- "Ward hurt someone I care about. And as far as we can tell, you're the only thing left in this world that he cares about, which means you're the only way I can draw him out."
"Okay. But you better finish him off when you do."
"Honestly wasn't expecting that."
- ―Phil Coulson, Thomas Ward and Lance Hunter
Seeking revenge for the death of his former lover Kara Palamas, Grant Ward merged his HYDRA faction with Gideon Malick's in order to crush S.H.I.E.L.D. Ward assassinated Rosalind Price, leader of the ATCU and Phil Coulson's lover, prompting Coulson to swear to exact revenge on his former associate. Coulson interrogated all the members of his former team to find anything he could use against Ward.
In the end, Coulson decided to abduct Ward's younger brother Thomas, who seemed to be the only thing Ward cared about. Coulson appointed Alphonso Mackenzie as acting Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and enlisted the assistance of Lance Hunter and Bobbi Morse in his endeavour.
Phil Coulson, Lance Hunter and Bobbi Morse boarded a Quinjet and left the Playground in the search of Thomas Ward. Having tracked him down to a jewelry store where Thomas worked, Coulson and Hunter stormed the place. While Hunter kept a man from triggering an alarm, an afraid Thomas asked Coulson how they had found him, fearing that they had been sent by Grant who Thomas was trying to avoid. In response, Coulson simply knocked Thomas unconscious and took him to the Quinjet.
Thomas was strapped to a chair and gagged while Coulson called Grant, showing him a picture of his abducted brother and threatening to hurt him, with Hunter holding Thomas at gunpoint. Once the call was ended, Thomas was released of his gag and revealed to his kidnappers that he actually tried to stay away from his brother, who he considered worse than their abusive parents, and that he was willing to help S.H.I.E.L.D. to take Grant down.
Grant later called Coulson, who agreed to put Thomas on the phone. Thomas blamed Grant for his behavior during their childhood, keeping the call active so that Morse could trace it. Once S.H.I.E.L.D. got the intel, Coulson abruptly ended the call and warned Grant that he was coming for him.
Having helped S.H.I.E.L.D. to locate Grant Ward in Gloucestershire by holding him on the phone long enough, Thomas Ward was released and informed by Bobbi Morse that a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent was put in charge of Thomas' security against Grant. Thanks to Thomas, S.H.I.E.L.D. was able to prepare for the Attack on the HYDRA Castle, where Grant was sequestrating Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons.