Brett Dalton returns to Agents of SHIELD

Cat MacRae Agents of SHIELD

Warning: major spoilers for Tuesday’s episode of Agents of SHIELD ‘Self-Control’. Although if you made it this far you probably already know…

First he was Agent Grant Ward, the straight-laced Specialist who could shoot the legs off a flea at 500 yards, so long as it wasn’t windy. Then he was Grant Ward, the Hydra sleeper agent who betrayed his team and lost everything he cared about. Next came Grant Ward, leader of a new Hydra revolution, who experienced a somewhat crushing defeat at the hand of is-he-really-a-Director-if-his-agency’s-disbanded Coulson. Somehow, against all odds, he returned as Hive, an alien wearing that familiar Grant Ward face. And now he’s back, back again. This time as Grant Ward: virtual reality boyfriend?

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. concluded the second pod of it’s fourth season, subtitled ‘LMD’, by revealing that virtually the entire team has been trapped in Aida’s VR ‘Framework’ and replaced by LMDs. In a last-gasp attempt to save their friends, Daisy (Chloe Bennet) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) decide to enter the Framework, planning to ‘wake’ the team. Of course, nothing ever works out as imagined in this universe. Daisy emerges in the VR realm to the news that she and her boyfriend are getting called in on a mission. Daisy assumes that she’s about to see Lincoln, saying his name before emerging into the bedroom. As she moves through the room we see a photo of Daisy and her beau. Spoiler alert: it’s not Lincoln.

That’s right folks, it’s time for things to get weird. Many long-time watchers of Agents of SHIELD have been calling for Brett Dalton’s return since Hive exploded at the end of last season and, as first reported by EW, their pleas have been heard. Although he has yet to actually reappear on the show, Marvel themselves offered confirmation of Framework Grant Ward, with further assurances from the showrunners.

As revealed in the latest episode, the premise of Aida’s Framework is that a regret will be fixed for each of the agents. Of course, fixing things can have unpredictable results. It seems that Grant Ward looms large in the list of regrets for Daisy, now seemingly immersed in the persona of the character we first met, Skye. At this stage it isn’t clear how hard people in the Framework have to fight to hold on to reality, and ‘real’ Daisy has no reason to love Ward. It’s anyone’s guess how this particular Skyeward reunion will play out. But one thing’s for sure, Brett Dalton is back and, in a moment I never thought would happen, I’ll leave you with some final thoughts from Jed Whedon: “…we wanted to have Brett back. We missed him.”

Are you excited to have Brett Dalton back? Sound off in the comments or visit us on Twitter.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns Tuesday April 4, 10PM on ABC