Is Grant Ward Good or Evil on 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'? He's Not Past the Point of Redemption Yet
The waters are becoming increasingly muddied on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D . when it comes to Grant Ward. Is he good or evil? I mean, sure, burning his parents/childhood home to a crisp and (possibly) killing his brother Christian — not to mention what he did to FitzSimmons — would, in most cases, be a pretty definitive nail in his morality coffin. But the series could still try to redeem his character.
By pretty much all standards imaginable, Ward is just plain evil— unless there's some seriously manipulative storytelling trickery going on, which is always a possibility. In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, co-showrunner Maurissa Tancharoen said of Ward (and Kyle MacLachlan's The Doctor), "it’s hard to tell where their true intentions lie," which to me, kind of leaves the door open. She also left things vague when describing the conundrum of which Ward brother was telling the truth, saying "So, who do you choose to believe?" The fact that Whedon and Tancharoen are being so cagey on the subject makes me a wee bit suspicious — it makes me think that we can't write Ward off as pure villain just yet, no matter how much evidence is quickly building up to support the contrary.
Personally, I think he is evil... currently, that is. But there's a major caveat attached to his villainhood: It's a status that will always be open to change. I guess the real question here is, is Ward beyond hope? I mean, let's think about who we're dealing with. Does anyone love a redemption arc more than Joss Whedon? Spike tried to kill Buffy countless times, yet he ended up sacrificing himself to close the Hellmouth, and remains one of the Buffyverse's most loved characters (speaking of which, are we meant to get a Spuffy vibe from SkyeWard? The tortured, evil, yet surprisingly lovelorn killer and the witty quip-filled ass-kicker? Food for thought, I suppose).
There was also Topher Brink on Dollhouse, who was a slightly sociopathic, morally corrupt scientist who accidentally created world-ending technology — but he was still lovable as all heck, and he also died a hero's sacrificial death. Oh, and what about Angel? He had an entire, honest-to-god series chronicling his rehabilitation to the good side after centuries of brutal behavior. Bottom line? Someone likes him some redemption. In an ancient, decade-old interview with the New York Times, Whedon admitted that his interest in the topic is deeply rooted:
I do actually work with a number of reformed addicts, if that’s what you call them. I call them drunks. But my point is a good number of people that are most close to me creatively have lived that life, and it informs their work. I never have, and so I’m not sure why it is that redemption is so fascinating to me.
He also added that a drive — a need — to be redeemed "make[s] a character more textured than one who doesn’t." So is that what we're dealing with in the case of the ultra-screwed up Ward? My guess is yes — why else would they cast someone with puppy dog eyes as perfect as Brett Dalton's?
So... evil? Not evil? My vote's going in the definitely-evil-but-about-to-go-through-a-torturously-arduous-redemption-arc box.
Images: Adam Rose/ABC (2)