Bill Paxton is feeling big love for his increasingly villainous role on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
“Are you kidding? I think he’s great,” the TV vet says of his ongoing run as S.H.I.E.L.D. legend-revealed-as-HYDRA mole John Garrett. “Particularly once they unmasked me for the person I really was underneath.”
Paxton perhaps is speaking figuratively, but in the ABC freshman’s penultimate episode, it was revealed to viewers — and Garrett’s longtime padawan, disgraced S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Grant Ward — that he who is also known as the Clairvoyant has some Deathlok-like biomechanics of his own going on, having served as a beta test for the project that turned Mike Peterson into an unstoppable cyborg.
Garrett’s body over time began shutting down, however, crippled by the foreign matter. But when we last tuned in, he compelled the mysterious Flowers to hook him up with the one dose of the Centipede serum they’d been able to perfect, thanks to a dose of GH325 (the alien goo that resurrected Coulson). Garrett’s initial reaction to the “turbo boost” was a violent one, but as the finale opens up this Tuesday at 8/7c, he is, to put it one way, feeling no pain.
“It affects everything around him. He’s been kind of ‘reborn,'” Paxton shares. “He was really a dead man, but he’s coming back stronger than ever in the finale.
“But some of his M.O. has changed…,” he teases of Garrett’s about-to-be-modified endgame.
Because while Garrett’s team may seem to have the upper hand, Coulson’s ragtag roster of “freelancers” are closing in. Already, that has forced Garrett to make some bold calls — like ordering Ward to “take care of” captured snoops Fitz and Simmons. Ward, though, “merely” jettisoned his onetime colleagues out into the ocean. A sign of weakness, Garrett surely would divine, if he gets wind of it.
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“We saw in the last episode that it’s a pretty warped ‘father/son’ bond they share,” Paxton says, alluding to how Garrett sprang Ward from juvie then used extreme measures to toughen him up as a recruit. And as the final hour unspools, “It’s the classic thing where at some point, no matter how close you are to the father, the son has to rebel.”
Upon wrapping the S.H.I.E.L.D. season, Paxton landed on the cast of the eight-hour History miniseries Texas Rising, playing Sam Houston alongside the likes of Ray Liotta, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Brendan Fraser, Max Thieriot and Chris McDonald, all under the direction of Roland Joffe (The Killing Fields). “It’s going to be physically challenging,” he acknowledges, “but it’s a great script and coming off of the success that we and History had with Hatfields & McCoys, I think people are going to really dig it.”