|“|| "The Clairvoyant gives guidance, formulas."|
"The changing world, the world your organization brought upon us. We're new to the business of what you've been doing for decades.
|~ Raina and Phil Coulson|
Agent John Garrett is a former agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., an agent of HYDRA working with the Centipede Group, under the alias of the Clairvoyant and the true main antagonist of Season 1 in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
He was played by the late Bill Paxton.
- "I was a pyro as a kid, too. Ended up making a pretty good living at it."
- ―John Garrett to Grant Ward
During the 1980's, Garrett joined with S.H.I.E.L.D. as an agent, serving as a Supervising Officer to Nick Fury. He would be partnered with Agent Phil Coulson on several assignments over the years, assisted Victoria Hand with an assignment in Lisbon, Portugal, and was Supervising Officer to Agent Antoine Triplett. In 1990, during a mission in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, he stopped upon an IED, exploding on him and leaving him mortally-wounded; when he called for extraction, he was simply given excuses by S.H.I.E.L.D. Realizing at that point that S.H.I.E.L.D. didn't care for him as much as he cared for them, he vowed to take revenge on the organization; he then put his intestines back in place, duct-taped his injuries and left in pain. He was recruited by HYDRA after this and became the first person to go through Project Deathlok, giving him bio-mechanical organs, and used his newfound hatred of S.H.I.E.L.D. to their advantage; he continued to serve S.H.I.E.L.D. while also being on HYDRA's side.
Eventually, he became the head of the Centipede Project, a science-group that sought to create Super-Soldiers, seeing it as a way to keep his organic body from dying on him. He also became a friend of HYDRA leader Alexander Pierce. To keep up with Centipede, Garrett hid his true involvement by going under the codename "the Clairvoyant", leading members such as Raina to assume that he had telepathic powers; in truth, however, his clearance level allowed him to access agents' psychological profiles to predict their movements. He gave his commands through a man named Edison Po, a genius scientist, and Thomas Nash, a hospital bed-bound man with no voice, and used a computer screen supposedly operated by him to speak. Billionaire Ian Quinn would also become a beneficiary of Centipede.
In 1999, Garrett went to a juvenile facility Massachusetts, where he met Grant Ward, who was incarcerated for burning his family's home with them in it. In an effort to recruit him to HYDRA, Garrett told Ward about his older brother's attempt to get him tried as an adult, and told him about HYDRA and that he belongs with them in a way. Ward accepted Garrett's one-time offer; almost-immediately, Garrett's squad of soldiers arrived and broke Ward out of the facility. Garrett trained Grant Ward by leaving him to fend for himself in the Wyoming wilderness for six months. When Garrett returned, not being able to contact Ward in that amount of time due to being overseas, he was impressed to find that Ward had made a camp for himself with a dog named Buddy, as he says that he raided campsites to survive. For five years, Garrett taught Ward how to survive at all costs and trust in nobody, telling him his life story and about how S.H.I.E.L.D. left him for dead as though he didn't matter to them at all. At the end of his training, by which point Ward was scheduled to participate in the S.H.I.E.L.D. Training Academy, he gave him one final task to prove his loyalty; kill Buddy. Unbeknownst to Garrett, Ward had actually missed Buddy intentionally with his sniper rifle, letting him live and lying about what really happened. Garrett would later tell other HYDRA members such as Sunil Bakshi and Gideon Malick about him, considering him to be like the son he never had. To keep his own cybernetic parts from failing too early, Garrett began using the Extremis serum created by Aldrich Killian, but completely-lacked a true cure for his condition.
By 2014, Garrett had been granted a larger clearance level, letting him know everything that happens in S.H.I.E.L.D.; one secret that eluded him, however, was Phil Coulson's fate. He was presumed to have perished at Loki's hands prior to the Chitauri attack on New York in 2012, but shortly after the Avengers' victory, Coulson was resurrected using a classified drug called GH.325, which was made from the blood of a deceased Kree. Garrett, at death's door due to his organic parts failing on him, decided to find out how Coulson came back to life, believing that whatever he went through was the only thing that could save his life.
To this end, he arranges to have Coulson kidnapped by Raina by luring him into a trap with Deathlok patient Micheal Peterson, later resulting in Coulson being put into a Theta Brain-Wave Frequency Machine to unearth his unaltered memories of his resurrection. However, Coulson escaped with the help of his private team, which Ward was a member of. Later, when hacker Skye was able to locate Ian Quinn, Garrett ordered him to shoot her twice and leave her for dead just as he was.
The Guest House
- "How was the drive from Istanbul?"
"Pretty please, it is."
- ―Alpha and John Garrett
As the next part of his plan to get the GH.325, Garrett arrived on the Bus, Coulson's large plane, once Quinn was taken into custody. Bringing along Triplett, Garrett claimed that he was there to take Quinn to a prison somewhere else. He said that his own personal team had been chasing Quinn for months, and told Triplett to collect Quinn; Coulson told Garrett that Skye was almost-dead due to Quinn's orders from the Clairvoyant, unaware that his arch-nemesis was staring him in the face at that moment, while Garrett tells Coulson that he'd lost three agents chasing Quinn. In reality, however, he had killed them himself to preserve Quinn's safety and involvement in his plans. He says that once Skye is safe, Quinn will be taken away, and offers to help them. He finds Ward, already-assigned to Coulson's team, fighting with Triplett over Quinn's custody and breaks up the fight himself. He joked about how he can be a real sweet talker when he needs to be, convincing Ward to do plenty of things during their time together. He told them that saving Skye was their top priority, because then Quinn's schemes could be revealed.
Garrett and Coulson then questioned Quinn after he was badly-beaten by Agent Melinda May, with Quinn unaware that the Clairvoyant was in the room with him, and threatens to rip his tongue out if he doesn't comply. Garrett demanded for information on Deathlok and Centipede, leading to Quinn joking about shooting Skye, and so Garrett hit him. He explained that the Clairvoyant had told him to shoot Skye and gave him all kinds of intel on S.H.I.E.L.D. and how to kill Garrett's agents prior, but the one thing that eluded him was how Coulson was resurrected after his death at the hands of Loki.
Garrett agreed to help Coulson raid the Guest House, a classified S.H.I.E.L.D. base where the GH.325 was being kept that could save Skye's life. Outside the base, a man on a speaker told them "How was the drive from Istanbul?", expecting them to know the secret code; however, they had no idea how to answer it. Garrett told the man that they needed entry; the response was "How was the drive from Istanbul?" again, irritating Garrett. He said that they needed entry so as to save Skye's life, but the man just asked them the question a third time, forcing them to blow open the door and prepare for a firefight. Inside, Coulson, Garrett and Agent Leo Fitz defended themselves from the guards' defense tactics, with Fitz giving them help in breaching some bullet-proof glass. They were able to kill both guards, Alpha and Beta, but Alpha said in his dying words that the base had explosive charges set to detonate the whole mountain; Garrett and Ward then tried to find and disarm the bomb while Coulson and Fitz looked for the GH.325. However, they couldn't disarm the bomb, forcing Garrett to go running through the base looking for Coulson and managed to sneak several other GH drugs in the room out to see which one worked, hiding them in his vest. He found Coulson in shock and horror in the hallways, having seen GH and the tubes in it that drained its blood to create the GH drugs. Coulson told Garrett that Ward and Fitz should not give Skye the drug, now aware of where it comes from, but instead, Garrett calmed him down and brought him back to the Bus just as the whole mountain began to crumble apart from the bomb's blast, saving everyone in time. The GH.325 was injected into Skye by Agent Jemma Simmons, saving her and causing it to be quickly-absorbed into her bloodstream, meaning that Garrett couldn't get it. Later, after Skye survived a seizure from the drug, Garrett and May wondered what had happened to Coulson and what he saw in the Guest House that scared him so much.
With this done, Garrett told Quinn good news and bad news; the bad news was that the Clairvoyant was wrong and he would be tried for shooting an unarmed person, even telling him that they'd recorded his confession to it. The good news, however, was that he could keep his tongue after all. While talking to Coulson, Garrett asked him if he'd really throw Quinn off the Bus if Skye wasn't saved as he'd claimed, Coulson just said that it was Garrett who said that. Taking Quinn, Garrett and Triplett had him taken to the Fridge, a S.H.I.E.L.D. prison located in a classified desert location. Every S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in the United States was later informed about Peterson, and Agent Garrett and his team were appointed as running point in his search.
To throw off Coulson's search for the Clairvoyant, Garrett arranged to have himself and Triplett attacked while at a S.H.I.E.L.D. safehouse. While drinking with Triplett there, Peterson charged into the safehouse to kill them. They shot at him in I.C.E.R.s, but they were useless against him; they used a Taser Projectile Launcher on him, but that too was ineffective. Peterson then escaped by jumping through the ceiling, leaving Garrett and Triplett surprised about what happened. Then, Garrett gave Coulson several false leads from the Index that qualify as the Clairvoyant, later arriving on the Iliad with Victoria Hand, Jasper Sitwell and Felix Blake, going to the Bus to talk to Coulson about what should be done about the Clairvoyant. He was able to defuse a tense situation upon arrival between the agents, who all had suspicions about the Clairvoyant being one of them or someone else in S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson's team discussed Garrett's false leads; Blake thought that mind-control couldn't be done, but Coulson said that his encounter with the Asgardian Lorelei had changed his thoughts on it. He acted surprised when they told him that Peterson and Project Deathlok was all a surprise to him, telling Hand that the Clairvoyant was onto them and will try anything to keep S.H.I.E.L.D. from finding him.
The agents then formulated a plan to check out Garrett's false leads, while Skye is given the title of S.H.I.E.L.D. agent so as to take charge of the operation. He even joked that Skye's survival after Quinn's shooting was more of a sign of loyalty than anything Sitwell had done during his entire career. Everyone gets back to work as Skye and Ward talk on their own. He spoke to Skye later and showed her his own injuries, including a third-degree burn and saying that the burn itself didn't hurt, but everything else around it did. Skye thanked Garrett for helping in saving her life, and he noted that Ward was now her Supervising Officer, even saying that she had changed Ward somehow during their time together, and told her not to call him "sir", as they're both agents now. One Index suspect named Noriko Sato was visited later by Garrett and Coulson, and on the way, Garrett told him a story about a previous mission, which Coulson realized was a mission they were both on together. Upon getting closer to Noriko, they were diverted into a alley by a black car, and they were informed suddenly that Peterson had attacked another S.H.I.E.L.D. team. They both made their escape from the alley at that moment, while Deathlok attacked Hand and Blake, breaking Blake's back, during a visit with Thomas Nash. Blake is moved to a hospital while everyone converges on the Bus, but Hand blamed the plan as being faulty, with May and Blake not having back-up. Garrett tried to reason with her, calling her "Vic", but she told him to stop calling her that.
With Nash as their suspect, the teams went to a racetrack in Pensacola, Florida, where Deathlok was; with a tracking device planted on him, they made haste to the track, where they used Golden Retrievers to find their enemy. Everyone fires upon Garrett once he is spotted, but he didn't kill anyone, instead using his Forearm Rocket Launcher to distract Ward and his group. Coulson chases after Deathlok with Garrett. Fitz then located Thomas Nash, the supposed Clairvoyant, and so Coulson, Garrett and Ward surrounded him in his bed, looking at TV screens and listening to his robotic voice; however, this was not his voice, but someone else's speaking through him. "Nash" explained that the one thing he couldn't understand was how Coulson came back to life, the same thing he himself couldn't understand. Garrett believed that Nash could be taken to the Fridge, but "Nash" said that his prison was right here, threatening to slowly and painfully kill Skye if she didn't give him what he wanted. Coulson told Nash that he'd be arrested for his actions; to prevent them from learning the truth, Ward shoots Nash on Garrett's command, blaming it on "Nash's threats". Ward is then arrested and taken away, while Garrett assured Coulson that he couldn't have known what would happen and that Ward was "too compassionate". Garrett suggested that he should be taken to be debriefed at the Hub, but Coulson wanted to speak with him; with that, Garrett left him to go pursue Deathlok, promising to keep Coulson updated.
Conflict with S.H.I.E.L.D.
In early April 2014, Coulson's team is targeted on the Bus by UAVs sent by S.H.I.E.L.D., just as HYDRA was about to be exposed to the world. Garrett managed to shoot them down in a Jump Jet, then enters the Bus and furiously demands for an explanation, which they were unable to give. Skye uncovers a secret message sent out to undercover HYDRA agents as a call-to-arms, thus leading them to theorize that Victoria Hand was the real Clairvoyant. The team discussed what it meant now that HYDRA was present, with Fitz noting that the Red Skull died during World War II and HYDRA had been defeated by the SSR and Captain America, and Garrett questioned their motto. Garrett suggested that they all escape the Bus before HYDRA kills them, but Fitz wanted to save Jemma Simmons and Triplett, who were in danger since they're both at the Hub right now. Garrett suggested using Ward for help to help. Upon landing at the Hub, the Bus' weapons were rendered useless by Hand's use of the Overkill Device, while Garrett contacted Ward and told him that Coulson and the others were mistakenly-led to believe that Hand was their nemesis. They both hid in the Bus when the soldiers started firing at them. May finds them and tells them that Director Nick Fury has been killed by the Winter Soldier; they didn't think it possible, but Garrett knew that he's too good at getting out of sticky situations to have been killed so easily.
At the Hub, Garrett and Coulson snuck away from Hand's soldiers, using Fitz' Mouse Hole device to get away undetected. After getting away, Coulson realized that Hand really was their enemy, with Garrett encouraging this by reminding him of what happened to Mike Peterson that made him become Deathlok, all in an attempt to convince him that she should be executed. Garrett also mentions how Raina forced him to use the Theta Brain Wave Frequency Machine during his time as the Clairvoyant's prisoner; this is actually something Coulson never told him or anyone outside of his team. He came to realize the reason for his coincidental appearance; he was leading Centipede directly to the GH.325, which thus exposed him as the true Clairvoyant. Coulson tells several soldiers arriving at the scene to arrest Garrett because of his allegiance to HYDRA, but four of them kill the others and take Coulson and his teammates into custody. Garrett confessed to killing his own agents during the pursuit for the Clairvoyant and that Nick Fury was dead because he learned the truth. He offers Fitz a chance to join HYDRA, but he refuses, promising to kill Garrett himself. Coulson said that Fury would kill Garrett for his betrayal, but Garrett just said that he could only turn over in his grave now. He says that he could've ordered Edison Po to kill Coulson, but he didn't because he still viewed him as his friend. Just as he orders the soldiers to execute them (he said to only shoot Fitz in the kneecaps), the power goes out due to Ward and Skye's interference, allowing Coulson and May to fight back. As Garrett attempts to rip Coulson's throat open with a knife, Coulson uses a Thunderstick to knock him out.
Hand, who was really a true S.H.I.E.L.D. agent after all, arrives with other agents to arrest Garrett, taking him away to the Fridge. Triplett was horrified to learn that his mentor was a villain all along, and Ward asks to personally-ensure that Garrett is locked-away. Garrett, Ward and Hand, now on-board a Quinjet headed for the Fridge, fly over the desert area surrounding it, about to land. Hand gives Ward the opportunity to shoot and execute the real Clairvoyant after killing the wrong man before, hoping to drop his body into the mountains below to never be found; however, Garrett and Ward eyed each other, and thus Ward, remembering where his loyalties lie, kills Hand and the other two agents, then frees Garrett. They pilot the Quinjet out of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s radar, ready to build an unstoppable army, while Project Insight is thwarted by the remainder of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s true members under the leadership of Captain America.
After managing to establish a home base in Havana, Cuba in a barber shop, Garrett arranged to have Raina released from prison so she could meet him at last. She entered the shop while Garrett sat in a chair, revealing himself to her as the true Clairvoyant. Despite Raina's belief, he wasn't really clairvoyant, which made her assume him to be a fraud, but he said that he was a clever con artist to be able to pull this all off. He compliments her for her efforts in Centipede and reminds her of their ambition to change the world, welcoming her to HYDRA through a secret room in the barber shop that contained several laboratories to further her research.
While they worked on a plan to raid the Fridge, Ward is called by Skye, and so they listened to her say that she'd erased all of Ward's files for his own safety. Garrett teased Ward for his S.H.I.E.L.D. personality, but was impressed that he could fool everyone so well, believing that even Natasha Romanoff couldn't have done it better. Ward told Garrett that he disapproved of his decision to have Skye shot, but he believed that he shouldn't have gotten attached to her at all and that his priorities may be tampered with if he doesn't stay on target. Garrett then puts Raina back in charge of the Centipede Project so they can finish what they started; though Raina believed that their failure to learn how Coulson was resurrected meant they couldn't go any further, Garrett said that he has had science teams working on GH.325, and told her that her bank account had all she needed to continue her own research. Ward gives her a hard-drive that had all of Skye's Centipede research in it, allowing them to continue. As they prepared to raid the Fridge, Garrett thanked an agent for getting a helicopter ready; the agent said "Hail HYDRA", but Garrett mocked his over-enthusiasm before going to inspect the weapons of the other soldiers.
Raid of the Fridge
Upon arrival at the Fridge, Garrett had himself hand-cuffed while Ward "escorted" him inside to fool the guards (akin to Star Wars), but when the guards said that only Victoria Hand's presence could let them through, Garrett orders the helicopter to shoot the guards; they let them in due to fear of being killed. In the elevator, Ward kills both the guards then takes Garrett's hand-cuffs off. Garrett releases gas into the building to knock out other guards present there, allowing the rest of the HYDRA agents to enter without killing anyone. Using his memory of all of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s secret valuables, Garrett retrieves all manner of weapons and devices from the building. While exploring, Ward told Garrett about one time that he escorted a man named John Horton here, a man that could turn his hands into lion paws, but Garrett found himself questioning the logistics of that ability. As he explains to Ward, Fury's "Slingshot" Program to get rid of all of these dangerous weapons was a lie, and he kept all the valuables here, including Chitauri technology and other alien technology, from 0-8-4s to Asgardian wares.
They retrieved items that Coulson's team had previously-collected, such as the Berserker Staff and the Peruvian 0-8-4, which Garrett used to blow open walls so as to get more of the facility's hidden treasures. The base's entire population of prisoners, including Marcus Daniels, were then released by Garrett, hoping that Coulson would have to focus on the prisoners and take his search for HYDRA more time to do. Garrett then learned that S.H.I.E.L.D. was on its way there, forcing the team to collect anything they could carry and escape before the reinforcements arrive. Ward uses the 0-8-4 to open a hole in the floor; while Garrett thought that nothing was there, Ward knew that the Gravitonium previously-used by Ian Quinn was kept under the floor.
Now aware that Coulson and the others were at the S.H.I.E.L.D. base Providence, Garrett told Ward that he has to once again pretend to be their ally; the codes to the GH.325 files were encrypted by Skye, so he had to find the codes and get the information back to the barber shop. He tells him that if he doesn't get it done within 24 hours, he will kill the entire team and bring Skye in for questioning. They came up with a cover story to account for the Fridge raid, which Coulson would now know about; the story was that Garrett had been executed during HYDRA's sudden raid, but Ward was able to fight his way out. To make the story more believable, Garrett punches Ward multiple times in the face, giving him real battle injuries, and asked him multiple times who he really was; he says he is agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., forcing the concept into his head further. Ward later arrives at Providence and tells Coulson and the others about what supposedly happened, which they fell for just as Garrett predicted.
The Return of Centipede
Ian Quinn is later freed from prison by Garrett's henchmen, who send him to the barber shop in Havana to meet the Clairvoyant himself. Quinn blamed Garrett for destroying his fortune and credibility and for making him an enemy of S.H.I.E.L.D., but he still didn't know why he was here at the shop, since Raina didn't tell him. Garrett then lets Quinn into his secret lab, where he shows him the glass container with the Gravitonium ball in it, and gives it to him as a gesture of good will. Quinn agrees the join HYDRA and help however he can, while back at Providence, Ward murders Agent Eric Keonig to keep his true allegiance secret. Skye left behind an autopsy report on Eric for Coulson and Triplett to find, and thus they realized that Ward was with HYDRA and Skye was in danger. To make sure the mission was still accomplished, Garrett sent Deathlok to follow Ward and watch him through his robot eye.
In Los Angeles, in a cafe where Skye regularly went to before meeting S.H.I.E.L.D., Skye pretends to decrypt the GH.325 files, but actually sends a message to Coulson to come save her. She tries to escape, but Deathlok brings her to the Bus with Ward, and stops Ward's heart as incentive for Skye to open the GH.325 files; she does exactly that and thus Coulson arrives to save her.
To make sure that Deathlok was successfully marketed to the United States Armed Forces, Garrett ordered Deathlok to kill a drug kingpin named Alejandro Castillo; he congratulates him for this and lets him watch a video of his captive son Ace as a reward. Ward arrives and confronts Garrett for ordering Deathlok to bring him to near-death, but Raina then tells him that the GH.325 is nearly-done being replicated. Garrett, sitting in Coulson's former office, is confronted again by Ward over what happened, believing that his loyalty would've made sure he wouldn't be targeted like this. However, Garrett says that it was necessary, since Skye's connection to him wouldn't have allowed her to let him die, despite his true nature. Ward defends himself as being nothing like the same boy that Garrett had left in the woods all those years ago, but Garrett tells Ward that he is a weak child who always plays victim, questioning why he decided to keep him around. At that moment, however, Garrett's cybernetic parts begin to fail on him, causing him to go into cardiac arrest. Ward brings Garrett into the lab to save him, telling everyone, including Raina, to leave so that he can save him in peace. After Ward manages to stabilize Garrett, he confesses that his moments of near-death are coming closer and closer together, and he had two months to live unless the GH.325 could save him.
Garrett, now okay for the time being, goes to Ian Quinn at the barber shop in Havana to discuss their plan; Garrett calls Quinn the "poster boy" of HYDRA, and Ward said he was still a fugitive, but Quinn said that the accusations were done by S.H.I.E.L.D., and since the whole world had been convinced that S.H.I.E.L.D. cannot be trusted and is no more, the assassination of the drug kingpin meant that more and more buyers were coming in looking to get some Deathlok Soldiers for their armies. They would be going to Washington to meet with all the buyers, and so Ward goes to update Raina on what's happening. As they all packed-up their belongings and technology, ready to leave the barber shop behind, Ward tells Garrett (who found Raina's eyes "unnerving") that Raina is questioning the decision to move the lab. Raina then gives Garrett a successfully-recreated version of the GH.325 drug, but this was the only vial left in the entire world, meaning that it will have to be used wisely.
Saved by the GH.325
Garrett oversees people placing the barber shop lab's contents into the Bus so that they can leave for Washington before S.H.I.E.L.D. finds them, intending to use the Cybertek Manufacturing Facility for their operation. Just in case S.H.I.E.L.D. had already arrived, Garrett leaves behind a squad of HYDRA soldiers, including the one he mocked before raiding the Fridge, armed with the Berserker Staff. As the Bus flies away, Ward discovers Fitz and Simmons hiding and watching them and brings them to Garrett on the Bus. Immediately as he saw them, Garrett mocked Fitz and Simmons, who wanted the plane back, but Garrett just laughs, contacting the HYDRA squad at the barber shop and then getting the Bus in the air.
Fitz uses an EMP Joy Buzzer to short-circuit Garrett's robot parts, causing him to enter cardiac arrest again. Ward runs over to save Garrett; Fitz tells him to let the man die for his crimes, but Ward said that his death warrant has just been signed. He tells the HYDRA goons present to empty the room and take Fitz and Simmons away so he could save Garrett himself. Garrett, knowing that he's dying, gives Ward what he believes to be his final order; kill Fitz and Simmons. Though Ward believed that he could do it after saving him, Garrett says that he's cheated death plenty of times and he'll do it again, and thus Ward leaves to do what he said. Raina enters to help Garrett while Ward locks Fitz and Simmons in a Medical Pod where they were hiding and drops it into the ocean. Garrett's condition worsens as he confesses to using Extremis in place of the GH.325, thus forcing Raina to inject him with the GH.325; at first, it has no effect, but then, Garrett's skin starts to glow orange-gold and his body starts to spasm. Once the glow stopped and his body began normal again, Garrett begins to feel stronger and his mind begins to expand, flooding him with the secrets of the universe; Ward asks him how he feels, and Garrett says that he feels the entire universe within him.
The Ultimate Power
The HYDRA squad at the barber shop calls Garrett and notifies him on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s arrival; however, Garrett, changed by the GH.325, ignores their pleas for rescue. He rips the glass door off the Bus' on-sight lab and leans it on the wall, using a nail to carve the Words of Creation (a series of lines and circles that mapped out Kree-related maps and images) onto it, which led Ward to believe that his sanity was slipping; Garrett insisted that he was just fine, and that he had so much information in his head that he needs to write some of it down. He then took time to stare at the glass case with the Gravitonium in it, which reminded him of what a lava lamp looks like, and seems to be able to see its true potential. Raina came in to see him and says that her disappointment in him not being really clairvoyant didn't matter anymore. Garrett goes on a rant about his newfound power and knowledge, claiming to be able to see the future and read Raina's mind, saying to her "what" she would become someday; an Inhuman.
Battle at Cybertek
Coulson arrives at the Cybertek Manufacturing Facility with the rest of his team as Garrett arrives; while Quinn was giving a tour of the facility to the Deathlok buyers from the United States Armed Forces, Garrett suddenly-interrupts it by calling the Deathlok Soldiers the military of the future, while Ward and Deathlok listened to his ridiculous ranting and raving. Quinn tries to cover for Garrett, saying that he's his "strategy consultant", but Garrett just continues to mock the generals and claiming that he could see their futures, leading one General to question his sanity. Upon hearing gunfire from elsewhere in the base, the General asks for an explanation, but Garrett instead threatens him and demands that they be given all that they want. The General tries to stand up for himself, but Garrett, seemingly-bored, kills him by ripping one of his ribs right out of his body; Ward became horrified at what had just happened, but Garrett says it's to be "the beginning of the end", then stabs the General in the neck with his own rib, while another General present could only watch in horror.
The facility came under attack by S.H.I.E.L.D., and thus Ward, realizing that Garrett had become truly-insane and no longer has his sense of reality, demands for orders, only to be given riddles and jokes instead, irritating Ward and forcing him to tell his master to snap out of it. Garrett's phone then rings and he proceeds to answer, hearing Skye on the other end. Skye said that S.H.I.E.L.D. now had the upper hand, but Garrett instead insulted her and commenting on Fitz and Simmons' supposed demise, at which point Skye immediately hung up. Garrett, fed up with Ward's requests for orders, tells him to go get Skye and bring her here. He turns to Deathlok and tells him to never leave his side, mockingly-saying "I love you too", despite that Deathlok was in pain and anger at his current situation.
Garrett hears the sound of the Noisemaker and tells Deathlok to check it out; his back turned, Coulson appears behind Garrett and attacks him, hitting his jaw. However, feeling no pain, Garrett punches Coulson, sending him flying to the other side of the room. Deathlok Soldiers then fire on Coulson, who takes cover, then re-emerges holding the Destroyer Armor Prototype Gun, the same weapon he was holding when he was slain by Loki, given to him by Nick Fury, who was still alive and had arrived just in time. The Soldiers were defeated while Garrett just looks on in amusement. With the Destroyer Gun out of power, Fury shoots at Garrett multiple times in the chest with no effect. Garrett mocks them for their failure to even graze him and that all four of them in the room (Deathlok included) have died once and returned, ranting about his greater understanding of the universe. Fury and Coulson believed that he's been insane ever since getting the GH.325 into himself. Garrett quotes Fury on how he can be part of something greater and bigger and that he is now greater and smarter than ever before, which Fury says he got wrong all along, and questioned if he joined HYDRA just because he misheard his quote. Fury and Coulson discussed their own understanding of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s true values, annoying Garrett, who orders Deathlok to kill Fury; however, unbeknownst to Garrett, Deathlok was given a message by Skye that his son was now safe. Deathlok then turns his weapons on Garrett and fires his Forearm Rocket Launcher right at Garrett's chest. He tries to reach for his gun in his nearly-dead state, telling Deathlok to help him, but ends up being stepped on by his cybernetic leg, seemingly-killing Garrett.
S.H.I.E.L.D. leaves the facility, having taken Ward into custody and believing Garret to be dead; however, Garrett opens up the duffel bag his body was placed in, his face covered in horrible burns, and crawls onto a chair with robot arms hanging over it. The arms then cover Garrett's body (excluding his head) in Deathlok armor as he yells in pain while it happens; once the process is over, he stands up proudly at now becoming a more-powerful Deathlok than Mike was. He says aloud "There's a reason they say cut off the head. Now, I'll be unstop-", but his sentence is interrupted suddenly; as he was talking, Coulson, standing from afar holding the Peruvian 0-8-4, uses the weapon to immediately-disintegrate Garrett, jokingly-walking away while a pile of blood lies where Garrett was standing.
Garret never frayed from using cruelty as means to an end. He used his decades at S.H.I.E.L.D. and Clearance Level 7 to earn respect and trust from his subordinates, including Coulson when in reality he was an agent of Hydra who ruthlessly manipulated S.H.I.E.L.D.'s T.A.H.I.T.I. Project for his own goal; survival. Despite appearing a man of honor and principles there are occasions when Garrett would reveal his immorality such as during an interrogation when Ian Quinn spoke to him disrespectfully and was prepared to rip out his tongue, although this could just be a scare tactic.
Like numerous agents of Hydra, Garrett strongly believed that compassion was wrong and growing attachment to another person was "weakness." He manipulatively took advantage of a young Grant Ward when he was in a juvenile detention center, and when he was in need of a father figure. He abandoned Ward in the Wyoming wilderness, forcing him to survive on his own then later making him kill his pet dog, Buddy as he thought that he had grown too attached to his pet which he deemed another weakness.
Garrett can be seen as an abusive and toxic father figure to Ward; while he did see potential in the young man and wanted to nurture this within him, his methods of doing so were extremely brutal, such as beating him remorselessly to convince him he was still "Grant Ward; Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D." Despite all of his cruelty towards him, Ward still owed Garrett everything and was even willing to betray Phil Coulson and his team, so far the only people who have shown him genuine kindness simply to please him. He had a tendency to bring out the worst in people and is easily charismatic, able to inspire the utmost loyalty from the people he encounters such as Grant Ward and later, Raina. He was also not above emotional blackmail such as kidnapping Mike Peterson's son, Ace, to force him to obey.
However, after being injected with the GH.325 drug, Garrett's personality warped even more; his sense of reality became lost as he claimed to feel the universe and know the true secrets of everything. Whether or not he actually knew everything he says he does is unknown, but the knowledge he had gained had driven him to insanity and become more arrogant, prophesying "the end" among other things, and knowing that the Inhumans, who were a total secret from S.H.I.E.L.D. (and even the viewers of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) up to that point, would rise up against the normal humans and take the Earth as their own. Even Grant Ward, the most-loyal of all his followers, questioned his sanity, telling Garrett to snap out of it while desperately begging for orders as S.H.I.E.L.D. was coming down on them.
Powers and Abilities
Being a high-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Garrett was an expert marskman, had knowledge of a form of martial arts and was an excellent fighter pilot. As a master spy, he was able to fool even S.H.I.E.L.D. for decades that he'd betrayed them by joining HYDRA for revenge.
- Centipede Serum: The Centipede Serum, in conjunction with Extremis, kept Garrett alive when his organic body began to fail him. While initially lacking any of the powers that Extremis granted its other users, the addition of GH.325 gave him far more power than he ever dare dream.
- Superhuman Strength: Garrett could throw a man across a room with a single punch, rip a man's rib out of their chests, and carve a hole in the chest of another.
- Superhuman Durability: Bullets had no actual effect on him, as shown when Nick Fury tried to kill him and failed. Even Deathlok's Forearm Rocket Launcher couldn't kill him, neither could being stepped-on by his cybernetic leg, although it left him heavily-scarred. Only Coulson's use of the Peruvian 0-8-4 was able to destroy him, as it atomized everything its laser beam hits.
- Regenerative Healing Factor: Not only did the GH.325 fix all the injuries in his body that have been slowly-killing him for decades, but it also made him more-durable and able to survive any attack. Gunshots had no effect on him, and some time after Deathlok attacked him and seemingly-killed him, he was able to get back up again (albeit very-badly burned, scarred and injured, barely-able to walk) and go through the Deathlok Project treatment to become more of a cyborg than before. As stated before, the Peruvian 0-8-4 was able to disintegrate him.
- In the original Marvel comics, Garrett was a CIA member before joining S.H.I.E.L.D., later becoming a cyborg in order to survive life-threatening injuries in the line of duty. His appearance at the end of the Season 1 finale "Beginning of the End" resembles his comic-book cyborg form.
- Whether or not Garrett gained the ability to really see the future from the GH.325 is unknown.
- Ironically, during Season 2 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Raina became an Inhuman and developed the power to see the future, predicting the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War, and making her truly-clairvoyant, whereas Garrett relied on knowledge and educated guesses to predict an event.
Garrett is the first antagonist on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to have been killed by Phil Coulson, followed up by Daniel Whitehall in Season 2 and Grant Ward in Season 3 (though Ward "returned" as Hive). Similarly to Hive, Garrett's knowledge of the universe made him arrogant and insane, which became his undoing.
- While under his GH.325-induced state, Garrett claimed to be able to feel the universe; similarly, in the movie X-Men: Apocalypse, released 2 years after Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s first season, Apocalypse said while Jean Grey released the Phoenix Force upon him "All is revealed". Similarly to Apocalypse, Garrett's knowledge of the universe's deepest secrets drove him insane.
- In the first part of Season 3's two-part finale, "Absolution", Skye (renamed Daisy Johnson) said to Coulson that Ward had been brainwashed. While this statement is mostly-ambiguous, it is entirely-possible that Garrett had really brainwashed Ward in the same way that Daniel Whitehall brainwashed Agent 33 in Season 2; Ward was completely-loyal to Garrett up until his insanity in his final hours, not really caring much for the true ideals of HYDRA or S.H.I.E.L.D., and after he died, Ward became saddened and starting looking for a purpose to his life. Agent 33, upon learning of Whitehall's death at Coulson's hand, behaved similarly to Ward, and so they both sought to gain "closure" together. To this day, it is unknown for certain if Ward was really under mind-control, as he did feel attached to Coulson, Skye and the team, only to abandon it all at the end of Season 2 after Agent 33's death at his own hand (by accident). He still found purpose in rebuilding HYDRA on his own, greatly-disliking Gideon Malick until learning about Hive, whom he sought to bring back to Earth.