'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.': Does 'Ragtag' Really Show Ward's Whole Story?
Agent Ward has been a pretty elusive character for most of this season, and not to his benefit. First, he gave us fake stories about his brother being abusive, Then, once he revealed himself as a HYDRA agent, he hinted at his allegiance to Garrett. Now, we finally get to see the beginnings of Ward and Garrett's relationship...but it still doesn't feel like we're getting the whole story.
"Ragtag" shows us these beginnings through a series of flashbacks. It starts in a juvenile detention center, where Garrett busts out Ward, who's being kept for arson and attempted murder of his family. They then go out to the wilderness, where Garrett gives the world's longest self-reliance lesson by leaving Ward out there with nothing but a dog for six months. And of course, since there's a dog, a gun, and Garrett is evil, Ward has to end up killing the dog.
But like Ward's story about his family, it doesn't quite feel like we're getting the whole picture. The episode gives us two perspectives on Ward: Fitz, who believes Ward is being coerced or controlled, and everyone else, who believes Ward is evil and acting of his own volition. By showing us how Ward got involved with Garrett, we're seemingly led to believe that Ward is just a bad guy, a statement which is underscored when Ward captures Fitz and Simmons and eventually throws them off the plane into the ocean.
But there's more to Ward than just that. Garrett continually says that caring for someone is a "weakness," but it seems that there are a lot of weaknesses that Ward has tried to ignore: the dog, Fitz, Simmons, Skye. He even seems to see Garrett as a sort of father figure. Ward doesn't seem like a bad guy, he just seems like someone who has put his trust in the wrong people, but the episode doesn't quite explain why. "Ragtag" is an episode that left us with a lot of cliffhangers: Coulson's team captured by centipede soldiers, Ian Quinn on the verge of selling these soldiers to the government, Fitz and Simmons at the bottom of the ocean. This show has a lot of unfinished business to deal with, and it feels like Ward's story is certainly part of that.