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[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Tuesday’s episode of Agents of SHIELD, “Spacetime.”]
Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) may be dead, but his body is far from gone thanks to the Inhuman Hive on Agents of SHIELD. And after months of being in the dark, now the entire SHIELD team knows it.
Ever since Hive escaped from the alien planet Maveth, he’s been living in secret in Hydra’s headquarters. But when Coulson (Clark Gregg), Daisy (Chloe Bennet) and the rest of the SHIELD team came face-to-face with Hive on a mission to save an Inhuman who can get visions of the future, they finally learned the chilling truth about their former friend and agent turned Hydra enemy.
The Hollywood Reporter spoke with Agents of SHIELD showrunners Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen about how this revelation about Hive taking over Ward’s body will affect the team going forward, plus the return of Lash and loss of Andrew (Blair Underwood), Daisy witnessing the midseason premiere flash-forward and more.
Now that the whole team knows that Ward’s body has been taken over by Hive, how is this going to change things for everyone going forward?
Jed Whedon: This is going to be the most shocking for Coulson because he did something dark but for a good reason, and now he knows he didn’t achieve much. (Laughs.) Maybe he even did something or created something worse with that act. I think that Coulson’s real feelings about Ward will come to the surface. For everybody else, obviously it’s going to be a very large threat. Simmons lived on that planet and knows a little bit of how evil this thing is and what it’s capable of. There are a lot of questions and they all have no idea how to handle it.
Maurissa Tancharoen: Up until this point, Coulson has been coping with what he did to Ward back on Maveth by just pushing forward, not really thinking about it. Now, basically Ward’s face filled the screen in his office and he literally came face-to-face with the person that he killed. And he’s no longer a person, so what is he is still a question. We’ve been alluding to the fact that he’s the ultimate symbol of evil, so that’s not good. (Laughs.) He’s basically Ward times a million.
By this point, does everyone know what Coulson did to Ward up on Maveth, or is that still a secret?
Whedon: I think they know, but maybe they don’t know the details.
Tancharoen: The only one who knows it first hand is Fitz.
Whedon: They share the brutality of the act, all the details. We will be dealing with that a little bit.
Hive has all of Ward’s memories, so will he feel any kind of connection to anyone in particular on the SHIELD team?
Whedon: That’s a good question. He might. We know he has at least Ward’s memories, so you’re asking the right questions. That’s all we’ll say.
Tancharoen: We can’t really say much, but you’re asking a very good question.
When she touched the Inhuman on the roof at the end of the episode, Daisy got to witness the flash-forward from the midseason premiere. What is she going to do with this information?
Whedon: We’ll see that she’s rattled by it. Not only did she see that, but it came to her at a moment when it was confirmed for her that she cannot change the outcome of these visions and the future is the future. We’ll see how she deals with that and whether or not she feels like she should share it or if she should try to take it on.
Like you said, Daisy couldn’t stop the first vision she saw from coming true, but should we take it at face value that it’s impossible to stop them all from happening? Or will that question still loom large going forward?
Tancharoen: There is still that question. We’ve been building this theory behind the Inhumans that each one of them serves a purpose. Lincoln says that they’re all by design and each one of them fills a purpose. They have their own destiny. In this episode, Daisy believes her destiny is to alter this future but it’s right on the heels of us building this arc with Daisy where she has this hubris. She has this sense of Inhuman pride. The fact that she thinks she can stop the future is an example of that pride. When we build something up in a character, we like to take it away, and this is an example of that. Whether or not this is also an indication of what happens later, that is still a question of if she can stop this new vision.
Whedon: I think we’re pretty definitively saying that right now, you can’t change it. So it’s a question of if something changes that allows her to. I think that she’s operating under the notion that she cannot.
What can you tease about the identity of the SHIELD agent who dies in that flash-forward vision?
Whedon: Well, is it even a SHIELD agent or did they just borrow someone’s jacket? (Laughs.) We can reveal nothing.
Now that Andrew has transformed into Lash for what he says is the last time, does that mean Andrew really is gone for good?
Whedon: I think so. It’s a goodbye between Andrew and May, and it’s a powerful one. They were both so wonderful in those scenes. Obviously, this is the Marvel universe, so who knows what will happen?
Tancharoen: There’s always the possibility of the serum working.
Whedon: I think right now, it is goodbye to Andrew and hello to perma-Lash.
How will May be dealing with that going forward?
Tancharoen: May has a lot of pain.
Whedon: She carries a lot with her.
Tancharoen: This might be the ultimate pain for her. Her one and only source of love and happiness is now gone forever and in the form of a monster. There will be an emotional toll.
Whedon: And she wasn’t ready to forgive him. She already lost him when it was revealed that he was Lash. So to then hear him retract some of his words sort of brought up that pain again.
Tancharoen: But we finally give them a moment of closure, and then he transforms forever.
Now that SHIELD has Lash in containment (again), what are their plans for him?
Tancharoen: That is also a good question.
Whedon: Right now we have him because who else are we going to give him to? (Laughs.) But he does say that he thinks that Lash is fighting for a cause that he doesn’t understand yet, just as Ward is revealed to our team. So maybe those two things are tied together in some way.
Coulson and Lincoln debated a lot over how Inhuman powers could exist for some higher purpose, or they could just be random. Will that debate be explored further?
Whedon: It’s an interesting aspect of the Inhumans. In the comics, these things are made, they’re not random. There’s a lack of something that needs filling and an Inhuman will be created that fills that niche. It’s an interesting concept we like playing with, and that plays into the idea of fate, which with our future visions, we’re hitting pretty hard. We like the idea of people who have been lost in their life, looking for an answer, actually having a direct purpose and trying to find what that is.
After his showdown on the roof with Daisy, Hydra baddie Gideon Malick (Powers Boothe) sounded “scared” on the phone. Is he scared of Hive, or what he saw SHIELD is capable of or something else entirely?
Tancharoen: He’s glimpsed the future.
Whedon: The Inhuman touched him, so he saw something.
Tancharoen: It’s scared him to the core.
Next week’s episode deals a lot with a mysterious, “shameful” secret from Malick’s past. Does his future vision have anything to do with that?
Tancharoen: We’ll begin to uncover what he saw in that glimpse of the future by looking at his past.
When are we going to learn more about Malick’s Hydra-loyal daughter (Bethany Joy Lenz)? Is she going to become a bigger threat moving forward?
Tancharoen: We will know more about her pretty soon.
Whedon: You won’t have to wait long. (Laughs.)
Tancharoen: We definitely wanted to explore what it’s like to be a family that grew up in the religion of Hydra, if you will. How that is the backbone of their beliefs and their bond. It’s a very interesting dynamic, this father-and-daughter relationship in that world of Hydra.
Agents of SHIELD airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.
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