The final leg of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 has seen our merry band of agents trapped in a not-so-merry framework reality, which is filled with incredibly realistic representations of people and places. Unfortunately for Daisy and Jemma, they reunited with none other than Grant Ward when they entered the framework to try and rescue their friends, and they’ve had to try and figure out just what kind of Ward they’re dealing with this time. He could be a double agent murderer again, a minion again, or maybe just a construct of the framework controlled by A.I.D.A. Actor Brett Dalton shared his thoughts on what’s really going on with framework Ward, saying this:
I think it’s a fun combo of ‘all of the above,’ because he’s still a double agent, and he’s still capable, and you can see these flashes of things. I think that’s what makes it so interesting. You think that he’s one thing, but because we have three seasons now of this backstory, we don’t know exactly how much of that translates into the Framework. So as soon as we see Ward raise his gun in the forest and say, ‘Ladies, we need to talk,’ before he claims that he’s part of the Resistance, that should be an, ‘Oh s–t!’ moment. See! I trusted him, and he did it again! My God! There should be moments like that where we’re really not sure. Even in this week’s episode, Skye and Jemma say, ‘I’m pretty sure we can trust him…’
Given that the real Grant Ward is pretty definitively dead with even his corpse blown to smithereens in space, the version of Ward in the framework is obviously going to be different from the Ward that Daisy and Jemma knew over the years. Brett Dalton’s comments to TVLine indicate that framework Ward is a little bit of everything we saw over his three seasons alive on the show, and it sounds like there’s even room for some A.I.D.A. tinkering as well. After all, the entire framework is controlled and constructed by A.I.D.A.; even if framework Ward is working as a double agent against Hydra at this point, there’s every chance that A.I.D.A. could warp him into a triple agent.
Grant Ward has been the S.H.I.E.L.D. character who keeps finding new ways to come back over and over again, so maybe we should have all seen it coming when Daisy woke up in the framework to discover Grant Ward seemingly alive and well. He’s been a pretty fabulous variable in the final third of Season 4 so far, and I’ve certainly enjoyed how the show has played on fans’ expectations of Ward to create some great plot twists. Daisy and Jemma have been right to trust him so far, but the alliance may be in danger now that A.I.D.A. seems to be onto their game.
As great as Ward has been as a variable in the framework, my favorite thing that has come out of his digital resurrection has to be Jemma’s complete lack of patience for him. Who can blame her? Framework Ward may not be the same exact Ward who put her through hell for a few years, but they’re pretty similar. I was half hoping she’d find a way to shove Ward out of the quinjet in a med pod into the ocean in the last episode just to see how he liked it.
Jemma did not eject framework Ward out into the ocean in the latest episode, but she may still get her chance. Who knows? Maybe memories of what Ward did to them will be enough to wake Fitz up from A.I.D.A.’s especially thorough brainwashing. If anybody has a bone to pick with Ward, it ought to be poor Fitz. We’ll have to wait and see.