In San Francisco, Fitz breaks into a sprint after seeing two men trailing him. He runs to the top of a building and disappears from sight immediately – because Coulson’s helijet was invisible. Deathlok lifts them out of there as Fitz hands Fury’s toolbox over to Coulson while marveling at his short stint as a field agent once more. Coulson plans to find out what the new heads of Hydra, Strucker and List, know about the powered man who took Skye – and he needs to make a deal with Ward to do it.
And at Hydra’s secret base, the body of Ethan Johnston is taken to the lab for testing as it is determined that he is not Gordon. Back on Lai Shi, Jiaying meets with Cal in his bunker of captivity and he’s on cloud 9. He’s so happy to have his family back but knows that his being there when he doesn’t possess the genetic marker for abilities puts Jiaying in a tough spot. He promises to stay in his bunker and keep quiet until his family meets again, and she offers to let Cal travel with Gordon to retrieve some of his belongings to bring back to Lai Shi, but there’s something she isn’t saying to him.
Skye and Lincoln are playing backgammon but she’s still preoccupied with dinner with her parents. She’s still taken aback that there was no nasty surprise from Cal but she’s worried that Jiaying plans to send Cal away, permanently. Luke suggests she speak to Jiaying about her concerns.
Bobbi and Mack train together and she’s going hard. She’s very strong and giving him fighting tips and after one last flip to the mat, Mack taps out. Bobbi begins to express some concerns about their pursuit of Coulson, putting a tail on Fitz, etc. She knows Hydra is still out there and, despite his secrets, Coulson isn’t the enemy. Mack thinks she’s sounding like Hunter, but he agrees, saying they simply need to get the toolbox open.
With knowledge of the impending arrival of a laser to cut the toolbox open, Simmons confesses her plot with Fitz to May, saying May is the only one she can trust anymore. May says she’ll handle it.
In Tijuana, Agent 33 speaks to her mother on the phone in a restaurant, thanking her for a photo of 33, presumably so that she can realistically imitate (and wear) her original face. Her mother says something about some men who called, causing 33 to panic – just as Coulson and Deathlok approach her. And in his car, Ward gets a call from 33, but it’s really Coulson asking for a meetup.
(Can I just take a moment to say how much I love bad-guy Ward? He’s so much more interesting and complex than Ward from Season 1 and drives the story in really compelling ways.)
As they wait for Ward to arrive, Deathlok asks 33 if she has any more masks like the one she’s wearing and she gives him a short negative. Just then Ward makes it to the restaurant and tells her to calm down, that if he were going to be killed Deathlok would have handled that already. But he hasn’t, which means that Coulson needs him for something. Perceptive! Deathlok tells Ward to submit to a search and scans his whole body, spotting with his technological vision a number of weapons stashed on Ward’s person. Ward is instructed to get rid of them and, in an amusing little cutaway, Ward piles all six of his hidden weapons on the table before being pointed in Coulson’s direction.
Smugly, Ward takes a seat in Coulson’s booth and Coulson gets right to it. He tells Ward that he’s after Strucker and List, and Ward reminds Coulson that he’s not Hydra anymore. Coulson’s convinced that Ward still might “know someone who knows someone” and he’s like, “But didn’t you call me ‘a deluded son of a bitch’ the last time I tried to help you?” Coulson says if Ward helps him he’ll let him walk after being put through the Tahiti protocol. Ward says the Tahiti protocol – in which his memory would be wiped – sounds more like a threat but Coulson says Tahiti would only remove the bad parts of Ward, allowing him to start over free and clear with Agent 33. So Ward says he might know a guy.
Simmons gives us an Oscar-winning performance as she continues to try to trick Bobbi into thinking she’s working on the real toolbox but May spills that she already told Bobbi everything: Fitz made a duplicate and stole the real box when he left and Simmons has been covering for him. Simmons clearly feels betrayed as Bobbi explains that unless they find another way to find Coulson, she might have to rat on her to Gonzales. May suggests that Simmons tap into Mike Peterson’s feed to find Coulson, and Simmons makes it clear that she’ll do it so that she can exonerate Coulson and Fitz. Coolly, she tells May she’ll keep her updated.
Fitz is having trouble wrapping his head around making a deal with the devil to find Skye. Hunter says that this is part of the job, but when Fitz asks if he’d work with Bobbi again “for the job” he’s like, “Hell, no!” He goes on to tell Fitz that this situation is a little different in that they have really limited options to carry out their mission, so they just need to stay one step ahead of Ward to make sure things don’t go belly up.
On Lai Shi, Jiaying and Gordon discuss the possible scope and utilization of Raina’s possible precognition. Gordon is excited that Raina might be the first of her kind, as he was. He thinks that with Raina’s power, they might be able to know ahead of time when there might be a threat to Lai Shi but Jiaying is quick to remind him that they still don’t know the nature of Raina’s ability yet. Skye arrives to discuss Cal when Gordon leaves. Skye tells Jiaying that just leaving Cal won’t be safe for civilians because they both know he’ll flip out and start wrecking things if they toss him like a bag of garbage. Jiaying says those people aren’t her concern and Skye’s like, “Well, they’re mine. I’m a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.” Jiaying knows that the longer Cal stays the more attention he will attract and says that sometimes being in charge means making the tough decisions.
Deathlok brings Ward and Agent 33 to Coulson, telling him that he got the package just as they said, but both Deathlok and Coulson express distrust for them regardless. Inside the car, Ward and 33 express similar sentiments as Ward realizes Coulson’s hiding something due to the very conspicuous absence of his right hand, May. Ward ignores this, though, promising Agent 33 that Coulson’s end game is irrelevant as he will help them achieve theirs. He says that soon they’ll be able to build a life together again and Deathlok breaks up their reverie to get the mission started. The four move to the car’s trunk and open it, revealing a bound and brainwashed Bakshi. Ward tells him that he is to obey Coulson’s orders and Bakshi says he’s more than happy to comply.
Skye pays Cal a visit in his bunker. He says he’d planned to visit her but didn’t want to overdo it and mentions that he’ll be visiting the mainland, offering to bring her back some of her favorite things. Skye asks if “home” is China and Cal’s like, “God, no!”, going on to say that he was only in China as part of Doctors Without Borders. He only stayed in China because he met her mother, but he’s really from Milwaukee. He tells Skye that he and Jiaying had wanted to raise her there so Skye offers to accompany him on his trip home tomorrow and Cal is pumped!
Skye then goes to see Jiaying once more, trying to convince her that to simply abandon Cal in Milwaukee would be a cruel thing to do, adding that he will most certainly lash out in dangerous ways. She says she empathizes with Cal after the dinner Jiaying convinced her to attend, saying that she just wants Jiaying to let her go with Cal to soften the blow and let him know that he hasn’t lost them forever.
On the helijet, Fitz has his hand on his gun and we find out that Bakshi has a meeting with List. Hunter’s not so sure they should trust “Stepford Bakshi” but Ward insists that Bakshi has been instructed to act exactly as he would have before he’d been brainwashed. Hunter reaches out to quell Fitz’s tension just as Ward decides to catch up with him. Fitz blows, leaping out of his chair toward Ward but is restrained by Coulson and Hunter. Fitz is certain that Bakshi will betray them when he’s back with Hydra but Deathlok will accompany him to stamp out any funny ideas. Ward is concerned that Bakshi was instructed to come alone, but Bakshi is very adept at talking his way out of sticky situations.
As she views the construction of Mike’s eye, Simmons is approached by May for a status update but Simmons is not feeling her. May says they were going to find out anyway but Simmons is mad that 1) she didn’t even get credit for the plan she made which Fitz merely executed, and 2) May so casually threw Fitz under the bus. She accuses May of siding with them but May says she only did it to protect her. She says that they have to get into the box to get to the bottom of the colossal lies Coulson’s been telling, but Simmons still isn’t good with treating him like a criminal because he was trying to protect Skye.
Gordon drops Skye and Cal off in Milwaukee, telling Skye that he’ll return when she’s ready. Cal reveals that he didn’t actually live in Milwaukee but had his medical office there, saying that he just wants to get pastries and get to know Skye. As Cal realizes the city has changed in the several years since he’s been there, Skye asks him about Jiaying. He says that she was a doctor as well and wanted to finish medical school there in Milwaukee, and they planned to send Skye to the charter school nearby. Cal gets swept up in memories of Skye’s childhood that never came to pass then snaps out of it, saying that memory lane isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be.
On a jet belonging to Echidna Capital Management, Bakshi and Deathlok meet with List. Coulson, Fitz, Hunter, Ward, and Agent 33 keep a watchful eye on the meeting via Deathlok’s video feed. List asks Bakshi how he managed to survive the widespread assassinations of the heads of Hydra, and he says he assumed it was List or Strucker as they both still have their wealth and power. Bakshi tells List that he was captured by the U.S. government and Deathlok broke him out and offers him to List as a sign of good faith. Ward insists that Bakshi is doing what he has to in order to gain access to Strucker but Hunter thinks they’re being sold out, leading to a standoff in which everyone has a gun (or knife) trained on someone in the helijet. Not a good time for this, guys!
They yell at each other but Ward tries to get through to Coulson, saying that as a powered person, Deathlok is the only way to get to Strucker. Fitz and Hunter notices that Deathlok’s weapons targeting system is gearing up to kill everyone on the jet. Coulson tells 33 – whose name is Kara, thankyouverymuch – to stand down and she’s like, “I don’t work for you anymore.” As Deathlok’s systems prepare to fire, they call a truce and Fitz is able to instruct him to play along in the nick of time. List’s assistant informs him that another incident involving the energy signature they have been tracking has been discovered and he plans to put Bakshi’s loyalty to the test. Coulson and the rest decide to tail them.
Back in Milwaukee, Cal laments all the things killed by the Internet: bookstores, video stores, old fashioned ice cream shops… Skye says the Internet didn’t kill ice cream and suggest they get a couple of 40s, and Cal realizes his daughter a quippy quipster. In front of a liquor store, Skye bumps into a guy causing a Cal flare up, but she apologizes to the guy and sends Cal into the store for some ice cream. We then see that she stole the guy’s phone – which she uses to call May. She tells May that they need to send S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to her location immediately because Cal will be dangerous when she leaves him. May has a lot of questions but Skye has no time to answer them. Skye dumps the phone, line open, into a garbage can, allowing it to still be tracked and as Cal offers her a choice of ice cream flavors, Mack and Bobbi realize that Skye isn’t being held hostage but is playing along. They offer to take a team to retrieve Cal. And on the street Cal, thinking that Skye is growing bored with him, offers to take her to see his office. That’s when we see Lincoln watching them from a short distance away.
Jiaying asks Gordon if he’s heard anything from Lincoln about Skye which he has not, but he says there’s a more pressing issue to address: Ethan is missing. He and Jiaying think he might have been taken and while Gordon is fixated on the “how,” Jiaying is more concerned with the “who.”
On the Echidna jet, Bakshi wonders why they’re landing already if Strucker is in Eastern Europe. List reveals that Hydra has been tracking several incidents of quantum entanglement (in which particles can exist in two places across great distances). He says that they have discovered a quantum entanglement bridge and have been tracking the powered person who created it, who Coulson and Co. realize must be the same guy who took Skye and who we know to be Gordon. It’s then that they piece together that they must be after Skye, but only half of them know why.
Cal and Skye arrive at his office building which is quite shabby and has a pest problem. Skye notices on his office door that Cal’s last name is Johnson, meaning that her name would have been Daisy Johnson in another life. Inside, Cal’s office has remained slightly dated but mostly intact, and Skye wonders how it can all still be there. Cal tells her that he owns the building, saying that he wasn’t rich but she would have had a nice life. He says that he’s only been back to the office a few times over the years to hide or retrieve things and Skye calls it a “stash pad.” Cal shows Skye his grandfather’s toolkit from WWII that he used to reassemble Jiaying and he begins to express his hopes for them to be a family again. Skye cuts him off, saying that Jiaying is a different person who is responsible for lots of people and she herself is an adult now so it does him no good to fantasize about this life that can never be. Just as Skye tells him that she’ll still visit him and Cal asks her where she’s going, they hear a noise out in the hallway. Cal grabs a knife from the toolkit and they go into the hall and find Lincoln.
Skye wants to know what he’s doing there and Cal goes from zero to 60 in two seconds flat. He wants to know why Jiaying would send him there to make sure everything’s cool, yelling that he is Skye’s father and of course they’d be cool. Downstairs, Bakshi, Deathlok, and some Hydra agents arrive and they want to acquire the teleporter. Apparently, the signature they tracked was from Gordon dropping Cal and Skye off. Then Cal realizes that Skye was planning to leave him and freaks out, throwing Lincoln into a wall and a file cabinet. At that sound, Bakshi sends Deahtlok up to do his work.
Cal continues to spiral down, flipping out at Lincoln who warns Cal to calm down. A Hydra agent rounds the corner and Lincoln uses his ability to stun him. Cal instructs Lincoln to get Skye out of there as three more agents arrive. Skye wants to help but Lincoln advises against it as her ability could bring the whole building down. Deathlok makes it up to the 10th floor and spots Skye so Coulson and Co. head in to find her. Lincoln tries to use his ability on Deathlok, lifting him off the ground, but Deathlok warns him against it as they fight. In the helijet, Fitz reports that someone is trying to hack into Deathlok’s video feed and Coulson and Ward move to find Skye as Hunter is shot. Up on the 10th floor, Coulson and Ward find Deathlok fighting with Lincoln who send them around the corner after Skye. Bakshi arrives, spots the two on the floor in the hall, and throws a device that releases a blue conical energy way and knocks both Deathlok and Lincoln unconscious. Skye finds her way to a roof access door but doubles back, finding Coulson and Ward wrapping up a butt kicking. Just then Gordon arrives to take Skye away and Cal tags along with them and Coulson laments losing Skye again. Kara helps Hunter limp over to Coulson and Ward as Ward recounts how high the deck is stacked against them right now: Deathlok’s down, powered people are on site, Hydra’s storming the building, and their only backup is Fitz. Not a great situation.
A day late and a dollar short, Bobbi and Mack show up at Cal’s office building and survey the wreckage, noting dozens of standard Hydra-issue bullet shells littering the ground. They find Coulson in Cal’s office and he tells them he doubled back after Hydra left, then surrenders to them.
The Questions: What is Ward and Kara’s end game? What is Raina’s actual ability? What will happen to Deathlok and Lincoln in Hydra custody? Will Simmons ever be able to trust May again? And will Fitz try to kill Ward again? (My bet is yes.)