|“||I'm everyone's type.||„|
|~ Grant Ward showing his true colors to Raina.|
|“||I'm not looking for mercy or absolution. I just want you to know, I've been where you are right now. Filled with rage, wanting revenge... I chose HYDRA for petty, personal, selfish reasons... for a father figure, for vengeance... for closure. But what I saw today gave my life meaning. For the first time ever, I have a sense of satisfaction that I never experienced when I was seeking revenge. [...] Everyone had this place wrong... It isn't death... It's a new beginning. Malick was right. This is all meant to be. And the fact that you followed me here, that we're in this together, that just confirms the fact that I am part of a grand plan. I see that now.||„|
|~ Grant Ward's final monologue to Phil Coulson|
Grant Ward, or simply referred to as Ward, is a major character in the ABC TV series, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., appearing as the secondary antagonist of Season 1, a supporting antagonist of Season 2, and the secondary antagonist in the first half of Season 3. He is arguably the main antagonist of the entire series due to his personal ties with the protagonists and influence that remained even after his death. A version of Ward later appeared in the Agents of HYDRA arc of Season 4, this time being a supporting protagonist.
He was an agent of HYDRA and was one of the many agents that infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. He strategically got himself placed inside a team of agents led by Phil Coulson and while he feigned interest and emotional investment in most of them, he developed genuine feelings towards Rising Tide hacker Daisy "Skye" Johnson. He answered directly to the Clairvoyant, who was actually his S.H.I.E.L.D. mentor John Garrett. He had a very troubled childhood that rooted from tension with his family, particularly with the most trouble coming from his older brother, Christian. He was the co-leader of HYDRA with Gideon Malick until his death at the hands of Phil Coulson to avenge his girlfriend Rosalind Price and Grant's other victims. However, after his death, his body became the host of an ancient powerful Inhuman known as Hive, the creature that inspired HYDRA's creation.
He was portrayed by Brett Dalton, who then later portrayed the Inhuman Hive, who assumed the form of Ward.
|“||I'm agent Grant Ward. I could rupture your spleen with my left pinky... blindfolded.||„|
|~ Jemma Simmons imitating Grant Ward.|
Grant Ward, while infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D., generally had a bad temper but was able to stay calm and collected during sticky situations. He was slightly anti-social with strong morals and was known to be "deadly". On his days off, however, he enjoyed a nice book or even singing along to his favorite West Side Story song. As time progressed, Ward seemed to soften somewhat, developing friendships with his fellow Agents, which was eventually cemented upon rescuing Agent Simmons after she jumped from the Bus. Ward did not seem overtly interested in relationships but for a time had a purely sexual relationship with Agent May. However, when he began to develop feelings for Skye, this arrangement ended.
|“||See, I've seen the real Grant Ward, the one buried deep inside. He's a coward who always has an excuse or someone else to blame.||„|
|~ Bobbi Morse to Grant Ward about his true nature.|
In reality, Ward was a master manipulator, who was able to adjust his personality in order to gain the trust of others. While he still managed to retain a calm and collected personality, he had very little of the loyalty or morals that he previously demonstrated. His only loyalty was to John Garrett, to whom he claimed to owe everything. He did seem to have some reservations about Garrett's actions. Beyond that, he seemed more than willing to work against Phil Coulson and his team. However, when Raina pointed out that Coulson was a good man and asked him if he owed something to a man like that, Ward admitted that he did owe Coulson something, but he owed Garrett everything. At the same time, he could not bring himself to directly murder Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons and instead ejected them into the ocean.
During his imprisonment, Ward evolved to being his own person, as he was previously restricted by his almost blind loyalty towards Garrett, to the point of even ignoring his own desires. Ward became more remorseless and manipulative as he demonstrated when he knew Skye's pressure points and attempted to use his knowledge of her father to exploit them. He also murdered numerous guards during his escape and his brother and his parents as revenge for the years of abuse they put him through. When he was reinstated as a member of HYDRA he still continued to aid S.H.I.E.L.D. to re-earn their trust, particularly Skye's, but this ultimately ended when she and Simmons attempted to kill him on separate occasions. As a result, he grew a far darker personality and sadistic tendencies, as shown with the kidnapping of Bobbi Morse and torturing her in order to give Kara Palamas the closure she needed. When he accidentally killed Kara Palamas, that was the last straw for Ward; he vowed revenge against S.H.I.E.L.D. and was willing to join HYDRA as its new leader into order to gain "closure".
During his time as the new head of HYDRA, having killed Kara and lost all connections to the team, Ward had effectively severed all ties to his humanity and whatever form of conscience he retained before had been erased. Now his only goal was to make S.H.I.E.L.D. and Coulson suffer as much as he had. Presumably because of this campaign to rebuild HYDRA, Ward had also become more arrogant and narcissistic. He was dismissive of the previous generation of HYDRA, believing their greed was what led to the organization's collapse. When he recruited Werner von Strucker, he assumed that after one act of savagery that the boy could murder Andrew Garner, an act that caused Gideon Malick to chastise him.
Even with his dark personality, Ward cared deeply for his younger brother, Thomas; after fifteen years separated, Grant still loved him. When Coulson had Hunter point a gun to Thomas's head, Grant swore that he would cut Fitz from head to toe if they hurt him.
Ward realized his life had gained a purpose during his mission to bring Hive back to Earth as Gideon Malick's second in command of HYDRA. He reflected on how he lived his life, how he joined HYDRA and what his motives were for it, from a father figure, to vengeance, to closure. After looking back and thinking of how things were at that point, and that the fact he was chosen for this mission, he felt that for the first time, that his life was important for something. He actually felt loyal to the HYDRA organization rather than any individual HYDRA operative, and even spoke the words "Hail HYDRA" for the first time in his career. Hive states, months later and after possessing Ward's body that his final memories were that he was almost glad to be dead. This insinuates that despite his relentlessness, he secretly wished to end his pain and suffering having finally undergone a life of turmoil, from his family, to Garrett, to Kara and was ready to be killed.
- Excellent Physical Condition: Ward passed S.H.I.E.L.D.'s combat clearance tests with flying colors.
- Master Martial Artist: Ward was a master in hand-to-hand combat. His fighting style combined elements of Kali, Boxing, Jeet Kune Do, and Krav Maga. Maria Hill evaluated his fighting skills with the highest available marks for S.H.I.E.L.D.'s standards, and able to match the agency's best fighters. Daniel Whitehall considered him as one of the best killers. Ward often used this to take down many opponents at the same time, whether security, or other S.H.I.E.L.D agents. He managed to defeat multiple opponents whose strength surpassed his, even defeating the enhanced Centipede Soldiers
- Master Marksman: Ward was an extremely accurate marksman skilled in sharpshooting and sniping. John Garrett recommended Ward to take this course in S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy after Ward spent time in the woods using this skill to hunt for food. Ward has famously made a shot from over 1000 yards; Ward says it was 2000. He was also able to shoot Rosalind Price from a long distance, aiming accurately at her neck in order to let her die slowly in front of Phil Coulson.
- Multilingualism: Ward was fluent in 6 languages, including English, French, Italian, Russian, Spanish, and one more. Ward used this skill in missions in Paris, South Ossetia, and Peru, most times as an undercover agent. He had used such skills on the train in Italy, in the Todorov Building in Belarus, and when arriving at the Barbershop Headquarters in Cuba.
- Master Spy: Ward was a proficient agent trained in espionage, stealth, disguise and infiltration. He has spent years on some missions as an undercover agent. When taking a Lie Detector test, Ward put splinters of cable wire into his fingers to confuse the sensors. Infamously, Ward used this skill to infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D. as a HYDRA operative, spending years gaining trust and respect. When questioned by Raina, he explained to her methods that he used to solidify his place on Coulson's Team.
- Expert Pilot: Ward was a competent pilot, able to maneuver a huge aircraft such as the Bus.
- Expert Tactician: When Ward suspected that S.H.I.E.L.D. was pursuing him, he knew that they would send agents that he had never met. Ward observed that Bobbi Morse was not changing her page as she pretended to read a book. He also spotted Antoine Triplett at the bus station, subtly revealing his explosives to the agent. After the death of Kara Palamas, Ward made his goal to rebuild HYDRA from the ashes, starting with a small cell of only four operatives. Six months later, Ward had dozens of operatives under his command, all of them unscrupulous and trained in brutal fights to the death
As an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and a HYDRA operative, Ward is highly skilled with all types of firearms.
- Smith & Wesson M&P: The Smith & Wesson M&P pistol is the standard sidearm carried by S.H.I.E.L.D.agents, and, as such, Ward used it to threaten or shoot most of his enemies.
- Smith & Wesson M&P Compact: Ward started using this pistol as his standard sidearm when his alliance with HYDRA was revealed, and used for o threaten Skye during the Battle at Cybertek.
- Browning Hi-Power: Ward obtained one of these pistols used by the guards of the Todorov Building When he infiltrated the facility.
- Smith & Wesson Model 64: A revolver handed by John Garrett during his time in Wyoming, Ward fired in the air when Garrett ordered him to kill his loyal dog Buddy.
- Heckler & Koch UMP45: A submachine gun that Ward, Garrett and Coulson used during the raid of the Guest House.
- Mossberg 500 Field: A shotgun that Ward managed to obtain by 1999 while lost in the forests of Wyoming.
- M4A1 Carbine: The standard weapon used by S.H.I.E.L.D. Strike Team members, that Ward also used while tracking Deathlok and the Clairvoyant in Florida.
- Nemesis Arms Vanquish: While investigating Michael Peterson, Ward assembled a Nemesis Arms Vanquish rifle along with a telescopic sight, bipod, suppressor and railed handguard in case Peterson had to be killed due to the instability of the Extremis in his blood.
- Desert Tactical Arms Stealth Recon Scout: Ward used this rifle to act as a sniper during the hostage exchange when Ace Peterson was to be liberated by Raina and Phil Coulson became kidnapped by the Centipede Project.
- McMillan Tac-50: A sniper rifle used by Ward to hunt during his days in the forest of Wyoming.
- Night-Night Pistol: Sometimes, Ward needed to apply non-lethal force to subdue a target without permanent harm, favoring the use of the Night-Night Pistol designed by Agents Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons. This weapon renders the target unconscious to be safely captured, such as when he raided Ian Quinn's mansion in Italy while searching for Skye.
- I.C.E.R. (Pistol Version): After Agent Leo Fitz improved the technology of the Night-Night Gun, Coulson changed the now obsolete weapon and favored the use of the pistol version of the I.C.E.R.s. He used two of these in a fight during the Battle at the Hub.
- Even before his reveal in the episode Turn, Turn, Turn, he was seduced and turned evil by Lorelei two episodes earlier and ended up having sex with her.
- Ward is similar to Agent 23 from Get Smart, as both are double agents who are revealed to be working for an opposing organization and eventually betray their teammates. However, whereas Agent 23 is the main villain, Ward is the secondary villain.
- If you define the words in Grant's name individually, Grant means "great", Douglas means "dark", and Ward means "protector". Consequently, Grant Douglas Ward means "Great Dark Protector", possibly alluding to his true nature.
- Ward is similar to Prince Hans from Frozen:
- They are both charming and good-looking.
- They both initially appeared to be good, but turned out to be evil.
- They both manipulated their alleged love interest. However, unlike Prince Hans, Ward appear to genuinely care for his love interest.
- They both grew up in abusive families and were abused, which ultimately turned them to evil.
- It is speculated that Ward is an adaptation of Taskmaster, due to Ward not being adapted in the mainstream 616 Marvel Universe 2014 comic-book series S.H.I.E.L.D., based on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.(the other character from the show not adapted there is Skye, since she is revealed to be the show's take on Daisy Johnson AKA Quake). Another probable reason why he isn't in the 616 universe is because fans are aware he's a Hydra sleeper so it seems pointless to present him as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in the comics. There was also a speculation that he's this reality's Hellfire (the treacherous member of Secret Warriors in the comics). Recent developments make both theories near-impossible, since Ward is now just a corpse possessed by It. Though his background is similar to Eric Williams, before he became the Grim Reaper, as It is holding. Coulson's prosthetic hand possibly foreshadowing it.
- Ward's death marks the third time Phil Coulson killed the main antagonist in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the first two being John Garrett and Daniel Whitehall. Ward is also the first main antagonist Coulson hasn't killed behind his back.
- A recurring theme in the show has Ward shot in every mid-season finale so far. In Season 1, he gets shot by a Centipede Project helicopter (probably specifically ordered by Garrett in order to keep Grant's cover). In Season 2 he gets shot by Daisy four times in the back, and in Season 3, he gets shot by Coulson two times. In all instances he had body armor. However, in the Season 3 mid-season finale, Coulson finally kills him on the planet Maveth, leaving behind his prosthetic hand (the murder weapon) and Ward's body.
- In the penultimate episode of Season 3, Absolution, Daisy mentions to Coulson how Ward was brainwashed. Though this statement remains ambiguous, it's possible he was indeed brainwashed this whole time. During the second half of Season 1, Ward is completely loyal to Garrett, following him and obeying him without any regard for the consequences of his actions. After Garrett's death, he loses purpose in life and apparently tries to kill himself at least three times during his imprisonment after Season 1. In Season 2, he makes a string of contradicting and irrational decisions (Risking his life to get Coulson a new HYDRA informant, hours after escaping custody by killing four people, only to later kill his abusive parents and older brother and rejoin HYDRA so he can keep his promise to Daisy by reuniting her with her father). After Daisy shoots him in the back, Ward is seeking personal independence, not quite working for anyone until his lover Agent 33 dies and he decides to become the new leader of HYDRA. All of the potential evidence mentioned above is supported by the state of Agent 33 after Whitehall's death, as both her and Grant exhibit signs of derangement after their masters' deaths. It's also notable to say that 33 acted antagonistically even after it was proven by her brain scans that the Faustus method didn't have any effect on her mind anymore, other than mental trauma. Could also be interpreted that Daisy learned through her experience that there's more than one method of brainwashing and thus, emotional manipulation was likely the method under which Ward could have been brainwashed.
- Ward has a good counterpart in the Framework, who was recruited by Victoria Hand as opposed to John Garrett and therefore learned from a genuine and benevolent mentor instead of a toxic one. This version of Grant Ward serves as an exploration of what the real Grant could have been had he truly been the person he pretended to be, and suggests to Daisy that he actually had good inside him all along.