We open with a mystery: three months from now, an unidentified S.H.I.E.L.D. agent is floating in a space ship when it explodes.
Currently the team is in Columbia. Police respond to a call about a flaming bus, but are ambushed by an inhuman. An invisible force takes all their weapons, then fires on the cops. When the gunfire stops, the cops discover the load of munitions they were transporting has been stolen.
Daisy and Joey are making nice with the head of the police, Colonel Ramone, while Hunter, Mac, and Bobbi are on the ground, examining the crime scene. Mac finds scrapes on the ground that he scans and sends to Lincoln, Fitz, and Simmons in the lab. Nothing looks out of the ordinary (I think this scene is purely intended to set up where all our characters are). The team splits up to cover more ground and Mac comes face-to-face with the woman who stole the weapons. She uses some kind of speedster talent to take his gun, open up a van door, knock him out and put him inside. When he wakes, the woman has him bound and gagged in a bathroom, tied to the sink.
Coulson is on a different mission: he and May are at Rosalind’s house to meet with the President. The President doesn’t know how S.H.I.E.L.D. still exists, but is glad it does. He needs help with the delicate inhuman “situation.” He is not reinstating S.H.I.E.L.D.; making them more of a black ops team. Publicly, the A.T.C.U. will be the organization dealing with inhumans. Coulson is fine with that, but wants some Intel on Gideon Malick. The President can’t help there. Malick has a stake in almost every economy around the world and political ties that know no end. “I can’t pull that thread,” he bemoans. The President’s hands are tied – but Coulson’s are not.
Mac breaks free of his binds, and when the woman returns to him, he kicks her. Using her speedster skills, she is up and has him at gunpoint in the blink of an eye. Mac is upgraded to being tied to a chair, but the woman insists she does not use her gifts for “sin;” they are a gift from god. Daisy and Joey burst in, a containment unit at the ready, and take her back to the ship.
The woman is Elena Rodriguezk. Her cousin is her accomplice; he must have the weapons. Joey does her intake, and when she wakes, she is quite agitated. She swears she uses her power to end injustice, and that she wasn’t going to use the weapons they stole. In Columbia, the police are called “thieves in uniform.” She stole the weapons to keep them out of the hands of corrupt officials. Sure enough, Bobbi and Hunter find the cousin dumping the weapons into a river.
The police show up at this inopportune time, and Bobbi tries to sweet talk their way out of it. Ramone doesn’t buy it, and his partner gets out of the car and shows off his own inhuman power: he can shoot rays out of his eyes that paralyze a person. He uses this to great effect on Bobbi, Hunter, and the cousin. But they use the cousin to send a message: the cops shoot him in the head and leave him for dead.
Daisy and Mac retrieve the cousin’s body for Elena. Bobbi and Hunter are slowly coming back to life when their captors return. Hunter is re-paralyzed while they interrogate Bobbi. I assume they went with her because she’s just a girl. Luckily, Mac has made some super-weak argument that Elena’s powers are part of a “greater plan” and she agrees to help the team rescue Bobbi and Hunter. Elena’s powers are connected to her pulse. She can go as far as she can move in one heartbeat. S.H.I.E.L.D. has infrared on the police station, and the team moves out.
Elena sprints forward and steals a key card off an officer. No one sees her; it is just a rush of wind. The team, consisting of Daisy, Mac, Joey, and Elena, moves into the station. They fight their way through the officers, and Daisy is a little surprised at how efficient Elena’s skills are. Mac gets to Bobbi and Hunter first, and she tells him to warn the others about “Medusa Eyes.” He doesn’t make it in time. Elena confronts Medusa Eyes and manages to get an inhuman handcuff on him, but she can’t escape his stare. She is knocked back, paralyzed. Joey melts his glasses so he can’t use his powers.
Meanwhile, Coulson thinks he has a way to get intel on Malick: the brain scanner machine. But there is only one person who might have info on Malick, and he is in a persistent vegetative state. Werner. Lincoln doesn’t like this plan, and neither does Coulson, but his desire to bring down Malick supersedes any humanitarian efforts. With Werner in the machine, he is stuck in a traumatic loop, reliving his torture. Aloud, he begs to “just kill me,” over and over and over. Coulson has Lincoln do a targeted electroshock to jump his mind out of the trauma. It works, and Werner talks again, giving up how he got in touch with Malick.
Malick is in his villain’s lair with Giyera when an underling tells him that “he” is asking for Gideon. Malick is surprised that “he” spoke. The “he” is, unsurprisingly, Ward – or the evil has taken on the shape of Ward (we know it’s a version of the comic book villain Hive). He looks like death – and he is hungry. Several plates of near-raw meat later, Ward is slowly regaining his strength. But he has a certain resentment towards these mere humans (and inhumans).
Going through the same process that Werner did, Coulson gains access to a tiny, windowless room with only a telephone in it. He places a tiny sticker on the phone, and a trace activates on May’s end. A phone is brought to Malick, who assumes it is Werner, but it isn’t – and Coulson makes no attempt to hide who he is or what he wants: for Malick’s world to unravel. Malick is confident that he won’t be tracked.
A few more loose ends to tie up in the episode. As Daisy takes the captured Medusa Eyes to a containment chamber, a Hydra evac plane flies in and claw-games Medusa Eyes out of S.H.I.E.L.D. custody. Elena doesn’t want to join S.H.I.E.L.D.; she doesn’t want to be away from home. S.H.I.E.L.D. concedes, and gives her a communicator watch in case she ever needs backup. Joey is going back home, too, and Lincoln is given the same option, but he decides to stay because things between him and Daisy are getting serious. Simmons doesn’t like that things are awkward between her and Fitz, and wants to start their friendship over. They introduce themselves like it is the first time they are meeting. I think it is meant to be cute, but it is wholly unsatisfying. They just need to hook up. Ward doesn’t appreciate Giyera’s lack of faith in him, and he reaches a hand out to Giyera. The hand turns to sand. And finally, against Coulson’s wishes, the President insists on a new member joining the team: General Talbot.
You can watch a preview for the next episode, titled “The Inside Man,” using the player below.