Credit: ABC/Florian Schneider
ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." - Season Three

Warning: This story contains spoilers from Tuesday’s episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

S.H.I.E.L.D. finally got back into the government’s good graces, but it came at a steep price.

During Tuesday’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., a group of Hydra agents purporting to be S.H.I.E.L.D. attacks a meeting at the UN, causing the world to really turn against what’s left of the organization. Surprise, surprise: Senator Christian Ward (Tim Dekay), Ward’s (Brett Dalton) older brother, has been funding Talbot’s (Adrian Pasdar) quest to take down S.H.I.E.L.D. because he fears the world will discover that his brother is actually Hydra.

But Coulson is able to strike up a deal with the elder Ward, in which his brother is turned over to his custody in exchange for Talbot & Co. coming to an agreement that S.H.I.E.L.D. isn’t all bad. Before he’s turned over, though, Skye (Chloe Bennet) is able to get all the information about her father (Kyle MacLachlan) that she needs. It doesn’t matter anyways because Ward escapes during his transport. What’s next for Ward? Dalton gives EW the scoop:

EW: Ward escaped! Are you glad to finally shake things up this season?

Yes, I was getting tired of wearing the same clothes over and over again each episode. Gosh, I have been waiting for it for a really long time. I didn’t know, when we went on hiatus, where they were going to go with the character. I just knew where we’d pick up with his story arc. I didn’t realize I was going to be in prison quite so long, however. It’s fun shooting those scenes because it’s really just about the acting, a relationship between two characters in that room. It’s Ward and Skye or it’s Ward and Fitz. It’s a heavy room. When we’re in there, it feels like the air is sucked out of it—not to reference our episode with Fitz. [Laughs] It’s a heavy place to be. I’m happy to break out.

The world knows he’s a Hydra agent, so how difficult is it for him now that he’s escaped?

I always felt like he was more loyal to Agent Garrett (Bill Paxton) than he ever was to Hydra as a whole, as an evil organization bent on world destruction. I really had a father figure in Agent Garrett, and he made a choice about which way the wind was blowing and decided to swing his sails, and I followed Garrett. I don’t think Ward has Hydra tattooed across his chest or anything like that. He’s really been through a mental, psychological journey. It’s not quite good guy, it’s not quite bad guy. It’s not trying to get in with S.H.I.E.L.D. again, it’s not trying to get in with Hydra. He’s really on his own path. He’s living by his code at this particular point in life. It’s interesting to see someone gone rogue like that, who has so many skills and can pretty much do anything. It’s just what do you do with those skills once you’re out?

Ward told Skye the apparent truth about her father. He also said his brother is a master manipulator. Can Ward ever be trusted or is he just desperate to get out of that cell?

He has not told a single lie this entire season. I would like to think that there’s a reason for that. I’m not saying that he’s telling the entire truth, but he has not told a single lie. The real question is not even if he’s telling the truth or not, because that is happening, but why? I don’t know the answer 100%, but I had an idea where they are going. It’s fascinating because it’s such an interesting journey. It’s not your typical redemptive arc. It defies expectations.

Do you think he truly cares about Skye? Maybe that’s the reason why he’s trying to be so honest?

I think those feelings are genuine, absolutely. At the end of his six month solitary confinement, he has come to the other side. He has wrestled with his demons and has the scars to prove it. Now he’s on the other side of that, and there’s a kind of clarity, serenity and focus that we haven’t seen from this guy. We saw a conflicted side in season 1, but there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of conflict in season 2. He seems incredibly clear, as does Skye. She’s on another path and has an intense focus to her. There isn’t a fish out of water quality anymore.

Ward was basically being sacrificed so S.H.I.E.L.D. could be be an organization again. Will he hold a grudge over that?

I think he knows how this game works. He breaks down Senator Ward’s whole plan, that Coulson makes this deal that wraps up right around midterms. It’s the perfect political narrative to put S.H.I.E.L.D. back in the good graces of the public and to make Senator Ward the knight in shining armor. He pieces it all together. You can’t pull anything over on Ward. He is incredibly aware of all that. I don’t know if he’ll hold a grudge. If anybody knows you have to make hard decisions in the process of obtaining your goals, that’s Ward.

Ward gets free, so Coulson doesn’t technically deliver. Will there be ramifications for S.H.I.E.L.D. because of that?

At the time when Ward breaks free, there’s also some other big events that happen. As crazy as that is, there’s also the world at large getting even crazier, so that means that while he is a threat, it’s not like they’re playing games of Risk. There are other things that need their attention. In a way, it makes it a more dangerous situation, but it also makes it one of several pots that are on the fire now. He’s a wildcard out there. You don’t ultimately know why he’s doing all this. Only in retrospect will you find out that all of these steps led to something particular.

Simmons promised to kill him if she ever sees him again. Will that promised be addressed?

I don’t know. I imagine that if something is set up like that, there’s always the possibility of that being fulfilled. It is such a badass thing to see one of the less aggressive agents suddenly become a force to be reckoned with in her own right. Ward believes her. She meant what she said.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

Episode Recaps

ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." - Season Three
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) assembles a team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to handle strange new cases.

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