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The Playground, codenamed as Ragtag, is a former Strategic Scientific Reserve facility that was renovated to become a top secret S.H.I.E.L.D. facility at a classified location. After the HYDRA Uprising and upon Phil Coulson becoming director of S.H.I.E.L.D., it became the headquarters for the new S.H.I.E.L.D. It was catastrophically burnt by Melinda May's LMD, detonating barrels of fuel to block the other LMD's pursuit of Jemma Simmons and Daisy Johnson as well as their colleagues still alive (Davis, Piper and Prince).
Strategic Scientific Reserve Facility
The Playground was created as a base for the Strategic Scientific Reserve in 1949. Agent Peggy Carter herself, who went on to become one of the founders of S.H.I.E.L.D., oversaw the construction of the base.
Carter also kept files about the original 0-8-4, and about the HYDRA general that found it, Werner Reinhardt. Carter hid many of the most sensitive files inside Vault B, including the ones detailing Reinhardt's human experiments to test the Obelisk on war prisoners.
S.H.I.E.L.D. Secret Facility
S.H.I.E.L.D. Director of Nick Fury renovated the Playground, from being an old bunker belonging to the Strategic Scientific Reserve, into a complete secret facility upgraded with the latest technology. Fury devised the Playground to be so complete that it could potentially serve as headquarters for the whole agency.
Fury also kept its existence secret to everyone, except for a few selected agents. Billy Koenig was tasked with safekeeping the base, just as his brother Eric had been tasked with guarding another base, Providence.
Arrival of Phil Coulson
Phil Coulson and his team traveled to the Playground as soon as Nick Fury appointed Coulson as the new director of S.H.I.E.L.D., with the task of rebuilding the agency from scratch. For his mission, Fury gave Coulson a Toolbox with all the information from S.H.I.E.L.D.; the coordinates of the base was the first thing Coulson found in the Toolbox.
Upon arriving, the team found Jemma Simmons alive and well, and the whole team rushed to meet her, asking about Leo Fitz, whose status was much worse having suffered brain damage from Grant Ward's assassination attempt, though Simmons simply replied that he was alive.
Skye even mistook Billy for Eric, though he understood the confusion given their identical appearance, and was glad to have company. Koenig was excited to meet Coulson, promising him a S.H.I.E.L.D. Lanyard to access the whole facility without restrictions and acknowledging that lanyards for the rest of the team would be distributed on a case-by-case basis, to make sure none of them were HYDRA operatives.
Koenig offered all of the resources in the base to Coulson, in order to prepare themselves for the incoming fight against all remaining HYDRA operatives.
On his first night at the Playground, Phil Coulson was unconsciously driven to the storage room where the door carved with what John Garrett described as the Words of Creation was located. Coulson examined the writing, then took a knife in order to carve the symbols himself.
He spent hours carving, until he fully filled a whole wall with the words, as seeing Garrett's carving prompted the activation of some of the deleted memories derived from the administration of the GH.325 drug.
Rebuilding the Agency
Leo Fitz, having survived Grant Ward's attempt to kill him, spent nine days in a coma, with Jemma Simmons always by his side. When he finally awoke, he was unable to speak, and only looked at Simmons with confusion over what happened.
Fitz eventually regained the ability to speak, though the deprivation of oxygen he suffered damaged the temporal lobe of his brain, having many difficulties with words and the use of his hands.
However, Coulson enlisted the help of Melinda May to deal with the side effects of the GH.325 drug, that began to force him to carve the same Words of Creation that John Garrett previously carved. May documented the process, and started to be concerned about Coulson's well-being. He also tried to learn the meaning of the symbols, tasking Skye with recognizing the pattern for at least a month, to little avail.
Despite the assignment appeared to be a simple investigation, there was an ulterior motive for it. As Coulson started to feel the need of carving the symbols himself as he first saw the ones that Garrett carved, he was trying to evaluate if Skye also suffered the same side effects from her use of the GH.325, starting to monitor her.
Return of the Field Agents
Alphonso Mackenzie watched recently promoted Brigadier General Glenn Talbot's interview about the dismantling of S.H.I.E.L.D., assuring that both the agency and HYDRA, the terrorist organization that infiltrated and corrupted its ranks, have ceased to exist, but he still considered it his duty to capture every remaining former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
Mackenzie stopped working on the car he was repairing as he heard Agents Melinda May, Skye and Antoine Triplett discussing with Isabelle Hartley and her mercenaries Lance Hunter and Idaho about their failed recent mission in Alexandria.
Hartley was upset that May and her agents were shadowing them, which made it too difficult to maintain a solid cover, but May justified that they were concerned that, since Hartley was the only person on her team Director Phil Coulson fully trusted, they could not be sure her mercenaries would not run off with the money intended to be used to pay Roger Browning for information.
In order to calm things down, Hartley theorized that Carl Creel was able to find Browning and attacked him to retrieve the information due to the bid he placed on the file he was selling which allowed Creel to track Browning despite Hartley being the highest bidder.
Mackenzie and Triplett discussed how the operation did not go as planned, as Mackenzie was expecting to receive new technology they could use; Triplett said the only thing they gained was a new enemy.
Billy Koenig welcomed the field agents and announced that Director Coulson was expecting them for debriefing; they were surprised to learn that instead of having a teleconference, Coulson was actually waiting for them at his office. However, Coulson wanted to speak first with May before receiving anyone else, though Hunter voiced his disagreement with being left out.
Koenig asked Skye how Creel could be bulletproof, and she revealed that they found metal shards that broke off with the bullet hits. She planned to take them to the laboratory to get them analyzed. As Koenig said he would let Coulson know her discovery, she subtly hinted how good it would be to actually see Coulson, implying that it had been a while since she last saw him. Koenig justified Coulson's absence, saying he was a busy man.
Man in Charge
Phil Coulson was talking in his office with one of his agents, instructing him to maintain his assignment while avoiding contact through pay phones, as they were wasting so many phones that were not enough left in the whole country, just as Melinda May arrived to debrief him about their last mission.
May and Coulson discussed their agreement about Coulson's status, with May being in charge of Coulson despite he was the Director of the agency. Coulson could not fulfill one of May's rules, as he had to focus on recruitment, and could not check his status with her every few days as he promised.
The recruitment was not going well, as many former S.H.I.E.L.D. agents turned out to be traitors, military detainees, or sell-outs in the private sector, so the agents who could be considered loyal to S.H.I.E.L.D. were very few compared to the number of agents that were part of the agency before the reveal of the HYDRA infiltration. May acknowledged that he had to meet the operatives he was trying to recruit in order to test their loyalties, though it was expensive in both time and money to fly unnoticed, as Glenn Talbot was still trying to capture all remaining or former S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, specially them.
Coulson revealed that he managed to recruit allies in London, ready to be activated as agents in case of necessity, and showed her a map with the loyal S.H.I.E.L.D. agents that had been scattered around the whole world, though acknowledging they were going to need more resources for that.
May briefed Coulson about their mission with Roger Browning, as he did not wanted to rejoin S.H.I.E.L.D. and they could not obtain any technology from him, as he was attacked by an assassin, most likely aligned with HYDRA and even possibly gifted, that wanted to obtain the information Browning was trying to sell.
Coulson asked May's assessment about Isabelle Hartley and her mercenaries, and despite voicing her opinion that the money was their only motivation, though they were good mercenaries. Coulson acknowledged that as Hartley spent many years in undercover missions, the friends she made were those kind of people.
Coulson suddenly realized that the item Browning was talking about was retrieved by the Strategic Scientific Reserve, and according to the Toolbox Nick Fury gave Coulson, it was not only an 0-8-4, it was the first one, and the only information that S.H.I.E.L.D. managed to learn from it was the danger it posed.
Calling for Debrief
Isabelle Hartley, Lance Hunter and Idaho had something to eat, with Hartley assuring that the dish Idaho cooked now was better than the one he did during one of their missions in Budapest, that even broke one of Hunter's teeth.
Melinda May announced that Phil Coulson wanted to see the three of them in his office. Hunter pranked Idaho, telling him not to look Coulson in the eye, though Hartley warned both of the them to not say anything stupid.
Skye entered the kitchen, and May asked her if she took the metal shards they obtained from Carl Creel to their laboratory, as they needed to learn as much as they could about the man who attacked them. Skye said that she already delivered the items there, but she did not know if they would manage to learn something from them, as the mood in the laboratory was just as good as can be expected.
Analysis at the Laboratory
Leo Fitz worked at the laboratory of the Playground, trying to analyze the metal shards obtained in Alexandria in order to determine their nature, though it proved to be a difficult task for him, as he was still dealing with the effects of the brain damage he suffered when Grant Ward almost killed him.
Fitz had begun to speak with an hallucination of Jemma Simmons, who tried to guide him in the analysis, stating that the first steps where testing the resonant frequencies of the metal to determine its properties. Fitz was already trying to hear the resonant frequencies, but he was distracted by Simmons' words.
Fitz, showing trouble with finding the words he needed to express himself, had been unable to isolate the rate of oscillation of the metal, and the hallucination of Simmons constantly interrupted him to finish his sentences, though sometimes he asked her to do it, such as explaining that the inability to isolate the oscillation rate was that it kept fluctuating.
The hallucination seemed to show genuine concern about Fitz, asking him if he had taken his medication and trying to help him with developing the cloaking technology for the Bus. Fitz did not need her help with the cloaking, saying that he was close despite the development had been slower than what he would have liked, he just needed everybody to be patient. Simmons also said that he also needed to be patient with himself, as he was progressing every day.
Melinda May arrived and asked Fitz about the metal, though he said he had trouble identifying its material, as it seemed similar to the lead used in their bullets, though there was something strange on it.
At that moment, the metal shard transformed into flesh and it started to bleed. Fitz first thought it was another hallucination, but May also saw it, what made Fitz exhale in relief. May asked Fitz to analyze the blood and determine its source, something that both Simmons' hallucination and Fitz said should not be hard, though May decided to stay and help him.
Phil Coulson met with Isabelle Hartley and her two mercenary partners, Lance Hunter and Idaho, in order to learn more about the man who attacked them in Alexandria, correctly guessing he had powers, as they shot the attacker multiple times with the same effect as if they had been blowing kisses.
Hunter seized the opportunity to ask for a higher financial compensation given the risk of the missions now involving gifted individuals; though Hartley tried to talk him down, Hunter made it clear that despite both Coulson's and Hartley's personal reasons for being dedicated to the cause of S.H.I.E.L.D., she should know him better, as his only interest was the money.
Hartley excused him, saying he was not a "big picture kinda guy", an expression that reminded Hunter about his ex-wife. Coulson even said that he should have listened to both women.
Melinda May interrupted them with a DNA match of the attacker, a gifted individual named Carl Creel who was on the Index and marked as "crossed off", a S.H.I.E.L.D. protocol where hostile gifted individuals are put down. May explained that John Garrett was the supervising agent for the mission, so they deduced Garrett faked Creel's termination and recruited him into HYDRA.
Investigation of the Words of Creation
Skye retired into the Bus in order to think about the symbols that John Garrett carved after being administered the GH.325 drug, as Phil Coulson had tasked her with guessing its meaning, displaying them in the Holocom to help her think.
Antoine Triplett came to the debrief room talking about the weird resemblance between Billy Koenig and his deceased brother Eric, guessing that they may have been more than twins, as Billy always mentioned other brothers. Skye had already heard all of Triplett's theories about the subject; she was not concerned about Koenig as Coulson simply said they could trust him.
Triplett asked Skye about the symbols, and she revealed that it was simply something that Garrett was working on and Coulson ordered her to decipher them. For that, she even asked for help to her old Rising Tide contacts, though she was unable to find a match.
Coulson appeared to talk to Skye, and though Triplett expressed his happiness to see him for the first time in a while, Coulson asked him to leave him and Skye alone. Skye started to debrief him about her advances with the symbols, but Coulson quickly dismissed her, saying that the reason for his visit was to make Skye descend into Vault D and interrogate Grant Ward about Carl Creel, as she was the only one Ward was willing to speak to.
Coulson explained that he decided to make that move simply because the item they were trying to obtain and assure that it did not fall in HYDRA's hands was too important, even to make him give Skye that order without a possibility of refusing.
Descent to Vault D
Billy Koenig instructed Skye on how to operate the Inertial Confinement Laser Barrier inside Vault D that imprisoned Grant Ward, as it could be turned into a soundproof barrier and an opaque screen with a single button, though Skye was more concerned about accidentally hitting an off button. Koenig promised her she would be safe, as she would be monitored while inside the Vault.
Skye descended to the bottom of the Vault, surprising Ward as he did not expect her visit, as he already explained to Phil Coulson weeks before that he was willing to give her information just to speak to her, and guessed something had happened. Without asking anything else, Skye asked Ward if he had any information about Carl Creel, a gifted individual that John Garrett reported dead but was secretly recruited into HYDRA.
Ward tried to establish a normal conversation with Skye, asking how she had been in the months he spent in captivity. However, Skye threatened to leave, and Ward quickly revealed he knew the name to make her stay. Skye noticed signs of suicide attempts in Ward's body; he confessed how he tried to kill himself using a simple button from his pants and a piece of paper, so he started running at the walls, though he had managed to accept who he was, what he did and the reasons for doing it.
From his office, Phil Coulson watched the whole interrogation with Melinda May and Billy Koenig. May questioned if it was right to give Ward exactly what he wanted, the possibility to talk to Skye in order to fill her head with lies; Coulson replied that he did not lie yet.
Ward noticed how Skye had physically changed, correctly deducing she had been training under May's supervision. Skye stopped him, warning him that she was not going to believe anything he said, but if he said anything that was not related to the questions she asked, she would leave.
Ward started revealing Creel's past as a boxer and his ability to absorb a substance and consciously transform his body into it, enjoying the feeling it caused just like he enjoyed killing. Skye was not impressed, as they already knew that information from Creel's Index evaluation, but Ward also revealed the way HYDRA communicated within S.H.I.E.L.D., using the white noise in the gaps between S.H.I.E.L.D.'s quantum key distribution channels to hide messages, and guessing that would be the way HYDRA was giving commands to Creel.
Ward promised the information was true, as would be every word he said to her for the rest of her life; though he was not asking for her forgiveness, he just wanted to help her, hoping she would come back to learn things about her father. However, Skye did not hear the last part of Ward's statements as she quickly turned the Inertial Confinement Laser Barrier into an opaque soundproof barrier.
Billy Koenig quickly scanned the frequencies Grant Ward revealed to be used by HYDRA in order to communicate with their operatives, and found the directive sent to Carl Creel ordering him to attack Brigadier General Glenn Talbot. Koenig started to send an echo request through the channels to calculate the number of HYDRA operatives that have received similar directives using that particular method.
Meanwhile, Phil Coulson thanked Skye for obtaining the information from Ward, and she guessed that that would be the first of many visits to Vault D. Coulson assured her that was the reason he kept Ward in their facility, and it did not matter what he tried to obtain, as long as he gave them valuable information about HYDRA.
Koenig was able to locate HYDRA operatives stationed in virtually every country in the world, overlapping the signals over the ones sent by loyal S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, and learning that the number of HYDRA operatives in the world was higher than the number of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, as Talbot's crusade against HYDRA did not destroy the organization; it just sent it back to the shadows.
Capture of Glenn Talbot
Brigadier General Glenn Talbot was captured by S.H.I.E.L.D. following a thwarted attack by HYDRA operative Carl Creel. Talbot was knocked unconscious and taken to the Playground, where he was contained in the cell inside the Bus.
Talbot regained consciousness and realized he was tied to a chair. Phil Coulson entered the room, and Talbot asked if the straps were necessary, though he quickly recognized he would attack Coulson if he was not tied. Coulson revealed his intentions to work together with Talbot, making S.H.I.E.L.D. and the United States Armed Forces cooperate like they did in the past, though Talbot reminded him that the last time they saw each other, Coulson assaulted him and his team. Coulson explained that he did it to stop a killer, something he did, while Talbot took possession of the Providence secret base which earned him a promotion from Colonel to Brigadier General.
Talbot and Coulson revealed their mutual respect for each other's skills, as Coulson managed to evade Talbot's efforts to capture him for a long time, while Talbot made it hard for Coulson. Coulson tried to make Talbot understand there was no need to chase S.H.I.E.L.D., as it was a waste of resources, and they could actually help each other to capture the real threat, HYDRA.
However, Talbot did not trust Coulson's words, as he had been kidnapped and tied inside a cell; Coulson continued his speech saying that many people were underestimating HYDRA, but all remaining S.H.I.E.L.D. agents had sworn to protect the innocent, including Talbot's son, George.
From Coulson's office, Melinda May, Skye and Billy Koenig witnessed the whole conversation with Talbot, realizing how the mention of Talbot's son made Talbot so angry that he strongly grabbed the arm rests of the chair, which were equipped with sensors that analyzed and copied his fingerprints. Coulson calmed Talbot down by explaining that what they did in Washington, D.C., thwarting Creel's attack and protecting everyone, including Talbot himself, was the mission of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Leo Fitz got jealous of Koenig, as Koenig was doing tasks that formerly were assigned to him. Fitz discussed this with his hallucination of Jemma Simmons, who assured Fitz that he was not being put aside. Fitz was concerned that all his teammates had changed the way they looked at him, especially when asking about the development of cloaking technology for the Bus, something that the hallucination attributed to simple anxiety. Both of them assured that Fitz still had good ideas despite his condition, he just had some difficulty expressing them.
Fitz acknowledged that he was tired of being treated as if he was going to break, and assured the hallucination that the only circumstance where he felt clear and calm was while he talking to it, feeling that he might actually get better; the hallucination assured him he was getting better every day and Fitz was the only one that did not realized it.
Coulson continued his conversation with Talbot, who assured that his soldiers were prepared for capturing Creel, having already contained and imprisoned him. However, Coulson said that that was exactly what Creel wanted, as he knew from Talbot's numerous public appearances that all technology and prisoners from S.H.I.E.L.D. were stored in the same facility, and Creel wanted to obtain the Obelisk, an item that was now stored in that facility.
Coulson showed Talbot HYDRA's directive to Creel, while revealing that Creel's reason to target him and his family was to force Talbot to give up the location of the facility. Instead he was directly taken to the facility, with the Armed Forces having taken into custody a man whose powers made him very difficult to contain.
Coulson finally asked for Talbot's help in stopping Creel, but Talbot offered Coulson another deal: Coulson had to release Talbot in exchange for Talbot not killing Coulson, as he angrily said that he would never help Coulson. Disappointed by the answer, Coulson grabbed an I.C.E.R. and shot Talbot, rendering him unconscious to take him out of the Playground.
Billy Koenig received a call from Glenn Talbot, whose phone had been hacked in order to locate the Government Storage Warehouse and obtain Talbot's access code. Talbot, believing he was talking to one of his subordinates, identified himself and ordered to extremely reinforce security of the compound, requesting a vehicle at his location. Koenig assured Talbot his orders would be fulfilled, while giving Skye the access code to hack a security clearance for the storage facility, who managed to locate the facility near the Pentagon.
Isabelle Hartley, Lance Hunter, Idaho and Alphonso Mackenzie prepared a full arsenal of weapons in order to raid the facility and retrieve the Obelisk before Carl Creel, already imprisoned there, could escape his containment cell and retrieve it for HYDRA.
Hunter and Hartley questioned the reason to infiltrate a secure compound, and while Hartley trusted Director Phil Coulson's judgment, she thought that the compound was secure enough to contain both Creel and the Obelisk, as Talbot and the United States Government were just doing what they thought best.
Mackenzie agreed with Hartley's reasoning, though Skye acknowledged the United States Armed Forces had no idea the danger both Creel and the Obelisk posed. Hartley thought the potential danger was maybe not worth the risk of sending every available field agent into a secure military compound, and Hunter pointed they could not even use the Bus.
Coulson himself appeared, cryptically revealing they were after more things than it seemed in that mission. Hartley, knowing Coulson for a long time, immediately trusted his motivations and agreed with the mission.
Skye consulted Melinda May, now her Supervising Officer, if she would take point of the mission, but she revealed Coulson himself would be communicating with them to oversee the mission. Antoine Triplett, disguised as an United States Armed Forces General, joined Skye and jokingly told her to admit how good he looked in uniform before departing for their mission.
Phil Coulson coordinated the infiltration into the Government Storage Warehouse helped by Billy Koenig. Coulson impersonated Glenn Talbot to use Talbot's authority and ordered Private Tilden, the soldier tasked with checking the visitors from the register, to let the party enter the facility. Tilden apologized and tried to excuse himself saying that they were not in the register, but Coulson, coached by Koenig, angrily told the private to let the whole party enter or else the consequences would be severe.
Meanwhile, Skye managed to hack the register, introducing Antoine Triplett's image as General Jones, granting them access to the compound, so Tilden informed Coulson, still thinking he was Talbot, that the situation had been solved, and he let the agents enter the facility. Coulson thanked the private, and told him to come shake Talbot's hand next time he saw him. Koenig was astonished with the whole performance.
As the mission was being fulfilled, Koenig informed Coulson that the alarms of the facility had been activated, and the probabilities of their agents being captured or killed were very high. Skye contacted Coulson to inform him that while Isabelle Hartley had obtained the Obelisk, touching it caused a reaction that would kill her. Despite the situation, Coulson ordered his agents to not abort their mission and proceed as planned.
Coulson revealed to Koenig and Alphonso Mackenzie the reason he authorized such a risky mission, that could have ended S.H.I.E.L.D. once and for all if they failed. As the agents managed to escape with a Quinjet, Coulson acknowledged that now they had the weapons, the advantages they needed to battle their enemies, as the Quinjet would allow them to disappear and act from the shadows to protect people, even if they did not know or did not want their protection.
Coulson lamented that Leo Fitz was unable to engineer cloaking technology due to the damage he suffered in his brain's temporal lobe, becoming isolated and talking to himself, watching an hallucination of Jemma Simmons since Simmons left on an assignment, since she thought he would be better without her. Her leaving broke Fitz.
Meanwhile, Fitz was talking to the hallucination of Simmons while working on the cloaking technology, discussing with it but also seeking comfort in her.
Coulson continued to explain the purpose S.H.I.E.L.D. now had under his leadership, as they had to fight for the companions they lost, and take risks so that their sacrifices were not made in vain, disappearing after their goal was accomplished.
Melinda May's Chase
Phil Coulson was contacted by Melinda May to inform him about the outcome of the mission at the Government Storage Warehouse, with Coulson wondering Lance Hunter's reasons to escape. May acknowledged that Hunter was only trying to save Isabelle Hartley, but she ended up dying. Coulson regretted that two agents ended up dying and another was captured during their mission, something that should never had happened.
Coulson informed May that 911 received notice of a stolen vehicle in ahead of her position, with Carl Creel being the most likely thief. Coulson ordered her not to engage if she found Creel, as she was in a civilian area without backup.
May found Creel in a stolen pickup and approached him from behind. She tried to convince Coulson she could shot and kill Creel without being noticed, but he had to insist and assert his authority as Director to make May not to kill him, as Coulson wanted to know who were Creel's superiors.
Arrival of the Quinjet
Antoine Triplett and Skye arrived at the Playground in the Quinjet they managed to seize at the Government Storage Warehouse, with Skye wondering why she could not make contact with Isabelle Hartley or Lance Hunter. Triplett acknowledged that radio silence was one of the usual protocols in their operations, so there was no need to worry.
Skye was worried about Hartley's condition due to touching the Obelisk, but Triplett tried to make her not think on the worst outcome with a saying she thought came from his grandmother, but it turned out to come from a fortune cookie.
Phil Coulson, who was ordering one of his agents to make a complete inventory of all resources at the base, congratulated Triplett and Skye for obtaining the Quinjet, but dismissed Skye's question about Hartley to have them inform Alphonso Mackenzie about the arrival of the aircraft in order to reverse-engineer its cloaking technology and apply it on the Bus.
Skye followed Coulson to inform him in private that the Obelisk displayed the same symbols he ordered her to investigate, coming out of the item as soon as Hartley touched it. However, despite Skye's hopes that that would make them advance in the investigation, Coulson told her he was more concerned about Lance Hunter, who had been captured by the United States Armed Forces. As both of them knew, Hunter could compromise all of their operations, as they would have to burn the Playground and evacuate, severely damaging the newly restored agency.
Antoine Triplett and Skye delivered the cloaking hardware of the Quinjet to Alphonso Mackenzie, who immediately started analyzing it. Skye said that Leo Fitz would be devastated if he learnt they had to obtain the technology from elsewhere, as he had been working on it cloaking since before Jemma Simmons left the Playground.
Triplett, unaware of the true reasons for Simmons' departure, could not believe that she abandoned him in his situation, and Skye even assured that she abandoned all of them, and since then Fitz has been dedicated to his work, so Triplett proposed not to tell him anything about the cloaking.
On the other hand, Mackenzie let them know that Director Phil Coulson wanted to replicate the cloaking technology for the Bus as soon as possible, with Fitz the person that better knew the avionics of the plane. Triplett wondered if he could handle it, but Mackenzie told him to ask Fitz himself, who was right behind them.
Skye and Triplett greeted Fitz, who approached the cloaking hardware, still being unable to properly speak. Mackenzie told Fitz that judging by the working device, Fitz's designs were close to be finished, and asked him to check its transmitter coil.
Fitz, knowing its function but being unable to find the word to explain it, was advised by Skye to take some time and be patient. Seeing that Fitz withdraw himself, Mackenzie explained what Fitz tried to explain that the cloaking had an audio component that inverted sound waves, using a similar concept to the one noise-canceling headphones used.
Mackenzie asked Fitz for assistance in working with the cloaking, who refused, but tried to give Mackenzie some advice on how to deal with it, becoming increasingly nervous and uncomfortable in the situation. Skye tried to comfort him when he could not find a word to explain himself, but Fitz just asked them to stop talking. Triplett silently told Skye to leave Fitz, who decided to leave them in order to be alone.
Skye was worried about his friend, saying that sometimes he acted as he was like the same old Fitz and other times simply not. Mackenzie, not knowing how Fitz was before the accident, told Skye and Triplett that he needed help with the cloaking, and asked them if everyone had returned from the mission at the Government Storage Warehouse. Skye simply answered that not everyone before leaving.
Aftermath of the Mission
Phil Coulson consulted the files on the Toolbox that Nick Fury gave him in order to learn more about the Obelisk, encrypting one of the files. He was interrupted by Skye, who knocked on the door of his office; he quickly hid the Toolbox inside the pen holder of his desk.
Skye briefed Coulson that Antoine Triplett and Alphonso Mackenzie were working on getting the cloaking technology adapted for the Bus, so she was ready to go back in the field. Coulson dismissed her intentions, as Melinda May was already on a mission.
Skye asked about Isabelle Hartley and Idaho, and given Coulson's silence, she assumed they were dead. Skye asked if the Obelisk killed them, but Coulson revealed they were killed Carl Creel. Skye asked for Coulson's permission to help May take Creel down, as she now was a field agent and May was her Supervising Officer.
Coulson did not explain his reason to keep her out of the mission, as it had nothing to do with her status as an agent now, and though Skye asked him if it had something to do with the Obelisk or the symbols that were related to it, Coulson dismissed her saying that one of the ways she could help was with packing up Hartley's belongings.
Skye told Coulson that she understood his need to compartmentalize everything, but also advised him that it was not healthy, and he needed to loosen up. Coulson told her that he already tried yoga, but he was not flexible enough.
Helping with the Investigation
Leo Fitz spoke to the hallucination of Jemma Simmons about how close he was to develop cloaking technology for the Bus, only needing more time to calculate the plane's refractive index. The hallucination acknowledged that the problem was that everyone needed immediate answers, and if they had more patience anymore.
Fitz thought the other agents were enjoying he was not able to develop a cloaking device, though the hallucination dismissed that idea, saying that everyone considered him to be valuable, despite his perception that everyone avoided him, something the hallucination attributed to having other problems, such as locating Carl Creel.
The hallucination of Simmons prompted Fitz to assist with locating Creel, as he had previous experiences with gifteds that could be useful to develop a way to neutralize Creel's ability. The hallucination also warned Fitz that he could not hijack the project from the rest of researchers, as it would reduce the confidence everyone had in Fitz. However, Fitz interpreted that words as a signal to actually hijack the project, so the hallucination made him notice a full file of research about Creel left behind, and he took it to study Creel's DNA results.
Phil Coulson was called by Melinda May to brief him about Carl Creel's status, who had been waiting inside the Halfway House Cafe in Delaware for an hour, theorizing that he could be waiting for a drop, or maybe just getting drunk. Suddenly, May heard a scream from inside and ran to the café, informing Coulson that she was going to enter.
The authorities quickly arrived and sealed the establishment, and May briefed Coulson about the what happened inside the establishment, with Creel having petrified a Waitress. Coulson theorized that as Creel absorbed the properties of whatever he touched, he must have absorbed the properties of the Obelisk too, but killing the waitress was not intentional, and he could be losing control like the first time S.H.I.E.L.D. came across him.
May regretted having let Creel escape, as he could have engaged him before arriving to the drop site, but Coulson said that in that case she would be dead too, and if someone must be blamed it was him. May acknowledged that being Director does not mean he is responsible for everything, though Coulson admitted that was precisely what it meant, and ordered her to return to the Playground as soon as she could.
Return of Lance Hunter
Lance Hunter returned to the Playground following his capture and subsequent deal with the United States Armed Forces to sell out Phil Coulson. Knowing Hunter could be dangerous, the defenses of the facility were activated, and a series of spikes emerged from the ground to cause a flat tire in his vehicle.
Hunter exited the car and was approached by Antoine Triplett, who complimented the car and told him it was a shame what happened to the rims. Knowing Triplett was not approaching as a friend, Hunter continued the conversation, until Triplett told him to put his hands on the car to frisk him.
Hunter was taken to Coulson's presence, and he complained to Coulson for having lost Carl Creel, and demanded to know why not every agent was looking for him. Coulson asked him why did Hunter think he was entitled to be answered, and he gave the assassination of Isabelle Hartley and Idaho as reason.
Hunter then blamed Coulson for not having aborted the mission; Coulson replied that Hartley should have followed his orders, as she could have been transported inside the Quinjet as planned. Hunter calmed himself, and said that Hartley tried to follow Coulson's orders, but Hunter prompted her to leave.
Coulson then asked the reason for Hunter's return, if it was guilt, a desire for revenge, or the deal he made with Glenn Talbot. Hunter said that all reasons were true, and his deal was to deliver Coulson in 48 hours, though Hunter did not tell their location despite being tempted to do it, and had to spent three hours to lose the four men that were following him.
Coulson asked him what he would get in exchange for selling him out with Hunter explaining that he wanted a proper burial for Hartley, clearance of her record and notification to her family. Hunter revealed his true reason for returning to S.H.I.E.L.D. was that he believed it was his best chance to find Creel, but he also wanted the money he was promised for the missions, and Hartley's and Idaho's money to give it to their families. Coulson promised to take care of their families, and Hunter promised in exchange that he would leave once Creel had been either captured or killed.
Problem Already Solved
Leo Fitz, speaking to his recurrent hallucination of Jemma Simmons, wondered why S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists tried to work a biochemical mean to stop Carl Creel, as according to Fitz, the adenovirus developed to counter Creel's ability would never bind to his cellular membranes, and therefore would be useless.
Fitz thought that there was need to find a way to destabilize Creel's cells, and Simmons pointed the word "destabilize", making Fitz realize he already solved that problem and found a way to do it in the past.
Alphonso Mackenzie entered the laboratory and asked Fitz who was he talking to, and though the hallucination said Fitz was talking to her, Fitz said to Mackenzie he was talking to no one. Mackenzie downplayed the fact that Fitz was talking to himself, as many people did it, and he compared it to his liking of singing in the shower, someone that he would not want anyone to hear.
The hallucination laughed at Mackenzie's comment, but Fitz asked very seriously the reason of his visit. Mackenzie sought Fitz advice for the cloaking technology for the Bus, asking him if he was thinking placing it under the avionics of the plane.
Angry, Fitz said he had enough about the cloaking technology, as he was too busy with thinking about a way to stop Creel. However, Mackenzie directly told Fitz that it looked like he was just throwing him out, and if he just wanted to be alone, it was fine.
The hallucination of Simmons like Mackenzie's honesty, though Fitz defined it as bluntness, and explained that Mackenzie did not talked to Fitz like everyone else. Mackenzie, seeing that Fitz stared into nothingness, called him back, and realized he had a file in his hands, correctly guessing that it was a file about Creel. Fitz, having troubled with finding the words, told Mackenzie that he did not solved the problem that day.
Isabelle Hartley's Belongings
Skye packed up Isabelle Hartley's belongings at her room, and took a picture of Hartley with another woman. Lance Hunter entered the room, and explained her that the other woman in the photograph was Jane Hartley, Isabelle's sister, and that they were very close. Hunter took a pendant hanging on the picture, explaining that it belonged to Hartley's mother, who died of breast cancer five years before, and Jane had it too. Skye asked Hunter how he and Hartley met, and he said it was through Hunter's ex-wife, a good friend of Hartley.
Skye felt sorry for Hunter's loss, saying it was tough to lose people someone cared about. Hunter said that the way to avoid that was not to get attached to anyone; a path that Skye already tried but did not work for her, and by the looks of it, it did not work for Hunter either.
Hunter said Skye reminded him a bit of Hartley, being raw but sharp, and complimented her skills that could be very sought in what he defined as the "private sector", working as mercenaries, though he preferred the term "private military contractors". Though Skye dismissed that option, Hunter told him to think about it, as everyone needed a way to live after their job in one way or another.
Phil Coulson reunited with Melinda May and Antoine Triplett at his office to discuss how to proceed on the chase of Carl Creel. May guessed he would have hidden instead of escaped, as his description was handed to local authorities and roadblocks have been settled.
Triplett asked the reason Creel could have visited a bar with a manhunt against him, and May answered that Creel was waiting for his contact, though they did not know if he managed to meet him. Coulson asked about the results from the investigation with a way to neutralize Creel's powers; Triplett said they did not have anything yet.
Skye entered the office to announce that the encrypted HYDRA signal they shut down was active again with someone sending a message for S.H.I.E.L.D. with a phone number to call. After dismissing Creel as the author of the message, Coulson ordered Skye to call the number.
Coulson quickly recognized Raina as the speaker on the other side of the phone, who said she was glad that Coulson got her message, and chatted that it was a while since the last time they spoke. Coulson tried to make their conversation end quickly, as he was busy with manhunting Creel; she correctly guessed they needed time to trace her call and that they did not know where Creel or the Obelisk he stole were located.
Raina revealed that she knew HYDRA was about to obtain the item thanks to Creel, but she was not working for them anymore, as she did not share their interest in simple world domination, and she did not want the Obelisk falling into their hands, as they would not understand it. She believed that Coulson maybe would, as John Garrett understood it as soon as he was injected with GH.325 and began to have visions that he had to carve on the walls.
Coulson turned off the speaker of the phone and spoke to Raina in private, saying that Garrett was a madman, though for Raina, he was enlightened and witnessed their fate, what they would become. Coulson asked Raina's true reason for calling him; she revealed that Creel stole a ring from her that had an embedded tracker that could help Coulson locate Creel. She prompted him to hurry, as Creel was less stable by the second due to his interaction with the Obelisk.
Phil Coulson organized his field agents to deploy as soon as Raina's tracker lead them to the location of Carl Creel, in order to locate him before he could give the Obelisk to HYDRA. Skye asked how to proceed if Creel used his powers against them, as the technicians at the laboratory had not yet found a way to counteract his powers, since Creel was classified as an immediate threat to civilians, Coulson gave Antoine Triplett the order to kill Creel with a sniper rifle and armor-piercing rounds that could work if Creel was caught off guard.
Lance Hunter asked Coulson what he could do, and as Coulson was unsure if Hunter could follow an order, he was undecided if he should keep Hunter at the Playground as back-end or deploy him as a field operative. Hunter assured him he would follow orders, swearing by his scout's honor, and asked Coulson to let him participate, as he owed one to Isabelle Hartley. Melinda May agreed he could be of use in the field, and Coulson gave Hunter the order to prepare for the mission.
Leo Fitz tried to explain his solution to destabilize Carl Creel's powers to the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists at the Playground, but was unable to find the appropiate words to explain himself, repeating that he did not solve the problem that day.
Alphonso Mackenzie tried to help him asking about the devices Fitz had been recently using, naming the cloaking device, but backed up seeing that its mention infuriated Fitz. Desperate, Fitz lost control and threw all papers from the table to the ground, and as Mackenzie told him to calm down, Fitz kept repeating that he did not solve it that day.
Mackenzie told him that he had already said that, but then suddenly realized that Fitz wanted to say that he already solved it before, and needed one of his old designs. Mackenzie and Fitz started revising some of devices Fitz designed or improved, including the D.W.A.R.F.s, the Gravity Field Generator for the Gravitonium, the Peruvian 0-8-4 and the Atmospheric Moisture Freezing Device, until finding the one they needed, the Overkill Device.
Once Carl Creel was defeated, Leo Fitz tried to explain Alphonso Mackenzie the effect the Overkill Device that Mackenzie modified to disrupt the molecular structure of Creel's epidermal cells, and destabilizing his powers. However Mackenzie was unable to find the words that Fitz wanted to use to explain the complex process that the device caused on Creel, even though Mackenzie himself modified the device.
Mackenzie compared the situation to musicians being able to play a tune by ear, saying he needed sheet music to play something. Mackenzie admired the original Overkill Device that Fitz built with Jemma Simmons, and asked about their relationship, having heard she was a good person, and how Fitz was feeling due to her absence. Fitz, watching his recurring hallucination of Simmons smiling at him, said he was okay.
Skye and Melinda May watched how Fitz talked to someone instead of to himself as he had been doing lately, and Skye admitted it was uneasy for her to treat Fitz since his accident. May answered that Skye reaction was understandable, as Fitz had changed, but Skye said they all had changed, even Phil Coulson.
May excused Coulson's behavior saying that he had the burden of rebuilding S.H.I.E.L.D., and he had to worry for the whole world, instead of just for his team. Skye said she did not refer to that, as she knew Coulson was keeping something from her that had nothing to do with his role as director, and asked May to honestly answer if Coulson was okay. May, knowing what was really happening to Coulson, lied to her saying that Coulson was okay.
Melinda May headed to Phil Coulson's office immediately after her conversation with Skye to talk to Coulson about his behavior, heading into the field to directly confront Carl Creel, behaving as if he were a Clearance Level 1 field agent.
Coulson clarified that he got rid of Clearance Levels Once he became Director, but May did not want to divert the attention from her reasons to be there, though his action saved her life. May knew that Coulson was overly stressed as 18 had passed since his last "episode", the last time he felt the need to carve the symbols derived from his injection of the GH.325.
May encouraged him to stop fighting that need and let the "episode" happen. May and Coulson prepared the office for the process, rising the main screen of his office to reveal an empty wall, extending a sheet on the floor to pick the dust from the wall that would fall as he carved, and sealing the windows of the office.
Coulson began the carving while May took photographs of the process and the symbols, keeping a handgun nearby in case of need, spending hours until fully filling the wall of his office. May compared the written symbols to Garrett's Words of Creation and the symbols Coulson wrote in his former "episodes", and confirmed they were exactly the same.
Skye practiced her accuracy at the shooting range with Melinda May, her supervising officer. Glad at her results, Skye explained her secret, imagining she was shooting at Grant Ward. However, May wanted to use that feeling to teach her about self-control, having to imagine she was shooting at targets.
May said she had to have control over her body and her mind, no matter the situation, citing hostages or bombs about to explode as two situations that required control. Skye thought her performance had been poor, though May complimented her ability to keep her heart rate consistent the whole time.
May handed Skye a sniper rifle to continue her practice when they were interrupted by Lance Hunter and Alphonso Mackenzie, who wanted to ask Skye if she went to S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy. May seized the opportunity to remind Hunter the consequences it would have having shot at them in Washington, D.C. while chasing Carl Creel.
Hunter apologized again to May, who coldly told him not to be sorry, just to wait. Mackenzie revealed to Skye the reason of the question, a wager between him and Hunter, so he asked the question again. Since she did not, Hunter lost the bet and had to made a full inventory alone, with Mackenzie mocking him that Billy Koenig liked to have the inventory very neat, and not to write the number "seven" with a line through it in European style, as Koenig did not like them.
Hunter believed that Skye had gone to the Academy, as he heard Phil Coulson mentioning she was a field agent and even had a badge. She explained that her experience was more akin to a "work-study" program, and she received her badge the day before the agency collapsed.
Hunter revealed how he knew his former partners, mentioning that Isabelle Hartley hated firearms but loved her blade, or that Idaho went to a church to light a candle whenever someone died on a job to balance the karma. Skye saw beyond Hunter's comments; he wanted to know if she had ever killed anyone, and she said that he had not, or at least she did not know if she had.
May reminded Hunter he had an inventory to do, so he had to leave and let Skye continue her practice. Hunter left them to do the inventory, while May told Skye to practice with the sniper rifle to get used to its recoil. Having overheard Hunter's last question, she also told Skye that experience did not make easier to kill a target.
Melinda May left Skye practicing with a sniper rifle to check Phil Coulson, who had recently returned from one of his recruiting trips. Seeing he was alone, May assumed Coulson did not manage to recruit Agent 33, a highly capable former agent.
Coulson revealed that not only she did not retired, but she had been captured by HYDRA, with Coulson being tired of losing their best and brightest assets to HYDRA. What S.H.I.E.L.D. did not know at the moment is that Agent 33 was captured in order to be submitted to a brainwashing process, to made her become a loyal HYDRA operative.
Race for Donnie Gill
Phil Coulson held a briefing at the Playground in order to inform his agents of HYDRA's next target: Donnie Gill, a former S.H.I.E.L.D. cadet that obtained freezing powers. The most likely scenario is that HYDRA wanted to turn him into another weapon, like they did with Carl Creel.
Melinda May informed them of one of their discoveries, that while being contained at the Sandbox, Gill developed his initially limited powers, and was taught to control and amplify those powers. Lance Hunter wondered if it was S.H.I.E.L.D.'s or HYDRA's responsibility to turn Gill into a weapon, and while Coulson did not know the answer, he was certain that many scientists stationed at the base were HYDRA operatives, explaining why they were able to quickly take the base. Alphonso Mackenzie said that one of his friends was stationed there, and said that the situation went bad quickly following the revelation of the HYDRA infiltration within S.H.I.E.L.D.
Antoine Triplett asked if Gill escaped during the HYDRA Uprising, and though Coulson did not know for sure, he was certain that recruiting Creel was not an isolated incident, and a trustworthy source told him that they wanted to recruit Gill next, therefore ordering his agents to find Gill before HYDRA did.
Coulson asked Leo Fitz, who knew Gill during their visit at the S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy and whom Gill greatly admired, if he could think about anything that may help to focus their search. Fitz, having trouble with finding the words to explain himself, explained with Mackenzie's help that Gill had trouble making friends, and advised to ask Jemma Simmons if he could contact her.
As that information was of no help, Coulson asked Fitz to think more about it, with Mackenzie assuring Coulson he would work with him on it. Coulson ordered May to lead the search, and to keep him informed; in turn, May ordered to scan satellite feeds with significant temperature reductions. Fitz interrupted her to ask the reason Skye was not present at the debrief. May answered, without entering into detail, that she was working another angle.
Interrogating Grant Ward
Skye descended again to the Vault D of the Playground in order to ask Grant Ward about HYDRA's interest in gifteds, knowing that Carl Creel was not the only one they recruited, as they were trying to retrieve Donnie Gill. methods.
Ward revealed that HYDRA did not give many choices when they want to recruit someone, and Skye wondered how was he recruited, if he was offered money, threatened, tortured or a mixture of all them, but Ward assured once again he was never loyal to HYDRA, he was loyal to John Garrett.
Skye mocked him, asking if Garrett was the reason Ward became a cold-blooded killer, but as Ward did not blame him for his own choices, she remembered him blaming his older brother and his parents. However, Ward assured her that his family ruined his life, and Garrett seized the opportunity built him back just like he wanted. Knowing the reputation of his family, Skye said the Wards were a very much respected and loved family, though Ward assured that every family had secrets, including hers.
Seeing that Ward was trying to influence her talking about her family, Skye apologized for talking to Ward as if he was a normal person and continued asking about HYDRA's tactics regarding gifteds. Ward explained that HYDRA usually sent an acquisition team to either convince or capture the gifted, and if they failed to do any of these options, the gifted is killed.
Skye asked what would happen if the gifted did not pose a threat, but Ward told her that every gifted that refused HYDRA was a threat for them, being killed immediately. That was, in Ward's words, a major difference between S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA, and the reason why HYDRA would ultimately win, that they did not lose time considering what was right and wrong like S.H.I.E.L.D. did, they simply took the shot.
Phil Coulson asked Antoine Triplett how long would it take to prepare the Bus for travelling to Morocco, and he gave the rest of agents the 15 minutes it would take to gather their gear for the mission. Lance Hunter commented that Gill was very easy to locate, so HYDRA would surely find him.
Skye informed that, according to her asset, HYDRA would kill Gill if a capture or recruitment was not possible, so May emphasized the importance of arriving before HYDRA did, and Coulson himself would coordinate the mission from the Bus.
Alphonso Mackenzie told Leo Fitz that, as the field agents would be taking the Bus, and Billy Koenig was out of the base, they had the night off and could spend their time playing to the Xbox. Fitz was concerned for being left out of the mission, as he personally knew about it, and though Mackenzie tried to cheer him up, Fitz realized that the rest were hiding things from him, first with Skye's asset and now with Gill.
Mackenzie dismissed his theories, saying that, in this case, they were just trying to protect him from a potential death, and asked him not to get paranoid.
Facing the Truth
Leo Fitz, knowing that Director Phil Coulson and the rest of senior agents had left the Playground to pursue Donnie Gill, decided to descend to Vault D in order to learn the identity of the asset that Skye kept talking about, thinking it could actually be Grant Ward.
His recurring hallucination of Jemma Simmons tried to dissuade Fitz from the idea, saying that Alphonso Mackenzie was right when he said that Fitz sounded paranoid, and asked him to stop assuming the worst, but all Fitz wanted to know is the truth about the things they were keeping from him.
The hallucination tried to explain to Fitz the reason they were keeping things from him, but he referred to her as an hallucination, saying she was not there, and made it disappear, so he entered the Vault and descended, rendering the Inertial Confinement Laser Barrier transparent, finding that Grant Ward had been imprisoned in the Playground all the time.
They both stared at each other in silence, but as Ward told Fitz that he was imagining that he had many things to say to him, Fitz started to have a nervous breakdown, breathing heavily and panting. Ward said he was happy to see Fitz, and as he asked him if he was alright, Fitz told him to stop talking.
Ward started excusing his behavior, saying that he did not want to hurt him when he threw him to the ocean, he tried to avoid killing him as John Garrett had ordered, and instead he gave him a chance to escape like he always did. Fitz tried to explain what happened to him, but he had again trouble with finding the words, and told him it was better to actually show him the effect, finally finding the word he was looking for: Hypoxia, being deprived of oxygen.
Fitz activated the environmental room of the room, reducing the oxygen level for Ward, who started to have trouble breathing. Fitz explained the effects of hypoxia, saying that the brain cells were the first to die, and the damage was permanent after three minutes.
Worried, Ward asked about Skye, and Ward told him she went after Donnie Gill, and he could not go with them because of the damage he suffered because of Ward. In order to save himself and Skye, Ward quickly prompted Fitz to let him live, as he knew something about Gill that the rest of them did not.
Mackenzie and Fitz contacted Phil Coulson and Antoine Triplett at the Bus, with Fitz informing them of his discoveries. It turned out that did not escape from the Sandbox, he actually took the facility, having being brainwashed by HYDRA instead of being simply recruited. Mackenzie then clarified that HYDRA was attempting to re-trigger Gill's programming.
Coulson asked how did Fitz know all that information, and he confessed he spoke to an imprisoned Grant Ward. Coulson told him they would talk about that when they returned, but congratulated him for a good work.
Return from Morocco
Alphonso Mackenzie and Antoine Triplett examined the cargo obtained from the Maribel del Mar ship, though Mackenzie regretted not being able to take the whole cargo ship. He tried to bet with Triplett over the technology they had confiscated but Triplett refused, knowing Mackenzie wanted to make him do the inventory.
May entered the Bus, asking Triplett if he had seen Skye, who was upstairs. Before going there, she came across Lance Hunter. Hunter told her that he would recover from the gunshot wound that May inflicted him with only a bruise in his shoulder, but he deserved it for having previously shot her.
Hunter, worried that there could be more repercussions, asked her if they were even, to which May, smiling, told him that they were. Hunter left, and May smiled at Triplett before going to the briefing room of the Bus, where she found Skye working with her laptop, sitting on the Holocom.
May asked Skye why was she there; Skye said that it reminded her of how things were before S.H.I.E.L.D.'s fall. Skye had been monitoring Moroccan law-enforcement channels, learning that Donnie Gill's body had not been founded yet. May was concerned for her, having seemingly killed a person for the first time, and she said she was not.
Skye was also concerned about Jemma Simmons and her undercover mission within HYDRA. Though she understood the reasons why Phil Coulson kept the assignment secret, she was scared for Simmons, as she was a very bad liar. May said that Simmons changed, and she was given the assignment because she could handle it, and she was good. Complimenting Skye's performance during their mission, May also said that Simmons was not the only one who was good.
Phil Coulson entered the laboratory of the Playground to talk to Leo Fitz, who was reading the copy of The Daily Cadet that talked about how Jemma Simmons and himself saved Donnie Gill at the S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy.
Coulson first acknowledged all the progress that Fitz had made following his coma, and assured him he was an important part of the agency, wanting him to remember that, but he also confronted Fitz about his encounter with Grant Ward, that almost ended with Fitz killing Ward.
Fitz said he did not kill him, because he was not a killer like Ward was. Coulson explained his reasons to keep Ward imprisoned at the base; despite Coulson hated the fact that Ward was there and he could not even look at Ward, S.H.I.E.L.D. barely had information about HYDRA, and he needed to understand their enemy, with Ward being one of the ways to do that.
Fitz complained not for having Ward there, but for not having told to him that he was there. Coulson acknowledged that maybe he should have told him about it, but he did not want to add more things to the burden Fitz must carry. Fitz asked if there were more things that Coulson kept from him, and Coulson said that, being the Director, there were many. However, he told Fitz the truth about Simmons's departure, as she had been on an assignment since she left, and it prevented her from being in contact with them.
Coulson did not answered Fitz's questions about the reasons she left, if she asked to go or even if she wanted to leave, but Coulson stressed the importance of Simmons' mission.
Making a Promise
Skye discussed Ward's previous claims about HYDRA's recruiting methods, and if he specifically referred to brainwashing. Ward explained that given its difficulty it was not an usual method, but it was mostly used on high-value targets that were worth the risk. Ward also revealed that he was never brainwashed, and everything he had done was in his own free will.
Ward asked Skye if she believed that he was telling the truth, and though she nodded, she did not understand the reason. Ward revealed that he wanted her to believe something he knew, that her father was still alive and he was looking for her. Ward promised Skye that one day, he would take her to meet her father.
Leo Fitz, having gained self-confidence during a mission in Miami where his skills helped save the lives of his friends and colleagues, started to assume tasks at the Playground's laboratory, dismissing Alphonso Mackenzie's offer for help explaining he needed to learn do some things by himself.
Lance Hunter arrived at the laboratory intending to invite Fitz and Mackenzie to a beer, in order to celebrate how they managed to survive a HYDRA attack and saved the Bus, while also having "discovered" his skill as a mechanical engineer.
Fitz tried to refuse, and Hunter wanted to convince him, saying that Fitz was responsible of saving them, and asked him to let him compensate that with the invitation. Fitz's recurring hallucination of Jemma Simmons prompted him to join the others. As Fitz joined him, Hunter said that despite they had not worked together much yet, he hoped this successful mission proved was the first of many.
Fitz then resumed the topic about ex-partners that Mackenzie and Hunter spoke about in Miami, and revealed that despite not having a proper ex, he spoke about how he revealed his feelings to Simmons, but as she did not feel the same way, she left. In order to cheer him up, Hunter proposed a toast to celebrate having moved on.
Meanwhile, Skye continued her private investigation regarding the miracle painting from Santa Maria de las Flores, and despite her claims that it was "nothing", Antoine Triplett offered his help with the investigation.
Talbot was surprised by all the events, especially that Coulson did not know he would not be interested in a painting, though Coulson attributed the fact at not being close enough to Talbot to know such details. Talbot asked him to hand the painting and any other HYDRA assets he may have to the United States Armed Forces, but Coulson lied, saying that the painting was destroyed, and it was not of much value.
After all that was revealed, Talbot said he was even missing the months he spent in an enemy war camp, and sarcastically prompted Coulson to continue their chat through the hacked secure line in order to locate him and meet face to face, to which Coulson answered by simply ending the transmission.
Coulson analyzed the results of the mission with May, as besides learning about HYDRA's interest in the Words of Creation, the analysis of the miracle painting demonstrated that, though the painting itself was 500 years old, the carving on its back was recent, meaning there was someone who had also been injected with the GH.325.
Out of curiosity, May asked how Coulson managed to deduce that Agent 33 was impersonating her, something he did paying attention to details, especially since Agent 33 agreed to get coffee with him. To May's relief, Coulson said that he punched her in the face.
However, after that casual conversation, Coulson insisted about the contingency plan needed in case he got overwhelmed by the side effects of GH.325. Tired of the conversation, May revealed she already devised a plan, taking Coulson to shelter in a cabin in the Australian outback, having already prepared passports, travel tickets and money needed to establish Coulson there.
Coulson was moved by May's concern, but he insisted on being killed if the situation required it, not wanting to behave like John Garrett did, and despite May's claims that she would find a way to help him, Coulson paraphrased something she told to him during their mission in Miami, that life happened, and though nostalgia was fine, she had to deal with reality, and he needed to make that hard choice for him. Visibly sad, May silently nodded to Coulson's petition.
Melinda May, Skye, Antoine Triplett and Lance Hunter headed to Phil Coulson's office in order to discuss a recent HYDRA attack to the guests of a wedding, that resulted in the death of eight people, including six United States Navy officers members of an Anti-HYDRA unit.
Given the effects of the weapon used were similar to those from the Obelisk, S.H.I.E.L.D. assumed it ended up being in HYDRA's possession. Coulson tried to call one of his contacts in the Navy, but they were very secretive regarding the attack, and the scene was closed and custodied, so only members of the CDC and Navy high officers were allowed to enter.
Triplett asked about Jemma Simmons, their mole in HYDRA, who could have information, though they were still waiting until she made contact. Skye noticed the Words of Creation carved in Coulson's desk, and he dismissed them, saying they were just sketches, as they needed to know their meaning if the Obelisk was a risk again.
Coulson then asked Skye if her investigation has lead to any outcome, and though she tried to reach her Rising Tide contacts about the symbols and the miracle painting from Miami, no one had seen anything like it. However, Skye asked about the source of the symbols Coulson gave her, but he did not revealed the source, stating it was classified.
Hunter stated that, being Director, Coulson could surely de-classify the information, but he refused, and he asserted his authority saying that if Skye continued to question it, they would have a very different and uncomfortable conversation.
Skye, Hunter and Triplett left the office, and once they were alone, May warned Coulson that keeping secrets from Skye would not end well.
Examining the Painting
Leo Fitz noticed Skye, but he was distracted by his recurring hallucination of Jemma Simmons, who started to talk about Alphonso Mackenzie and his physique. After trying to get rid of it, he had to agree with her opinions, realizing it was a product of his own subconscious.
The hallucination stared at him with a smile, because Fitz finally admitted she was not real, and it was a good thing for him, and now that he had real friends he did not need it anymore. Fitz said that he still missed the real Simmons, though the hallucination said that she left, and moved on, so he should do the same.
In her bunk, Skye observed the Words of Creation carved on the back of the painting when Hunter arrived, questioning its status as a religious icon given that it was desecrated by the "alien" writing. Skye and Hunter talked about how she tried to pressure Phil Coulson to give her information about the symbols, with Hunter agreeing with her, but asking the actual reasons.
Skye explained how Coulson had changed, as he was not always as reclusive as he demonstrated now, and Hunter compared him to his ex-wife, advising Skye to dig deeper and investigate, as obviously Coulson was hiding something from her, and maybe she should discover it, pointing to Grant Ward as a possible source of information.
Questioning the Symbols
Ward was waiting for her, given that during her last visit, he revealed to have information about her father, and though it was not the reason of her visit, they ended up talking about him, as Ward revealed that her father did not die in Hunan as Skye believed, but he actually survived.
Skye also thought that Ward was just trying to exploit her weakness, though he re-assured he would never lie to her again. In order to prove that statement, Skye asked what was his source for all information about her father, and though he was reluctant, he confessed that it was Raina who talked to him about her origin.
Skye laughed at the revelation, because despite Ward claimed that Raina knew her father, and Skye was sure that Ward believed what he was told, she simply thought that Raina played Ward, having found his own weakness and used it against him, and then told him to shut up and not to say anything else about it.
Skye then started questioning Ward about the Words of Creation, confessing he saw them during their mission together in Belarus, and then as John Garrett started carving it himself. However, Garrett never revealed to him its nature, as he was not the same man once he was injected with the GH.325 drug.
Ward was worried that Skye had started to carve the symbols herself, and was relieved when she denied it, explaining that Garrett was compelled to carved them in any place, making Skye finally realize that Phil Coulson had been carving them and was starting to behave like Garrett.
Ward revealed that, despite his loyalty towards Garrett, Ward was almost relieved when he was killed, as the Garrett he knew was gone and replaced by something else, something that, in his opinion, was not meant to survive.
Skye confronted Phil Coulson again at his office, having realized he was the source of the Words of Creation she had been studying, so she asked him to be honest, but was also worried about his well-being, in case something like what happened to John Garrett had happened to him.
Coulson realized that Skye had been talking to Grant Ward, and assured him that Melinda May had been watching him, so he reiterated that he was fine. Coulson also explained that watching Garrett's writing triggered a feeling inside him, most likely to the GH.325 in his blood, and Skye, despite having been also injected, had not suffered any side effect.
Coulson revealed that he had been forced to monitor her in case the side effects were activated, so that was one of the reasons she was assigned with investigating the symbols, to passively observe if the writing triggered something in her too. Being upset with the revelations, Skye realized she did not react like Coulson and Garrett did, and Coulson revealed one of his theories, that the extraterrestrial DNA did not triggered any reaction, because it was already in her system, meaning she too would be an extraterrestrial. Extremely shaken, Skye confronted Coulson for that theory, though they were interrupted by May, who announced a very important phonecall.
Phil Coulson and Melinda May went to welcome Jemma Simmons, who returned to the Playground after spending months in an undercover assignment within HYDRA. Simmons thanked her return to Bobbi Morse as, without her, she would probably had been brainwashed, and complimented Morse's skills, which are exactly the reason Coulson recruited her.
Simmons noticed Leo Fitz inside the laboratory, so Coulson prompted her to speak to him. Simmons casually greeted him, and Fitz wondered if it was really her, as he had been seeing and speaking to a recurring hallucination of her. Not knowing how to treat him or how to approach him, Simmons simply asked how had he been in her absence.
Meanwhile, Alphonso Mackenzie greeted and hugged Morse, being old friends, and they started to catch up, as Morse had been busy with her undercover assignment.
Lance Hunter entered the room, surprised to see Morse there, who coldly complimented his suit. Hunter was upset by her presence, and wondered why he dyed her blonde hair, which was part of her undercover persona. As Morse and Hunter started arguing, Antoine Triplett wondered the reason for their argument, and May asked if Hunter ever told him about his ex-wife. Triplett then suddenly realized that Morse was Hunter's ex-wife.
Hunter asked what was Morse doing there, and as Coulson told him that Morse was one of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s best agents, Hunter then asked what was he doing there. Morse revealed that she was the one who recommended Coulson to recruit him, upsetting him even more.
Skye waited for Phil Coulson inside his office, happy for Jemma Simmons' return, but still needing answers after the revelations regarding her own past and nature. Skye wanted to know that she understood the reasons why her father should be stopped, specially as he was in possession of the Obelisk.
Skye assured that despite having spent her whole life searching for him, now she only wanted to stop him, doing whatever needed to be done, but demanded Coulson's full honesty with everything surrounding the whole investigation, without exceptions.
Coulson started revealing some secrets, starting with the wall carved with the Words of Creation, stating that it was only what he did the day before, and also tried to explain the impulse he felt to actually carve the symbols, being frustrated by his lack of understanding of both the process and its meaning.
Skye, watching the symbols in the walls, suddenly realized what they were, they were a map.
Grant Ward's Morning Routine
Grant Ward woke up exactly at 5:30 a.m. time every morning since he was imprisoned inside Vault D of the Playground, despite there being no clock or sunlight to let him know the time. Ward underwent a daily routine of physical exercise that also included dislocating his thumbs.
Skye watched Ward through the hidden cameras, seeing how he trained, wondering the motivations that were driving him. Jemma Simmons approached Skye, revealing Ward's habit, as Simmons had been monitoring Ward before leaving for her undercover assignment, and he had been doing it again since she returned.
Simmons wondered how Skye was able to talk to him, but she compared it to Simmons' undercover assignment within HYDRA, as a sacrifice in exchange for valuable information. Skye and Simmons friendly talked about it, and Simmons revealed that she thought she would die at four different times, something that both women were glad that did not end up happening.
Simmons went on to advice Skye to be careful with Ward, something that Skye assured she was.
According to WHiH World News, S.H.I.E.L.D. was responsible of the attack, having killed six people and leaving dozens of injured, including Brigadier General Glenn Talbot, qualified as S.H.I.E.L.D.'s biggest opponent. Those claims led Antoine Triplett, who was watching the news, to ask Director Phil Coulson about the accusations, who explained that HYDRA was responsible.
Coulson theorized that Daniel Whitehall ordered HYDRA operatives to impersonate S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in order to turn the public trust against the agency and divert the attention from HYDRA's activities, in retaliation for infiltrating two undercover agents within HYDRA's ranks.
Coulson ordered Triplett and Skye to check every government channel and learn about the implications of the attack, which meant that Skye's investigation about the Words of Creation had to wait until regaining control over the situation.
Simmons and Bobbi Morse approached Coulson, with Simmons asking if S.H.I.E.L.D. was actually responsible for the attack, something she did not believe, but she just wanted to make sure. Morse revealed the identity of the leader of the group that attacked the United Nations, Marcus Scarlotti, an assassin and mercenary that almost killed Clint Barton years before, and leader of a team of mercenaries that usually worked for HYDRA.
Simmons witnessed the effects of the weapons used by Scarlotti, and how it made bodies just disintegrate. She explained how she saw references to the weapon while undercover at the HYDRA Laboratories, that were sent by Toshiro Mori, demolitions expert working for HYDRA.
Morse revealed that she crossed paths with Mori, and he had a laboratory in Okinawa. Coulson ordered Morse to travel there in order to gather any information that would let them find the location of a potential next attack to stop it. Coulson instructed Morse to meet with Melinda May in the hangar, as she would be in command of the mission, that would also include Lance Hunter. Morse was concerned that Hunter was going to accompany them in their mission, but Coulson reaffirmed his decision with a single gesture, and Morse accepted without questioning his authority.
Coulson also ordered Simmons to investigate the files she managed to obtain in the hard drive she used during her undercover assignment, to investigate all the information about the weapons.
Hunter entered Coulson's office to ask him a quick question, and Coulson answered that they were not responsible for the attack, thinking he would ask the same question about the attack at the United Nations that Triplett and Simmons previously asked. However, Hunter was more concerned about going on a mission with Morse, his ex-wife.
Coulson asked if being assigned together was going to be a problem for Hunter, which made Hunter reply if Morse said it would be a problem. Coulson, knowing Hunter's opinion about Morse, simply told him that if working with her would be too complicated, he could leave the agency, as he was now too worried about HYDRA's attack, that instead of being a direct attack using HYDRA's own forces, it would end up having the whole world against the agency.
Senator Christian Ward's Proposal
Skye and Phil Coulson watched an interview given by Senator Christian Ward, Grant Ward's brother, to WHiH World News about his position regarding the attack suffered at the United Nations Headquarters. Ward condemned S.H.I.E.L.D. for the attack, describing it as a terrorist organization that should be prosecuted and punished.
Ward revealed his intention to lay out a proposal at the United Nations, for the creation a multi-national police force in order to target all members of S.H.I.E.L.D., either confirmed or suspected.
Julien Beckers, Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, expressed his concern that the proposal did not respect citizens' rights, as it may target innocent people, and assured that his country would not accept Ward's proposal.
Ward taunted Beckers, saying that he was free to welcome S.H.I.E.L.D. in his country, but assured that the former agency was an infestation, and as such, it needed to be exterminated, before continuing with the debate about his proposal.
Skye commented how Senator Ward was as despicable as his brother, and wondered the reason he was suddenly interested in S.H.I.E.L.D., though Coulson's remark that he was not "openly" interested made her realize that Senator Ward may be the senator that, according to Lance Hunter, funded Glenn Talbot's operations.
Coulson showed Skye the current situation of every remaining S.H.I.E.L.D. agents following months dedicated to rebuild the agency, as the reason why he could not let Senator Ward's proposal to take hold, as it would allow very police or military organization on the planet to capture or kill all S.H.I.E.L.D. agents without further reason. will have a license to kick our operatives' doors down and shoot them on the spot.
Skye offered herself to talk to Grant Ward in order to obtain information about his older brother, though Coulson advised her to not let Ward focus the talk on her family.
As Skye left his office, Coulson contacted Noelle Walters, who was stationed at the Netherlands, in order to discuss the proposal and how to act in regards to it. Coulson ordered Walters and her team to hide themselves and seek refuge to prepare in case the proposal was approved, reestablishing contact in 24 hours, and asked her to stay safe.
Jemma Simmons entered the laboratory and casually greeted Leo Fitz, as if nothing had happened between them, and asked him for help in studying the files from the hard drive she obtained from the HYDRA Laboratories regarding HYDRA's attack at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.
Fitz assured he had time to help her, and as the hard drive was damaged during the escape, Simmons said that they would need to repair it in order to access the files. Simmons asked Fitz the reason why he was staring at her, being that Simmons looked different now for Fitz.
Fitz started to analyze the hard drive, but as he started to have trouble finding the words needed to explain his intentions, Simmons tried to help him telling him what to do. However, Fitz already knew what needed to be done, and asked Simmons if she truly needed his help.
Fitz was aware there was a similarity between the Splinter Bombs and the files he was examining, though Simmons thought it was minor similarity, like using the same alloy. Fitz struggled with finding the appropriate words, and even got upset with Simmons for staring at him.
In turn, Simmons was upset for that words, realizing that she could not even look at Fitz, as she was trying not to treat him differently than she did before his coma. Fitz recognized he was indeed different, despite he tried not to, so Simmons should accept it.
Simmons said that Fitz's comments were not fair, as the only thing she was trying to do was to help him, but he confronted her with the fact that she left when he needed her most, not only with tasks such as the development of the cloaking, but to simply have someone to talk through. Fitz was hurt feeling that Simmons gave up on him, as when she left, she lied telling him she was just going to visit her parents, but she went instead on a dangerous assignment.
Skye descended to Vault D in order to interrogate Grant Ward about his older brother, Senator Christian Ward, asking him for basic information. However, Ward, concerned that his brother may influence Skye, warned her to stay away from the senator, has he always had an ulterior motive for everything.
Ward was worried that S.H.I.E.L.D. would lead his brother to him, reminding Skye the incident of his childhood when their younger brother, Thomas, almost drowned because of Christian. Ward, visibly concerned, described his older brother as someone who got joy from hurting people, and asked Skye if his brother knew he was there.
Skye did not to answer Ward's questions, though he reminded her that he had always answered with the truth. Skye changed his facial expression as she asked again if he always told her the truth, and Ward realized that Skye was concerned about the information regarding her father, so he reassured her that her father was alive.
Skye lost control of herself and shouted that her father was a murderer, a "detail" that he had not mentioned, and Ward was satisfied that Skye found him. However, before their conversation could continue, Phil Coulson activated the soundproof and opaque mode of the Inertial Confinement Laser Barrier to interrupt them.
Skye complained, as Ward did not reveal any information about his brother, though Coulson was sure that he actually gave much more than any of them thought. Before leaving the Vault, Coulson warned Skye that she must focus on her mission.
Skye descended to Vault D again to ask Grant Ward for all information he had about her father, as Phil Coulson had left the facility and now they could speak without being interrupted. Ward was worried that Coulson had gone t speak to his brother, Senator Christian Ward, warning him that he would try to manipulate them, acknowledging that despite all he could be, his brother was even worse.
Ward assured Skye again that he was telling the truth, and again redirected the subject of the conversation to talk about her father, explaining that he never lied to her, he simply never had the chance to explain what he knew. Skye then said that was the purpose of her visit, to give him that chance, as she wanted to know everything.
Ward justified her father's reasons to kill people, starting with the people found dead in the village in Hunan, as they were not its villagers, they were HYDRA operatives and responsible for the death of her mother, so as he arrived to the village and realized what happened, killed every HYDRA operative he found for their role in his wife's death.
Skye asked about the nature of her father, having been able to kill such a large number of people, though Ward had no answer for that, as he was simply aware that her father lost his whole family in a single day, leaving him broken, and as her father only wanted to reunite what was left of his family, Ward wanted to help, taking Skye to him.
Skye eagerly asked Ward how he would do that, and if he knew his location. Ward, however, did not know where her father, but he intended to use his connections to track him, and as Raina was not one of those connections, he did not reveal who they were, if any, so she asked if there was any information left. Ward promised her they would find him together.
Skye then changed her apparent anxiety for a calmed demeanor, having tricked him into revealing everything he knew and informed him that he would be transferred to his brother's custody.
Deal with Senator Ward
Phil Coulson contacted Melinda May to inform her about his deal with Senator Christian Ward, having convinced him to reverse his proposal to target every known S.H.I.E.L.D. associate in exchange for his brother, Grant Ward. May asked about Skye, who was present with Coulson in his office, and she personally assured she had obtained all the information she needed.
May updated she would soon arrive to Belgium with Lance Hunter and Bobbi Morse, and Coulson reminded her to locate Julien Beckers before Marcus Scarlotti, as if HYDRA killed him, the United Nations would target S.H.I.E.L.D. despite Senator Ward decided not to do it.
Jemma Simmons returned to the laboratory following her argument with Leo Fitz with two cups of coffee to share, but she found Fitz talking to Alphonso Mackenzie, who was complimenting him for a recent discovery.
Fitz tried to explain what he discovered, and the Mackenzie helped him, explaining that following the backlogged files Fitz kept mentioning, they had located the original design of the Splinter Bombs, developed in the 1940s by Vincent Beckers, a scientist working for Red Skull.
Upon the mention of his name, Simmons suddenly realized the connection between Beckers and the attack at the United Nations Headquarters beyond the development of the weapon, prompting Fitz and Mackenzie to warn Phil Coulson.
End of Usefulness
Phil Coulson descended to Vault D to confront Grant Ward about the deal he had made with his older brother, Senator Christian Ward, that would place Ward in his brother's custody. Ward warned Coulson that he could not trust the senator, speaking to him for the first time since he was taken into custody.
Coulson's answer was simple, he gave Ward the opportunity to talk to him for three and a half weeks, having sat in the chair outside of his cell during that time, but Ward never spoke to him, so now it was too late for him to start speaking. Ward replied saying that every information that he had given Skye since she started visiting him had been true, and that must mean something.
Facing the fact he would never see Skye again, Ward tried to convince Coulson that the meaning of his help was rebuilding his trust, as Ward considered himself still part of Coulson's team.
Coulson was furious upon hearing those words, and angrily reminded him some of his most atrocious crimes, such as his assassination attempt of Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons dropping them out of the Bus, or the murdering of Victoria Hand and Eric Koenig, in addition to the personal betrayal to each of his former teammates.
Coulson made clear that the only reason that Ward's life was spared was that he was of use, and that was the reason of his transfer, as Senator Ward was of even more use.
Ward then asked about whose idea was to put him on a public trial, as his brother would surely take political advantage of the story, being able to punish a criminal despite being his own brother, just in time for the midterms. Coulson informed Ward that the senator thought exactly the same, and they were more alike than he thought.
Ambush in Bruges
Jemma Simmons informed Phil Coulson about the relationship between the attack against the United Nations Headquarters and Julien Beckers, whom S.H.I.E.L.D. thought was HYDRA's next target. The weapons used in the attack were originally designed by HYDRA scientist Vincent Beckers, Julien's grandfather, and a member of HYDRA.
Having investigated Julien Beckers, who now was the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Skye and Antoine Triplett found evidence of connections between Beckers and Daniel Whitehall, indicating that Beckers was a member of HYDRA just like his grandfather was.
Coulson realized that HYDRA was not targeting Beckers, and the whole attack was staged to lure S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and kill them, so he ordered to contact Melinda May to get to the S.H.I.E.L.D. Safe House in Bruges as soon as possible.
Triplett informed Coulson that May and her team was already en route, who was consulting the location of his agents around the world. Coulson realized Whitehall's true plan, besides turning the whole world against S.H.I.E.L.D. for attacking the United Nations, Whitehall had used Beckers to lure S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to Belgium, making them believe the country would provide safe haven.
May eventually defeated Marcus Scarlotti, the leader of the mercenaries hired by HYDRA to kill his agents, but had to inform Coulson that six agents, including Noelle Walters had lost their lives. Coulson then asked her to return home safe.
Reason of Departure
Simmons casually started the conversation how the place was used to keep hazardous biological materials before, and then went directly to thank Mackenzie for helping Fitz and being his friend. Mackenzie said that Fitz did not need help, as maybe he was not the person he used to be, or who Simmons would want him to be, but Mackenzie liked the current Fitz.
Simmons told Mackenzie that she did not want Fitz to be anybody else, though Mackenzie referred to the reasons of for her departure, having heard that she left because Fitz told her about his feelings, though Simmons assured that was not what happened.
Mackenzie then told her his own opinion, that Simmons' presence was the only thing that made Fitz be worse than he already was. Simmons acknowledged that, revealing that this fact was precisely the reason for her departure.
Transfer of Grant Ward
Coulson descended to Vault D with a heavily armed tactical team in order to move Ward and deactivated the Inertial Confinement Laser Barrier to let one of his men handcuff a defiant Ward.
Coulson led Ward's escort through the hallways of the Playground, where he came across many of his former friends and teammates, like Antoine Triplett and Leo Fitz, who simply gave him a gaze full of hate. As he walked through the hallway, Ward tried to speak to Skye, but Jemma Simmons stood in front of her to prevent him from doing so, even threatening to personally kill Ward if she ever saw him again.
Words of Creation
Phil Coulson spent another whole night awake carving the Words of Creation in the wall, not realizing that Skye had been watching him until he got distracted because the knife he was using to carve was broken.
Skye revealed that Melinda May gave specific instructions to monitor him in her absence in case Coulson started to carve, and she was also unable to sleep trying to find the connections between Grant Ward, her fahter, the Obelisk, the Words of Creation and the GH.325 drug.
Coulson felt the symbols wanted him to know their meaning, though Skye had tried to match them with constellation maps, navigational chart and genome diagrams without obtaining any results. Coulson asked her to continue, as the urge to carve was increasing, and had passed from happening two or three times a month to every night, being unable to sleep.
Worried about his well-being, Skye asked what would happen if they were unable to find the meaning of the symbols, but he dismissed the question, prompting her to ask when Melinda May would return, as she was in charge of a mission to find Grant Ward.
Melinda May coordinated the chase of Ward, having positioned many agents, including Bobbi Morse, Lance Hunter and Antoine Triplett, in all the known hotboxes that Ward had in locations near the place he escaped federal custody.
Morse updated the status of the agents she was coordinating, and asked the reason a nationwide manhunt had not been established, given Ward actually escaped from federal custody, but his older brother, Senator Christian Ward, covered the incident to avoid political repercussions, so S.H.I.E.L.D. had to locate the fugitive without further assistance.
Triplett, stationed in a bus depot that served as Ward's hotbox in Philadelphia, witnessed how Ward entered a bus station and went to retrieve one of his boxed. Triplett asked for permission to kill Ward, but May warned him to stand by and wait for orders.
From the Playground, Coulson informed that Senator Ward wanted his brother alive, but Coulson ordered to bring Ward by any means necessary. However, Ward knew he was being watched, and outfitted himself with an explosive vest filled of C-4, warning Triplett from a distance that he would detonate the explosives if he engaged.
Coulson ordered Triplett not to engage, letting Ward board a bus to Atlanta, and gave further orders to May, wanting her to continue coordinating the whole mission from the Quinjet and position Lance Hunter and Bobbi Morse in Atlanta.
Crime Scene Analysis
Skye interrupted Phil Coulson during the chase of Grant Ward to inform him about a recent discovery. Micro, one of her contacts through the Rising Tide, sent Skye a series of photographs from the corpse of Janice Robbins, an art teacher from Iowa that lived in Rhinebeck, New York, who had the same Words of Creation that Coulson had been writing carved on her body by the man who killed her.
Coulson recognized Robbins as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, despite Skye had obtained the files of her full biography that indicated she was simply an art teacher. Coulson was absolutely sure that he had met her before, prompting him and Skye to personally investigate the crime scene.
Pieces of a Puzzle
Phil Coulson examined Janice Robbins' paintings, determining that she had been expressing the same series of symbols he had been carving, and though they were working on the same design, she painted some pieces of the overall map that he was missing.
Skye asked about the painting they retrieved in Miami, while running a facial recognition software to learn Robbins identity. Coulson guessed the painting was carved by someone like him, as it was another different piece that he had also been missing.
Skye found Robbins true identity, as she was indeed a Clearance Level 6 S.H.I.E.L.D. agent named Rebecca Stevens and stationed at the Triskelion, though according to her file, she died five years before from cancer.
Intrigued by how was it possible that Agent Stevens and Robbins were the same person, Coulson ordered to perform an autopsy on Robbins' corpse.
Jemma Simmons asked about Robbins' family before starting with the autopsy, though Skye answered that she had no relatives. Coulson regretted that Robbins had such a cruel death, with her forehead and body having been cut and displaying the same series of symbols he was compelled to carve. Coulson was troubled for not remembering anything about her, despite Robbins had been a Clearance Level 6 S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
Simmons ordered one of her assistants to obtain blood and tissue samples, a Complete blood count and multi-element analysis from the corpse, and then asked the rest of her colleagues if anyone would want to leave before she started the autopsy. Mackenzie, Fitz and Skye raised their hands to indicate they wanted, so Coulson told Simmons they would let her work, and Simmons assured she would inform him as soon as she finished with the autopsy.
Once Simmons finished the autopsy, she informed Coulson and Skye that Robbins died from cardiac arrest from shock due to the pain, not from the wounds themselves that were covering her back and her forehead. Robbins' murder presented all the characteristics of a ritualistic murder, with very precise cuts and continuing even after she died, as if the killer needed to complete the work.
Simmons guessed that this was not the first time the killer committed such a crime, and recognized the symbols for as they were the same that John Garrett had been writing when he was injected with GH.325.
The assistant handed Simmons the results from the analysis of both Robbins' corpse and tissue samples under her nails, indicating that Robbins tried to fight her killer, and the analysis indicated that both subjects had traced of GH.325, meaning they were both former patients of Project T.A.H.I.T.I..
Simmons was concerned about Skye and Coulson, as both of them had been treated with GH.325, and given than hypergraphia was one of the side effects of the whole process despite being treated with memory replacement, both Garrett and the killer suffered that effect, and they turned into psychopaths.
Simmons asked if they were experiencing a compulsion to write or carve anything, and Coulson lied to her, diverting the efforts to locate a T.A.H.I.T.I. patient that was targeting the others.
Surfing into the Memories
Phil Coulson intended to use the Theta Brain-Wave Frequency Machine to remember the identities of the former patients of Project T.A.H.I.T.I., as one of them, Sebastian Derik, had been targeting and killing the rest of patients, including former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Rebecca Stevens.
Jemma Simmons prepared Coulson for the process, closely monitoring him despite Coulson's objections, as the machine could have so many side effects it took both her and Leo Fitz six weeks to learn how to operate it.
Skye went on to say they should have destroyed the machine, and using it was a bad idea; Coulson replied that the whole purpose of Project T.A.H.I.T.I., to resurrect dead agents using blood from an extraterrestrial corpse, was even worse.
Skye tried to convince Coulson not to submit himself to the process, as the memories related to the process were erased for a reason, and uncovering them could even worsen his status, saying that Melinda May would never approve it.
Coulson asserted his authority as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., feeling responsible for the lives of the patients, given that he was the supervisor of Project T.A.H.I.T.I., saying that using the machine was worth the risk if it led them to save one life.
Alphonso Mackenzie felt uncomfortable with all the things that were being discussed, starting with stealing Janice Robbins' corpse and now hearing claims of "aliens" and resurrecting people. Fitz explained that the machine would help Coulson to recover some of the memories he lost. Skye approached Mackenzie, asking him to stay close, in case Coulson needed to be restrained.
Skye guided Coulson, on the condition of pulling him out of the machine at the first sign of duress, though he ordered not to do it until learning what they needed to locate the killer. Coulson focused on his memories of Stevens, and he started remembering how he met her in the Guest House once she was subjected to the procedures of Project T.A.H.I.T.I. Coulson also remembered other five patients, and how, when he was about to recommend their release, they started to display hypergraphia, compulsively writing the same series of symbols over and over again.
As he started to remember the writing, Coulson's body started to suffer convulsions and his heart rate was spiking, but he continued to remember how the patients suffered the rest of the side effects, aphasia, catatonia and even psychosis. However, one of them, Derik, appeared to be better than the rest.
Coulson's condition while inside the machine started to become dangerous as he continued remembering more details, such as his conversation with Doctor Goodman, one of the members of the medical staff, who tried to defend the importance of the project despite the side effects, proposing to erase their memories to remove the memories that the Guest Host was implanting in the patients. She suggested giving them new identities so they could lead normal lives.
Coulson explained to Skye how the patients were given new memories and identities, feeling remorse for letting the whole process happen. Skye tried to make Coulson remember the names of the patients, while Fitz, Simmons and Mackenzie were worried for the effects the machine was having on Coulson.
Coulson started to remember the names, starting with Lewis Seaver. Skye quickly researched their names, finding that Seaver died in the fire of Santa Maria de las Flores, the church in Miami where the so-called miracle painting displaying the Words of Creation carved on its back was found. Three of the other patients also died of unnatural causes, confirming that one of the patients was targeting the rest, and only two of them were alive, one being the killer, and the other the last victim.
Coulson remembered Sebastian Derik, a patient who seemingly was better than the rest, but carved the symbols in his own arms, feeling the memories wanted him to learn their meaning. The stress of the last memory was too heavy, prompting Skye to order Simmons to shut down the machine while she contacted Melinda May.
May tried to explain that they managed to locate Grant Ward in Boston, but, as soon as Skye mentioned that Coulson was using the Theta Brain-Wave Frequency Machine, she ordered to imprison Coulson and keep him under observation until her return.
Simmons tried to inject Coulson with a sedative, but despite Mackenzie's holding him, Coulson managed to push her away. Skye saw herself forced to threaten Coulson with an I.C.E.R., making Coulson regain his senses, seemingly agreeing with May's plan to imprison him.
Phil Coulson remembered many details about his time as the supervisor of Project T.A.H.I.T.I. using the Theta Brain-Wave Frequency Machine, hoping to remember the identity of one of its former patients who had been killing the rest.
Due to the effects of the machine, Melinda May ordered to imprison Coulson, something that he seemingly agreed, and willingly accompanied Skye to Vault D in order to be imprisoned. Along the way, Coulson revealed the identities of the killer, Sebastian Derik, a former S.H.I.E.L.D. assassin, and of the last remaining patient, Hank Thompson, who would be Derik's next victim.
Skye intended to send a few agents to protect Thompson, but Coulson, planning to solve everything personally, pushed Skye into the cell inside of the Vault, and activated the Inertial Confinement Laser Barrier to trap Skye inside, activating the soundproof mode to travel to Thompson's house.
Alphonso Mackenzie discussed with Leo Fitz about the whole event they witnessed when Phil Coulson subjected himself to the Theta Brain-Wave Frequency Machine, and how he had to hold Coulson down as if he was possessed. Fitz excused Coulson's behaviour, as his memories had been replaced as part of Project T.A.H.I.T.I., and refused Mackenzie's invitation to play video games, though Mackenzie thought it would improve his hand coordination.
Despite Fitz's explanation, Mackenzie was still worried about Coulson's ability to lead them, as he could, for example, mistake his subordinates for enemies; Fitz assured that Coulson would recover, as he did it before. Fitz also explained how the brain never deletes the information stored inside it, only the connections to reach them, and they could always be restored.
Jemma Simmons entered the room, worried for not having seen Skye in a while, and then the three of them realized she had been trapped inside Vault D. Simmons and Mackenzie descended to the Vault, deactivating the Inertial Confinement Laser Barrier to liberate Skye, who quickly left with Mackenzie to stop Coulson.
Second Chance in Life
Hank Thompson was taken to the Playground to explain him about his past as S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Cameron Klein. Director Phil Coulson even offered him to return to the agency, handing him his personnel file.
Thompson declined the offer, not even reading the file, as he was leading a happy life as Hank Thompson, having a family he loved, and thanked Coulson for giving him a second chance in life, something that Coulson thought he deserved, as Thompson had always been a good man. However, Thompson offered Coulson his services as a welder, handing him a business card, before being escorted back to his house.
Coulson was left alone with Skye and Melinda May, who explained that Sebastian Derik had been turned over to the authorities due to his multiple crimes, but at least he found the peace he was looking for. Coulson also found the answers, and the compulsion to carve was gone, showing the hidden wall in his office as a proof, theorizing that the implanted memories were driving him to the city, needing all the pieces that the other patients had to complete the design and realize the truth.
Skye asked about Grant Ward, to which Coulson promised they would find him, but in the meantime, they would interrogate Sunil Bakshi, whom Ward left tied as a "gift" for them, and handed Skye Bakshi's cellphone to investigate it.
Phil Coulson reunited most of his agents stationed at the Playground, with the intention of explaining his seemingly erratic behavior, and the actual reason for chasing artifacts and symbols. However, the symbols he had been trying to solve were also being investigated by HYDRA, though they did not have a piece, the final destination of their quest.
Using the Echo Chamber, Coulson displayed the recurring symbols that John Garrett carved, that had been found on the Obelisk, on the so-called Miracle Painting from Miami or the victims killed by Sebastian Derik. Moving the holographic image, Coulson showed how the symbols were actually the blueprints for a city, and tasked his agents to find it before anyone else.
Grant Ward's Gift
Skye went to investigate Sunil Bakshi's cellphone, but few moments after she began, the phone received a call. Skye jokingly answered with a "Hail HYDRA", but was very surprised to find Grant Ward calling her.
Ward called to make sure that they received his present, a captured Bakshi, as he had promised him an encounter with Phil Coulson, but surely Bakshi thought Ward was referring to another kind of encounter. Ward promised to send more gifts, but Skye dismissed it, comparing him to a cat bringing dead birds.
Ward also evaluated Bobbi Morse and Lance Hunter, thinking they would not stay much longer in S.H.I.E.L.D.; he thought that Coulson could find better agents, though Ward also thought it should be hard to replace him. Skye asked Ward where he was so they could talk, but Ward ended the conversation saying he had personal matters to attend to, but promised to see her soon, hanging up the phone.
Daniel Whitehall's Past
Running the Base
Melinda May was tasked with running the base while Phil Coulson took Skye, Leo Fitz and Antoine Triplett to a mission to Hawaii. May was unsure as why she was given that task while Coulson returned to field duties, but Coulson assured her there were much work to be done.
May informed Coulson that Senator Christian Ward demanded S.H.I.E.L.D. to stay away from the manhunt of his brother, Grant Ward, as he had his own men tasked with the mission. Coulson acknowledged those men would never find him, so he would task a few agents to be on alert looking for Ward.
Interrogation of Sunil Bakshi
Bobbi Morse interrogated Sunil Bakshi inside the Vault D of the Playground. Despite not talking for the first hours, Bakshi startet to taunt Morse about the power of HYDRA, and how S.H.I.E.L.D. was clinging to a world that it no longer understood.
Morse was not impressed by Bakshi's claims, as he was basically the HYDRA "pamphlet", and taunted him in return, saying that if he was going to talk, he should better say something of his own, instead of the thoughts of others. Morse went to wonder how Bakshi could be working for someone like Daniel Whitehall. Bakshi dismissed her before she called Whitehall to be simply "evil", but instead, Morse wanted to describe Whitehall as boring.
Alphonso Mackenzie and Lance Hunter commented how Morse was slowly managing to dismantle Bakshi, with Hunter glad to see her making someone else suffer instead of making him. Mackenzie asked Hunter about what happened last week with Director Phil Coulson, what happened when he used the Theta Brain-Wave Frequency Machine, as Coulson became violent due to the memory replacing he was subjected to during Project T.A.H.I.T.I., catching Hunter's attention.
Mackenzie and Hunter were interrupted by Jemma Simmons, who wanted to watch Bakshi's interrogation. Simmons was surprised to Bakshi was a civil man, since he almost killed her more than once. Mackenzie asked her if she would want to see him being beaten, and Simmons retorically asked if that would be wrong, acknowledging that she could never sit across from him like Morse was doing.
Morse continued his interrogation wanting to know the reasons Bakshi was following Whitehall, given that Whitehall looked like a pusillanimous manager while Bakshi looked like a classic James Bond villain. Bakshi explained that his time would come, as he, like Whitehall, was more concerned about the long view.
Morse pointed the possibility that he had been brainwashed to be loyal to Whitehall, though Bakshi claimed not to be one of those fanatics controlled by HYDRA, and he was well-aware of his reasons to be loyal to Whitehall, who was a disciple of Red Skull and shared his vision, so he was now a part of a grand history.
Morse interrupted Bakshi when he was about to recite the HYDRA motto, and Bakshi threatened her that all her friends would turn to stone, at least those who have not already.
Morse left the basement to leave Bakshi alone thinking that he may have been brainwashed after all, as any HYDRA member could have been and he would not even know it. Morse went to the room where Mackenzie, Simmons and Hunter were observing the interrogation, and commented that Bakshi's choice of words when talking about Whitehall's relationship to Red Skull seemed to imply that they met, despite, as Hunter pointed, Red Skull had been seemingly dead for 70 years.
Simmons explained that the recovery of the Obelisk by Red Skull influenced Whitehall, so they should study all the files that the Strategic Scientific Reserve left in the Playground about the Obelisk, Red Skull and that era.
Analyzing the Information
Lance Hunter noticed the twirling and thought she was having trouble to understand Bakshi, though she explained that she managed to guess many details about Bakshi, for example, that he grew up on the street, probably in the Southall district of London, that he worked hard to refine his accent, that he turned to petty crime and was sent to the military in order to straighten him out, but was washed out and ended up being a private intelligence contractor.
Hunter was impressed about the details she managed to guess from the little words that Bakshi told her, though she confessed she had investigated the last part. Morse deduced that Bakshi and Whitehall first crossed paths as enemies, but Whitehall gave him a second chance, which thanks to Bakshi's borderline personality disorder turned him into an extremely loyal operative. However, Morse was unable to see something that Bakshi was clearly seeing in Whitehall.
Jemma Simmons and Melinda May investigated the many files from the Strategic Scientific Reserve left behind in the Playground, though they were unable to find the whole research about the Obelisk. Simmons was excited to find the original 0-8-4 report signed by Peggy Carter, as Simmons greatly admired her for being both British and one of the founders of S.H.I.E.L.D.
May asked if there was something related to Red Skull in the files about the Obelisk, and Simmons told her that, despite there being no mention to him, many of the files referenced HYDRA Commander Werner Reinhardt, who was captured together with the Obelisk in 1945.
Simmons was concerned that all the important documents were missing, but May revealed to her that Agent Carter hid them in Vault B, greatly exciting Simmons for the news.
Strategic Scientific Reserve Secret Files
Melinda May, Jemma Simmons, Lance Hunter and Alphonso Mackenzie descended to Vault B to check the files that Peggy Carter hid about Werner Reinhardt and his experiments with the Obelisk. The agents realized the sensitive nature of the files, and were thankful that they did not ended up on S.H.I.E.L.D. servers to be stolen by the HYDRA infiltrators within the agency.
Hunter managed to find the file about Reinhardt which included his biography, psychic evaluation and a picture. Simmons recognized the man in the picture as Daniel Whitehall, having met him during her assignment at the HYDRA Laboratories. At first, the other agents thought that Simmons meant that Whitehall simply looked like Reinhardt, but Simmons was sure that it was exactly the same man.
Hunter and Mackenzie explained that it was impossible, as Reinhardt should be over a century old, but Simmons acknowledged that, with technology of extraterrestrial origin involved, it was not impossible, and assured May she was right. May went to look for other files about Reinhardt; Simmons explained that the information that Bobbi Morse obtained during her interrogation of Sunil Bakshi was actually accurate, as Whitehall had a personal connection to Red Skull.
Hunter theorized about Whitehall's nature, as there were few explanations to surviving over a century, and guessed he could have been Asgardian, but May said that he went young somehow, as she found an image of an old Reinhardt from an old S.H.I.E.L.D. prison called the Rat, where Reinhardt was imprisoned for life.
Sunil Bakshi's Suicide Attempt
Jemma Simmons discovered that Alexander Pierce granted Werner Reinhardt a medical parole in 1989. Lance Hunter guessed that Reinhardt changed his name during that year, as Daniel Whitehall surfaced in 1990, so Simmons pointed that it was in 1989 when Whitehall found a way to revert his aging.
Simmons proposed to Melinda May to cross-reference Daniel Whitehall's with criminal activity from 1989, and Hunter seized the opportunity to take Reinhardt's file and give it to Bobbi Morse, who was still interrogating Sunil Bakshi.
Morse asked Bakshi if his devotion to Whitehall was based on fear or on respect, and though Bakshi only said that his devotion went deeper than simple respect, Morse inferred that it was fear. Bakshi denied that he meant to say that, so Morse made him think again that it could have been programmed.
Bakshi threatened to reveal her S.H.I.E.L.D. colleagues the acts she performed to gain HYDRA's trust, and she turned his threat against him, deducing Bakshi was afraid to disappoint Whitehall, and she claimed that he would be very disappointed learning that Bakshi confessed everything about him.
Bakshi claimed he did not reveal anything, but Morse showed him Reinhardt's file. Through the file, they were able to learn many facts about Whitehall's past, and would use it to trick him into thinking that Bakshi revealed those facts. Bakshi, fearing Whitehall's reaction, said he was loyal, and hit his head against the table to break a Cyanide Capsule embedded in his cheekbone.
Hunter quickly descended to Vault D and deactivated the Inertial Confinement Laser Barrier, wondering how he could have a cyanide pill after they checked him. However, Morse assured that Bakshi would not get off that easy from what he deserved.
Jemma Simmons treated Sunil Bakshi following his suicide attempt, while Lance Hunter tried to cheer up Bobbi Morse for her indirect responsibility in the suicide attempt. However, Morse knew Hunter had a second intention, and pushed him to speak openly.
Hunter asked Morse if she pushed Bakshi too hard during the interrogation, and despite she said that she miscalculated, thinking he was going to talk, Hunter thought she did it on purpose, as Bakshi was going to reveal information about her. Hunter and Morse then began a personal argument due to Hunter's mistrust, with Morse arguing she had always been honest with him, but Hunter never trusted her. Morse told Hunter that she even vouched for him with Phil Coulson, though he thought it was simply because she had a secret and needed allies, stating that he would never trust her, though he would always want to do so.
Search for the City
Return from Australia
Skye fell asleep inside the Bus and experienced very realistic nightmare where she was abandoned by her parents, represented by Phil Coulson and Melinda May, and ended up being petrified like the victims of the Obelisk. Coulson woke Skye up, and apologized for startling her.
Alphonso Mackenzie drove a remote control scale model of Lola through the hallways of the Playground, dodging the people who were walking through, until the car crashed against Leo Fitz's feet. As Fitz grabbed the car, Mackenzie asked him to be careful with the model, because he had just built it for Director Phil Coulson, in exchange for the opportunity to work on the real car.
Mackenzie explained to Fitz that the scale model did not fly like the real car, but he got distracted when he noticed Bobbi Morse and Lance Hunter together laughing. Fitz asked him what was wrong, but as Mackenzie used the expression that a storm was coming, Fitz took the sentence literally, saying that he checked the sky and there was not any cloud.
Fitz told Mackenzie that he had been looking for him, as he needed help. Mackenzie started to guess if he needed help with setting the Echo Chamber, or with the descender rig, but Fitz told him he just needed him to talk to Jemma Simmons. Mackenzie advised him that he would have to talk to her at some point or another. Fitz, watching that Mackenzie would not help him, handed him the car and wished him good luck.
Doctor in the House
Jemma Simmons tended Antoine Triplett's wounds and realized that he would have died if he had not been administered a clotting agent on his wounds. Simmons recommended a week of bed rest, though Triplett doubted that ever existed within S.H.I.E.L.D.
Simmons asked him about Skye's Father, as Triplett encountered him during his mission in Australia, and just as he was about to describe his madness, Skye appeared to inform them that a meeting to prepare their following mission had been scheduled in five minutes.
Skye realized they were talking about her father, and pointed there was no need to hide it, as her father, Grant Ward, the Obelisk and the city they were looking for were all connected. Skye was feeling that something was about to happen, but Triplett said that if that feeling was something as bad someone getting shot, he had already been shot, and everything would go right from there on.
Critical Mission Briefing
Alphonso Mackenzie asked about the nature of the weapon hidden inside the Obelisk, and though they were not sure, Leo Fitz pointed that due to its extraterrestrial origin, it could be of any type. Bobbi Morse explained that during her time undercover in HYDRA, Daniel Whitehall wanted to create an extinction-level event, killing millions of people in the process, so the weapon inside the Obelisk may have the potential for that killing.
Coulson went on to explain that HYDRA still needed to take the Obelisk to a temple inside the city, whose location they knew, while HYDRA was still trying to guess it. Skye explained how they managed to locate the city thanks to the satellite network hacked in Australia; it was able to locate ancient rock formations that matched the 3-D model of the city.
Antoine Triplett was surprised to see the location, thinking it could either be the Bermuda Triangle or Atlantis, but Coulson explained that S.H.I.E.L.D. solved the mysteries regarding the Bermuda Triangle in the 1980s, before revealing the city was actually located in Puerto Rico.
Skye continued to explain that the city had many possible entry points, though most of them were now under the ocean floor. Coulson remarked that only one was not under the sea, as there was an entry point in old San Juan, which they would use to enter the city, test the tunnel's structural integrity, locate the temple, and destroy it.
This revelation surprised many agents, and Morse asked what they would do with the Obelisk, given that it represented a high danger on its own. Coulson answered that they would deal with that crisis once they finished with this one. Nevertheless, the agents prepared for the mission, and departed in the Bus heading to Puerto Rico.
This section requires expansion
This section requires expansion
The Director's office is above the lounge. It consists of a desk as well as a wall screen through which Director Jeffrey Mace conducts his business. During Phil Coulson's time as Director, it was decorated with various mementos of Coulson, including the axe that severed his hand and a large record collection. There's also a secret compartment with a key to Vault B and an escape passage elevator.
The Hangar is where S.H.I.E.L.D. stores its many vehicles. It is extremely large, cabable of holding several Quinjets as well as the Zephyr One and multiple cars. It consists of two levels that can be accessed through thick yellow doors. The Lower level also has a door that allows for Containment Modules to be transported to a holding cell.
The holding cell is used to hold Inhumans brought to the base. It is made of poly-tectic adaptive materials, and can hold a Containment Module. There are at least five holding cells, which are located under the hangar.
The shooting range has multiple booths each with noise canceling headphones and an array of weapons for agents to practice their shooting skills with. The range also has movable targets for the agents to practice on.
The monolith room housed the Monolith. It was a clean room, and there was nothing in there except for the stone and its glass storage case. After Jemma Simmons was swallowed by it, the case was completely locked and the room was deemed too dangerous to enter.
The server room had a lot of servers, and controlled the mainframe of the base.FitzSimmons installed a non-internet back up server in case the base was ever hacked.
Theta Machine Room
The Theta Machine room housed the Theta Brain-Wave Frequency Machine. It was accessible by a hidden security code panel.
The Lounge is across from the Laboratory and below the director's office. It is a large room that is part kitchen, part seating area. The Kitchen has a sink, microwave, fridge, and other cooking amenities as well as a table. It's possible there is a George Foreman grill. The seating area consists of several shelves, couches, television sets, and games. A stylized American flag picture hangs on the wall. The lounge also has several security camera monitors on the wall.
The gym had various exercise equipment such as weights and punching bags. A large part of the gym had a massive red mat for sparring.
The Laboratory is a very large room used by the agency's scientists to conducts tests and perform research. It has multiple workstations and scientific tools and includes a cell that can be used to quarantine objects or people. The laboratory was designed according to Jemma Simmons' specifications.
The locker room is a room where agents store their equipment. Bobbi Morse hid a gas mask here when she was infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D. for Robert Gonzales. It is connected to the Gym.
Every agent had private quarters in base. They included lighting, a bunk, artwork, and private bathroom. Jemma Simmons spent a lot of time in her quarters when recovering from her experience in Maveth.
- "Vault D, not the only vault; Agent Carter buried a lot of things here."
- ―Melinda May
Vault B served as the storage room for the most secret files of the Strategic Scientific Reserve that where kept at the Playground.
Vault D served as a holding cell, modernised with the addition of the Inertial Confinement Laser Barrier for the confinement of its prisoners. It was used to detain Grant Ward before being handed to his brother Christian Ward; Sunil Bakshi before being handed to the United States Armed Forces; Melinda May following the Attack on the Playground and Calvin Zabo after being handed over by Jiaying. Skye detained her self in Vault D to protect her self from Vin-Tak and Sif while she was still learning her powers. Vault D was soon converted into an Interrogation Room after the holding cells were built. The interrogation room had only a desk, two chairs, and a lamp. This room was used by Phil Coulson to interrogate his agents about Grant Ward.
- In the comics, the Playground is one Nick Fury's Secret Bases, located on the borders of Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
- Though in a classified location, it is likely that the Playground is located in Virginia, in the proximity of Washington, D.C..
- Unlike Coulson's previous secret base, Providence, which was hidden deep in the wilderness, the Playground appears to be hidden in plain sight, seemingly in an old industrial/warehouse complex. Also, unlike Providence, which was completely underground, certain parts of the Playground are above ground, while most of the base is underground.
- It appears that the Playground was redesigned between Season One and Season Two as the appearance of the hangar in Beginning of the End, is significantly different than the hangar shown from Season Two onwards.
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 4.02: Meet the New Boss
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.08: The Things We Bury
- ↑ First Look At Agent/Director Phil Coulson in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.22: Beginning of the End
- ↑ 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.01: Shadows
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.09: Ye Who Enter Here
- ↑ 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.06: A Fractured House
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.10: What They Become
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.05: A Hen in the Wolf House
- ↑ 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 10.11 10.12 10.13 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.02: Heavy is the Head
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 11.8 11.9 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.03: Making Friends and Influencing People
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.04: Face My Enemy
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 13.7 13.8 13.9 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.07: The Writing on the Wall