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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 a supporting antagonist in the TV series Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., serving as the main antagonist of Season 1, as a posthumous antagonist in the subsequent seasons and as a supporting antagonist in Season 7.
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. In an alternate timeline in 1983, he was shown his future and recruited by Nathaniel Malick as his right-hand to help him spread chaos and create a new world order.
He was portrayed by the late Bill Paxton, who also played Earl in 2 Guns, Severen in Near Dark, Randall McCoy in Hatfields & McCoys, Dad in Frailty and Chet Donnelly in Weird Science. Whilst in his young form, he is portrayed by James Paxton.
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.
- Teleporation: In an alternate timeline, after Nathaniel Malick synthesized Gordon's blood and transfused into Garrett's body, he successfully acquired his teleportation powers while still getting to keep his eyes.
- Force-field generation: Garrett inherited Gordon's ability to generate nearly-impenetrable blue force fields, whenever he teleports. He used this ability to capture Jemma Simmons and rescue Kora from S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Enhanced sight: Garrett inherited Gordon's special teleportation vision, which allowed him to see while manipulating quantum mechanics when he is teleporting.
- 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.".
- In Season 7, after having betrayed by Nathaniel Malick, Garrett helps briefly Coulson's team before being killed by Victoria Hand in the alternate timeline. Ironically, she was killed by Ward (revealed to be a HYDRA agent) when she requested that he kills Garrett for treason.
- Garrett's actor in Season 7, James Paxton, is the son of his late Season 1 actor Bill Paxton.
- Bill was also honored in an epitaph at the end of the episode Season 4 episode What If....