Ohmygosh this was so hard, but so fun too.
♒ : Any other headcanon of your choosing
Jemma: breaking Ward out series
Grant: only memories remain
‘verse: this truth won’t set you free
After Coulson’s back-up arrives at the Playground, things get tense. And not just because Grant freaking Ward is back, oh no. It’s Kara. Kara’s been free of Whitehall for a handful of months and, while it’s obvious she’s still a little fetterless, she’s doing pretty dang well. The same cannot be said for Jemma, who the team rescued from Cybertek at the same time they captured Ward. She’s been cut off from anyone holding her metaphorical reins for nearly a year, but she’s still a mess. (This hasn’t escaped the notice of any of the guys during the time they’ve spent hanging with Ward and Kara. They are all deeply disturbed that Ward managed to “fix” Kara so well in such a short time, while Jemma, surrounded by her closest friends, is still struggling.)
But her struggle isn’t quite the one everyone thinks it is. They see her struggling to trust them and to feel at home in her own skin. When, for Jemma, the main problem is pretending to care. It’s exhausting, really, pretending she cares about innocent lives and everyone’s petty troubles. If she had a dime for every time she didn’t roll her eyes at Bobbi or Hunter’s complaints about each other, well, she wouldn’t need to stick around this dump any longer, would she?
And now in walks Grant Ward, and no matter how she approaches it, all her problems come back to him. So she’s definitely gonna kill him.
Grant, meanwhile, feels terrible about the whole brainwashing thing and his part in it. He purposefully didn’t put as many guards on Jemma as he normally would have, just hoping SHIELD would snatch her up. He wasn’t really expecting to get snatched up himself though, so that was a bummer. And then Coulson didn’t even want his help fixing her! So Kara has been sort of his recompense. He’s super proud of her.
Anyway, back to the episode. They go to the Arctic and find Mike. Grant … is kind of horrified. Because this is the first real look he gets at Jemma as a doctor since being back and it’s so clear that a fundamental part of her has been broken. When she orders him to find a gurney, he leaves mainly just to get away.
Now he feels really bad about leaving at all and about spending all that time trying to help Skye find her dad. And he really should’ve pushed Coulson to accept his help. Basically, he goes into a downward spiral of bad thoughts, giving Jemma ample opportunity to sneak up on him.
Bakshi intervenes, yadda yadda. Only Grant doesn’t keep his gun trained on Jemma. He’s not gonna shoot her and he doesn’t even want to look like he’s gonna shoot her. He tries to talk her down and realizes, from the dismissive way she regards Bakshi’s death just moments before, that she’s not really cured at all, it’s just that with no one from HYDRA around to give her orders, she’s been left to her own devices and left without any of her old morals.
Grant decides that his plan - leave Kara with people who can help her heal, and get out while he still can with his memories intact - isn’t gonna cut it. He hates to do it, but he once again takes control of her. It’s easier this time since she’s already activated. A few words and all her anger just slips away. It’s a piece of cake to get her to walk right out with him (and honestly, the others should’ve been expecting him to pull something like this, what with how much they just do not trust him). Curing her is gonna be tougher than it was with Kara, he can already see that, but he’ll do whatever it takes to get her there, even if it ends with both of them broken.