The writers of this show really do love throwing us curveballs. After Ward kidnapped Skye I was about ready to think he probably was beyond real redemption, though conceding he might stick around as a begrudged potential asset, the way he was continually insisting on helping out. Through most of the finale, I continued to think this, even though I also conceded he was actually getting pretty entertaining. I wasn’t one of those who actually applauded with Skye shot him, but I was hardly upset about it either. And then came that last scene with Agent 33, and especially the comments the producers made about the bond between the two character.
Of course, he did have a selfish motive for helping her out, since it probably went a long way towards his not bleeding to death on that floor there. But now, for the first time, it seems believable he’s not only wanting to be of aid to someone he’s had no emotional attachment to beforehand, but he might be feeling true empathy towards her. And that’s something he’s not shown very much, not even for Skye. And if it’s not quite too late for him to be redeemed after all, especially since, as said, he is being of aid towards the team and sooner or later they’re going to have to really acknowledge that, even if they don’t have to forgive him because of it, well, that might be the biggest step towards it he’s taken yet.
Time will tell, of course. He may yet prove to be the manipulative asshole his detractors keep seeing, and if he is, poor Agent 33 really is in for a rough time. Time will also tell his full reaction to Skye shooting him. Right now, it seems equally plausible that he’ll shrug it off completely or that he’ll hold it against Skye permanently and harden towards her, you just don’t know with this guy. Though one thing it should do is serve as a wake up call and get rid of whatever illusions he has that his former colleagues are going to forgive him anytime soon. But that too might be important towards his redemption, for him to realize just what it’s going to require. It’s also an interesting question what he’s doing to do once he’s healed from his wounds. He might still try to insinuate himself in with Hydra; the European branches might not know he’s not to be trusted yet, and Agent 33 could pose as a compliant agent for a long time yet if she stays with him. Or he may lone wolf it in some other capacity. Maybe he’ll even fall in with Mike Peterson. It would be nice to see him again, and while I’m not sure he’d like to have Ward around, he’d probably have a lot more sympathy with Agent 33, and might tolerate him for her sake.
But that all depends on how long Agent 33 stays with him. Her fate may depend on whether he acts in her interests on purely in his own, but either could cause her to have a prolonged stay with him, either because he wants to keep hold of her or she’s not ready to face S.H.I.E.L.D. yet, or a short one. But as I said in my Coulson/May entry, I do think sooner or later he’ll send her home, if only as one of his “gifts,” and that might cause for dissension in the base. And that might just be the real start of her story, as she struggles to reclaim an identity of her own, and to set up a new life for herself, since she seems unable to return to what she was. Unlike Ward, the wiser on the base should have no problem forgiving her, and that’s a good thing, because she’ll feel much more need for that than Ward did. But right now she seems weak, easy to be played on, and even if he wants to, I’m not sure Ward can change that, which means she’d bring that vulnerability with her to the Playground, and with it the ability to suffer greatly at the hands of those hostile to her.
But if she can someday recover, and join Melinda May and Bobbi Morse as one of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s powerful action girls, what a strong story that would be for this TV show, to have someone recover from the kind of abuse she’s suffered, especially if Ward comes to a different fate. Unless she gets killed off.
Also, is she ever going to get her old face back? She’ll probably have to keep it while with Ward, but maybe they’ll figure out how to get May’s face off her at the Playground. Emotionally that might be an important part of her journey to her new self. Though I suppose that depends on what visuals the writers want…