The ABC drama series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is back for Season 2, with Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) as the new Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., and having to rebuild the organization torn apart by Hydra won’t be easy. With the team in shambles, Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), Skye (Chloe Bennet), Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) and Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), must decide where their loyalties lie.
During this recent roundtable interview to discuss the direction of Season 2, co-stars Elizabeth Henstridge and Brett Dalton talked about the dynamic between Fitz and Simmons, not knowing about Ward’s secret too far ahead of time, the little details that the fans point out, whether they think Ward shot the dog, how captivity will affect Ward, and how the destruction of S.H.I.E.L.D. continue to affect the position of everyone left on this team. Check out what they had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.
ELIZABETH HENSTRIDGE: Their friendship, or relationship, has to be reborn. They were put in a life-threatening situation, and they’re emotionally and physically scarred, just from that situation. Their relationship couldn’t help but change.
Wasn’t it shocking to hear Fitz actually put his feelings for Simmons into words, last season?
HENSTRIDGE: It was. Iain [De Caestecker] and I spent the whole of Season 1 explaining to people that we didn’t think either of them fancied each other, and that it’s a brother-sister relationship. And it turned incestuous. We didn’t see it coming, as actors and people. We were not playing that, at all, so it was surprising.
What are you most excited for fans to get to see, with the FitzSimmons relationship?
HENSTRIDGE: They need to repair their relationship. Fans are gonna be able to see how they each develop individually. Previously, they’ve always been a duo, and they’ve always identified themselves as that. Now, they have to figure out where they are within that relationship, and then what that brings to other relationships that they might form. So, fans are gonna get to see the individuals of each of them more.
Brett, when did you find out that Ward was going to be a traitor?
DALTON: I found out an episode beforehand.
Do they just like to keep you in the dark?
HENSTRIDGE: Oh, yeah!
DALTON: They do, indeed. But I think it’s good ‘cause I would have tipped my hand because I would have tipped my hand, definitely, if I had known. You can’t un-know something.
Did you go back to see how it all fits together?
DALTON: I think there are a lot of cool things that fans have pointed out. There was a voice-over sequence where Coulson is talking about good and bad, and people you can trust and can’t trust, and it happened to cut to Ward at the line about people you can’t trust. People have pointed that out. Looking back on it, it was brilliant editing. So, it’s all there. I clearly didn’t know it, at the time. I was watching it and I wasn’t going, “Cool editing!” I was thinking that Ward was who he said he was, until he wasn’t.
HENSTRIDGE: I don’t think he did.
DALTON: I don’t think he did, either. The sequence was meant to be ambiguous. If Ward shot the dog, his chances at redemption are completely shot. I personally think that he did not shoot the dog and that he has that heart.
What’s it like to have people coming up to you and saying, “Hail Hydra!”?
DALTON: I don’t exactly know what to say back, but I think it’s great. I certainly enjoyed the transition, and playing a bad guy. Bill Paxton had so much fun in his role, and it was infectious.
HENSTRIDGE: Hydra is like infatuation where S.H.I.E.L.D. is the real relationship. Hydra is not sustainable.
Brett, now that he’s in captivity, how is Ward still going to be a part of the show, going forward?
DALTON: Ward is a wild card. He is in captivity, and when you’re there, all you have is yourself. You’re forced to sit there and think about what you’ve done. So, I think that the next step in Season 2 is going to be, who is Grant Ward? Is he a good guy? Is he a bad guy? Is he somewhere in between? Certainly, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on that. But, I don’t even know if Grant Ward knows the answer to that question. He’s capable of doing good and bad. He’s done good and bad. But, does that make him a good or bad guy? I’ve never even thought of him as a villain. I think he’s more of an anti-hero. He made some choices along the way. If I had a terrible childhood like that and somebody said, “Nobody will ever mess with you again, if you follow me. You have 10 seconds to decide.” Maybe I’d make that choice. I don’t know. But, that’s exactly what Ward did. And because of that, he is the man that he is today. You’ll have to see what happens.
HENSTRIDGE: It’s interesting that you say that he’s not good or bad. Ward was putting his life on the line for a cause that he thought was worthy, and that’s what we do, as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. That’s something that’s going to be brought into question. It’s a great concept because as soon as you’re able to protect someone, you’re able to hurt somebody, at the same time. Those are the questions and conundrums that Coulson now has to deal with, being Director. He doesn’t get to be like, “Well, we’re not asking questions because it’s come from above.” He has to decide those ethical questions now.
How will the destruction of S.H.I.E.L.D. continue to affect the position of everyone left on this team?
HENSTRIDGE: Everybody has to take a more active role because we are S.H.I.E.L.D. Before, we were an isolated team and we could go off and do our own things. Now, the stakes are so much higher because we’re trying to rebuild S.H.I.E.L.D. Our numbers are low, so everyone has to take on more responsibility and go into more situations that they perhaps don’t feel qualified for or trained for. They’re a ragtag team, at the moment. Every character is going to have to decide again, if they want to go with S.H.I.E.L.D. There’s no fancy resources anymore. There’s no money in it. We’re all scrambling to try to make it work. So, people have to decide whether they stay, or whether they go to the private sector, like they did in Captain America.
DALTON: It’s not as defined anymore, as good guy and bad guy.
HENSTRIDGE: And it’s illegal to be a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. As Simmons is used to following the rules, all of a sudden, if she goes with her heart, than she’s breaking the rules.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs on Tuesday nights on ABC.