- "Just because you grow up in a family of abusive monsters doesn’t mean you have to become one."
- ―Thomas Ward[src]
Thomas Ward is the younger brother of Grant and Christian Ward who attempted to escape from his family's violent history to live peacefully far away from them. He was eventually pulled back into his family when S.H.I.E.L.D. used his as a bargaining tool to try and stop Grant's plans with HYDRA, although Thomas was allowed to go free once Grant had been located with his help.
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Thomas grew up in Massachusetts along with Christian Ward, Grant Ward and his sister. Christian was allegedly very abusive to his brothers, frequently beating both of them, and making Grant beat up Thomas for him. Thomas was the only one of the siblings their mother didn't "torture," which caused Christian to hate him. Despite all this, Grant tried his best to protect Thomas.
When Thomas was young, Christian forced Grant to throw him into a well. Grant was forced to watch him suffer as he nearly drowned inside the well when Christian threatened to throw Grant inside with Thomas. Grant eventually managed to rescue him without Christian knowing. This incident caused Grant to feel real hate for the first time. Grant tried to deny that the incident ever happened and promised Thomas that he would prevent it from happening again, which only frightened Thomas.
As a young child, Thomas was favored by the family's mother over his brothers and sister. This lead to feelings of resentment in Christian and Grant, who both in turn became abusive to Thomas. One instance was when Grant was caught standing over Thomas with a screwdriver in hand, and the younger boy crying beneath him.
Confronted by S.H.I.E.L.D.
Thomas later changed his name to distance himself from his family, especially Grant. However, that did not stop S.H.I.E.L.D. from finding him. In 2016, Agents Phil Coulson and Lance Hunter attacked the jewelry store where Thomas worked and abducted him. After being brought onto the Quinjet, Thomas assumed that Grant had sent them, only to be told that he was bait to draw his brother out.
Bound and gagged, Thomas could do nothing as Coulson called Grant and had Hunter put a gun to his head to let Grant know that he was serious. After Coulson terminated the call, Hunter released him and Bobbi Morse pulled off the duct tape on his mouth, and offered him a drink of water. Fearing for his life, Thomas pleaded to be spared before the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents explained that they only wanted his brother dead. Thomas then requested that the agents finish off his brother and verified his account of abuse within the Ward family.
Reunion with Grant Ward
Though Lance Hunter believed trading Thomas for Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons was their only option, Bobbi Morse stated that they could instead trace Grant Ward's phone. Thomas offered to keep his brother talking long enough to trace the call and discover Grant and HYDRA's location. Though Hunter seriously doubted that Grant would call back, a ringing phone proved him wrong. Coulson then freed Thomas' hands so he could talk with Grant.
Grant tried to convince Thomas into thinking he was the hero, but Thomas only told him that, despite their abusive parents, Grant was worse, revealing he knew that he killed their parents and Christian. Coulson then snatched the phone from Thomas, informing Grant that he knew where he was and would be coming for him. Subsequently, Thomas was dropped off to meet with a security detail. Before departing, Thomas asked if Coulson would have killed him, to which Morse offered no answer.
Thomas Ward has a very definable personality, especially when compared to the two of his brothers. He is clearly the most practical of the Wards' on account that he did not allow his past to define the person he became nor as a justification for his own actions. Thomas was much hated by his family due to never being abused by his mother which caused Christian to torture him through Grant instead. Despite being tormented the most, Thomas grew into a reasonable adult, one capable of recognizing his family as "abusive monsters". Rather than pursuing revenge, he changed his name and distanced himself from them.
Thomas, showing his growth, grew disgusted with Grant excusing the murder of their parents by claiming that they would only hurt them further, even though their father was an old man who could do nothing. Thomas deeply feared Grant and the man that his brother was, telling his brother that no matter what happened in his past and what he suffered at the hands of Christian and his parents, he was only worse because he used this as an excuse rather than accept the fault for the man he became. Despite being the only person Grant ever cared about, Thomas asked Phil Coulson's team to kill him when they got the chance. This one moment can be attributed to fear, as Thomas seemed to have learned from his family's ghosts and worked to be the better of the three sons.
In chronological order:
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.