Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 1, episode 17 left fans with a severe case of the “WTFs,” and now traitors and loyalists alike share their thoughts on the episode.
It might be an understatement to say that a bomb went off on last night’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Not only was Agent Garrett revealed as the nefarious Clairvoyant, but the broodingly beautiful Agent Ward turned out to be his accomplice – and fellow member of HYDRA.
Marvel.com spoke to Brett Dalton about the process of his character’s shocking turn. When called to speak to the writers about an upcoming change, Dalton was convinced that Agent Ward was soon to meet his end.
“I was kind of in shock,” he says, “Kind of like, ‘Give it to me doc, tell me the results what do we got here.’ Then they proceeded to let me in on what their plan for my character had been all along.”
After the shock wore off, Dalton says he was also excited by the idea of his character leading a double life. “The Ward I thought I was going to be playing for the next few seasons, the whole thing just changed,” he says. “[It’s] a huge opportunity to play somebody who is more complex, more interesting, more dangerous, scarier in a way that Ward wasn’t. I get to play two different characters in a way.”
Dalton also feels that, though Ward’s secret identity “fulfilled a promise of his past,” he is glad to have been kept in the dark for the first half of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s first season.
“I don’t think there was any way I could of gotten that same amount of earnestness in that character,” he admits. “I would [have]absolutely tried to give away too much too quickly. So I’m very happy that it developed as it did.”
As for what’s to come in Ward’s immediate future, Dalton teases that separating his S.H.I.E.L.D. identity from his HYDRA identity may not be as easy as Ward would like. “I think his feelings – or certain feelings – might have crept up and surprised him. When you’re living, eating, and on missions with people, you become part of that family unit.” Still, at least for now, “loyalty to Garrett wins out. So I have to follow his orders and I have to make some difficult decisions.”
The rest of the cast of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. shared their thoughts on the massive changes in a new video from Marvel.
Chloe Bennet says the reveal of Ward as an agent of HYDRA took an emotional toll on her. “[I] was absolutely devastated,” she says.
“It’s hard for me not to feel like I betrayed them,” Brett Dalton admits in the video. “And [the cast] feel betrayed on a personal level too!”
“I don’t talk to him anymore,” Iain De Caestecker deadpans.
As for the future of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Clark Gregg says that the aftermath will be emotional. “So much of what’s to come is figuring out what’s left to believe in,” he says. And Ming-Na Wen echoes many fans by noting the irony of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s title, in the light of the movie’s events. “Do we get a new title?” she jokes.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. show runners Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon also spoke with The Hollywood Reporter on how the blossoming of HYDRA will effect the show. Luckily, the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier did not come as a surprise to the couple.
“Literally, a day or two after [the series order] they said, ‘Oh, by the way, there’s a movie coming up that will affect your show,'” Tancharoen recalled. “’Read this script, and you’ll see what we’re talking about.’”
And though the show runners insist that “nothing is sacred” on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the show’s prior procedural format will, in some sense, be preserved.
“There’s definitely a procedural approach to taking down those factions that exist within SHIELD,” Tanchareon alludes. Whedon adds that the reveal of Hydra “obviously is a game-changer. But people will have to tune in to see exactly how the game is changed.”
And though fans may be traumatized, Whedon and Tancharoen are all smiles. “It’s thrilling for us for people to finally be able to see it,” Tancharoen admits. “The whole season was built toward this… Everything was sort of shaped and structured for this part of the season, for this link-up with the film, so these last six episodes, we’re really thrilled for people to see.”