In the streets of Hong Kong a street performer puts on magic tricks for an unimpressed crowd. Until a girl in a flowered dress shows up. He shows off something that’s not a trick, he can create and control fire with just the palm of his hand. She tells him he’s special and goes home with him, she tells him he shouldn’t hide his power and that he could be noticed and be remembered. She tells him to close his eyes and imagine and when he opens his eyes, there’s 2 humans in fireproof suits there to haul him away. He stabs one in the leg leaving a shred of fabric as a clue.
Agent Kwan out of Hong Kong calls Coulson and the gang. After interrupting Skye and Ward’s flirting/Battleship game, Kwan tells them that the Rising Tide hacked their feed and that’s how someone knew when to find Chan (the fireguy). All eyes on Skye. But she says it wasn’t her. She also is somewhat outraged that SHIELD keeps tabs on people with superhuman powers.
Chan wakes up and thinks he’s been taken by SHIELD. The girl in the flowered dress, Rayna, says they are not with SHIELD and that Chan is being held back but she and her friends can help grow his power. She tells him he can be remembered like Captain America, he can be Scorch And she does help him…
SHIELD finds the culprit responsible for the hack but he gets away… thanks to Skye. Miles is someone she had been, uh… close with. And she sends him a text to tip him off before he gets picked up by Ward. Skye waits for him at his apartment that she thought SHIELD wouldn’t have found him at? I don’t understand that. She says he shouldn’t have been hacking SHIELD while she was on the inside. Then they hook up. Which honestly, they should have saved the hot and heavy show all til Skye and Ward… but whatever, it was kind of sexy, Skye frolics around in her undies …But it’s Agent May who finds Skye’s shirt.
Skye tries to apologize, but Ward cuffs her and they head back to the plane.
Miles is an idealist, he says that holding them this way violates their freedoms, Skye says that they are doing it to save an innocent man’s life. May tries interrogating him about who he works for and he says that information has a life of it’s own and he set it free. blah blah woof woof. Only he didn’t. He was paid seven figures for it. Miles says he investigated and that it was a harmless eco group (“something about centipedes.” really, genius hacker? Harmless eco groups don’t have that kind of cash. Obviously).
But back to Centipede, the group injecting people (like the dad in the first episode) with Extremis serum took Chan the pyrokinetic because the platelets in his blood can stabilize the compound so they don’t go all Pepper Potts and turn into a hot-mess
They start sucking the platelets out of him and sensing his impending doom, he tries to fight back, he also keeps calling himself Scorch. Scorch is possibly a real character from the Marvel universe, the name is used minorly a few times and I think is most closely related to the alter-ego of Tommy Ng a mutant/pyrokinetic and former criminal… not quite, well… busking is a crime.
By the time Coulson and May show up the situation is far past diffusal. Scorch tries to take them out and Coulson wastes the tranquilizers that were Chan’s last hope (why did he fire them all at once when it clearly wasn’t working?) So Agent May overdoses Chan with Extremis. Skye with the help of Ward extracts some files before Chan blows up and then Miles gets a tracker slapped on him and booted out into Hong Kong.
Coulson confront Skye about what she’s really doing there. Chloe Bennet proves she can act and spills her guts: the only thing she has to go on about her birth parents? A document, redacted, by SHIELD. Coulson doesn’t know… but seems sympathetic. Then she gets her tracker, no more good faith, but not kicked out of the club.
All in all this was a good episode. I don’t know what to think about how they let Chan die though. Given SHIELD’s use of life and death to rally their posse it seemed like a tactic to blame the Rising Tide and greedy members like Miles and really hard line “This-information-is-a-secret-for-the-greater-good” which sometimes it is, btw, but it was just another “government is good and knows best” propaganda. Again. Maybe the probe into Skye’s past will add some much needed depth? Umm… I’m hopeful, but I still doubt it.