Spoiler Warning: If you’re not yet caught up with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s third season, I’d suggest steering clear of this post as there will be spoilers below.
Over the course of three seasons, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has managed to do a great job at continually revamping the series with each new season, but as great as those changes have been, they’ve been nowhere near as great as the continuous reworking of the Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) character. Back in season one, when we first met Ward, he was a top S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, reluctant to join Coulson’s team of misfits initially, before ultimately becoming a part of this new family. Of course, after the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which saw S.H.I.E.L.D. fall to Hydra, Ward was proven to be a double agent. This played a big part going into season two, and we began to see another side to this character than we’d seen previously – one full of anger and vengeance. And yet, that also was nothing compared to who/what he became in the show’s third season.
After all of the hell Ward had inflicted upon Coulson and his team, he finally managed to take Ward down while on Maveth, and at the time, it appeared as though the S.H.I.E.L.D. gang had finally broken free of Ward. That is, until Hive took over his corpse. Not many actors/actresses would be able to tackle the various twists the S.H.I.E.L.D. writers continually threw Dalton’s way, but with each new change to his character, Dalton continued to prove himself. So, as much as it was expected that, at some point, the writers would have to find a way to get rid of him once and for all, knowing that Hive/Grant Ward are officially done on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is rather upsetting. Taking some time to talk to the folks over at IGN, Dalton discussed the show’s third season finale and what it was like learning about Hive’s fate.
As we teased yesterday prior to the season finale’s airing, the writers had all of the actors guessing who the fallen agent would be as they played “hot potato of death” with the cast – rotating not only YoYo’s necklace, but also the S.H.I.E.L.D. jacket showcased in the flash-forward scene from the season premiere. The intent was to make it a mystery for not only the cast, but also the fans as they attempted to guess which agent would die before the end of the season finale. However, as seen in last night’s two-part finale, a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent wasn’t the only person to die. Dalton’s Hive/Ward finally met his end alongside Lincoln (Luke Mitchell) near the very end of the finale. While it wasn’t surprising to see the writers finally kill of Hive, it was shocking to see one of the original cast members killed off. For Dalton, while he knew to expect it as the bad guy, it was still a bit of a shock to him as he was only informed of his character’s fate an episode prior to the finale.
IGN: When did you know that you were officially getting killed off, you know, for the second time this season?
Brett Dalton: Yeah, thanks for bringing that up. [laughs] No, really though, for every significant change my character goes through I have this really long walk to the office with all of the producers. I’ve done it three times now, and I’ve dodged a bullet twice. And this time around, it stuck. And obviously, they only tell me the episode before. I think they do that for a couple reasons, but that’s how it lands. Always the episode before. And so once again I took this long crazy walk. It’s a walk to the principal’s office, really. It’s not fun. And I go there and I sit down and usually one of the first things they say is “Don’t worry, you’re not dead. There’s just a really big change coming. Let us tell you about it.” But this time, they didn’t say that. It was all about what was not said. They did the long nod and the door was closed and there was some more long nodding.
And I knew this day would be coming at some point. As the bad guy, you kind of know your days are numbered and that it’s probably going to happen. But it’s always sad when it actually does. Of course, I love the show and I love what I’m doing, but I’m going to particularly miss the people. Because that’s irreplaceable and that’s something you don’t get anywhere else. I’m going to miss my family.
Still, as surprising as Hive’s death was, Dalton saw his finale moments as “intimate and vulnerable”, something I’d have to agree with. It was a different side to Hive, one that gave his character a sense of humanity. In fact, it kind of reminded me of that finale moment between Vision and Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron. It was an excellent ending to an already strong season finale.
IGN: Speaking of Hive’s calm demeanor, what did you think of the way he went out? It was quite sentimental, his moments with Lincoln.
Dalton: That was my favorite scene in the whole script. I was very happy that they gave him a moment. Actually both of them – Hive and Lincoln – a moment. I thought that, at that point, what was Hive going to do? Put Lincoln under sway for three minutes until this bomb goes off? What would be the point of that? There was nothing these two people could do. They were in a circumstance unlike anything else. It’s a very unlikely scene between two people who wouldn’t even necessarily be in a scene together. I guess they’d had theirs earlier, where there was a cat and mouse chase scene. But for the most part, here were two people sharing the last moments of their life together. So it was strange to have these two guys together. But it was personal and intimate and vulnerable.
It’s like looking into a fire. Somehow the truth comes out. You’re looking at the Earth, man. It’s so far away. And you’ll get a perspective on things. For Hive, he was trying to change that entire thing and everyone who was on there. And Lincoln has just been pretty much trying to change one person who lives on there. These opposite perspectives come together and both men have time to reflect. I think there’s a great deal of remorse on both of their ends that they weren’t able to achieve that connection and do all the things that they wanted to do. But there was also an acceptance.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will return this September for its fourth season at a new time-slot on ABC. While you wait for the show to return, you can binge watch the first two seasons on Netflix now. Or you can just re-watch the season three finale again, whichever you prefer.