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Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “A Fractured House” 

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “A Fractured House”
Photo Credit: Florian Schneider/ABC
Photo Credit: Florian Schneider/ABC
Photo Credit: Florian Schneider/ABC

Liar, Liar.

Grant Ward is a liar. A very accomplished and effortless liar to boot, so why does Skye, or any of us, take him at his word, just because he swore to never lie to her (us) now that he’s a prisoner of SHIELD, instead of an agent of SHIELD? I wouldn’t believe him if he said the sky was blue or that ponies were awesome. I would, in fact, immediately sell my pony (sorry, Maggie) because Grant Ward espousing the awesomeness of horses would convince me, 100%, that they were the devil. 

So it’s a difficult place to find myself in when I start wondering if he’s telling the truth. The only reason I think he may not be lying is because his brother, Sen. Christian Ward (Tim Dekay, White Collar; Carnivale) seems to be an even bigger liar. But it’s so hard to tell! 

Photo Credit: Adam Rose/ABC
Photo Credit: Adam Rose/ABC

Ward’s difficult relationship with his older brother, Christian, was explored in the season one episode, “The Well,” wherein Grant describes how Christian (this is so much easier when characters have different last names) would force him to torment their younger brother, Thomas. Number One on that Hit Parade (see what I did there?) was tossing young Thomas down a well.

To be honest, if it were my family, I’d be the one splashing around the well and my older brother would have pissed on my head while my sister threw rocks at me, so my only sympathy right now lies with Thomas, who must suffer post-traumatic stress disorder every time someone runs the tap or flushes a toilet. 

That story garnered Grant Ward a lot of sympathy, and played prominently in his emotional seduction of Skye, Face it, we’re all suckers for the wounded warrior archetype, and our collective sympathies lie with the victim, not the aggressor. If the story is truly a lie, as Christian Ward says it is, it maneuvered Skye perfectly into the place Grant wanted, and needed, her to be (seriously. Different last names next time, please). 

I am sorely tempted to believe Christian, an ambitious politician who is totally ok with using his brother’s arrest and incarceration to his own advantage during an election, because I despise Ward so much, but it’s admittedly difficult. The Senator’s version of events has him as the boyhood, selfless protector of shared sibling Thomas, while Grant was a wildcard, displaying sociopathic tendencies at an early age, constantly tormenting and hurting the youngest member of the Ward family.

Christian’s version of the well incident has Grant trying to drown Thomas in a creek, and his bitter, “Oh, it’s a ‘well,’ now?” comment to Coulson indicates this story has been told many times by Grant, in many different iterations, with the common outcome being Christian as the violent aggressor, and Grant the helpless victim to his older brother’s bullying. 

So why should I believe one over the other? We don’t have Thomas here to lay things to rest regarding what the truth actually is (and where is Thomas? Did he die somehow and I managed to forget/block that out?), so it’s just instinct guiding us forward. Television loves to manipulate and play with our instinctual reactions to situations; what we think makes absolute sense in a certain situation means absolutely nothing in a writers’ room, and that’s part of the reason we continue to watch and enjoy the shows that we do. Predictable TV is not viewable TV.

So it’s easy to say that Grant Ward is a liar, that’s been proven, and his busting out of those handcuffs and killing his escort team on the way from SHIELD custody to his brother’s tender mercies indicates that he’s still the traitor we know him to be, and nobody, Skye included, should believe a word he says. But I do not trust his brother. Christian’s story is too smooth, too polished and too much what we’re willing to believe about Ward and seems to be another manipulation.

Instinctively, I distrust Senator Ward, and while I’m still not enamored of former SHIELD agent Ward, and I still absolutely hate him, I find myself beginning to believe him over his brother. 

Loose Ties:

• SHIELD‘s weekly mission to break my heart continues apace as my beloved Twins are reunited and things do not go well. Simmons can’t connect with Fitz anymore, and it’s hurting both of them. Fitz is bitter about Jemma lying to and leaving him when he was at his most vulnerable and needed her the most, while Jemma knows that she’s a deterrent to Fitz’s recovery, but she still wants to be with him. Their love for each other is deep, and it’s killing me to see them so awkward with each other. 

• Jemma’s parting comment to Ward, “If I ever see you again, I’ll kill you,” should have made me cheer, but it just made me sadder. It’s not just the fact Ward threw them out of a plane and tried to kill them that has engendered her hatred; it’s the fact he effectively killed Fitz/Simmons, even though both the Twins are alive. She will never forgive him for breaking Fitz (neither will I), but Simmons driven to violent threats upsets me, and indicates how much she’s hurting.

Photo Credit: Adam Rose/ABC
Photo Credit: Adam Rose/ABC

• “It’s always a shame when a good soldier falls.” Brig. Gen. Talbot says this to Agent May in Brussels, after learning she lost six operatives to Hydra. The day before this SHIELD aired, I watched the funeral of CPL. Nathan Cirillo, a soldier killed while on duty, guarding the tomb of Canada’s unknown soldier in Ottawa, Ont., so I was especially vulnerable to the mention of fallen soldiers and lost comrades. This is as much as I’ve ever liked Talbot, and I may get that sentence tattooed over my heart.

Agents of S.H.I.E.LD airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on ABC.

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