were, suggesting that there had to be a reason she had been lying to them.
Having failed to learn what they needed to from Skye or Lydon, Coulson ordered the team to pack up what they had, as they would be traveling to Hong Kong in order to attempt to find and rescue Yin. Ward had then gone over to Skye, who had attempted to apologise and explain herself to him, only for Ward to simply order her to present her hands, which he had then handcuffed and ordered her to follow him back to the Bus for questioning, still angry and frustrated that she had lied to him after he had put his neck out to defend her ahead of this mission.
Questioning the Hackers
- "She's been defending you, saying you're a stand-up guy, so I'm going to give you a chance. You want to tell her, or should I?"
"I don't have to listen to you..."
"There goes your chance. Your boyfriend here made a few deposits in the days following the leak. All said, it's about a million dollars."
- ―Grant Ward and Miles Lydon[src]
Once they had returned onto the Bus, Ward had watched Skye and Miles Lydon arguing in their cell about the ideals of the Rising Tide, before Ward determined that Lydon was dirty, and was simply hiding behind the manifesto of the Rising Tide. Ward had then turned off the Holocom and turned to Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons, questioning what they had found out about Lydon, although Simmons insisted Lydon seemed to be clear, despite his Minecraft team being described as nasty.
Eventually, Simmons found that Lydon had been moving money through various banks, having been paid a small fortune for the information, as Ward then went into the cell to question Skye and Lydon, noting to Lydon that Skye had defended his character, which would be why he would give him a chance to explain himself. Ward offered Lydon the chance to come clean to Skye, but Lydon refused, resulting in Ward revealing that Lydon had been paid a million dollars for leaking the intel about Chan Ho Yin, as Skye had then realised that he had sold out Yin.
Ward watched as Skye confronted Lydon about this, as he insisted that a million dollars could change both of their lives, as he claimed that the woman who offered it was harmless, although Skye insisted that nobody who paid a million dollars for intel had good intentions. Ward questioned who the woman was, to which Lydon explained she was a fan of the Rising Tide, describing her as a rich woman in a flower dress, who pointed him to a S.H.I.E.L.D. feed in China that she wanted him to hack, as Ward questioned if he really thought this was harmless.
Lydon claimed to Ward and Skye that the information was not any different to what the Rising Tide had previously leaked, and that he had researched the company that the money came from, in an attempt to ensure that it was not an evil organisation. Ward listened to Lydon claim that the company the money came from was an eco-research laboratory, as Ward pressed him on this, as Lydon revealed that the company researched insects, to which they deduced that it was the Centipede Project again, as Ward and Skye made eye contact and considered what this meant.
Preparation for the Rescue
Ward had then joined the team as they discussed the mission plan, with Phil Coulson confirming that the Centipede Project had been responsible for Chan Ho Yin's kidnapping, with Ward noting that Centipede had operations running in Los Angeles and Hong Kong, questioning how strong they were and what their motivations could be. Coulson had then deduced that Centipede were a well financed, international organisation, who were interested in creating a super soldier.
Coulson had then explained to Ward and the others that Miles Lydon had provided them with the woman's account details, which had allowed S.H.I.E.L.D. to deduce that Yin was being held in a facility in Hong Kong. Melinda May questioned what Centipede wanted with Yin, to which Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons also speculated that Centipede were hoping that Yin's pyrokinetic powers could stabilise the Extremis that they had been using inside of the Centipede Serum, which would prevent all of their future soldiers from unexpectedly exploding again.
Having arrived in Hong Kong, Ward suited up in his Bulletproof Vest and armed his rifle, only to be told by Phil Coulson that he and Melinda May would handle the field work, while Ward to stayed behind and oversee Skye and Miles Lydon. However, Ward argued that this was his responsibility, only for Coulson to insist that he had made the choice to bring Skye onto the Bus, which Ward had immediately warned him against, as Coulson claimed that this was his problem, that he would fix.
However, Ward was soon alerted that something had gone wrong during the mission, and made the decision to release Skye and Lydon so that they could assist them. Having joined Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons, Ward allowed Skye to hack into the facility, where they soon realised that it had been put under lock down, while Fitz had questioned if Ward was sure about letting Skye and Lydon do this. Ward questioned if Skye would be able to fix the alarms and free the team, to which Skye said that she could only do it if she was inside the facility.
Both Ward and Lydon had objected to this plan, with Lydon noting that Skye was a hacker and was not a trained soldier, to which Skye had turned to Ward and noted that he was. With no other choice, Ward had brought Skye into the facility, where they were attacked by multiple guards, with Ward fighting them off to allow Skye to get to the computer systems, as May questioned if they were any closer to getting the doors open, which Ward insisted they were close to. As one of the guards had attempted to grab Skye, Ward elbowed him in the jaw, before taking Skye away.
Getting themselves into the main control room, Ward kept watch as Skye sat down on the computer and began hacking into the system to unlock all of the doors, and allow Coulson and May to get away. Stepping over to Skye, Ward questioned how long it would take her to unlock everything, just as Skye told him that she was done and moved away, which had impressed Ward. Regrouping with Coulson and May, Ward and Skye managed to escape from the building, just as Yin had exploded from an overload of Centipede Serum that May had injected him with, as the group had then watched the fireball exploding into the skyline.
As the flames died down, Ward turned to Coulson and informed him that Skye had managed to extract from files from the facility's mainframe, which might be enough to help them get closer to finding out more about Centipede Project, which Coulson barely acknowledged. Seeing Coulson's distraction due to Yin's demise, Ward told him that they could not save somebody from themselves, as Yin had lost control of his mind and tried to kill everyone, as Coulson noted that they could save someone if they got to them early enough, as they gave a look to Skye.
Drinking with Melinda May
In the aftermath of the mission, Ward and sat down with Melinda May at the Bus' bar, where he asked for to pour him a double of whisky, to which May jokingly questioned if there was any other kind. The pair were then interrupted by Skye, who told Ward that she was on her way to Phil Coulson's office to discuss what happened during this mission, as Skye questioned if Ward wanted to join her, as he was her Supervising Officer and should likely be a witness to this.
However, Ward had instead told Skye that he was now off the clock, and left Skye to go and talk with Coulson alone, due to his continued frustration over her betrayal of the team's trust by helping Miles Lydon, as Ward chose to instead spend his time with May. Rather than kick her off the team, Coulson decided to offer Skye the same Tracking Bracelet that he had given to Lydon, which meant that they would be able to track her movements, and also meant that her access to computers would be downgraded considerably as a punishment for her actions.
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 Jemma Simmons checked the team for the virus.
When the team regrouped on the Bus, it was discovered that 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. Leo 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 were not 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 in Lola, 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 Hayward 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 T. 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, as Cook and others arrived. 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 Officers Blum and Hirish 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 multiple times. 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.
Captured by S.H.I.E.L.D.
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 within the Playground
Ward became a prisoner inside the Playground's vaults, where he attempted suicide by running at the walls and 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. Eventually, Ward received a visit from Skye, claiming that she was a sight for sore eyes. Ward insisted that he had told Coulson weeks earlier that he would be willing to speak to Skye to give her intelligence, as he had questioned why she had come to speak with him now.
Ward questioned if something bad had happened, to which Skye simply asked him about Carl Creel, noting that John Garrett had reported Creel to be dead, but it had turned out that he was still alive, questioning if Ward had any information about that. Instead of answering, Ward asked how Skye had been, to which Skye got up and went to walk away, causing Ward to admit that Creel's name was familiar, as he asked for a picture. As Skye showed him Creel's picture, Ward leaned closer to the Inertial Confinement Laser Barrier to see, allowing Skye to notice the scars on Ward's wrists.
Seeing Skye's reaction, Ward deduced that Coulson had not told her about this, as he confessed to going through a rough patch, which involved him using buttons and paper to cut at himself, as well as running at the walls, with Skye simply suggesting that he should have run faster. Ward then told Skye that he had gotten through that stage and was now clear headed and had accepted his fate, based on who he was and what he had done. Ward then looked at Skye's arms, observing that Melinda May had clearly been training Skye, pointing out that Skye was being trained more on her left side.
Interrupting him, Skye told Ward that she would not believe a word that came out of his mouth, but also noted that if he talked about anything other than what she was asking him about, then she would walk away. Accepting this, Ward told Skye that Creel was a boxer, known as the Crusher, who Garrett had considered to be an asset, due to his power to turn his fists into steel. Ward went on to explain that Creel had the power to absorb any substance and transform his body into that substance. As Ward noted that Creel enjoyed this feeling, and killing, Skye noted that they must have gotten along.
Skye dismissed Ward's comments as pointless, noting that they had already knew this, suggesting that unless Ward knew where they could find Creel she would walk. Ward had then asked Skye to wait, as he confessed that while HYDRA was communicating from within S.H.I.E.L.D. they would use the white noise in the gaps between their communication channels, suggesting that HYDRA would still be using those frequencies. Ward promised that this and everything else he would say to Skye was true, claiming to only want to help her. As Ward tried to tell her more about her father, Skye shut the laser.
Discussing HYDRA's Methods
- "HYDRA's protocol on the gifteds is pretty straight forward, an acquisition team is sent out to convince or captured the gifted. If those two options aren't possible, them they'll take them out."
"Even if the gifted doesn't pose a threat."
"A gifted that refuses HYDRA is a threat."
- ―Grant Ward to Skye[src]
Eventually, Ward received another visit from Skye, who had asked about how HYDRA recruited it's members, with Ward explaining that HYDRA was not welcoming and did not offer any choice but to join them. As Skye questioned if he was offered money, or threatened with torture, Ward simply claimed that they were good at convincing people, as Skye acknowledged that they suckered Ward in, to which he insisted that he had only ever been loyal to John Garrett, not HYDRA.
However, Ward insisted that he did not blame Garrett for the choices that he had made, to which Skye suggested that Ward would instead blame his older brother, as well as his mother and father for his situation, mocking him for this. Ward insisted that his family had torn him down, before Garrett built him back up, and turned him into a soldier for HYDRA. However, Skye noted that they were aware of who Ward's family were, noting that they were respected and loved, to which Ward noted that every family had their secrets, commenting that Skye's family also had their own secrets.
Before Ward could discuss Skye's family's secrets, and disclose any further information about her father, he was interrupted by Skye acknowledging that she had made an error by allowing Ward to talk for too long, as she suggested that they instead focus on their task at hand, and no longer allow Ward to talk to her like a regular person. Ward then explained that HYDRA's rules on dealing with powered individuals was straight forward, as they would send out their own acquisition team to convince or capture the powered individual, and would execute them if neither of these options was not possible.
As Skye questioned if this would even be if the individual was not a threat, to which Ward suggested that simply defying HYDRA's rules made the individual into a threat, and threats would be taken care of quickly by HYDRA. Upon hearing this, Skye insisted that this was the difference between S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA, to which Ward insisted that this was why HYDRA would always win, claiming that while a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent was considering what was right and wrong, the HYDRA agent would have already taken the shot, leaving Skye to consider what that meant for their ongoing conflict.
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. Seeing that Fitz was frozen in shock and horror upon seeing him, Ward acknowledged that he would have a lot to say to him, as he watched Fitz struggling to breath due to the shock. In attempt to comfort him, Ward then claimed that, despite everything, he was glad to see Fitz.
However, Fitz demanded that Ward stop talking, as he attempted to control his breathing and understand what was happening. As Fitz began to calm down, Ward took a seat and insisted that he had never wanted to hurt him, and had tried to avoid it, to which Fitz noted that he had tried to kill him and Jemma Simmons. However, Ward denied that it was true, instead claiming that he had attempted to save them after John Garrett had ordered him to shoot them, as he claimed that he had instead given them a fighting chance to find their way out from the bottom of the ocean, which they had done.
Despite Ward's claims to have tried to save him, Fitz had questioned if Ward was aware of what he had done to him, as he struggled to find the words to explain his situation. Fitz explained to Ward that he was having trouble with his words, as he suggested that it would be better to show Ward what he did, as Fitz proceeded to drain oxygen from Ward's cell, to demonstrate the hypoxia. As he began gasping for air, Ward questioned what Fitz was doing, to which he explained that he would show Ward what it was like to be deprived of oxygen, giving him three minutes until the damage would be permanent.
Struggling to breath, Ward questioned where Skye was, to which Fitz explained that she was gone, having been sent on a mission to find Donnie Gill. Fitz went on to insist that he should be on the mission with them, but he was unable to be because of the damage that Ward had done to him. As Ward then attempted to distract Fitz by questioning if this was why Skye had asked him about HYDRA's dealings with powered people, Fitz refused to answer him, only for Ward to explain that Gill had been brainwashed with the Faustus method, and Sunil Bakshi would be attempting to recapture Gill.
Confessing the Truth
Once Skye returned to the Playground, she went to speak to Ward in his cell, as she questioned if Ward was relieved that he was not getting another visit from Leo Fitz, to which Ward claimed that he was happy she was okay. Ward told Skye that he was happy that he could help, before Skye noted that Ward had previously mentioned that HYDRA was good at convincing people, as she confirmed that he had been referring to Faustus brainwashing people, which Ward confirmed, noting it was not done often.
Ward noted that brainwashing HYDRA agents was a lot of work, and there were some who were not susceptible, and it would mostly be used on high value targets. Skye questioned if Ward had been brainwashed to join HYDRA, although he denied this, noting that he wished this was the truth, noting that because he had sworn never to lie to Skye, he had to admit that he was not brainwashed, and everything he had done, was done with his own free will. Ward questioned if Skye believed that he was telling her the truth, as she nodded, but had also noted that she did not know why he would be.
Skye questioned what Ward hoped to achieve by compiling, only for Ward to claim that he did not hope for himself, but that he was in hope for her. Ward told Skye that he knew something, and wanted her to believe him when he said it. Ward then got to his feet, and told Skye that her father was still alive, and that he was looking for her, as he then promised that he would one day take her to him, if she allowed him to. Without giving him any reaction about this news, Skye had then told Ward that they were done there, before storming out of his cell, leaving him alone once again.
Skye's Next Question
Ward would received another visit from Skye, as he commented that he was surprised that it had taken her so long to come back, following his mention of her father, although Skye insisted that was not why she had returned. Ward noted that Skye must have been thinking about what he had said, to which Skye noted that Ward was the last person she would want to talk about her family with. As Ward suggested that he could help her find him, Skye insisted that her parents were killed in Hunan, along with everyone in their village.
However, Ward denied that this was true, as Skye insisted that she knew what he was doing in attempting to exploit her weaknesses to find a way in to talk to her, although Ward insisted that he was just trying to help. Ward also insisted that he would never lie to Skye again, to which Skye then demanded to know the source of Ward's information about her father. Accepting these demands, Ward explained that it was Raina who had told him this, which Skye laughed at, while Ward had explained that Raina knew Skye's father personally, although Skye continued laughing at him.
Skye insisted that Ward had been played by Raina, as she had found Ward's weakness and exploited it to use against him. As Ward attempted to argue against this, Skye got to her feet and told Ward to shut up, insisting that she did not want to hear him say another word about her father, as Ward sighed but accepted Skye's demands. Having changed the subject, Skye then presented Ward with her tablet, showing him the Words of Creation and questioning what he knew about them, as Ward noted that he had first seen those symbols on their mission in Belarus, with her and Skye had been on together.
Ward went on to note that he had later seen these same symbols when John Garrett began etching them into glass, which surprised Skye as she questioned if Garrett had said what it was. However, Ward denied that Garrett explained himself, but noted that he had not made much sense after he had taken the GH.325, before he questioned if Skye had been writing these symbols, which Skye denied. Ward noted that once Garrett began writing them, he could not stop, noting that he was relieved once S.H.I.E.L.D. had killed Garrett, as the writing had completely taken over his mind.
Questions about Family
As he would do every morning, Ward awoke a five, thirty am and began his work out inside his cell in the Playground. Once again, Ward would be visited by Skye, who informed him that they needed to talk about his brother, to which Ward questioned if she was referring to Christian or Thomas, as Skye confirmed that she meant Christian. As Ward questioned what had happened, Skye would only tell him that they needed basic information about his personality and habits, only for Ward to advise they stay away from Christian.
Ward advised Skye that Christian was not the man he seemed to be, and that he always had an angle to get his own way, suggesting that Christian might be attempting to use S.H.I.E.L.D. to get to him. However, Skye insisted that this was not about him, which Ward denied, as he reminded Skye about how Christian had forced him to almost drown Thomas in a well when they were children, suggesting that Christian got joy out of hurting people. Ward questioned once again if Christian knew where he was, to which Skye had simply insisted that she would be the only one asking the questions there.
However, Ward insisted that he had always answered Skye's questions, and had always told the truth, but suggested there could be danger if Christian knew he was there, only for Skye to interrupt him by scoffing at Ward's suggestion that he always told the truth. Ward reminded Skye that he had promised to never lie to her again, insisting that he had not since they had begun talking again. Taking a breath, Ward then questioned what this line of questioning was really about, although Skye would still not tell him, demanding that Ward tell her about Christian's connections and daily habits.
Interrupting, Ward had then questioned if this had anything to do with Skye's father, as he promised her that he had not lied about this, insisting that her father was still alive. However, as Ward attempted to tell her about her father, Skye interrupted him and insisted that her father was a murderer, revealing that she had already found him, much to Ward's considerable surprise. However, before they could continue discussing Skye's father, Phil Coulson had then arrived and shut the Inertial Confinement Laser Barrier, abruptly ending Ward's conversation with Skye.
While Ward remained in his cell, he was eventually rejoined by Skye, much to his considerable surprise, as he had also acknowledged that all of the cameras inside of the room had been turned off, as Ward then questioned if Phil Coulson knew about this meeting, to which Skye explained that Coulson was out of the Playground. Skye had then noted that Coulson cut their last meeting short, but now nobody was watching their conversation, as Ward simply smiled at the prospect of a private conversation with Skye.
Ward questioned if Coulson was speaking with Christian Ward, as he insisted that he could not be trusted, explaining that Christian would smile and bare his soul, but that it was all manipulation, calling Christian a master manipulator. With Skye not responding, Ward acknowledged the kind of man he was, but insisted that Christian was worse, as he promised Skye that he was telling her the truth, asking if she believed him. Ward told Skye that he never lied about her father, but she had never given him the chance to tell her, which Skye admitted was true, as she gave him that chance.
Skye insisted that she wanted to know everything about her father, as Ward told her that while he had killed people, this had all been done because her father loved her, claiming that he could not fault him for that. Ward went on to claim that the people who had died in Hunan were not villagers, but HYDRA agents, who had managed to find Skye and her mother, with Skye reacting tearfully to the mention of her mother. Skye questioned if her mother was also alive, as Ward explained that she had been killed by HYDRA, as Skye questioned why HYDRA did this.
As Ward told Skye that he did not know HYDRA's motives, he explained that once her father had arrived, he lost control and slaughtered the HYDRA agents there, as Skye questioned how he could have done this, and what her father was. Unable to answer those questions, Ward told Skye that her father had lost his entire family that day, and had cracked, resulting in the brutal massacre, but that her father had now wanted to put his family back together again, insisting that he could help with that by taking Skye to her father, as Skye had then questioned where her father was.
With Skye questioning how Ward could help reunite her with her family, Ward explained that he still had connections and people they could go to, as Skye noted that Raina was gone, asking who else they could find, only for Ward to insist that he was resourceful and could manage without Raina. Skye demanded to know everything Ward knew, desperately asking if there was anything else that he could tell her, only for Ward to claim he could not tell her anything more, but promised that they would be able to find her father, as Skye thanked Ward for telling her everything that he knew.
Skye then told Ward that it was time to get him out of the Playground, much to his considerable surprise and relief, as he believed that Skye would break him out to help her reunite with her family. However, Skye had then explained that, rather than her arranging a prison break, Ward was actually being transferred, explaining that Christian wanted to take him into his own custody, in exchange for Christian dropping his anti S.H.I.E.L.D. proposals to the United States Congress, and they would give him exactly what he wanted, much to the complete horror of Ward.
Pleads to Phil Coulson
- "I thought we were rebuilding trust, Coulson? I can help you, I'm still part of your team."
"My team? 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."
- ―Grant Ward and Phil Coulson[src]
Horrified about the risk to his safety if he was transferred, Ward took a meeting with Phil Coulson, as he insisted that Christian Ward could not be trusted. However, Coulson pointed out to Ward that he had previously attempted to speak to him for three and a half weeks, only for Ward to not say a word to him. As Coulson told him it was too late to bargain, Ward insisted that everything he had said to Skye was the truth, claiming that he had not given S.H.I.E.L.D. a single piece of bad intel.
As Ward questioned what this was worth, Coulson simply told him that he would never see Skye again, to which Ward claimed that he had believed that they were rebuilding trust. As Ward insisted that he could help S.H.I.E.L.D. and that he was still part of Coulson's Team, Coulson rose to his feet and insisted that Ward was not, nor would he ever be a part of his team. Coulson furiously reminded Ward that he dropped Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons out of a plane, as well as murdering Victoria Hand and Eric Koenig, while he had betrayed everyone of them, calling Ward deluded.
Coulson went on to claim that the only reason Ward was still alive was because he had been of use, and the reason he was now being transferred was because his brother was of more use to S.H.I.E.L.D.. Ward questioned if it had been Coulson or Christian's idea to put him on trial, suggesting that it would work well for Christian politically to be seen as brave enough to have his own brother executed for his crimes. As Coulson compared Ward to his brother, Antoine Triplett had then appeared, and informed Coulson that he was needed back upstairs, as Ward was left to consider his upcoming fate.
Transfer and Escape
Eventually, Ward's cell was surrounded by Phil Coulson, and his teams of heavily armed STRIKE agents, as Coulson took down the Inertial Confinement Laser Barrier and allowed the agents to step inside and handcuff Ward, which Ward reluctantly allowed. As he was being handcuffed, Ward made direct eye contact with Coulson as he did, believing that Coulson was allowing him to be taken to his death, as Christian Ward would undoubtedly be calling for his execution.
As he was marched through the Playground, led by Coulson and with armed guards either side of him, Ward passed by Antoine Triplett, while Leo Fitz remained in his laboratory and made eye contact with Ward. As he neared the exit, Ward came across Skye and attempted to talk to her, only for Jemma Simmons to stand between, as Simmons insisted that if she ever saw Ward again, she would kill him. In order to prevent Ward from even attempting to communicate with anyone else, one of the STRIKE agents put a black bag over his head, blocking his view as they continued walking.
Ward was then taken outside, still with his hands and ankles cuffed together, and a bag over his head, as Coulson handed over his custody to the FBI, recommending that they do not give him an inch to move in. Ward then had the bag removed from his head, as he was loaded into the back of the FBI's truck to be taken to his brother. As he stepped inside, Ward had then sked Coulson to tell Skye that this situation would not change his deal with her to bring her to her father, insisting that he would keep his promise, although Coulson did not respond and had simply walked away.
Ward remained silent during his transfer, as he focused his attention on his hand, and began subtly massaging his thumb, as he had been practicing to do in his cell, without drawing the attention of the guards surrounding him. As he took a deep breath, Ward managed to dislocate his thumb, which allowed him to slip his handcuff off, much to the shock of his guards. Ward then proceeded to elbow the guard next to him, and grabbed the guard in front as he attempted to draw his weapon. Ward had then killed the guard, before pulling the gun out of his hand and shooting the driver, allowing him to escape.
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 a hundred and seventeen 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 a hundred and seventeen. Ward showed her his bomb and left the bus. However, he boarded another bus headed to Boston with Lance Hunter on board.
Betraying Sunil Bakshi
Once he arrived in Boston, Ward met Sunil Bakshi in the Goldbrix Tavern, which was being run by a member of HYDRA. During the meeting, Ward asked Bakshi to whom he answered, as Baron 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 Phil Coulson. However, 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., who took him into custody.
Having stopped off at a hotel, Ward decided that it was time for him to change his appearance to avoid detection. Ward proceeded to shave off his beard, briefly leaving himself with his moustache, before shaving that as well. Ward would also take the razor to his hair, cutting that short, before giving himself a wet shave and admiring his new look in the mirror. Having put on a new suit, Ward then called up Sunil Bakshi's phone, knowing that S.H.I.E.L.D. would have likely taken it when they had arrested Bakshi.
As was expected, the call was answered by Skye, who attempted to trick the caller by claiming to be a member of HYDRA, only for Ward to immediately reveal his identity. As Skye demanded to know where Ward was, he had simply claimed that he wanted to make sure that S.H.I.E.L.D. had received his present, noting that he had promised Bakshi a one on one meeting with Phil Coulson, acknowledging that this was likely not what Bakshi had in mind. Ward then promised to continue sending S.H.I.E.L.D. some more presents like Bakshi over the next few months, which Skye had simply rejected.
With Ward insisting that he just wanted to be helpful, he had then noted that he had met Bobbi Morse and Lance Hunter, claiming that he believed they should not be around for much longer, with Skye questioning if Ward was threatening them, to which he insisted that he was merely a suggestion. Ward insisted that Coulson could do better than Morse and Hunter, claiming that he was a hard man to replace. Looking at an article about Christian Ward leading a hunt for him, Ward told Skye that he had to go deal with a personal matter, promising he would see her soon, before hanging up.
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. Ward 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. Ward had recorded what Christian said. When they got back to the house, Ward killed Christian and their mother and father and burned down the house, making it appear to be a murder-suicide case. Ward 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 Air Force 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
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 Baron 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 Baron 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
Having managed to escape from Melinda May's S.H.I.E.L.D. team, Ward managed to return back to Boston and went to the Goldbrix Tavern. There, he sat staring at a photo of Kara Palamas, as the bartender noted that it looked like Ward was having trouble letting go of Palamas, questioning if she had walked out on him, to which Ward coldly told him that Palamas drowned on her own blood. A group of HYDRA thugs that he had hired to find the remaining leadership showed up and gave him a list of names, although Ward was unsatisfied with the number of names.
Ward told them that he wanted more names, but Kebo had then explained that HYDRA no longer had any leadership, in the wake of the deaths of Daniel Whitehall, Baron Strucker and Doctor List, and that HYDRA's heads had failed to grow back this time. As Kebo insisted that HYDRA had disintegrated, Ward ignored these comments and once again insisted that he wanted more names, to which Kebo mocked Ward's demands, insisting that the lack of HYDRA's leaders meant that there was nobody to give them orders, and insisting that this also included Ward.
Unhappy with this answer, Ward finished his glass of whiskey, before smashing the glass on the bar, and slamming Kebo's head directly into the broken shrads. With Kebo lying unconscious with scars on his face, Ward turned to the other thugs and ordered them to get more names so he could form his own HYDRA team for his campaign. When one of the thugs asked him what the plan was, suggesting that they cause chaos Ward looked down at Palamas' picture and replied that he wanted closure, seeking revenge against everyone who he deemed responsible for her death.
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 Baron 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 Baron 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 Baron 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 Baron 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 Baron 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 R. 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 Baron Strucker's secret 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 Baron Strucker's secret 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.
- "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 Baron Strucker's secret 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 Baron Strucker's secret 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. 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.'s Containment Module. Once Ward arrived, Garner had been begging the guards for someone to talk to about what was going on, as Ward stepped out of the shadows and offered him the chance to talk, much to the shock of Garner. Ward claimed that he could do with a session with a therapist, before introducing himself, although Garner insisted he knew who Ward was.
Garner questioned what Ward was doing there, to which he claimed that he was there to learn, noting that he had spent the last few days educating himself on HYDRA's history, and now he intended to learn more about Garner and his Inhuman powers. However, Garner then questioned if Ward felt powerful due to him being trapped behind the glass, while he warned that Ward would die at his hand, with a hole burnt into his chest. As Ward then turned on the gas in the module, Garner insisted that sedating him would not stop him, only for Ward to insist that he did not actually intend to sedate Garner.
However, Ward had explained that the gas he was pouring into the module was not the sedation compound, but was actually a gas that he could not pronounce, which he compared to mustard gas. Ward noted that S.H.I.E.L.D. had shown them how it would be possible to sedate Lash, but HYDRA intended to know how to turn that back on again. Ward then thanked Garner for helping him find some closure, noting that he had found a new way to hurt Melinda May by torturing Garner, as he turned on the gas and watched while Garner screamed in agonising pain, with Ward comparing the monsters in them.
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 R. 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 distress 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 Hive 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 Hive 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 Hive 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, slowly suffocating him. Unable to move, his chest soon caved in under the pressure and was crushed. In his final moments, Ward was almost glad to finally be free of the suffering in his life, before finally dying.
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 emotionally painful 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.
Remembered by S.H.I.E.L.D.
Killing Ward had a profound impact on Phil Coulson. Not wanting the memory of what he did with him, Coulson left his prosthetic hand on Maveth. He questioned what happened to him on that planet that led him to cross that line, only for Melinda May to tell him that when he killed Ward, he joined her small group of people who made the hardest choices for the right reasons. After learning Hive had possessed Ward's dead body, Coulson was filled with guilt for giving into his hatred and murdering Ward, giving Hive exactly what he needed to escape Maveth. He come to believe that by killing him, Ward won in the end as the act proved that the two were the same; men consumed with hatred and willing to cross whatever line they need to seek revenge.
After Leo Fitz's experience in the Framework, where he became HYDRA's second-in-command, "The Doctor", in part because of having his father in his life, he developed a new understanding of how Ward became who he was. Having been raised by an overbairing father figure, Fitz realized that's what Ward's relationship with John Garrett was like and felt like the two were the same now.
In a virtual reality where HYDRA was in control, Daisy Johnson met a simulated version of Grant Ward. At first, Johnson did not trust him, until it was revealed that Ward was loyal to S.H.I.E.L.D. and not HYDRA, and that he had become a good person as he had been mentored by Victoria Hand instead of John Garrett. This led Johnson to realize that there was still good in Ward all along and seemed to have finally forgiven him, despite saying she would never be able to. He was ultimately deleted, along with the rest of the Framework.
Months after his time in the Framework, when remembering the life he's lived, Coulson briefly remembered the times when Ward was part of their team, indicating that despite everything Ward did, Coulson's experience with Ward's Framework self made him miss the time when he was part of his "family." In an alternate 1983, Kora told Coulson's Chronicom LMD that Ward should be killed, thus preventing all the suffering he would cause others in the future as his original timeline counterpart did. Coulson shut down the idea, mentioning that he saw a world where Ward was good and all he needed was someone to steer him in the right direction, showing that even Coulson has come to regret the way he handled Ward all those years prior.
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
- Superhuman 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 an extremely skilled and formidable hand-to-hand combatant and martial artist, with extensive training from S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA. Maria Hill evaluated his fighting abilities with the highest available marks for S.H.I.E.L.D.'s standards, and able to match the agency's best fighters. His fighting style consisted of many martial arts including Boxing, Karate, Eskrima, Krav Maga, Jiu-jitsu and Jeet Kune Do. Daniel Whitehall considered him to be one of the best killers. Ward often used this skill 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. Ward is also able to quickly use his surroundings to his advantage and use random items as improvised weaponry.
- Staff Mastery: Ward was highly skilled at using staffs in combat.
- Expert Acrobat: Despite his very tall stature, Ward is athletic and a capable acrobat. For example, he did a simple roll down a flight of stairs, and performed another agile roll to grab his weapon during a fight against Melinda May.