Short answer? Hell to the yes.
Victoria Hand, how should I describe her importance to the storyline? If I just wanted her back because of queer representation, AoS can then easily put in a second lesbian character (Isabelle Hartly?) and this time keep her alive by hook or by crook. But Victoria Hand is more than just a queer Marvel character who was killed way too early to me - her characterization intrigues me, and I want to know her.
As you’ve mentioned, I’m a #StandWithWard fan. We’ve raged at how evil it was for Victoria in Episode 1x08 to leave Ward and Fitz behind enemy lines to fend for themselves WITHOUT telling them in advance (so that they can at least prepare their inventory to that effect, or mentally prepare to go on a suicide mission, if nothing else). She was part of the SHIELD problem of creating demons in disavowed and betrayed agents like Garrett (if Garrett’s story is to be believed), and it almost happened to Ward and Fitz too. She would have written off Coulson’s life in episode 1x11 if not for Fury and Hill. She ordered the shooting of both Garrett and Coulson and the innocent but guilty by association Team Bus without questioning. Consider that Victoria is in essence the extreme version of Nick Fury - both of them uses the end to justify the means, and they are utterly unapologetic about it. They’re both what I’d call neo-Hydra SHIELD, in the sense that they are fine with using Hydra tactics to fight their enemies, that only a thin line separates them from true blue Hydra followers. Both sides of the coin believe themselves to be the one most capable of
ruling protecting the world, except that maybe Fury and Hand are a teeny bit more altruistic in their beliefs. Just a teeny bit.
This is also the woman who was upset at the needless sacrifice of Felix Blake, who was so unimpressed by Coulson’s circus that she subpoenaed Simmons in the very slim hope that she would be able to tell her team something that could prevent any more unnecessary casualties. Depending on how you interpret her last scene in episode 1x08, she could have been smiling wistfully at seeing how far Coulson and his team went for two agents of their own when she herself was REALLY not at liberty to do so (and that it was an oversight instead of deliberate cruelty on her part to not tell Coulson that team Bus was in fact needed for extraction). That her rejection of Skye was in direct parallel to May’s initial rejection of Skye - because to Victoria, she believes in SHIELD above all else, even Nick Fury.
Such devotion to something (or in the case of Coulson and May and Skye and Ward and Fitz, someone) can be unhealthy to be sure, but see, in anything that Victoria does, it’s never about herself. That is what made her so important. Because no matter how much we want to cry foul at the sacrifice of the little people, people we root for, people who are the micro viewers, like Ward and Fitz, sometimes we have to acknowledge that in a game of chess, we will always need someone who can look at the bigger picture, at the macro view, to make the sacrifices that has to be made for the game to be won. She is not like John Garrett, who sacrifices through selfishness and sadism. She is I think, someone who makes the sacrifices, knowing what it would cost, and be utterly unapologetic about it. Such behaviour is both necessary and a flaw (and in a person like Alexander Pierce can be utterly destructive), since being unapologetic about her moves will cause either her desensitization of agents from humans to mere statistics, or hubris in her belief that she has always made the best, most economical move available to her, to the point where she completely forgets about the fact that Team Bus remains unutilised in the mission and can be drafted for extraction.
So why do I say yes to #SaveVictoriaHand? Because she is a flawed character who believes in and works for someone or something other than herself. Her strength in her conviction, the mistakes that she made because of that strength sometimes overflowing into stubbornness, and the vast possibilities for her character to grow gives her a complexity that I would love to see explored in the future. I want to know what made her the hard woman she is today. I want to know how someone who coldly sends two agents to their deaths in episode 1x08 can be so devastated at the demise of SHIELD in episode 1x17. I want to know how someone cruel enough to use Ward, in his emotionally fragile state over non-judicious use of deadly force against Thomas Nash (whom everyone thought was the Clairvoyant at the time of the murder and still Ward was rightly made to face a review board over the murder), to kill a handcuffed, defenseless Garrett in episode 1x17, Hydra though he may be, and be the same woman who ordered a temporary ceasefire to allow a window of opportunity for agent extraction and almost, almost, defending Coulson for the rescue to Sitwell in episode 1x08. I want to know why, despite having the unchallenged respect among her peers (she was dead center in the hero walk in episode 1x16 and no one considered that out of place) in an organization that has less of a problem with misogyny than other equal level organizations (less, I said, not none) - first SHIELD director is a woman, Peggy Carter; current deputy director is a woman, Maria Hill; top espionage agent is a woman, Natasha Romanov; the legend of SHIElD is a woman, Melinda May; only named SHIELD special services agent is a woman, Sharon Carter; Helicarrier agents look like at least 50% women etc - and yet still feel as though she needs to prove her toughness each and every day in her capacity as the highest ranking agent of the Hub, to be unsmiling, outwardly uncaring, in order to be taken seriously.
Most importantly, I want to see her be more than the mission commander. I want to see her be more than the bureaucrat at the top moving pieces across the mission boards like they are statistics. I want to see her having to raise a gun, and if need be, pull the trigger, in defence of her beliefs instead of always having mooks doing that for her while she’s like “ahahaha!” in the middle (see episode 1x17). I want to see her as an Agent of SHIELD who knows what it’s like to have to personally kill in order to survive, who is shown to have intimate experience with both the micro and macro view of what it means to be a SHIELD agent. I want to see her journey parallel SHIELD’s recovery, as she and SHIELD both cease treating agents as statistics, for them to treat every man as important, and for her to remember that systems can be flawed, as flawed as the people who uphold them.
(Also, if the show canonizes her conflict with Fury from the comic books, and making it as her disagreement on Fury’s human / alien experimentation [since I haven’t seen her endorse, implicitly or explicitly, about this area of SHIELD’s work that’s shady as fuck], I will be so happy to have another reason to defend Victoria)