Picking up where we left off last week, Hydra’s fighter jets are scrambling after May’s crew. She takes the plane into a deep nosedive that felt like the plane was BASE jumping. Once they get into a cloud bank – and perilously close to the ground – Hydra fires off some missiles just as May puts the jet into cloak mode. Since Hydra can no longer see the plane, they assume they shot it down. Of course, they didn’t, and May reroutes them to San Juan.
Hydra has already arrived in San Juan and set up a base camp in an old theater located directly above the mystery city. There is no actual access point to the tunnels from there, but Hydra is going to take a shortcut and drill straight through. Tripp and FitzSimmons are tasked with setting up explosives to cause the city to collapse on itself. They have figured out that if they wear hazmat suits, the temple can’t “sense” them and then take control of them.
While Coulson and the team get set up, Ward brings Skye to meet her father, and we learn a few very important details. Most important? Skye’s real name is Daisy, and her father is Cal. While it differs a little from the comic book mythology, it appears that Skye is Daisy Johnson (aka Quake) and her dad is Calvin Zabo (aka Mr. Hyde). This is a television recap, so I am going to follow the TV story, not the comic story. Cal reveals that Skye’s mother was Chinese. He was working in a clinic in China when a group of men came looking for her, claiming to be with S.H.I.E.L.D. and declaring Skye’s mother “dangerous” because of her “special gift.” Cal left his daughter with people he trusted and tracked his wife to Europe, but by the time he got there, it was too late. Whitehall had cut his wife to pieces and dumped what he didn’t want into a ditch. Now Cal has two goals: get to know his daughter, and kill Whitehall. He believes that Skye is fulfilling her destiny by coming here to receive her “gifts.”
Whitehall commands a meeting that sees Reina, Cal, Ward, and Skye. He demands Skye pick up the obelisk. When she does, it glows and hums but doesn’t kill her. She touches it to a guard and it turns him to stone. Cal stabs another guard with a palmed scalpel, but the guards pull weapons and things get quiet. “I hope you are as special as your mom,” Whitehall says with an evil smile. Ward and Skye are tied to chairs, but Cal doesn’t need to be secured: Whitehall has implanted some sort of remote-activated taser in his neck. With the push of a button Cal drops. A commotion draws Whitehall out of the room: Coulson and May’s team is storming the theater. This gives Cal, now recovered from his brain-scramble, to stab the guard left with them, then heads out to kill Whitehall.
Cal creeps towards Whitehall with the look of a crazy man. Whitehall has his gun pointed steadily at Cal, but Cal just keeps lumbering forward. Perhaps it is because he sees Coulson coming up silently behind Whitehall. Coulson drops him easily, but rather than being relieved, Cal is furious that “his kill” was taken from him. They don’t stick around to argue because Agent 33 shows up, guns blazing. She is distracted when she discovers Whitehall dead and stops to check on him. Without him, she doesn’t know what her objective is. She later finds Ward, who sees this lost lamb as an opportunity. If she helps him up, he will get her out of here.
Ward frees himself, then frees Skye. He checks the door, to make sure the coast is clear, and Skye grabs the dead guard’s gun and shoots Ward several times in the abdomen. As much as she doesn’t want to admit it, she clearly still has feelings for Ward – otherwise she would have killed him outright.
Coulson and Cal engage in a pretty awesome fight that has a lot of leg locks (a surprising amount of leg locks, actually). Cal is basically throwing a huge temper tantrum because he is Skye’s dad, not Coulson. Skye comes in to break up the fight. Cal has the upper hand and is beating Coulson pretty severely. The threat of being shot doesn’t stop him, so Skye does the only thing she can think of: she calls him Dad. She vows to never let the obelisk into that city, to never change or transform, and gives Cal two options: walk away, or she will kill him. Cal promises he will wait for her, that no one could understand her like he could, and leaves. Skye races to Coulson and sobs. She feels guilty that she couldn’t kill Cal, and to make it up, she is going to stop Reina from drilling into the tunnel.
Reina has finished the drilling and has taken the obelisk down into the tunnel, so Skye follows her. Reina has found Mac, and in his catatonic state, he leads her through the tunnels. Coulson tells May to get the rest of the team out of the theater while he goes for Skye. And when Tripp finds out that Skye and Coulson are now in the tunnels, he goes back in to disarm the bombs.
Somehow, all of these people go into the tunnel without being rejected by it. Skye and Reina have a good reason, but Tripp and Coulson are down there and don’t face any repercussions. Maybe the tunnel used all its power on Mac? Maybe since Reina and Skye are already there, the temple has turned its attention to them and doesn’t care who else is down there?
Anyway, Mac leads Reina to a round room with a shaft of light illuminating an empty pedestal. Skye finds her, and Reina insists the obelisk doesn’t destroy, it gives life. “New life. We get to find out what we become.” The obelisk glows and floats to the pedestal. The walls begin to rotate, sealing the girls – and Tripp – in the room. (He sneaked in as the room was closing.) The obelisk opens and a blue crystal sprouts out. A blast of dust knocks everyone back and on the other side of the wall, Mac is released from the temple’s control.
Reina and Skye are swallowed by stone. Tripp gets nervous and kicks the crystal, but not before the girls are fully engulfed. Tripp also becomes engulfed in stone, but after a few moments, the girls’ casing starts to crack. In a kind of cheesy, doesn’t-translate-well-from-the-comic-book move, Skye arches her back and the stone falls off her. Tripp isn’t so lucky: he starts turning into dust as the whole temple quakes.
In the episode tag, we see the obelisk, glowing orange, in its case. But this is not “our” obelisk; this is another obelisk, and the owner can hold it. He makes a call. “Are you seeing this?” he says, insinuating that there is another person with an obelisk. The mystery caller has no eyes – just a forehead that meets his nose.