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'Agents of SHIELD': Why didn't Ward pull the trigger?

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Kelsey McNeal/ABC

Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Tuesday’s episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Read at your own risk!

Could there actually be hope for former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent-turned-Hydra spy Grant Ward (Brett Dalton)?

The original six team members reunited during Tuesday’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for a mission to topple one of Hydra’s last remaining outposts, where Dr. List (Henry Goodman) was experimenting on Deathlok (J. August Richards) and Lincoln (Luke Mitchell).

Though Ward was vital to the mission—he was using inside man Bakshi (Simon Kassianides) as their eyes on the ground—that didn’t stop the team from being forthcoming about their feelings toward Ward, whose betrayal basically destroyed them. Nor did it stop Simmons from trying to kill Ward during the mission by attempting to plant a splinter bomb on him, but poor Bakshi met a grim fate instead. However, when Ward had Simmons dead to rights, he opted not to pull the trigger. Could this mean Ward is on the path to redemption? EW caught up with Dalton to get the scoop on what’s ahead. (And if you want to know about the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.-Avengers: Age of Ultron tie-in, get the scoop here.)

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Ward actually seems to really care about Agent 33 (Maya Stojan) and wants her to get better. Is he really being genuine?

BRETT DALTON: When they first started this relationship, I thought they’re two people who have experienced something similar by following orders and then finding themselves not knowing who they are when someone’s not telling them what to do. Ward is on the other side of that. When they first had that connection after Skye (Chloe Bennet) shot me and she picks me up and it’s our version of walking off into the sunset, I thought she’s going to help me out and this isn’t going to last. But it really had developed into something that’s much more complicated than that. There’s a teacher-student relationship there as well as what seems like a genuinely romantic relationship. You see us really lovey-dovey in the cockpit and it’s making everybody around us sick. In some ways, we have the most healthy relationship out of all of the other dynamics on the show, which is saying something because Ward is not a lovey-dovey kind of guy. That’s interesting that he’s now in probably the most stable relationship there is.

What makes me nervous is that Ward keeps saying there’s one more thing he wants out of Coulson (Clark Gregg) before he’s all done. He’s also promising Agent 33/Kara that he’s going to get her closure. Is there something more to his game plan that we don’t know yet?

I have to go back to the writing to answer this. In one description, they called Kara and I “dangerous lovebirds.” That actually makes sense. They are people who have genuine affection. There might be more of I’m leading her through something and move her into another chapter in her life so we can both move forward together. Both of us are attempting to rewrite our own histories so we can be free of all of this baggage. I do think we’re lovebirds, but with talons and beaks and not the people you want to mess with—people who will stop at nothing to move their own lives forward. If there’s something in the name of closure for her to bury the hatchet and move on with her life, if there’s something in the way, we’re going to blow through it and you wouldn’t want to be standing there.

We finally got to see Ward reunite with the original team. What was that like filming that scene?

That was my favorite scene of the season. When I saw the rough cut, I thought, “Oh my God, that’s fantastic,” because they left all that awkwardness in there. Yes, it’s the same six, but so much has happened in between that it’s never going to be quite the same. I was so thankful to be working with these guys again because it had been such a long time. The thing I miss the most is working with these guys. Much like life imitating art, there’s so much that has happened. Simmons has gone from a nice, shy, polite lab worker to someone capable of taking out one of the more dangerous characters on the show; even the most unlikely person to become a threat has become a threat.

Why do you think Ward didn’t go through with shooting Simmons?

Because she makes the best sandwiches. [Laughs] That’s a good question. It seems like he doesn’t just does these things out of pure pleasure. Ward was called onto the team for risk assessment. He can see all of the different angles and the right plays to make. He’s a brilliant strategist. Yes, there are some extremely violent and unpleasant things he’s done, but there’s been a purpose. I don’t know what purpose taking out Simmons would’ve had.

Do you think there’s a part of Ward who believes he can still eventually reconcile with the team?

It’s always a possibility. I don’t think he’s in the business of burning bridges, and that’s exactly what that would’ve done. That’s a corner that you can’t un-turn and a bridge that you can’t un-burn. As it is, Coulson “hired” me for this job because he promised they wouldn’t pursue me after this. That would’ve been null and void if I had done that. That would’ve been pretty inexcusable.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC. To get the scoop on the Avengers: Age of Ultron tie-in, check here.

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