S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Ward Reveal Is Nigh: Who Will Feel Guilty for Unleashing Hive?

Disgraced S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Grant Ward — or a facsimile thereof — is alive, his colleagues-turned-adversaries will discover on Tuesday’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC, 9/8c). And the assorted reactions to the “resurrection” may surprise you. In that some may not be so surprised.

Watch this sneak peek, then read on for more:
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“On the one hand, it’s pretty startling,” says Clark Gregg, who as Phil Coulson left Ward (played by Brett Dalton) for dead on the planet Maveth. “But I think on some level, [Coulson] has to kind of be like, ‘Of course. Of course.'”

After all, stranger things have happened on the comic books-inspired series. So nothing should ever be considered off the table. “In the brain gymnastics of that moment, when [Coulson] decided to take him out, there’s a feeling like he could have left him there and felt pretty safe about it. But how safe could he really feel about it?” ventures Gregg. “Other people have already come back… from this [planet], so I don’t think he would have been considered permanently neutralized if he had just left him there.”

Fitz of course was a witness to Coulson dealing that fatal, crushing blow to Hydra’s golden boy, so he will have his own distinct reaction to seeing Ward’s face again.

“If the show was at 11 pm at night, he’d probably go, ‘F–king hell,'” quips Iain De Caestecker. “But since he won’t, he’d probably go, ‘Oh sh…,’ and not actually swear.” But seriously: “It would be very confusing since [Fitz] saw him die,” offers Fitz’s portrayer. “All those different conflicting emotions that surround that character and his face… would all boil up to the surface.”

Simmons meanwhile will take the return of Ward, who now is inhabited by the creature dubbed Hive, quite personally, blaming herself for its consumption of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent-turned-foe. “She’s going to feel so guilty, because it was her that aided that all to happen,” says Elizabeth Henstridge. “If [Jemma] hadn’t got sucked into the monolith, if she hadn’t been on that planet, if Fitz hadn’t risked everything to save her, [the creature] would never be back here. She didn’t think Ward could get any worse, but he did, and it’s kind of her fault, in a way.”

Teasing the reveal that has been several months in the making, co-showrunner Maurissa Tancharoen says, “We’re very interested in seeing how our team will respond if they happen to cross paths, how they will respond to seeing the man they all know and hate still standing. And if he does have Ward’s memories or parts of Ward’s personality, how that will play into scenes with our characters.”

Marvel TV boss Jeffrey Bell, surveying the decision to give original cast member Brett Dalton this new, darkest note to play, says, “To be able to embody an antagonist with somebody we already have feelings for, that’s loaded and interesting to us. So for Ward or for Brett to embody whatever this thing is, that comes super loaded for us. It’s much richer than ‘Monster X,’ in the same way that Lash was much more interesting to us once we understood it was Andrew. Suddenly, that whole character became, for us at least, much more intriguing.” (With reporting by Scott Huver)

Are you looking forward to the team’s reaction to “Ward”?