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You remember that speech you used to give us, Nick, about how one man can accomplish anything once he realizes he can be something bigger? Well, now I am.
~ Garrett to Fury and Phil, openly revealing his complete narcissism as he misheard Fury's speech.
There's a reason why they say "Cut off a head". Now, I'll be unst--
~ Garrett's last words as he becomes a Deathlok, moments before he is vaporized and killed by Coulson.
John Garrett, also known as the Clairvoyant, is the main antagonist of Season 1 of the TV series Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and a posthumous antagonist in the subsequent seasons.
He is a turncoat S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who joined the ranks of HYDRA and intended on creating an army of super-soldiers through the Centipede Project. He also planned on finding the drug that saved his former old friend Phil Coulson to save his own life. He is also the mentor and father figure of future HYDRA leader Grant Ward.
Garrett never frayed from using cruelty as means to an end. He used his decades at S.H.I.E.L.D. and Clearance Level 7 to earn respect and trust from his subordinates, including Coulson when in reality he was an agent of HYDRA who ruthlessly manipulated S.H.I.E.L.D.'s T.A.H.I.T.I. Project for his own goal; survival. Despite appearing a man of honor and principles there are occasions when Garrett would reveal his immorality such as during an interrogation when Ian Quinn spoke to him disrespectfully and was prepared to rip out his tongue, although this could just be a scare tactic.
Like numerous agents of HYDRA, Garrett strongly believed that compassion was wrong and growing attachment to another person was "weakness". He manipulatively took advantage of a young Grant Ward when he was in a juvenile detention center, and when he was in need of a father figure. He abandoned Ward in the Wyoming wilderness, forcing him to survive on his own, then later making him kill his pet dog Buddy as he thought that he had grown too attached to his pet which he deemed another weakness.
Garrett can be seen as a vituperative, abusive, and toxic father figure to Ward; while he did see potential in the young man and wanted to nurture this within him, his methods of doing so were extremely destructive and brutal, such as beating him remorselessly to convince him he was still "Grant Ward. Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D". Despite all of his cruelty towards him, Ward still owed Garrett everything and was even willing to betray Phil Coulson and his team, so far the only people who have shown him genuine kindness simply to please him. He had a tendency to bring out the worst in people and is easily charismatic and persuasive, able to inspire the utmost loyalty from the people he encounters such as Grant Ward and later, Raina. He was also not above emotional blackmail such as kidnapping Mike Peterson's son, Ace, to force him to obey.
However, after being injected with the GH.325 drug, Garrett's personality warped even more; his sense of reality became lost as he claimed to feel the universe and know the true secrets of everything. Whether or not he actually knew everything he says he does is unknown, but the knowledge he had gained had driven him to insanity and become more arrogant, prophesying "the end" among other things, and knowing that the Inhumans, who were a total secret from S.H.I.E.L.D. (and even the viewers of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) up to that point, would rise up against the normal humans and take the Earth as their own. Even Grant Ward, the most-loyal of all his followers, questioned his sanity, telling Garrett to snap out of it while desperately begging for orders as S.H.I.E.L.D. was coming down on them.
Powers and Abilities
Being a high-ranking S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, Garrett was an expert marksman, had knowledge of a form of martial arts and was an excellent fighter pilot. As a master spy, he was able to fool even S.H.I.E.L.D. for decades that he'd betrayed them by joining HYDRA for revenge.
Centipede Serum: The Centipede Serum, in conjunction with Extremis, kept Garrett alive when his organic body began to fail him. While initially lacking any of the powers that Extremis granted its other users, the addition of GH.325 gave him far more power than he ever dare dream.
Superhuman Strength: Garrett could throw a man across a room with a single punch, rip a man's rib out of their chests, and carve a hole in the chest of another.
Superhuman Durability: Bullets had no actual effect on him, as shown when Nick Fury tried to kill him and failed. Even Deathlok's Forearm Rocket Launcher couldn't kill him, neither could being stepped-on by his cybernetic leg, although it left him heavily-scarred. Only Coulson's use of the Peruvian 0-8-4 was able to destroy him, as it atomized everything its laser beam hits.
Regenerative Healing Factor: Not only did the GH.325 fix all the injuries in his body that have been slowly-killing him for decades, but it also made him more-durable and able to survive any attack. Gunshots had no effect on him, and some time after Deathlok attacked him and seemingly-killed him, he was able to get back up again (albeit very-badly burned, scarred and injured, barely-able to walk) and go through the Deathlok Project treatment to become more of a cyborg than before. As stated before, the Peruvian 0-8-4 was able to disintegrate him.
Coulson: And who do you work for, Raina? The Clairvoyant? Raina: Yes. Coulson: And who is he? Raina: I don't know. Today was the first time I made contact. My heart's still raising. Coulson: He has you building super-soldiers. Raina: The Clairvoyant gives us guidance, formulas. Coulson: For what? Raina: The changing world, the world your organization brought upon us. We're new to the business of what you've been doing for decades.
~ Raina and Phil Coulson about the Clairvoyant.
Garrett: Consideration? Consider this. She had one of my men killed with a bomb rigged to his gas pedal. The other two were floating in the hotel pool, and they weren't doing a backstroke. May: But we can just as easily ice her. Garrett: You don't put someone like her on ice. She had Skye shot in the stomach, in the stomach! Because she was curious. Mike Peterson, burned alive and turned into some kind of freak. She tortured you, using the same machine she used to brainwash that bitch in the flower dress. And right now, she's probably doing the same to Agent Simmons. Oh, I've considered it plenty, my friend. Fitz: No, Simmons will be fine. Garrett: Just being realistic, kid. Coulson: I never mentioned that. Garrett: I'm telling you, killing her quick would be a mercy. Coulson: I never said Raina had been inside the machine. I never told that to anybody. Garrett: I must have read it in a report, then. Coulson: You weren't with us. Garrett: The point is, how many more have to suffer before Vic gets hers? Coulson: You showed up right after. Garrett: What are you driving at? Coulson: After Skye was shot, Quinn said it was so I would lead the Clairvoyant to the cure. That's exactly what I did. I walked you right in there with me. Garrett: Phil. Look, it's been a rough day. I-I get it. But you need to take a second and... Damn it. Guard: Freeze, don't move, hands where we can see 'im! Garrett: Easy, fellas. Coulson: Take Agent Garrett into custody. He's the murderer they call the Clairvoyant. He's a traitor. Garrett: Gentlemen, I know Agent Sitwell was in charge of filling your ranks, so at least a few of you know what do in this situation. Anytime, boys. Hail HYDRA. Guards: Hail HYDRA!
~ Garrett accidentally his true identity as the Clairvoyant before revealing his loyalty to HYDRA.
I got fragged by an IED outside Sarajevo. When I radioed for medivac, I got nothing but an earful of excuses. That's when I realized I was more loyal to S.H.I.E.L.D. than S.H.I.E.L.D. was to me. So I decided if I made it out, if I survived, I was going to treat them the way they treated me. Then I stuffed my intestines back inside, duct taped myself shut and humped my way out.
~ Garrett revealing his motives to Grant Ward during the latter's training.
I've seen the future. I've glimpsed it through the eyes of every creature dead, living, or yet to be. This is the beginning. (Ward: The beginning of what, John?) The end.
~ Garrett openly succumbing to his madness as he butchers General Jacobs and ruins his own plans.
In the original Marvel comics, Garrett was a C.I.A. member before joining S.H.I.E.L.D., later becoming a cyborg in order to survive life-threatening injuries in the line of duty. His appearance at the end of the Season 1 finale "Beginning of the End" resembles his comic-book cyborg form.
Whether or not Garrett gained the ability to really see the future from the GH.325 is unknown.
Ironically, during Season 2 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Raina became an Inhuman and developed the power to see the future, predicting the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War, and making her truly clairvoyant, whereas Garrett relied on knowledge and educated guesses to predict an event.
Garrett is the first antagonist on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to have been killed by Phil Coulson, followed up by Daniel Whitehall in Season 2 and Grant Ward in Season 3 (though Ward "returned" as Hive). Similarly to Hive, Garrett's knowledge of the universe made him arrogant and insane, which became his undoing.
While under his GH.325-induced state, Garrett claimed to be able to feel the universe; similarly, in the movie X-Men: Apocalypse, released 2 years after the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Apocalypse said while Jean Grey released the Phoenix Force upon him "All is revealed". Similarly to Apocalypse, Garrett's knowledge of the universe's deepest secrets drove him insane.
In the first part of Season 3's two-part finale "Absolution", Skye (renamed Daisy Johnson) said to Coulson that Ward had been brainwashed. While this statement is mostly ambiguous, it is entirely-possible that Garrett had really brainwashed Ward in the same way that Daniel Whitehall brainwashed Agent 33 in Season 2; Ward was completely loyal to Garrett up until his insanity in his final hours, not really caring much for the true ideals of HYDRA or S.H.I.E.L.D., and after he died, Ward became saddened and started looking for a purpose to his life. Agent 33, upon learning of Whitehall's death at Coulson's hand, behaved similarly to Ward, and so they both sought to gain "closure" together. To this day, it is unknown for certain if Ward was really under mind-control, as he did feel attached to Coulson, Skye and the team, only to abandon it all at the end of Season 2 after Agent 33's death at his own hand (by accident). He still found purpose in rebuilding HYDRA on his own, greatly disliking Gideon Malick until learning about Hive, whom he sought to bring back to Earth.
Garrett also appeared in the the comic book Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Chase, which is set between the episodes "Seeds" and "T.R.A.C.K.S.".