Ward and Skye face the truth (Episode 1×20: Nothing Personal)
Anybody who truly knows me knows that Nothing Personal is my thing. It has all of my angsty tropes neatly packaged and rolled into one exciting episode, which I believe is one of strongest and best of the season. Part of what makes it so great is that it’s the inevitable fallout of a season’s worth of developing relationships, reluctant friendships and romance. We’ve now got the entire team finding out about Ward’s betrayal (will I ever get over Fitz finding the ‘Ward is Hydra’ clue? probably not) and of course, the Skye and Ward confrontation. It hits every emotional note with tension and action from start to finish. Nothing Personal is the emotional pay off that you’ve been waiting for since Turn, Turn, Turn and it delivers. I mean, it does it by ripping your heart out, but isn’t that what we’re here for?
Personally, I know I had so many questions upon starting this episode. Mostly I wanted to sit Ward down and go: be straight with me, look me in the eye and answer “was any of it real?” Although there had been many hints about Ward’s feelings – especially concerning Skye – since Turn, Turn, Turn, we just hadn’t seen what could be pinpointed as the ‘truth’. We were still left with the burning question of who Grant Ward was, while simultaneously distraught over its overall resolution.
My favourite scene from this episode is hands down the confrontation between Skye and Ward. Aside from Chloe and Brett nailing it throughout the scene, the entire dialogue between these two characters was fantastic and had me on the edge of my seat throughout. It’s the first time we see Ward, rather desperately, try to justify his actions. He knows it’s all going downhill, that its game over with Skye and the team, but here is this one person that he needs to understand. It not only demonstrates Ward’s weakness and failure to remain detached from the mission – and keep it impersonal (see what I did there) – but shows a depth that we had never witnessed before in his character. In addition, it delved deeper into the complex relationship between the two characters: he fell in love with Skye, and Skye fell in love with a façade and its many cracks. I think that’s devastating on both ends, and illustrates the struggle between Ward’s inner desires versus rigorous training. The tension between those raw emotions makes for some amazing television, and truly got me invested in its outcome. I loved every single second of it.
Ward starts a revolution in a new Corvette (Episode 3×02: Purpose in the Machine)
Nothing screams ‘going down for real’ than driving through an abandoned warehouse at break-neck speeds in a black corvette. But that’s exactly how Grant Ward made his entrance into season three, which in my opinion, is just short of saying ‘WHAT’S GOOD COULSON, WHAT’S GOOD’. Honestly: Lola who? Exactly.
After a long hiatus, with only a few hints of what was going down with Ward and his new role as Hydra head honcho (despite Brett’s joking instance that Hydra was now all about waving balloon people, cookies and no stinkin’ lanyards), we finally glimpse this rebranded “hip, sexy and fun” organization. I mean, if embodying the hashtag #swerve wasn’t enough, it was clear Ward was levelling up Hydra, this time with some major alterations. In addition to the sweet new wheels, we also got a socialist manifesto dropped in there, which I swear could have ended with ‘viva la revolution’. Unfortunately this sort of got dropped as the season progressed, but truly was unforgettable.
Real talk: who is going to go back and overlay the scene with gdfr?
Ward promises never to lie to Skye again (Episode 2×03: Making Friends and Influencing People)
Those dark days when Grant Ward was confined to imprisonment at the playground had some very emotional and tense moments. After the fallout of season one with the team, these interactions between the original six and Ward were something I really wanted to see play out (even though I ultimately ended up pausing the episode to take a moment to brace myself). These scenarios, which followed on the heels of some pretty brutal revelations of the six months between seasons, gave new insight into Ward. Here was a man trying to reconcile his past and his seeming lack of future, contemplating what he’d lost and the long list of terrible decisions and actions he had committed.
Before I go on, I do have to give a shout out to that beard and scrubs aesthetic he was rocking. Grant Ward knew how to rock a beard. Good barber down there.
In particular, in 3×05 Ward shares a scene with Skye where he references his promise that he’d never lie to her. I actually considered it to be a rather tragically touching scene, where Skye has the tiniest hope that maybe, just maybe, Ward was brainwashed into his situation. While conditioned and all but tailored to be Garrett’s pitbull from the start, Ward doesn’t lie to her, although you can see how badly he wants to. It segues nicely into, “everything I’ve done – good and bad – I did of my own free will”. And in the span of that line, the story gets all sorts of sad once again. While these conversations do have Ward omitting information, there is a clear sincerity and intention of being honest.
I think I consider this scene to be one of my favourite Grant Ward moments because of several factors. The biggest one is that we can see the internal conflict of Ward attempting to be ‘good’. I believe it’s a genuine moment for Ward, and is easily overlooked within the season. I think it’s unclear, even to Ward himself, what his true objectives are. A part of him clearly wants to find some sort of peace – either by helping Skye reunite with her father or otherwise. Ward has never had a suitable father figure – other than perhaps Coulson in early season one – and it’s clear he’s attempting to navigate waters he doesn’t really know. Given Ward’s confinement it’s not as though he has much opportunity for rehabilitation, so it’s no wonder it’s a challenge. Additionally, it further illustrated that Ward wasn’t one dimensional, but reflective and truly, honestly, regretful. His struggle is something that I find to be incredibly human and provided what could have been a great exploration of morally grey characterization.