Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2 – Standing with Ward

Alright fellow Nerdom dwellers, I had intended to do one final post on the end of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2, but the whole damn thing became too long and only really touched on just a few things I wanted to say about each character and ark. So here is what I’m gonna do. I will to do a post per character/ark so that way I will be able fully articulate what in the hell is going on in the show and my hopes for season 3. First off I’m going to start with the whole Ward/Kara (Stojan) saga because it is the shortest one I can talk about and the one best to get out of the way first so then we can dive into the other exciting stuff.

Show: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2

Stars: Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Brett Dalton, Nick Blood, Henry Simmons, Adrianne Palicki, Ruth Negga, Kyle MacLachlan, Edward James Olmos, Dichen Lachman, Maya Stojan, Luke Mitchell, Jamie Harris

When it was first revealed Ward is Hydra at the end of season 1 episode 16, “End of the Beginning,” there was a bit of an outcry from some fans that Ward was somehow faking so he could be a spy for S.H.I.E.L.D. inside of Hydra, or was brainwashed like Bucky Barnes and didn’t know what he was doing. They created a Stand With Ward movement, there is even a Facebook page. I found it hilarious that people were so upset by this development, frankly found it to be the best twist the show could have done. Ward was kinda boring and the Hydra spy angle made him interesting, but that is not why I loved this character ark. It stands to reason that in order for the Hydra takeover and subsequent downfall of S.H.I.E.L.D. to feel real was to make a main character be in on the whole shebang. Garrett (Bill Paxton) was a bit obvious as a Hydra spy, he just felt like a bad guy from the get, plus he was not a part of the original six. Someone had to be the bad guy and it had to break the hearts of the team as a whole.

Going into the second season, Ward is a prisoner of S.H.I.E.L.D. and passing along info on Hydra to Coulson/Skye as a way to earn redemption for being a dick to his team (and maybe get some Skye lovin’ too?). I was hoping that he wasn’t going to get forgiveness quickly because of what he did to Fitz. His reasoning for “dealing with” Fitz and Simmons felt like sad excuse one comes up with after getting his hand caught in the Hydra jar. I don’t think he knew they would get out of the chamber, I think he was just hoping they would suffocate and he couldn’t directly tie himself to their deaths because he didn’t see them die. I will talk more Fitz later, but he just broke my heart at the beginning of the season and I didn’t blame him for wanting to exact revenge on Ward. In Ward’s interrogations scenes, I kept waiting for the “Quid pro quo” and maybe talk about having some fava beans. He did tell Skye that he doesn’t blame Garrett for the things he has done and it was all of his free will, but in later episodes he does just that. Blames his family for making him the person he was, and grooming him for Garrett to take advantage of him. It makes me wonder, in the interrogations, he tells Skye that everything he says will be the truth. Does he know what he did was his own actions, and later when he is on his own, he reverts back to old ways of the blame game? Or was it Coulson berating him and telling him he was never a part of the team cause him to snap and the blame game was a way of coping the loss of the team he thought he was a part of?

On the subject of Ward’s family, in episode 6, “A Fractured House,” we get to know Ward’s older brother Christian (Tim DeKay). It is curious to me that when Skye first approaches Ward about him, she asks, “we need to talk about your brother,” and he asks “which one?” as if both of his brothers are people that are well known or should be on S.H.I.E.L.D.’s radar in the first place. For a while the whole back and forth about which brother is lying had me wondering about whether or not Ward was ever telling the truth of how his parents and older brother were evil. DeKay did a really convincing job making us doubt Ward. In the end, we do find out that this whole time Ward is telling the truth about how his parents were horrible to them and Christian would torture Ward and his younger brother, Thomas, as a way of coping. Christian even went so far to try and have Ward kill their younger brother (explaining the events Ward refers to in season 1 episode 8 “The Well”) because Thomas was the only one their mother apparently liked enough to not be horrible to. I wonder if we are going to see more of the mysterious Thomas in season 3, maybe he will pop up to take revenge on Ward for killing their parents.

How things go from here with Ward is going to be entertaining. For the whole of the second season, there really was no telling what his full motivations were. He may have started off wanting redemption and to be forgiven by his team (read: Skye), but when Coulson dispelled that hope, I guess his motivation went on to getting Skye to her destiny. I’m presuming he learned about the Inhumans from Garrett and Raina and figured that he would be able to win Skye’s love back by giving her over to her fate. Skye shooting him definitely sent him the message that she was not interested anymore. Watching him go from boring operative, to Hydra spy, then creepy repentant, even creepier freelancer, and finally the big possible villain has been wobbly at times, but fascinating as the writers in general try and figure out how to keep Brett Dalton in the show and appealing. I think Dalton is a very charming guy when in interviews and when he is given good material, he can lay it on really well. The diner opening in episode 14 “Love in the Time of Hydra,” Dalton plays the whole scene with a tongue and cheek smirk, making us want him to call Kara “honey bunny.”

We first meet Kara/Agent 33 in episode 3, “Making Friends and Influencing People,” (which incidentally has the best intro for a character after the title card). In the beginning of the episode, she is essentially living one of my worst nightmares, you know the one where you are all tied up and can’t move and scary people are doing bad things to you. Blah, it just makes me shutter just thinking about it. She is being subjected to the “Faustus Method” of brainwashing and for those of you who remember their Agent Carter Easter eggs know all about the creator of this method and his induction into Hydra. By the end of it all, she has become a puppet for Whitehall (Reed Diamond) and Hydra. Even having her face burned into a creepy May face complete with creepy robot May voice, she is still under the influence of the Faustus Method and loyal to Whitehall. It isn’t until episode 10 “What They Become” and the death of Whitehall we see the brainwashing start to fade and the lost little kitten starts to emerge. She doesn’t know her own name, her face is covered in burns and unrecognizable. Ward, having been shot and rejected, needed someone to help him escape and Kara was the most pliable.

Circling back to episode 14 and the diner set up, we see the relationship between Ward and Kara has bloomed into something weird and a little icky to watch. They swoon over each other like that couple you always avoid at parties, you know the ones that do nothing but talk about how amazing the other one is and make out so much you wonder if they are going to engage in live sex. Kara is still very much the lost bunny and Ward finds a way to fix her face somewhat so she is no longer creepy May, just different May. You have to wonder if from the beginning he had some kind of plan to torture or kill those at S.H.I.E.L.D. after being shot by Skye and she was another way for him to reach that goal, so he found ways of manipulating her to get her on his side completely. When she finally gets her identity back in episode 18 “The Frenemy of My Enemy” Ward’s help would guarantee her loyalty and her help in whatever plans he has for S.H.I.E.L.D. and Coulson.

But did Ward love Kara? Absolutely not! He liked having her around because she continued to feed into his need to blame everyone but himself for the things he has done. Kara is so damaged from the trauma of being brainwashed and then having a hologram mask thingy burned to her face that she essentially imprints on to Ward. Calling him out on his bullshit would have driven him away and she needed him. Considering she was a victim for most of her time on the show, she can get away with blaming others (specifically Whitehall) for the things she did, but the blame game stops when she is no longer brainwashed, learns who she is, and continues enable Ward. Ward accidentally kills Kara because he is so blinded by his need for some revenge on May and S.H.I.E.L.D. for being a reminder that his actions are his doing, and he snaps. As usual, who does he blame? Quick hint, it isn’t himself. Like I said, at lease the writers are attempting to keep Dalton interesting and he is appealing when he is the creepy bad guy.

The producers have decided that we are getting an angry Ward next season, and I couldn’t be more excited. What I hope to see is more possible Inhumans that Ward manages to find before S.H.I.E.L.D. does and we get a powered-people versus powered-people brawl in the coming season. I also would like for his ark not to be resolved quickly. Having Ward be a thorn in S.H.I.E.L.D. and Coulson’s side is fun to watch and seeing Brett Dalton be the bad guys is just geeky happy inducing.

What are your predictions or hopes for Ward next season? Did you find the whole Ward/Kara “love connection” creepy too? Up next, maybe a little Cal (MacLachlan) talk. Stay nerdy my friends.

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About Nerdling

The Nerdling has an unhealthy obsession with books, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Star Wars. She finds hockey to be the best sport in the world (Go Dallas Stars!) and is working on her first novel, but mostly glowers at a blank screen. You can find her on Twitter @nerdlingstale on Facebook @NerdlingTales or Instagram @nerdling_tales

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