"Not for Everyone," Order of the Stick #464, by Richard Berlew.
This is what should await Agent Grant Ward.
"Ragtag," tonight’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., showed us Ward’s past. How he was in juvie for burning down his parent’s home (and almost killing his brother) before John Garrett recruited him for S.H.I.E.L.D./HYDRA. How Garrett left Ward alone in the woods for a few months (which became six months), with nothing but the clothes on his back and his dog Buddy, to fend for himself. And how, after being accepted into S.H.I.E.L.D. after five years of training and of Garrett’s tutelage, Garrett told him to shoot Buddy, to show he wasn’t “weak” — not “compromised” by “emotional attachments” — but Ward intentionally missed and let Buddy go. (Buddy was shot anyway, by someone far away with a sniper rifle — presumably by Garrett himself, tying up the “loose end” Ward wouldn’t.)
And tonight Fitz & Simmons, having been captured by Ward and brought onto the Bus, escaped and were hiding in a cell/storage container on the plane. Fitz, a science-puppy in humanoid form, tried to remind Ward what a good man he was, as Steve Rogers tried to do with Bucky Barnes in CA:TWS. Ward said he wasn’t good, and pushed the container out into the ocean, presumably leaving them to drown.
We did, however, see that the Bus hadn’t yet reached a high altitude when the container was ejected, so the impact may not’ve been that damaging. And if anyone could figure a way out, FitzSimmons could, which Ward would know. Ward may’ve done this knowing they could escape and be okay — as he had tried to let Buddy go — and knowing that Garrett couldn’t swing around and shoot them to be sure they were dead (since he was busy trying not to die from his Deathlok v.1 implants being shut down by Fitz’s EMP).
Here’s the thing, though: that one act doesn’t make up for all he’s done. It can’t. Even if he seized control of the Bus right now, killed all the nameless HYDRA agents and John Garrett, he still has so much blood on his hands from deceiving everyone for so long, killing S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, killing Victoria Hand, and for leading HYDRA to the Fridge and handing over all those WMDs (including the Gravitonium they didn’t even suspect was there) and releasing all those prisoners.
Which is not to say he shouldn’t try to redeem himself, try to do right. He’s been seeing how expendable he truly is, after Garrett ordered Deathlok last ep to electrocute him to death if Skye didn’t tell them how to crack the encryption on the hard drive, and his experiences with The Team may’ve shown him that there are people that can be trusted. I’d see no problem with him trying to Heel-Face Turn and try to help the Team — honestly, I can’t picture Ward not trying to betray Garrett for all he’s done to him, knowing that Garrett only sees him as a tool to further his own ends — but for all Ward has done, by now anything he tries will be too little, too late. It wouldn’t be Redemption Equals Death, or even Death Equals Redemption, it’d be closer to Villain’s Dying Grace (if not a Heel Face Door Slam).
I’m still sure that it’s Ward behind the sniper scope, that he just couldn’t shoot the dog in the face and needed the distance to do it but still did it. Which also explains his willingness to dump Fitz and Simmons in the water instead of figuring out a way to get the door open (there’s got to be an override somewhere or the glass may not be bulletproof). Their death is ‘inevitable’ but Ward himself isn’t putting them down.