Did you watch last night’s episode of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD? Well, if you didn’t and you don’t want to be spoiled, please do not read on. Here’s your official spoiler warning because I’m about to break down a couple of important reveals. On the penultimate episode of season one, Agent Coulson’s team is now just a bunch of vigilantes, acting on their own to do what’s right. SHIELD as an organization is no more and they’re not sanctioned to take any action against Ward, Garrett or Hydra. They don’t have their plane, or any of their cool SHIELD gadgets. Of course, that’s not going to stop them. Agent Triplett comes to the rescue (and can we please keep him forever? He is great!) with his grandfather’s Howling Commandos gear from World War II. They get all kinds of goofy spy gear, which Coulson sufficiently geeks out over, and it’s enough to track down Ward and try to break into a Hydra base so that Skye can activate her whoosey-whatsit and give them all a computer virus or something.
As all of this is happening, we learn a few important things about our bad guys. First of all, Garrett is not just an evil bad dude. He’s an evil bad dude who was the very first Deathlok. Yep, he’s a 1990s version of Mike Peterson, kind of like a dial-up version of a cyborg, and has been since the experiments started back in 1992. The thing is, the machine part of him is shutting down and it’s killing him in the process. He wants the GH345 to do it’s magic on him, just like it brought Coulson back from the dead. This sort of pisses Raina off, because she thought she was part of some great endeavor to change the world. In reality, she spends a bunch of time and effort putting together a sample of GH325 just to juice up Garrett. Major bummer. First the clairvoyant isn’t even clairvoyant and now he doesn’t want to change the world? What a lame ass.
As Raina’s loyalties are tested, so are Grant Ward’s. In a series of flashbacks, we learn how Ward came to work for Garrett and just why he’s so devoted to Hydra. It turns out that 15 years ago, a young Grant Ward (played by an actor who looks nothing like Brett Dalton, by the way) was rotting away in juvie after trying to burn his house down. Charges of arson and attempted murder were just the tip of the iceberg for him. He was angry, alone and definitely ostracized by his crappy family. Garrett heard about him and was like, “I like how you’re always pissed off and ready to kill people! Let’s be friends!” Alone with no one else to turn to, Ward agreed. He left juvie with Garrett, who then unceremoniously dumped Ward in the woods with nothing but a dog and some t-shirts. Nice mentor, jeez. He’s all, “Survive! Haha! Do not be weak because being weak is for suckas!”
Six months later, Ward had raided some nearby cabins, learned to hunt and set up a home for himself. He was basically full-scale uni-bomber, which I guess is just what Garrett wanted. Garrett then teaches him to shoot and stuff and Ward builds himself a nice cabin in the woods where he lives for five years. Eventually, Garrett brings him the good news: Ward is ready to join SHIELD. The catch? Garrett and Ward would not actually be working for SHIELD – they’d be undercover, working for Hydra. Turns out Garrett was pissed at SHIELD for leaving him to die after a mission went south, which is why he turned Hydra in the first place. Ward seemed pretty okay with it. He was less okay with the orders to kill his dog. Garrett was all, “You’re not being weak because weakness is for suckas, remember?” and Ward returns to this same point when he’s forced to betray Fitz and Simmons, dumping them off the coast of Cuba in a metal crate. Yes, that’s right. Ward totally dumps FitzSimmons in the middle of the ocean. Because he’s the worst.
As back stories go, it’s pretty tame. I mean, so Ward has been trying to prove that he is strong, right? He’s spent his entire life struggling against the idea that he’s weak – weakness, in this case, meaning the ability to care for anyone else. But the thing is, he obviously cares about Garrett. He does whatever he wants. He’s spent his adult life loyally obeying Garrett’s command. How exactly is that proving his strength? And more so, is that supposed to be redemptive in some way? Because it wasn’t. Killing things you care about to prove that you are strong is STUPID and also NOT OKAY, especially when you’re shooting dogs and throwing adorable scientists out of planes. As my roommate yelled upon finishing the episode, “WARD IS DEAD TO ME. DEAD.” I’d have to agree. I mean, WTF, Ward?
THIS WAS NOT OKAY. DEAD TO ME. DEAD.
The much more interesting back story was only briefly touched upon and it was Skye’s. As Raina studied the blood samples from Coulson and Skye, she was trying to find the secrets behind GH325. She wasn’t expecting to uncover a bigger secret: Skye’s origin story. It’s true that Skye was rescued from a Chinese village as a baby, just like we already knew. The village was decimated, torn apart by monsters. But what Skye doesn’t know, and what Raina reveals, is that the monsters were Skye’s parents – and Skye and Raina may have a connection. Interesting. I wonder what kind of alien monster race Skye belongs to – and how does this link her to Raina? Hopefully, we’ll get a little more info in next week’s season finale. Also, can someone fish FitzSimmons out of the water? PLEASE?! Thanks.