- "My older brother, he didn't beat up my younger brother. He was crueler than that. He made me do it, and I let him. I was afraid."
"What about your parents?"
"They were worse.''"
Grant Douglas Ward grew up in Massachusetts and had a difficult childhood. He had an abusive older brother who would frequently force Ward to beat up his younger brother. His parents were even worse. Ward also has a sister who he is no longer in contact with.
An incident in particular that had a profound effect on Ward was when his older brother threw his younger brother into a well and wouldn't allow Ward to rescue him. Ward eventually managed to do it without his brother knowing.
Recruited by Garrett
- "I work for a secret organization that's always looking to recruit young men like you."
"And why should I trust you?"
"You shouldn't. Don't trust anybody, ever, especially me.''"
- ―John Garrett and Grant Ward
Garrett drove Ward into the middle of a forest and left him there with just a dog called Buddy, telling him that from now on he would have to survive on his own, hunting for his own food and building himself a place to sleep. Garrett promised to return in a couple of months, Garrett instead left Ward for six months. In the mean time Ward managed to raid nearby cabins and build his own camp and survive with ease. Garrett was impressed by Ward's efforts and promised to teach him how to shoot.
Early S.H.I.E.L.D. Career
About five years outside the S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy, Ward was posed for sixteen months as a Russian attaché at the embassy in Warsaw, Poland.
With S.H.I.E.L.D. (Season 1)
Mission in Paris
- "This is definitely not protocol."
- ―Grant Ward to Phil Coulson
Before the Battle of New York, Agent Phil Coulson, an old friend of John Garrett's, was slain at the hands of Loki before the Chitauri attack and the Battle of New York, and days later restored to life through unknown means. Garrett, whose health was beginning to fail, hoped to find out how Coulson was revived, hoping he could restore his own health through the same means.
When Coulson assembled a new team of specialists to investigate new, strange and unknown threats, Garrett suggested to Coulson that Ward be a part of his new team, ostensibly to "smooth out" Ward's "rough edges", but in reality, Ward was Garrett's undercover asset attempting to discover the truth about Coulson's resurrection.
Acting As Skye's S.O.
- "I don't ever want to do another pull-up again."
"You ever find yourself hanging off the edge of a building twenty stories up, you're gonna want to do at least one."
- ―Skye and Grant Ward
During the team's first mission together, they encountered a Rising Tide "hacktivist" known only as Skye, who was their only lead in the case of Michael Peterson. Having had some negative encounters with Rising Tide after their release of classified data during ongoing operations, Ward took an instant dislike to Skye. She was also an unknown factor that neither Ward nor Garrett had calculated. After the mission, Phil Coulson recruited her to the team as a consultant, over Ward's objections.
After the team captured Akela Amador, Ward used Backscatter Glasses to impersonate her and complete her next mission. He used the key card Amador bought with the diamonds she stole to enter the Todorov Building in Minsk, Belarus and entered a room with a series of strange symbols on the wall. After seeing the symbols, the Englishman informed him the mission was complete and he fought his way out of the building.
A few weeks later, the team was seemingly betrayed by Skye, who alerted her boyfriend, hacker Miles Lydon, that S.H.I.E.L.D. was closing in on him while tracking down a leak that endangered the life of Hong Kong resident Chan Ho Yin. Ward cuffed Skye and took her and Lydon into custody aboard the Bus. When Ward produced evidence that Lydon had accepted payment of one million dollars for the information that endangered Chan's life, Skye was infuriated and felt betrayed by Lydon.
Later, when the operation to extract Chan from captivity by the Centipede Project (actually John Garrett's HYDRA-funded science group) went bad, Ward released Skye from custody and accepted her help in rescuing Coulson and Melinda May. Skye very quickly managed to hack Centipede's mainframe and release the locked doors, allowing Coulson and May to escape. Coulson later agreed to let Skye remain on the team as long as she came completely clean with the team and agreed to wear a Tracking Bracelet at all times.
Ward further gained the trust of the team by jumping out of the Bus to rescue Jemma Simmons, who had jumped from the Bus without a parachute in order to protect her team from a Chitauri Virus. Ward was never in any danger as he had a parachute and administered the cure to Simmons during free-fall.
When the team had a stopover at the installation known as The Hub, Agent Victoria Hand assigned Ward and Agent Leo Fitz on a mission to Georgia to destroy an enemy weapon known as the "Overkill Device". Ward went into the assignment watching the back of the inexperienced Fitz, but despite a few mistakes, Fitz surprised Ward with his quick thinking, adaptability, and courage during the assignment.
After Thor saved the Earth from the wrath of Malekith and the Dark Elves, Ward along with the rest of the team and S.H.I.E.L.D. proceeded to clean up the mess the battle had left in Greenwich. Later they were called to investigate the mystical weapon known as the Berserker Staff, which had been discovered by Norse Paganist leaders Jakob Nystrom and Petra Larsen. While searching for the second piece of the Staff, Ward came across the piece and Professor Elliot Randolph, but as he attempted to take it from Randolph, the Staff infected Ward with its mystical strength but also brought back a dark memory he had long hidden. As the effects of the Staff continued to affect Ward, his anger rose, causing him to lash out at the other team members.
The team finally located the final piece of the Staff thanks to Randolph, who was revealed to be the Asgardiansoldier who had hidden it. When Grant and the team arrived they were confronted by Jakob, who had beat them to the location. Seeing no other choice, Grant grabbed a piece of the Staff and attacked Jakob. After a difficult battle, Ward defeated Jakob and the remaining Paganists, while also fighting through his own dark memory, which caused him to collapse at the end of the battle. Petra and another Paganist arrived, only to be defeated by Melinda May, who had taken the Staff from Ward.
Later at a bar, Ward apologized to Skye who let him know if he ever needed to talk she was there. As he went to his room he saw May with a bottle; after a brief moment of eye contact, she entered her room, leaving the door open, and Ward soon followed. Seeing May as the biggest threat to his mission, he allowed things to get intimate.
Ward assisted his team on other missions with his skills as an undercover specialist. He covered as a train conductor while the team was chasing Ian Quinn. In a sudden and tragic turn of events, Skye was shot twice in the stomach during the mission by Ian Quinn, who was later captured by the rest of Coulson's team. At the thought of losing her, Ward's feelings for her grew as his relationship with Melinda May waned. Ward helped with Skye's recovery by breaking into the Guest House with Phil Coulson, Leo Fitz, and John Garrett when Garrett arrived with his new recruit, Antoine Triplett.
As Skye recovered, Ward admitted to her that he blamed himself for her injury, but Skye reassured him by promising him that she would train harder after her recovery. Ward received the assignment to help Sif with the capture of Lorelei in Nevada. Lorelei enthralled him after she saw his strength in battle. After spending the night together in Las Vegas, Ward was candid with Lorelei about his feelings toward Skye and May and told her that Coulson's Team stood between her and world domination. Together, they hijacked the Bus, and Ward had a lengthy fight with May, in which he would have killed her if his gun wasn't empty. This effectively ended their relationship.
Grant Ward witnessed Skye becoming an official S.H.I.E.L.D. agent so she could access the Index allowing S.H.I.E.L.D. to investigate the Clairvoyant. Ward was teamed with Triplett to investigate Elijah Fordham, but before they could find him, they were called to help Felix Blake against Deathlok.
Deathlok was found in Pensacola, Florida, and he led a raiding party, including Ward, to Thomas Nash's location. After a few short battles with Deathlok, Nash was located, who was paralysed and spoke through a computer. Coulson swore to lock him away, but when Nash threatened Skye's life, Ward fired a single shot into Nash's heart and killed him.
Revealed as evil ("Turn, Turn, Turn"-"Beginning of the End")
HYDRA-S.H.I.E.L.D. Cold War
Battle at the Hub
- "Yeah, that straight version of you is something else; I don't even think Romanoff can pull that one."
- ―John Garrett
During the S.H.I.E.L.D. Civil War, Ward explained to Phil Coulson that Victoria Hand, who was believed to be the Clairvoyant, could not get the research and items stored on the Bus, so Coulson had Skye download all of the data onto an encrypted hard drive.
Ward and Skye worked together to battle through the Hub as they discussed their feelings. When Coulson, Leo Fitz, and Melinda Maywere surrounded by HYDRA agents and John Garrett, who revealed himself as both the Clairvoyant and a HYDRA operative, Ward and Skye rescued them.
Ward requested to join Hand in transporting Garrett to the Fridge. Once airborne, Hand mocked Garrett and asked Ward if he's like to kill the true Clarivoyant. Ward silently stood up and loaded his gun. He immediatly shot and killed the two S.H.I.E.L.D. guards next to Garrett, before shooting Hand three times, killing her. He then freed Garrett and they escaped.
Ward next freed Raina from her imprisonment and took her to Havana,Cuba to introduce her to their mutual benefactor. At the Barbershop Headquarters, Ward and Garrett presented Raina with the drugs from the Guest House and the encrypted hard drive Skye had created so she could perfect Project Deathlok. Afterwards, they went off with Agent Kaminsky to raid the Fridge, releasing its prisoners, including Blackoutand Ian Quinn, and obtaining its confiscated weapons, including the Berserker Staff, the Peruvian 0-8-4, and the Gravitonium.
However, when Raina reported that only Skye could decrypt the hard drive, Ward was ordered to return to Coulson's Team to get the pass codes from her. Before he went to Providence, Ward had Garrett hit him several times, damaging his face and cracking his ribs.
"Ward is HYDRA"
- "I was on a mission. It wasn't personal."
"It was - you did not just say that. "It wasn't personal"?"
- ―Grant Ward and Skye
When Ward arrived at Providence, he lied to Coulson's Team about the Fridge, telling them that he killed John Garrett as Garrett was freeing the prisoners. Coulson decided to take half the team to Portland, Oregon to pursue Blackout, but Agent Eric Koenig insisted that they all pass the Lie Detector first. Ward barely passed his test. He did this by using a piece thin piece of metal stabbed into his finger, when he told the truth he stabbed himself to give the machine the impression that his reaction to telling the truth and lying were the same.
Skye and Ward sat together and shared a romantic kiss, Ward opened up to Skye and told hr that he was not a good man, and Skye tried to tell him he was. Later, when Skye and Koenig discussed using NSA satellites to watch the prison break, Ward knew it would expose his part in the scheme; therefore, he pretended that he agreed with the plan to ensure Skye remained unsuspicious and killed Koenig, hiding his body in a closet. He then convinced Skye to leave with him on the Bus, telling her that Coulson needed her unlock the hard-drive. Unknown to Ward, Skye had already found Koenig's body and left the message "Ward is HYDRA" for her teammates to find.
With the codes, Grant Ward returned to Cuba, and Raina was able to finish recreating GH.325. Garrett ordered the abandonment of the Barbershop Headquarters for the new Cybertek Manufacturing Facility, and Raina told Ward about rumors she had heard about Skye's parents. Before the members of the Centipede Project could leave, Ward found Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons spying on them. After he captured them, Fitz activated the EMP Joy Buzzer that further damaged Garrett, who was already suffering from organ failure. Ward ejected them in a Medical Pod from the Bus into the Atlantic Ocean. When he returned to Garrett, Ward learned that he had had Raina inject him with the GH.325.
Battle at Cybertek
- "You know about Skye's parents, about the darkness that lies inside her. I believe in a world where her true nature will reveal itself. And when that day comes, maybe you two could be monsters together."
Ward went with John Garrett to the new Cybertek Manufacturing Facility. On the flight there, he became worried about the state of Garrett's mind. He talked with Raina about his worries before she left, and she sarcastically said that perhaps now he could be withSkye. Despite his concerns, he stayed with Garrett. When Coulson's Team broke into the facility, he was tasked with apprehending Skye but was stopped by Melinda May with whom he engaged in a long battle that ended with his foot nailed to the floor, several bruises, and a fractured larynx. Coulson, angry that Ward had lied to them from day one, left him a question: Who are you without John Garrett? He was then taken into custody by U.S. Marines.
Good or bad? (Season 2)
On No One's Side
Prisoner at the Playground
- "I told Coulson weeks ago that I was willing to speak to you to give you intelligence. Why now? Something bad happened?"
- ―Grant Ward
Grant Ward became a prisoner in one of the vaults in the Playground. In his time, he refused to speak to anyone except Skye. For three months, Phil Coulson sat outside Ward's cell but Ward refused to speak. Ward was eventually questioned by Skye about Carl Creel's connection with John Garrett and HYDRA. Ward told her about his gift. He also provided information on how HYDRA was communicating between its factions. Before Ward could give any information about Calvin Zabo, her father, Skye left and returned Ward to isolation.
Later when the team was attempting to track down Donnie Gill who had now gained cryogenic powers, Skye came down to gain information from Ward. The two were sidetracked, discussing Ward's alleged abuse by his family who are now considered well-known, respectable people. Ward told her that HYDRA, when coming after a gifted, will first try to recruit them or, if the former fails, terminate them. He also told Skye that S.H.I.E.L.D.'s morals were going to lead to its defeat.
Leo Fitz, feeling that the others were keeping secrets from him, discovered Ward in his cell and attempted to kill him out of revenge by taking the oxygen out of the cell. During this, Fitz revealed the team had left to go after Gill. Ward revealed that HYDRA brainwashed some of its agents, including Gill, who was used by HYDRA to take the Sandbox. Fitz allowed Ward to live.
Upon returning to the Playground, Skye confronted Ward, who reminded her of his promise to always tell her the truth. She wanted to know if he was brainwashed into working with HYDRA; he told her he wasn't. He then told her that he could lead her to her father. Bonding with the other agents, Skye admitted that she once had a crush on Ward. Meanwhile, Fitz felt that Ward was getting more respect than he was from the others.
Ward thought Skye wanted to talk about her father when she returned to Vault D weeks later, but she came to ask him about the Words of Creation. Ward told her that Raina was the one who gave him the information on Skye's father but she believed that Raina was playing him. Ward desperately hoped that she was not carving the Words of Creation. Their conversation gave Skye the clue she needed to recognize that Phil Coulson was the one writing them. Later when Raina told Coulson that she wanted to bring Skye to her father she realized that Ward was right after all.
Transfer and Escape
- "I sat in this chair every day for three and a half weeks, and you never said a word. But now you want to talk? Well, it's too late."
"Everything I told Skye was true. You know that. I haven't given you one bad piece of intel. Is that worth nothing?"
"You will never see Skye again."
"I thought we were rebuilding trust, Coulson. I can help you. I'm still part of your team."
"My team? You are not, nor will you ever be on my team. You dropped Fitz and Simmons out of a plane, you murdered Victoria Hand and Eric Koenig, you betrayed every one of us, you deluded son of a bitch!"
- ―Phil Coulson and Grant Ward
When HYDRA attacked a United Nations summit posing as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and Grant's older brother Christian attempted to hunt down the agency, Coulson had Skye talk to Grant about his brother in hopes of finding out anything. Grant begged Skye not to let him know he was there. He then changed the conversation to Calvin Zabo only for Coulson to interrupt them and cut them off. Skye came back and Ward revealed to her that her father was trying to rescue her from HYDRA agents and that her mother was killed in the rescue attempt. Ward then tried to convince her to set him free so he could take her to him. Skye however revealed to him that he was being transferred to his brother's custody, much to his dismay.
Phil Coulson later came down as Grant tried to convince him he could still help them and that he was still part of his team. Coulson angrily listed the many atrocious actions Ward committed (dropping Fitz and Simmons out a plane, killing Victoria Hand and Eric Koenig) and told him that the only reason he was alive because he was of use and the only reason he was being transferred was because Christian was of more use. Coulson escorted him into a truck, advising the FBI agents not to give Ward a single inch. Inside the van, Ward managed to escape his handcuffs and overpower the soldiers.
- "Hey, Skye."
"Was that your cue? Where are you?"
"Just wanted to make sure you got my present. I promised him a face-to-face with Coulson. Probably not exactly what he had in mind. I'll be sending a few other gifts your way now and then."
"Like a cat bringing in dead birds? No, thanks."
"Just trying to be helpful."
- ―Grant Ward and Skye
In Boston, Ward met Sunil Bakshi in a bar run by a member of HYDRA. During the meeting, Ward asked Bakshi to whom he answered, as Strucker was overseas, to which Bakshi replied that he answered to Daniel Whitehall. Ward also asked if he could meet Whitehall, to which Bakshi replied that Whitehall was busy, but then Ward told him that he could get them close to Coulson. Ward then killed the bartender and the two HYDRA agents that accompanied Bakshi; Bakshi was then tied up and left for S.H.I.E.L.D. Ward took a shave and called Bakshi's phone. When Skye answered, he greeted her and hoped that she liked his present. He then made plans to see his brother.
The Death of Senator Ward
Grant found Christian as he was talking to his wife and setting up a date with his mistress. Grant had them go to the well from their past that their parents buried. Christian was forced to uncover the well and Grant threatened to drop him inside if Christian refused to admit to his part in torturing Thomas in their youth. Eventually, Christian tearfully admitted his part. Grant then made it appear to Christian that he had forgiven him, but in reality he was setting him up. Grant had recorded what Christian said. Later at the house, Christian and their mother and father have all been killed and the house burned down, making it appear to be a murder-suicide case, suggested Ward did it all. Grant put the recording of Christian's confession in the remains of the house to further ruin Christian's appearance to the public.
Later, Ward had a meeting with Daniel Whitehall, asking if he could work with him in HYDRA. While they were talking, news footage aired of the alleged murder-suicide of Senator Christian Ward and his parents. Ward looked unsurprised. Calvin Zabo entered the meeting and Ward introduced himself.
- "First, you gave us Bakshi. Now you're back with HYDRA? Pick a side, Ward."
"Oh, I have. Don't worry."
- ―Skye and Ward
Tracing the Tag Rounds injected into Raina, Ward found her aboard the cloaked Bus and Whitehall had it surrounded by four HYDRA Quinjets. Ward boarded the Bus with other operatives as Skye, Melinda May, Lance Hunter, Antoine Triplett, Billy and Sam Koenig surrounded him with guns drawn. When Skye saw him working with HYDRA, she told him to pick a side; he told her that he has. Then he told them that if a shoot out began, all would die as the Quinjets would destroy the Bus. He promised that if Raina and Skye came willingly, nothing would happen. Sam Koenig asked what promise did he give his brother before killing him. Though the Koenig brothers had Ward in a cross fire, they chose not to shoot. The women left with Ward.
When Agent 33 reported to Whitehall that Raina was captured but Skye was also obtained by Ward, he frowned. She also told Whitehall that the Bus was not destroyed by Ward's promise; Whitehall told her that Ward did not have the authority to give that command and ordered her to have the Quinjets attack.
Keeping His Promise
- "Is it really that hard to see? It's love. Agent Ward believes that if he helps Skye fulfill her destiny, she will see him for who he truly is."
- ―Raina to Daniel Whitehall
As he admired how much Melinda May taught her, Ward took Skye to the Ponce de León Theater in San Juan to reunite her with her father. Daniel Whitehall decided to have a meeting with Ward, Raina, Skye, and her father to discern Ward's motivation for bringing the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and defying his order to destroy theBus. Raina revealed that Ward loved Skye and his devotion for her outweighed his allegiance to HYDRA.
While bound and guarded by Agent 33, Ward asked her about her resemblance to May. She talked of her loyalty to Whitehall. When theBattle for the Kree City began, Ward talked to the guard that replaced Agent 33 long enough for Zabo to kill him. Ward asked Zabo to free him, but he refused, citing that he did not want Ward and Skye to see him kill Whitehall. Ward freed himself after Zabo left, then freed Skye. She took the dead guard's gun and shot Ward.
Ward was saved by the bulletproof vest he wore. Agent 33 came to him emotional over the death of Daniel Whitehall. He told her that she was free from HYDRA and, together, they can find her place in the world. She then helped the injured man leave the scene.
Ward was able to track down Selwyn, the inventor of the Photostatic Veil to a diner; once there, he and Agent 33 discussed their short history together while Ward ordered the pancakes from the waitress Rhonda. Agent 33 still struggled to make decisions for herself now that her controller Daniel Whitehall was dead. Before their pancakes could arrive, the inventor of the Veil got up to leave; Ward and Agent 33 pulled out their guns and captured him.
They took Selwyn back to their hotel room and forced him to fix the mask. Although he was unable to remove the mask, he was able to get it working again to cover up her scars and fix her voice, allowing her to transform her face into anyone at will. Once he was finished, he and Ward discussed how Agent 33 could use an old photograph to make the mask give her old face back, and Ward revealed that he was unaware of what she really looked like. Once they were satisfied that Selwyn had done all he could to assist them, Ward killed him to ensure he did not tell anyone about them.
When Ward returned, Agent 33 had turned her face into Skye's; using Skye's face she tried to seduce Ward, but he insisted that he wanted to be with her, not anyone else. He explained that his feelings for Skye had gone when she shot him. As she was clearly upset at the rejection, Ward cheered up Agent 33 by handing her Sunil Bakshi's file, who was being held in a prison by Glenn Talbot. He then proceeded to tell her a very edited story of how John Garrett saved him from his family's cruelty and how, after he had a confrontation with them, he was free to be his own man. Ward promised her they would kidnap Bakshi and help her gain revenge.
Using the Photostatic Veil to disguise herself as Glenn Talbot's wife, Carla, Agent 33 gained entry into the facility. Once she was inside she turned off the security cameras, allowing Ward to arrive and kill the guard at the desk. Together they located Sunil Bakshi, who was initially delighted to see Agent 33, believing her to still be loyal to HYDRA, although as soon as Ward appeared, he knew he was in danger. When Bakshi attempt to control her using the Faustus method, Agent 33 knocked him out and Ward took him outside in a wheelchair.
Once they were back at the hotel, they tied down the captured Bakshi and used the Faustus method to brainwash him. Agent 33 was able to turn the mask off to reveal her true scarred face. Ward smiled at seeing her true identity and, to show her that it was time for a new beginning, introduced himself to her again, and she introduced herself by her real name, Kara. Kara then began to taunt Bakshi when he asked if his compliance would be rewarded, while Ward watched closely.
In Mexico, Ward bought a cactus for his and Agent 33's house while she called her mother. However, Agent 33 was captured by Phil Coulson and Deathlok, and Coulson used her phone to call Ward to inform him of her capture. Ward immediately drove to the restaurant where Agent 33 was and was disarmed by Deathlok and directed to a booth with Coulson in it. Ward listened as Coulson mapped out a deal, in which Ward would help infiltrate HYDRA and then have his bad memories wiped.
Ward agreed to take the deal, and he and Agent 33 gathered their belongings in preparation for the mission. Ward took Sunil Bakshi along, to help with the infiltration, assuring Coulson that Bakshi was now loyal to his and he was happy to comply with anything Ward ordered him to do. In Coulson's Quinjet, Ward asked how Leo Fitz was doing. Fitz exploded out of his seat at him, and had to be restrained by Coulson and Lance Hunter, leaving Ward's question unanswered.
Ward watched from the Quinjet as Bakshi and Deathlok met with List, where he realized that the mission was about finding Skye. When Bakshi offered to trade Deathlok to List for his experiments in exchange for a meeting with Wolfgang von Strucker, Coulson believed Ward had betrayed them. A standoff ensused with Coulson and Ward aiming their guns at each other while Agent 33 held Leo Fitz by a knife. Ward convinced Coulson to trust him and lower his gun so Fitz could instruct Deathlok to go along with the plan and not fight back against HYDRA.
When List left for Milwaukee, Ward and the others followed him to Calvin Zabo's old office, where the HYDRA agents stormed the building in an attempt to capture any gifted individuals. Ward, Coulson, Agent 33, and Lance Hunter went inside as well, separating in an attempt to find Skye. Ward and Coulson fought their way through many HYDRA agents, before seeing Skye, who started towards them before suddenly being teleported away by Gordon. When Agent 33 found them with an injured Hunter, Ward advised Coulson to retreat, since they were outmanned and outgunned. Coulson chose to allow Ward, 33 and Hunter to escape while he surrendered to S.H.I.E.L.D...
Ward followed the Bus with a Quinjet while Coulson was being questioned, as they flew Ward suggested that Agent 33 could fly, offering to teach her how. When Coulson was allowed to continue his plan he messaged his agents in the Quinjet and Ward landed the Quinjet on top of the Bus. Once at the Playground, he was placed under guard with Kara under the order of Robert Gonzales.
Ward was present at a meeting with Robert Gonzales, Phil Coulson, Melinda May and Bobbi Morse where they discussed the plan to attack Dr. List and rescue Mike Peterson and the other enhanced individuals HYDRA was holding hostage before destroying the facility. Ward explained that Sunil Bakshi was no longer working for HYDRA but was instead working for him, although May remained highly skeptical. Gonzales put the matter up to a vote and it was decided that they would move ahead with the mission, using Coulson's Team only. Ward later spoke to Agent 33 and convinced her to stay at the Playground in an attempt to learn more about who she was before being captured by HYDRA.
Ward breaks down the mission plan Arriving on the Bus with Phil Coulson, Melinda May, Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons, a loud noise was heard causing everyone to raise their guns at Ward who denied any involvement. It was quickly revealed that the noise was Skye being teleported onto the Bus; Ward noted they finally had the original team back together. On route to the Arctic HYDRA Research Facility, Ward began breaking down the plan to attack the base; however, sensing that there was too much tension, Ward chose to speak out about his previous actions since being revealed to be an undercover HYDRA Operative. He expressed that his greatest regret was not the people he had killed but the fact that his actions had destroyed the team. Skye remained pleased that she had shot him however.
When the Bus was spotted by HYDRA, the team ran into the Quinjet and used that to escape while the Bus was shot out of the sky and destroyed. Once they landed, they ran to the base and broke in, soon they encountered Sunil Bakshi who had just killed one of List's soldiers who was following him. Ward calmed Bakshi's mind before they continued on their mission, with Bakshi insisted on joining Ward. Ward and Bakshi joined Skye and Jemma Simmons as they were attacked by HYDRA soldiers, Skye demonstrated her new powers of creating shockwaves and knocked out the guards. When Ward suggested she should thank him for allowing her to gain her powers, Skye said she would simply not try to kill him again.
The team soon found Mike Peterson, who had been tortured by HYDRA and had lost an eye and his cybernetic leg. While Jemma Simmons attended to his injuries, she ordered Ward to find a stretcher to help get him out. While Ward was searching for one, Simmons sneaked up behind him and attempted to assassinate him with a Splinter Bomb. Ward was saved when Sunil Bakshi sacrificed his own life to protect his master. Realising what had happened, Ward aimed his gun at Simmons and demanded to know why she had tried to kill him, she reminded him that she had promised to kill him if she ever saw him again. Ward noted that Simmons had changed and he was disappointed in her, before making his escape.After Coulson's Team had successfully destroyed the HYDRA base and freed Mike Peterson and Lincoln Campbell, Ward phoned Coulson, saying he thought he would rather escape before ending up in a prison cell or with his brain erased. Ward explained that he knew the team would never forgive him but Kara did deserve forgiveness and so he was leaving her at S.H.I.E.L.D. to rebuild her life as an agent.
In reality, however, Ward had organized a plan for Kara Palamas to use the Photostatic Veil to disguise herself as Melinda May and fly Bobbi Morse to Ward's location. Once Morse learned of Palamas' deception, the pair had a fight and Morse knocked Palamas out, but as Morse walked out of the Quinjet, Ward shot her in the head with an I.C.E.R. Ward and Palamas then dragged her unconscious body back onto the Quinjet and tied her up. Ward told Palamas that for her to get full closure, Morse's suffering would have to be prolonged before they killed her. He then shot Morse, who was regaining consciousness, three more times.
Ward and Kara Palamas took Bobbi Morse to an abandoned warehouse, where they tied her to a table. Ward revealed to her that they had learned from Sunil Bakshi that it was Morse who had sold out Palamas' location to HYDRA, leading to her capture and torture at the hands of Daniel Whitehall, and they wanted her to confess this to them to give Palamas the closure she needed. When Morse remained calm and confident, Ward opened his toolbag and took out a long sharp needle before revealing that he knew Morse hated needles.
Ward explained his plan of torture to Morse, that he had used an anesthetic to remove any sensation of pain from her as he pushed needles under her fingernails, knowing that Morse would be able to push away most pain he inflicted to her. He explained that this way, the sensation of unbearable pain, would hit her body all at once. He offered to avoid this pain if Morse confessed her sins. Morse however told Palamas that she had made a choice while at HYDRA to give away the location of one S.H.I.E.L.D. Safe House, not knowing if it was empty or not and believed she had done the right thing. Morse told them that she would never give an honest apology to them and she would make the same call again.
Eventually Palamas saw in Morse's eyes that the pain was finally engulfing her body. She told Ward and they embraced as they watched Morse suffer. Morse attempted to convince Palamas that Ward was playing with her emotions and using her as his slave, explaining that Ward was using symbolic targets from her past to make her believe he cared for her. Palamas however revealed that she knew all about Ward's past with John Garrett, and how he had killed many S.H.I.E.L.D. agents including Victoria Hand but she was in love with him nonetheless and would always stand with Ward.
Ward and Palamas tied Bobbi Morse back to a chair and rigged a rifle behind her. Ward explained that as Morse had clearly shown no regard for her own life, he would force her to watch as someone else was killed while attempting to save her. He told her that the rifle was set to fire at the doorway when someone opened it, killing them instantly in front of her eyes, which would give them the closure they desired and break her heart.
When a S.H.I.E.L.D. team led by Lance Hunter and Melinda May arrived to rescue Morse, Ward decided he would kill May as payback for nailing his foot to the floor and fracturing his larynx. Taking out several agents of the S.H.I.E.L.D. team, Ward overheard a message on the S.H.I.E.L.D. radio for all agents to move to the south corner and await May's arrival. Ward hid himself and the moment he saw May, he grabbed her and fired three fatal shots into her stomach. To his horror however, he discovered that he had accidentally killed Kara Palamas after she had disguised herself as May. Ward begged her to stay with him but she died in his arms, breaking Ward's heart.
Ward escaped to the Goldbrix Tavern; there he sat staring at a photograph of Kara Palamas. A group of thugs that he had hired to find the remaining HYDRA members showed up and gave him a list of names. Ward told them that he wanted more names, but their leader, Kebo, told him that HYDRA no longer had any leadership, and that he cannot give them orders anymore. Unhappy with this answer, Ward smashed Kebo's head into the bar and ordered the others to get more names so he could form a team. When one of the thugs asked him what the plan was, Ward looked down at Palamas' picture and simply replied "Closure".
A few months after his return to HYDRA, Ward had successfully found many new recruits who were fiercely loyal to him and his control; all of whom were loyal to the founding values of HYDRA. With Kebo as his second-in-command, Ward made his goal to reunify HYDRA's splintered cells and to clean the organization from soft and greedy members who cared only about wealth and not about power, which he blamed as the main reason for HYDRA's decline and inevitable failure.
Seeking to find new members who could bring something to his organisation, Ward set his sights on Werner von Strucker, the son of HYDRA's late leader Baron Wolfgang von Strucker. Ward found Carmine, a HYDRA agent who knew of von Strucker's location. He stole Carmine's new sports car and drove into him, driving into his warehouse base with Carmine still on the bonnet. As they drove with Carmine clinging on for dear life, Ward and Kebo spoke about the old HYDRA's greed. Ward slammed on the brakes, sending Carmine flying; he and Kebo then walked over to him and demanded to know von Strucker's location.
Under fear of torture and death, Carmine quickly gave up the information and told Ward that Werner von Strucker was living on a boat, purchased with his father's money. Ward and Kebo scouted out the area and spotted von Strucker having a party on the boat surrounded by beautiful women in bikinis and his security team. Ward and Kebo once again spoke about how the old HYDRA wasted their money and never used it to its fullest potential, as von Strucker would never let his ship out of the dock. Ward then ordered Kebo to sneak onto the boat and unleash a bag full of rats to scare away the women so they would not be harmed in the upcoming fight.
Once the women had run away, Ward casually walked onto the boat where he was soon stopped by a large security guard; without stopping, Ward knocked out the guard before walking onto the boat. Despite multiple guards attempting to stop him, Ward continued to walk forward and knocked out guard after guard with minimal effort, disarming them before knocking them out or throwing them overboard. Before long, Ward came across Werner von Strucker, but was hit in the face by a guard; angered by the blow to his jaw, Ward shot and killed the guard before kidnapping von Strucker.
Ward and Kebo brought Werner von Strucker back to their base where they told him that he had never earned a single thing in his life and had wasted his family's money. Ward demanded that he hand over all his wealth to them by giving over his banking passwords. When von Strucker resisted, Ward punched him in the face and made it clear that he was not asking for his money but was going to get it. He ordered Kebo to torture von Strucker until he handed over the money.
Before long, Ward returned to find Werner von Strucker trying to kill Kebo. When von Strucker tried to use his family's name as leverage, Ward made it clear that he knew who he was, noting that Baron Wolfgang von Strucker was one of HYDRA's greatest leaders before dying a meaningless death. Ward told him that he had earned his respect and, in a technique that John Garrett had used with him years earlier, gave him tacos as a reward. Ward and von Strucker then explored the base where they discussed their families before Ward explained his goals for the new HYDRA. For his first mission, Ward sent von Strucker to get close to Melinda May's ex-husband Andrew Garner by posing as a student.
Kebo was able to recruit a new soldier in HYDRA, who offered them a crate full of weapons as a show of faith after killing Spud to gain entry. As they examined the box Ward and Kebo discussed their plans for the new HYDRA, noting key comparisons between his vision and S.H.I.E.L.D.'s values, claiming he almost viewed it as a shame that he was going to destroy the agency.Ward met with Kebo when he arrived at their base with the recruit; however, to Ward's horror, the recruit turned out to be Lance Hunter, who was on a mission to kill Ward. A firefight broke out with Hunter stealing a gun and firing at the HYDRA agents. Ward and Kebo were able to get to cover and discovered that Hunter had seemingly come without backup; however, before long, Melinda May arrived to assist Hunter. Ward ordered Kebo to tell Werner von Strucker to film the murder of Andrew Garner to threaten May.
Although the video horrified May, Hunter refused to surrender, instead advancing on Ward and Kebo while firing his gun at the pair. With no other choice, Kebo managed to break a window by throwing a desk through it and ran to the truck with Ward behind him; however, Hunter managed to fire a shot which wounded Ward in the shoulder, causing him to fall hard on the ground. Kebo was able to bring his boss to safety as they drove away and escaped while Hunter continued to fire down at them without landing a shot.
Having found themselves a new hideout, Ward and Kebo watched as new weapons were unloaded from a van. Ward discussed how S.H.I.E.L.D. had sent Lance Hunter to try to kill him and accused Kebo of being sloppy as he had allowed him into HYDRA, noting that everyone wanted him dead. They changed the subject to Werner von Strucker, who had disappeared after failing to kill Andrew Garner. Ward ordered Kebo to hunt down and kill von Strucker before S.H.I.E.L.D. could find and question him.
As more weapons were being unloaded, Ward was shocked to see that Kebo had returned without Werner von Strucker. When Ward attempted to question him over this, Kebo handed him a phone without a word. Ward picked up the phone and found himself speaking to Gideon Malick, an old HYDRA ally to Baron Wolfgang von Strucker who was feared by everyone who knew of his reputation. Malick accused Ward of making many mistakes during his time as the Director of HYDRA and offered his assistance in locating von Strucker. When Ward questioned why Malick would do this, he was told that Malick had chosen a side. Ward then sent Kebo with a team of operatives to Strucker's location in Lisbon, Portugal.
Ward met with Gideon Malick and they discussed Werner von Strucker, who had survived the assassination attempt and fallen into a coma. Malick asked Ward if revenge was his only goal but Ward insisted that his goal was to assassinate Phil Coulson and destroy S.H.I.E.L.D., as he believed without Coulson, S.H.I.E.L.D. could never return. As they were speaking they were interrupted when Malick received a call from Rosalind Price.
Malick had a dinner of octopus served up for the pair of them and explained why the octopus was HYDRA's symbol, describing it as smart and the ultimate killer. Malick continued to press Ward for a request and they discussed how HYDRA's leadership had been destroyed due in part to Ward; Malick made it clear that he knew Ward was looking for Baron Wolfgang von Strucker's secret vault, which was said to contain HYDRA's greatest weapon, but Malick insisted the vault did not exist. However, Ward argued that Malick had killed Werner to become sole owner of it. Ward suggested that they use the weapon inside it to good use for HYDRA.
Malick was called away by Giyera and explained that he would not support Ward's plan of revenge against S.H.I.E.L.D.. Ward insisted that he would find Wolfgang von Strucker's vault with or without Malick's help, but Malick informed him that although he was a fine predator, he was not top of the food chain as he left. Malick's team of assassins arrived and attacked Ward, but he was able to defend himself. After a brief but violent fight, Ward was able to overpower and kill all but three, shooting two and plunging a knife into one of the men's throats.
Ward put the three surviving assassins in a row and demanded that they surrender the location of the von Strucker vault. When they refused, Ward threatened them with torture. As the men managed to stay strong, Ward took a torch and explained that he had always been a fan of fire; he then dragged one of the men out and held the flame to his face, explaining that the key was to ensure the person knew how much it was going to hurt. Finally, one of the men told him the vault was in Zepkow, Germany; having gained the information he needed Ward killed them.
Ward boarded an airplane to Moscow to hunt down Baron Wolfgang von Strucker's vault. While they reached cruising altitude, Ward flirted with one of the Flight Attendants who provided him with a drink. They continued to flirt and she suggested that he come stay with her when they reach Moscow; however, Ward explained that he would not be going to Moscow, but that this was the only plane flying over where he needed to go.
He informed her of his intention to leave the plane in midair by blasting open the doors and ordering her to strap in. Ward then put on a parachute and spoke on the coms, telling the other passengers to strap themselves into their seats, explaining that soon the pilot would be forced to make the plane dive down before they all froze to death, noting that it was HYDRA that had killed them. Ward then used an exploding watch to rip off the door, allowing himself to be sucked out as the plane crashed, killing everyone left onboard.
Ward eventually located Baron Wolfgang von Strucker's hidden vault and broke inside, ripping a hole through the ceiling and dropping in with his gun raised. Ward discovered that Gideon Malick was already there and waiting for him. Malick explained that he had not been impressed by Presidents or alien technology but he was impressed by Ward and suggested that Ward should be HYDRA's second head next to him, but Ward expressed his desire to kill Malick.
Malick instead asked Ward if he knew of HYDRA's origins, and he said that HYDRA was founded during World War II by Red Skull using Nazi funding, but Malick explained that their history was far older than that. He opened Strucker's safe and pulled out a piece of the Monolith, explaining that the stones had the power to teleport users to another world. He explained how an Inhuman was born thousands of years ago, so powerful he was banished from Earth, and HYDRA aimed to bring him back, using the ATCU to build It an army. Malick vowed to help Ward destroy S.H.I.E.L.D. in exchange for learning how they brought Jemma Simmons back from the Monolith planet.