Raina’s having a dream and sees flashes of Gordon with a cut on his forehead, Lincoln injured, a Hydra bag, Coulson drawing his gun, and Skye. She wakes to find Jiaying watching her sleep. Jiaying asks her about her dream and Raina says Lincoln was in her dream being held and hurt somewhere and it felt real. Just then Gordon, Skye, and Cal arrive back at Lai Shi and Cal is pissed and making a scene. Gordon leaves to track Lincoln and Jiaying convinces Cal to calm down and go have a seat. Skye informs Jiaying Coulson was there just as Gordon comes back – with a cut on his forehead. He says it was Hydra who took Lincoln and he barely escaped. Raina stands nearby and seems to realize what her gift is, finally.
After his surrender, Coulson meets with Gonzalez. He tells Gonzalez that Strucker and List have been doing experiments on powered people – and he’s witnessed it himself via Deathlok. Gonzalez still doesn’t trust him but Coulson presses that this is their best opportunity and knows that they all have their secrets. He says he knows that Gonzalez has a secret in the cargo hold of the plane, and offers to help Gonzalez open Fury’s toolbox if they can work together.
Skye asks Jiaying why Lincoln was even in Milwaukee and she says it was an ill-advised attempt to protect Skye, that she shouldn’t have let her go at all. (Pssh, “let”?) Skye says it was the right thing to do, as sending a Cal who isn’t user-friendly into the world is a dangerous idea. She wants to go rescue Lincoln but Jiaying doesn’t think that’s a good idea, either, because it could expose her people to danger.
Deathlok, aka Mike Peterson, introduces himself to Lincoln as he wakes in Hydra holding cells. They plot to break out but note their limited resources: Mike’s arm has been disabled, so no fiery escape, and no Gordon because Lincoln’s almost certain he’s being tracked. Mike says his S.H.I.E.L.D. are similarly outmatched so they band together to form a plan.
And it turns out their being observed by Bakshi and List, who ends a call with yet another “Hail Hydra.” List says Strucker is pleased with them and Bakshi begins to explain the differences between these two powered people. Deathlok’s been modified by mechanisms where Lincoln’s abilities are natural, and Bakshi and List plan to experiment on them to find out how to duplicate their processes. They enact some knockout
gas electrical pulse in the cells and plan to get to work.
Coulson has just detailed his plan to Gonzalez, who has a couple of questions. He wants to know why they wouldn’t just send a full-on assault to Hydra rather than a small infiltration team, and Coulson says he wants to try to recover Mike and Lincoln in one piece, along with all the other prisoners Hydra has. Gonzalez doesn’t want to risk his own people and Coulson’s like, “That’s okay, I brought my own.”
On their jet, Hunter and Fitz bond over a mutual disgust at how happy Ward and Kara seem to be together. Up front, Ward and Kara banter and she tells him that S.H.I.E.L.D. makes her nervous and wants to leave, but Ward says there’s still one thing he needs from Coulson before they can go. Hunter gets the green light and they land on top of the headquarters that Gonzalez has commandeered. Loads are surprised to see Ward, not least of whom May, who sees this as another in a string of bad decisions Coulson’s made recently.
Coulson shows Gonzalez, Bobbi, May, Ward, Weaver, and Oliver video of the last images Deathlok’s eye captured: it shows a surgeon with a surgical instrument removing said eye. Coulson says they have a man inside, who Ward confirms is Bakshi, but May isn’t impressed at the prospect of trusting the mission to two Hydra defects (if they’re even actually defects). Coulson says it’s a successful way to infiltrate, planning to take his small team to rescue the enhanced prisoners then disable the missile defense systems so S.H.I.E.L.D. can fly in and bomb the facility. Everyone present votes yea or nay on this plan, but before May casts the deciding vote, she wants a word in private with Coulson.
Simmons feels sorry for Kara because whatever she and Ward have, it’s not love. Fitz thanks her for the really delicious sandwich she packed for him before he left in a very sweet moment. Simmons is baffled at why Coulson would take a dangerous man like Ward on a mission and Fitz recounts his shining moment: when Hunter had to hold him back from tearing Ward’s face off when they were on the run. Then Simmons shows Fitz a case of splinter bombs, suggesting they use one of Ward because he’s dangerous, and we’ve got a repeat of her Skye paranoia. Yikes.
May is pissed off and finally able to unload on Coulson. She confronts him about the lies he told and the secret missions before they fell and asks him if he wants to tell her about Theta Protocol. He declines because she’s not the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and she’s like, “Well, neither are you, anymore!” He says this secret is no different than her secret line to Fury behind his back once upon a time, but she says it’s really about how he’d been seeing her ex-husband, Andrew, behind her back. They agree they both made bad choices and Coulson wants to go ahead with the mission and save everyone they can from Hydra.
Skye tries to convince Gordon to take her off Lai Shi so she can help S.H.I.E.L.D. go after Lincoln and Raina says she’s seen that Skye can save Lincoln. Raina says Lincoln’s in a dark room with two doctors cutting into him and Skye has to save him. Gordon says he can’t use his ability without leave from Jiaying, and Raina’s like, “You need permission to save your own friend?” He says the last time he used it, Hydra almost captured him, so Raina tells him he doesn’t have to take Skye to Hydra. (Take her to S.H.I.E.L.D., duh.)
Kara is worried about Ward going into the field with Coulson and the rest and doesn’t feel like she’s a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent anymore. He tells her that being with S.H.I.E.L.D. is a chance to get back the identity that was stolen from her.
Bobbi is miffed that Gonzalez isn’t allowing her to accompany Coulson and he says the only reason he’s allowing it at all is because Coulson’s using his own people. He says the war they’re fighting is against an enemy without honor when she calls him out, saying there have to be casualties. Surprise, Gonzalez isn’t confident in Coulson.
Packing one of the splinter bombs, Simmons approaches Coulson and asks to join the mission. He declines initially, not seeing her use, and she says since she’s familiar with his anatomical structure, she would be instrumental in treating Mike’s injuries. Coulson agrees and tells her to suit up.
As Coulson, Simmons, Fitz, May, and Ward gather in the hangar, they hear a noise, so May draws her gun on Ward immediately. He says it wasn’t him, and it wasn’t: it was Gordon dropping Skye off. Ward’s excited because the gang’s back together!
Fitz and Simmons have a hundred questions for Skye about where she’s been and what she can do with her abilities, but Skye knows the urgency of the situation and wants to focus on the mission. Simmons and Fitz feel (irrationally) slighted but Skye says she just doesn’t want to say anything personal around or near Ward, who appears the next second. Everyone else gathers and Ward begins to outline the plan, but the rest of the team is giving him the stinkiest of stink eyes. He decides to clear the air.
Ward: Can we address the elephant on the plane? I know this is weird. Mistakes were made.
Fitz: By you.
Ward: And people got hurt.
Fitz: By you.
Ward: And I could sit her and explain, again, how my parents left me vulnerable –
May: *sigh* We all had our traumas, Ward. Didn’t turn any of us into psychopaths.
Ward: Well, we all have our own ways of coping, don’t we? For example, I was yours.
Coulson: Watch it, Ward.
Ward: Look, I’m just saying, we all made mistakes. Coulson handed me over to my abuser, thank you. Skye shot me –
Simmons: After you killed how many people?
Fitz: And we were a team and a family and YOU betrayed us.
Ward: I know. It’s what I regret the most. Not the lying, the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents I had to put down, and – I’m sorry – not even dropping you two in the ocean. It’s this. My actions destroyed this. For a while there, we were a good team, weren’t we.
Skye: I’m still happy I shot you.
Coulson brings the focus back to the mission. He assigns Skye, Ward, and Simmons to the medical team while he, Fitz, and May break into missile defense to gather intel. He tells everyone to keep their head on straight and focus on what’s at hand, and tells Ward he should just maybe stop talking to people; he seems to really piss people off. (Ha!)
Cal paces in his bunker when Jiaying visits and asks Cal to take a walk with her. He apologizes for coming back so angry and she apologizes for the way she sent him away. She says she felt she had to send him away because of impending danger, but offers to let him stay at Lai Shi for a while until things can be figured out. Cal is excited at the prospect of being together with his family, but Jiaying sees Raina as a possible threat. Cal says Raina is dangerous, manipulative, and deceitful; they had good times, but Jiaying needs to watch her.
Hunter comes upon Mack rigging up a video feed of the mission for everyone back at the base. Hunter gives him a hand and Mack apologizes for everything, saying he did what he thought was right. Hunter says he understands and forgives him, and Mack is stunned. He offers to pay for the next round of drinks, but Hunter’s like, “You choked me out and kidnapped me. A round of drinks is the first thing in a long, long, long list of things you’re gonna do for me.” Mack asks if Hunter’s spoken to Bobbi yet, and Hunter mutters that he hasn’t. Looks like beer won’t fix that one.
Speaking of Bobbi, she goes to visit Kara, who’s getting a checkup. Bobbi wants to know what she remembers from before her Hydra brainwashing, saying they met a few times before. She offers Kara some help if and when she starts to remember things and Kara is happy that someone’s finally treating her like a person. Well, someone other than Grant because she’s googly eyed over him. Bobbi isn’t impressed, but Kara tells her to wait and she’ll see the Grant she does. (Not likely.)
List is disappointed that their test subjects keep failing, saying no one has made it past this level of alien enhancement apart from “the twins” who Strucker is holding in Segovia. (Is that an Age of Ultron link?!) As they wheel Lincoln out of his cell for experimentation, an agent tells List and Bakshi that a cloaked plane is approaching. Bakshi says it must be S.H.I.E.L.D. so List orders the plane shot out of the sky.
May announces they’ve been spotted so everyone makes last-minute preparations and buckles in as they make their approach. The Hydra missiles lock on and shoot toward the jet, blowing it to pieces and knocking it out of the sky.
Weaver informs Gonzalez, Bobbi, and Mack that satellite confirmed Coulson’s plane was shot out of the air and they have had no contact from his team as of yet. Gonzalez says to sit tight, as this was always part of the plan.
The flaming plane falls apart as the smaller plane that had been on top of it rushes downward: everyone is buckled in and riding out the turbulence and May guides them to a comparatively steady landing. Weaver reports this as well and Gonzalez calls it “the easy part.”
The team enters the Hydra base and come upon Bakshi snapping the neck of a Hydra agent who was following him. Ward reins him in and Bakshi is still as compliant as ever: he tells Coulson that List is in the lab and the mainframe room is down the hall, to the left. Bakshi requests to join Ward’s team and Coulson gives them all a 15-minute deadline as they split up to complete their objectives. Bakshi, Ward, Skye, and Simmons enter the lab and immediately come under fire. Skye flexes her ability a little and Ward thinks she should thank him for that so she’s all, “How about I just don’t try to kill you again?” They find Mike, who has a missing eye and many scars. He tells Skye that Lincoln has just been taken away and she runs off to find him as Simmons comes in to help him.
We see Lincoln being sliced into as Coulson, May, and Fitz make it to the mainframe room. Simmons orders Ward to go find something to wheel Mike out on and Mike expresses curiosity at her getting involved in a mission that included Ward at all. She says she saw an opportunity to do what was right and she took it.
Skye find the operating room and begins an assault. She flips and tumbles her way through at least a dozen Hydra agents, expertly taking them out with a variety of fighting styles and impeccable aim. She gets to Lincoln and he’s flatlining so she focuses her power to give him a jolt to the chest which restarts his heart. Then she realizes that Raina was right.
And as Ward tries to free a gurney for Mike, Simmons sneaks up behind him and activates the splinter grenade. Just as she prepares to throw it at him, Bakshi stops her and it’s thrown at him instead. He disintegrates and Ward draws his gun on Simmons, shocked that she would attack him even though they’re on the same team. She tells him that she made him a promise to kill him, and says if he’s going to kill her now he should just do it. Instead, he tells her that he’s disappointed in how she’s changed and leaves.
Fitz is nearly finished hacking the missile defenses just as May notices Coulson’s missing. Weaver reports that S.H.I.E.L.D. jets are five minutes out but there’s still been no word from Coulson’s team. May finds Coulson in another area of the mainframe stealing some information and realizes that this was his plan all along. She threatens him to leave with her now or else and he does. Simmons comes back to Skye, saying that Ward and Bakshi aren’t coming with them, and they get Lincoln moving as May reports to Gonzalez that they’re preparing to leave Hydra airspace. Gonzalez gives Weaver the order to fire on Hydra’s base when ready.
Back at headquarters, Mike and Lincoln are rushed to medical and Coulson gets a call from Ward. Ward says he thought it’d be a good idea to slip out to avoid being arrested or having his brain erased. He tells Coulson that he knew the team would never forgive him, but Kara does deserve forgiveness. He feels bad that Hydra broke her and he can’t fix her, and thinks leaving her with S.H.I.E.L.D. would be what she deserves.
Fitz and Simmons tell Mike that Hydra dismantled his leg, but they found a facility that can fix it and they’ll be ready for him when they land. Mike asks how they found him and Fitz tells him it was Bakshi, of all people, and Simmons adds that he “didn’t make it.” (That’s one way of putting it.)
Skye watches over Lincoln and Gonzalez watches over her. Bobbi reports to him the attack team is back and the Hydra base is destroyed, but List may have escaped. Gonzalez is still focused on Skye, saying she’s still dangerous, but he’s cool because now they have enhanced people on the base. Bobbi is not cool with this, but Gonzalez says they can at least learn how many might be out there from Skye and Lincoln. Bobbi wants to discuss this and Coulson rolls up like, “Hmm? Discuss what? I want to discuss things.” Gonzalez hands him the toolbox and Coulson opens it and tells him to knock himself out with it – at least until Fury shows up and asks for it back. Coulson gets a phone call from Maria Hill and Gonzalez looks gobsmacked.
Hill remarks on how displeased Gonzalez must have been just then but Coulson is like, “We all live with disappointment.” He tells Hill that they have bigger problems, prompting her to ask, “Does that mean you found it?”
And Jiaying pays Raina a visit so Raina’s like, “I knew you’d come see me again.” Jiaying says she’s spoken to Gordon and thinks they should talk about her visions, specifically how she convinced Skye to run off and rescue Lincoln. Raina says she didn’t “convince” Skye to do anything, only told her what was going to happen. Jiaying isn’t trying to hear this and tells Raina that from now on any decisions based on Raina’s gift will go through her. Raina doesn’t like this and wonders aloud why the hell Jiaying gets final say, who put her in charge? Just then she has a vision of Loki’s scepter.
The information Coulson stole shows that Hydra has Loki’s scepter, and he and Hill note that they might not know that it was the weapon that killed Coulson but they probably know that it can control minds. Hill asks if he knows where it is and he does – Segovia (with “the twins.” This is totally an Age of Ultron connection!).
Jiaying tries to guide Raina through her vision. Raina describes Loki’s scepter and says, “It isn’t finished yet. So much destruction.”
Coulson sends Hill information on Strucker’s location. She asks him why he hadn’t just been honest with Gonzalez about why he wanted to get on the Hydra base and he’s like, “Do you know this fool puts everything to a vote?! I would’ve lost the swing vote so I lied.” Then she asks if Theta Protocol is ready. He says it is, and it’s time to bring in the Avengers.
Raina has an awful prophecy: “Consequences are upon us. Men made of metal will tear our cities apart. And the world will be changed forever.”
The Question: Will Simmons come clean about trying to murder Ward and actually killing Bakshi? So amped for the next couple of episodes and The Avengers: Age of Ultron! Entertainment at its finest!