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

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has taken us on a whirlwind ride in its second season. We’ve peeled back the layers of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2.0, tackled the world of the Inhumans, and explored the backstories of some of the show’s more complex characters. And as we look ahead to the final stretch of episodes, it’s time to bring all these stories together—and find out how “it’s all connected.”

To tease what will no doubt a high-energy and intense moment in next week’s episode, “The Frenemy of my Enemy”—which sees the return of Ward, and not just briefly—Marvel TV teamed with artist Nathan Fox to produce a piece that is both evocative and complex. Fox, best known for his work on Vertigo/DC’s FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics, is an accomplished illustrator who boasts an eclectic resume; in addition to contributing to popular series such as Harley Quinn and Batman: Gotham Knights, his work has appeared everywhere from Marvel to DC to Dark Horse Comics, as well as in publications such as The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and Wired, among others.

In our weekly chat, EW got executive producer Jeff Bell to dig a little deeper into what this piece might tease for next week’s hour.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Every week, I get so excited about the art for each episode. But this one is amazing, with the colors and all the conflict. While a lot of the art in this initiative tends to be interpretative, I know that this is pretty close to an actual scene.

JEFF BELL: It couldn’t be more different than Bahrain, which was sort of this…elegance. Now it’s sort of this cluster of men and women pointing things and shooting at each other…all held in the loving arms of Deathlok. [laughs] We worked long and hard to get the team back together, and to sort of have Ward with Coulson and Fitz and Deathlok is a lot of fun.

And I love the colors. One of the things that stuck out at me was that Ward and Bakshi are in Hydra red, while Coulson and Hunter are in S.H.I.E.L.D. blue. And Deathlok is another color entirely. It makes it seem like this is all a big puzzle that’s coming together.

I think it’s super cool that way. We had promised at the end of 16 that we’re going to go find Ward, and then 17 became all about Bahrain and other stuff. There wasn’t any Coulson in the modern era except the tag at the very end, and it’s fun to finally jump in and tell that story. And I think Monica [Owusu-Breen] did a terrific job writing that.

This is the first time Ward is going to see Coulson or anyone from the team since he disappeared, and he’s a much different person than he was back then.

He’s feeling pretty good about himself. He’s at peace now.

And last time we saw him, he seemed to be coming into his own. There’s no Whitehall, no S.H.I.E.L.D., no Garrett, no Christian. He’s really his own leader.

He’s in his “best boyfriend ever mode.”

I love that you describe him that way.

Well, because you want people to go “oh, he’s okay…no, this is not his fault…oh, he did something terrible.” That’s the beauty of Brett’s character right now—anytime he shows up, it can be for a hug, or to put a bullet in your head, and you’re not really sure which one it’s going to be. And they’re all kind of earned, which is lovely.

In the past few weeks, we’ve been splitting everyone up and focusing on smaller character moments, like the episodes with May and Bobbi. Based on the art, is this episode going to see a lot of those storylines come together?

I think the way this ends…18 really sets up nicely the final four, which I think kind of move like a train. If you had gone to see a 22 hour movie, this sort of launches us into act three, where everything starts coming together. So we’ve got S.H.I.E.L.D. 2.0, and we’ve got Hydra, and we’ve got Inhumans, and we’ve got Ward, and we’ve got all those different threads. And we’re starting to put those together in new combinations in new ways, and that will propel us into the last four episodes.

And we’re obviously going to see more with Hunter and Coulson and Fitz based on this week’s tag, right?

Those guys are still together just as they were when we last saw them. We pick up there and take off. And really, this is the first time Fitz has been out in the field by himself since he got bonked on the head.

“The Frenemy of my Enemy” airs Tuesday, April 21 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC. Be sure to check in at EW to see the exclusive reveal of next week’s art for episode 19, “The Dirty Half Dozen.” The art for “The Frenemy of my Enemy” will go on sale on Friday, April 17 at as a $49.99 print (limited to 100 copies) at 12:30 a.m. PT.

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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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