An elusive young woman in a floral dress may hold the key to a mystery that brings Coulson and the team to Asia to rescue a young man with an unusual and dangerous power; and Skye has a secret that jeopardizes her relationship with the team right when they need her most.
A man is walking on a Hong Kong street, explaining to a small audience what he plans to do–it sounds like street performance magic, and nobody's all that impressed, but then he shows those watching that he can create and manipulate fire. A woman in a flower dress approaches him, telling him she wants to see more. He explains that he’s had this ability for a long time, and she tells him that he has a gift; why hasn't he shared it with the world. There are those, he suggests, who wouldn't appreciate it. The woman tells him to close his eyes and then two men in flame-retardant protective gear grab the man.
On the Bus, Ward and Skye are playing Battleship; she’s beating him, apparently with ease, and he wants a rematch to go best of three. May and Coulson are doing another one of their grown-up conversations when they get an alert that the man–named Chan–has been taken. A Hong Kong S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent named Kwan tells them that was someone had hacked into their data stream. Kwan wonders why things get silent on the Bus as everyone looks at Skye.
Cut to Raina (the titular girl in the flower dress) and Chan; she tells him that she is not part of S.H.I.E.L.D. and that she wants to help increase his power. Chan wants to leave, but Raina convinces him that as a superhero called Scorch, he can share his gift with the world and be something bigger than she is. He’s intrigued. Skye traces the signal that hacked S.H.I.E.L.D. in Hong Kong back to a cafe in Austin, Texas, and to a famous hacker named Miles, who is responsible for a number of high-profile hacks–but mostly pranks. When they get on the ground, there’s a foot chase because the suspect recognizes Ward–after Miles manages to hack traffic cameras and lose his tail in the ensuing chaos, he makes his way up to an apartment where he meets up with Skye. After a brief argument, the two kiss and have some "fun".
Soon, Skye generates a SIM card from her bra and they briefly discuss it; she reinforces to Miles that S.H.I.E.L.D. is off-limits because she is infiltrating them. After some flirtatious chatter, she can’t find her top and goes to open a door, only to find Agent May waiting for her. Shortly after, she talks with Coulson and May, promising them that she only tipped the guy off because they’re friends, not because she’s working with him. Fitz and Simmons don’t like the situation, and both Coulson and May are grilling Miles. Ward takes Skye into custody in cuffs.
In the bad guy’s lab, Raina is talking about field-testing Scorch’s powers. He’s having delusions of grandeur and she’s clearly glad to see how enthusiastic he is. In the interrogation room, Skye and Miles are arguing politics, with Skye saying that S.H.I.E.L.D. aren't bad people and Miles refusing to believe it, saying they stand for everything the pair are against. Outside, Coulson admits to May that she was right–that Skye is a risk. She asks what he thinks now about Skye, and he says that she’s still hiding something.
Simmons comes in to tell him that they've found some evidence–moments later, Ward heads into the interrogation room, where he tells Skye that Miles had made a series of deposits totaling $1 million in the days after the leak. She gets furious with him for selling information; Miles tells them that the money came from Project Centipede; that he thought it was Eco-research and the money was coming from a harmless source. In the lab, Raina says that it seems the volatility in the Extremis serum is gone; the other scientist–the red-headed Centipede doc from the pilot–congratulates her, then tells her, “Now drain him.” Coulson has figured out where they believe Chan is being held; they've figured out that his pyrokinetic genetics can stabilize Extremis.
Back at the bad guy lab, Centipede have removed his blood platelets–which are apparently fire-proof–leaving Scorch weak to his own powers. When he tries to use them, he fries his own hand, and then asks them what they’re doing. Back on the Bus, Skye and Miles are fighting over the principles of the Rising Tide. She tells him that because of what he did, an innocent man might die, for money. He tells her that he has no idea what he’s supposed to be looking for any more; that he thought it was her, but apparently he was wrong. At the target zone, Coulson is dispatching teams to invade the Centipede Complex; they’ll go in through the roof, while Coulson blows the door. When Coulson and the other lead agents, including Kwan, unhook Chan from the torture machine, he steals a vial full of his platelets and, injecting himself with them, kills Kwan.
At the lab, Coulson is having a stand off with Chan when May, speaking in Cantonese, tries to talk him down. It doesn't work, as he’s convinced that he’ll die either way. On the Bus, Skye tells the team that she can shut down Centipede’s computers but only if she’s onsite. Scorch has decided that he’s no longer the guy who will be misled by SHIELD, and that nothing can stop him; Coulson tells May that if she gives him a clear shot, he can knock him out and make sure he wakes up in a holding cell. Soon, Coulson is out of tranquilizers, the building computers are down, Scorch has escaped and Raina has left the red-headed scientist locked alone in a hallway with Scorch, who burns her alive. Coulson stands in front of him, telling him they don’t want to hurt him–but they have to. From behind, May injects him with a paralytic and he stands there gradually building to combustion. The team makes their way out of the building as a giant fireball takes out the top floor.
Back at the Bus, before they leave, Coulson calls Skye to his office; he’s given Miles a high-tech bracelet that won’t let him use electronics, confiscated his money for Kwan’s family and deserted him in Hong Kong. He tells Skye she’s changed, and she says good. Ward and May are sharing a drink when Skye comes behind them to talk. She asks Ward if he wants to oversee what’s going to happen between her and Coulson, he tells her he’s off the clock. When she gets to Coulson’s office, she starts to give an explanation and Coulson tells her to stop lying; he says he knows she has a secret, and she’s got one chance to come out with it, or he’s done with her.
She pulls the chip out of her bra, saying that it’s everything she has on herself–it’s the information she wanted. She was looking for her birth parents, but there’s no trace of them. The only document she ever found was redacted by S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson tells her she won’t like what she finds if she keeps looking, but she says it won’t be worse than what she’s imagined. He offers to help, gives her one of the bracelets, and leaves. She puts it on.
Raina visits an unidentified man in prison, to inform him of the S.H.I.E.L.D. group's tendency to trespass on their project. The man declares his limitations, with being in prison, but Raina tells him to "get in touch with the clairvoyant", to which he responds that "the clairvoyant doesn't like to be touched". She tells him to do it anyway, and he says he likes her dress. “I know,” she says, and leaves.
- Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson
- Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May
- Brett Dalton as Grant Ward
- Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz
- Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons
- Chloe Bennet as Skye
- Ruth Negga as Raina
- Louis Ozawa Changchien as Chan Ho Yin
- Shannon Lucio as Debbie
- Austin Nichols as Miles Lydon
- Tzi Ma as Agent Kwan Chen
- Cullen Douglas as Edison Po
- "Have you ever heard of Steve Rogers?, No. But Captain America now, he's on the news, and a lunchbox, and a poster on the wall."
- Chan Ho Yin
- Phil Coulson
- Leo Fitz
- Kwan Chen
- Miles Lydon
- Melinda May
- Edison Po
- Jemma Simmons
- Grant Ward
Weapons and TechnologyEdit
- This episode contains the first three major deaths in the series in the forms of Kwan Chen, Debbie and Chan Ho Yin