The Laws of Inferno Dynamics is the eighth episode of the fourth season of the television series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the seventy-fourth episode overall. It is also the winter finale of the season.
At the Chinatown Crew Headquarters in Los Angeles, Peng confronts Eli Morrow on the fact that S.H.I.E.L.D. has come to battle them and that they have not been paid for their work. Annoyed, Morrow uses his powers to have diamonds coming out of Peng's lungs, killing him. Morrow then returns to the machine he is designing. Morrow's activities do not go unnoticed and attract the media, who try to get information from Director Jeffrey Mace in order to know whether Quake is behind all this.
Phil Coulson and Melinda May suggest to gather an assault team with Elena Rodriguez, Quake and Ghost Rider, though Mace is reluctant regarding the last two. When he suggests bringing in Aida since she brought back Coulson and Leo Fitz while they were trapped between dimensions, Coulson reveals that she is in fact an android. Mace decides to enlist Aida and Quake but orders Aida to be dismantled after the mission and Quake to remain out of the press' sight. Therefore, May goes to the Radcliffe Residence in order to take Aida with her .
Aboard the Zephyr One, Fitz and Jemma Simmons ensure the communications and monitor the gang's headquarters. They also report multiple earthquakes that occur without known origin. Since all of Morrow's men have retreated, Rodriguez uses her powers to do some recon, only to risk being killed by the explosion of some cesium created by Morrow. Afterwards, Ghost Rider decides to go to his uncle alone while Rodriguez recovers while arguing with Mackenzie. Thanks to Ghost Rider's cam, Coulson and Quake watch his progression inside the building, fighting multiple mobsters and evantually finding the device designed by his uncle: a giant Quantum Battery. Morrow finds him and imprisons him inside the Battery by piercing his body with a carbon spike. Before anyone at S.H.I.E.L.D. can go and help him, Simmons orders everyone to return on the Zephyr One. Fitz and Simmons explained that Morrow placed a Demon Core inside his giant Quantum Battery: a plutonium core that will cause a nuclear explosion if anyone tries to stop Morrow.
Morrow and Ghost Rider confront each other about their mutual secrets, since Morrow understood that his nephew was not normal as he resisted the intense radiation and his severe wound. Reyes blames his uncle since his obsession for the Darkhold led to the attack on his nephews, but Morrow retorts that he had done that only to gain respect from his peers who kept looking down at him. Morrow tells his nephew that he will gain respect by becoming a god, to what Ghost Rider warns him that the Devil is coming for him, though a second carbon spike keeps Reyes from attacking his uncle.
Mace joins the Zephyr One with May, Holden Radcliffe and Aida and decides that he will take part in the assault against Morrow, as well as Rodriguez, though Mackenzie advises against it, which annoys Rodriguez. Meanwhile, Simmons and Fitz tell Quake about the Inhuman Simmons helped, a secret assignment that links both Mace and Ellen Nadeer. As another earthquake occurs, Quake discovers that she can absorb the seismic waves. Fitz then figures out that Morrow does not create matter out of nothing but rather harvests energy from another dimension, which causes all the quakes. Quake goes to Coulson and Mace, who are arguing about Mace's secret about Nadeer, with Mace revealing that he had to remain silent so that Nadeer would not release footage of Quake and Ghost Rider at the prison where Morrow was locked in.
At the Chinatown Crew Headquarters, Morrow keeps developing his powers before his men brings him an unarmed Coulson, who calls him a petty thief and tries to reason him while Fitz, Simmons, Radcliffe and Aida install an Inter-Dimensional Gate beneath them, to be activated in the right time to make Morrow's Demon Core disappear in another dimension. Quake joins them to absorb the more numerous earthquakes. Seeing that Morrow is beyond saving, Coulson orders his colleagues to launch the assault. Thanks to Rodriguez's powers, Coulson, May, Mace and Mackenzie quickly dispose of Morrow's men and place him inside the Quantum Battery. Coulson then tries to save Ghost Rider, who chooses to remain behind in order to kill Morrow and make sure the atomic bomb disappears. Though one mobster finds the other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and shoots Aida before being killed by Fitz and Simmons, the portal is successfully activated and the Quantum Battery vanishes.
Quake gets out of the building because she needs to release all the seismic waves that she absorbed. This reveals her presence to the press, but Mace manages to convince them that Quake was working for S.H.I.E.L.D. all along and that she helped saving Los Angeles. After that, everybody returns to the Playground to celebrate their victory, with Mackenzie and Rodriguez finally moving forward in their relationship.
However, while agent Nathanson came to the Radcliffe Residence to bring all of Radcliffe's research to S.H.I.E.L.D. so that the scientist can continue his work under supervision, he discovers an unconscious May locked in a closet, meaning that she had been replaced by a Life-Model Decoy when she went to get Aida. Before he can report his discovery, Nathanson is killed by Aida.
- Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson
- Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May / Melinda May LMD
- Chloe Bennet as Daisy Johnson/Quake
- Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz
- Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons
- Henry Simmons as Alphonso Mackenzie
- John Hannah as Holden Radcliffe
- Gabriel Luna as Robbie Reyes/Ghost Rider
- Jose Zuniga as Eli Morrow
- Natalia Cordova-Buckley as Elena "Yo-Yo" Rodriguez
- Mallory Jansen as Aida
- Jason O'Mara as Director Jeffrey Mace
- Patrick Cavanaugh as Agent Burrows
- Blaise Miller as Agent Nathanson
- Steve Suh as Peng
- Coleen Sullivan as Reporter
- Darrion Scoggins as Gangster #6 (uncredited)
- Khalid Ghajji as Gangster #9 (uncredited)
- Los Angeles, California
- Washington, D.C.
- Los Alamos, New Mexico (mentioned)
- Phil Coulson's Prosthetic Hand
- Patriot Suit
- Quantum Batteries
- Inter-Dimensional Gate
- Laser-Coupling Gloves
- Demon Core
- Neodymium Magnet
- S.H.I.E.L.D. Lanyard
- Backscatter X-Ray Eye Implant
- Darkhold (footage and mentioned)
- Chinatown Crew
- Los Angeles Police Department
- Momentum Labs (mentioned)
- Watchdogs (mentioned)
- Strategic Scientific Reserve (logo)
- Sokovia Accords
- Ellen Nadeer
- Lucy Bauer
- Gabe Reyes
- Joseph Bauer
- Santino Noguera
- Johnny Blaze
- Billy Koenig
- Coulson tells Daisy he originally wanted her to replace him as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. rather than Jeffrey Mace, to which she responded with; "Maybe in the comic book version." This is a nod to Quake being Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. for a short time in the comics, replacing Nick Fury Sr., then being replaced by Maria Hill.
- This episode marks the first time the winter finale is the season's 8th episode instead of the 10th.
- The title is a reference to The Laws of Thermodynamics, the first law of which Eli Morrow believes he is breaking by "creating" matter.