In Sunbury, Pennsylvania, Jeffrey presents Daisy to the public as an undercover agent who can finally emerge from her mission and receive public recognition. Everyone applauds, and Jeffrey explains that Daisy risked her life infiltrating the Watchdogs. He thanks her for saving innocents and calls up Sunbury's Michelle Caldwell to tell the story. Michelle talks about how Daisy saved her life. Meanwhile, Coulson and Mack patrol the crowd and notice Talbot and Burrows watching. Talbot checks a case that Burrows is carrying, just as Coulson notices that the agent on the roof is missing.
As Michelle hugs Daisy, Daisy spots a sniper and orders everyone down. Jeffrey blocks the shot with his podium, and then tosses it into the air as the bullet explodes. Burrows holds Jeffrey back as Daisy goes after the shooter. As she goes,, a man bumps into her. Talbot tells Coulson to get Jeffrey to safety, while Daisy propels herself up onto the roof and tackles the sniper while Coulson and Mack take Jeffrey away in the Quinjet.
At S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, Jemma enters the lab and finds Agent Crawford examining Aida's decapitated head on Fitz's orders. Jemma reminds her that it killed Nathanson and could have killed them all, and tells Crawford to stay away from it. Coulson and the others come in, and Jemma goes out to ask them what's going on. Melinda assures Jemma that everyone is fine, and Talbot orders her to interrogate the captive sniper. Jemma and Melinda agree that they should check with Jeffrey first, but Talbot insists that he's in command while Jeffrey is out. He tells Melinda to get the sniper to talk and Jemma to find out if Burrows is on the Quinjet. Melinda reluctantly agrees and goes to the interrogation room.
At his apartment, Holden tells Fitz that Aida was meant to save lives . Fitz points out that the LMD killed Nathanson, and Holden wants the chance to fix her programming. Overriding his objections, Fitz tells olden to stay clear of HQ for a few days until things blow over. Once Fitz leaves, Holden calls Aida out and says that they have a problem with the Melinda LMD. He explains that the LMD is on her own and the slightest miscalculation could reveal her true nature.
Daisy reviews the sniper's file and confirms that he's Yuri Zakin, ex-Hydra. She asks who his supplier is for the bullets, and Yuri says nothing. Daisy talks to Melinda in private, and Melinda figures that Yuri is protecting someone. Yuri insists that they didn't phase, and says that Phase 1 only had a 13% chance of success.
The Quinjet flies to the safehouse, and Jeffrey figures that Nadeer sent the sniper. Coulson isn't convinced, and Jeffrey reports that there is some interference with their radio so they can't reach HQ. As Burrows gets up, the hatch blows open and he's sucked out. The pilot reports that they've lost the port engine as the Quinjet goes down.
After the crash in a forest, Coulson confirms that Mack and Jeffrey are alive, but the pilot McCafferty is dead. Jeffrey figures that the crash is coincidence and Coulson realizes that sabotaging the Quinjet was Plan B. The comms are out and Coulson uses his arm to determine that they're not getting a connection. They figure that their attackers are on the way and should get to high ground to use the satphone. Jeffrey says that they need to find Burrows
Holden checks on the real Melinda, who is in an electronic berth and twitching. Aida says that it's unclear why Aida's neurocortical activity is erratic, and Holden points out that Aida killed one person already. The LMD insists that her programming places Holden's security above all else, and he tells her not to terminate anyone else. Holden says that the Melinda LMD doesn't know that it's a LMD, which will keep her from being noticed. Aida suggests that she search the base herself, but Holden says that they have to take a longer game with less violence. His LMD points out that Melinda is already prone to violence.
Jemma tells Melinda and Daisy that they lost contact with the Quinjet and there's no emergency beacon. Talbot says that they have to ask fast, and gives Melinda expanded clearance to lead a rescue mission. Jemma points out that she's the highest ranking agent there, but Talbot tells her that he'll handle it and tells her to find a way to find the Quinjet. The President calls and Talbot excuses them. Once they leave, Talbot tells President that Burrows has the package but they don't know if he was on-board.
Jeffrey heads for Burrows' projected appearance. Coulson figures that he needs the briefcase, and Jeffrey says that it's classified. Mack hears engines approaching and they go to investigate. A truck with Hydra scrambling equipment drives by, and Coulson says that they have to destroy the truck so that they can call for backup. Jeffrey overrides them, saying that they stick to the plan and find the case.
Fitz returns and Jemma updates him on the situation. He says that he got his stuff from Holden's place, and Jemma says that the Aida program was a mistake. Fitz agrees and says that the problem was keeping the project from her. He suggests that they reboot the head, but Jemma tells him to drop it. Fitz tells Jemma that he was trying to protect her, and figures that they'll find the missing teammates now that Daisy is back on the team.
The real Melinda wakes up and the monitor alarms go off. She frees herself as Aida comes in, and the LMD grabs her. Holden arrives and tells Aida to stop as the LMD chokes Melinda. When she doesn't, he grabs a syringe and charges forward, but Aida knocks him aside. Holden tells Aida that they have to seduce her, and Aida grabs the syringe and injects it into Melinda. Once she passes out, Aida says that she programmed the simulation for Melinda just like he said. Holden tells Aida to get some restraints.
As the Zephyr heads for the crash site, Daisy finds Melinda sitting in Lola. She gets in and Melinda talks about an early mission they had in Madrid. Coulson gave her the keys and let her drive, and to not let anyone know. Daisy assures her that they'll find Coulson, and Melinda insists that something is off. An agent reports that someone has hijacked the Quinjet transponder signal.
A squad of Watchdogs find Burrows' corpse and the briefcase attached to it. Jeffrey tells Coulson and Mack that the case is biometrically locked, and Coulson tells Mack to take out one group of them while he and Mack get the others. As the Watchdogs cut off Burrows' arm, Jeffrey says that he'll make it work.
Talbot asks Yuri how he knew Jeffrey was going to get on the Quinjet. Yuri says that the high probability was that he would, and in all scenarios their target ends up dead. Talbot says that he wiped Hydra out, but Yuri is unimpressed and Talbot goes to the lab. Fitz reports that he's been unable to trace the Quinjet while the Watchdogs are jamming the signal and sending a fake one. Jemma says that there could be clues in Jeffrey's files, but Talbot tells her to keep working while he deals with it. She brings up a file and finds a reference to Project Patriot., and tells Fitz that the only people who have access are Jeffrey, Burrows, Talbot, and now her. Talbot says that the project isn't relevant and warns them to back off. Jemma wonders why he's been steering her away from the file, and Talbot has them clear the room. Once the others leave, Talbot tells Jemma that there's a good reason that Jeffrey is never far from the briefcase.
Coulson and Mack ice their targets, and the others hear the noise. When they go to investigate, Jeffrey heads for the briefcase. One Watchdog turns and shoots at him, and Jeffrey runs. Another Watchdog prepares to shoot, and Mack takes him out.
Jeffrey runs through the woods and opens the case. Inside are two injectors. The pursuing watchdog destroys it with a shot and tackles Jeffrey. The two fight--Jeffrey without his super strength, and the Watchdog destroys the other injector and then shoots Jeffrey in the leg. Coulson arrives and takes the Watchdog out, and realizes that Jeffrey doesn't have any powers.
Once Mack binds Jeffrey's leg, Jeffrey explains that the drugs give him his super strength. It was uniquely calibrated to his DNA, and Coulson realizes that Talbot is responsible.
Talbot says that he turned Jeffrey into a superhero, and Jemma and Fitz didn't need to know. The decision was made that the new Director had to be enhanced, and they used a modified version of the formula that they confiscated from Daisy's father after taking most of the bad stuff out. They don’t' know if he was coming off of the final dose, and without it, Jeffrey is powerless.
Jeffrey says that he was under orders to lie, and they go to the nearby ranger station to find a first aid kit for Jeffrey's leg. Another truck pulls up and the trio goes inside.
Fitz warns that he can't break the scrambled signal, and Jemma says that they need to break Yuri. She gets an idea and a few minutes later, goes into the interrogation room with Talbot. Jemma takes out some interrogation tools and says that she learned a lot when she was undercover with Hydra. Yuri isn't scared, and Jemma opens a case to reveal Aida's head, covered in blood. Yuri quickly talks and says that he was hired by the Watchdogs. They brought the Quinjet down in West Virginia, and Fitzsimmons radio the location to Daisy and Melinda. However, Fitz warns that Jeffrey may not be able to hold off the Watchdogs.
Coulson and the others watch the new Watchdog arrivals from the ranger station. They figure that they can disable the transmitter truck, and Coulson gives Jeffrey his battle armor and points out that the Watchdogs don’t know that Jeffrey has lost his powers,
A few minutes later, Jeffrey calls out to the Watchdogs and says that the case holds a cure for Inhumans. When the Watchdogs ask what he's offering, Jeffrey steps out and says that either he crushes the case or they attack him... but he's the only one who can open it. Meanwhile, Mack takes out one Watchdog at the rear and finds a grenade on him.
Jeffrey suggests that the mercenaries put down their guns, just as Mack blows up the transmitter truck. When the Watchdogs open fire, Coulson protects Jeffrey with the energy S.H.I.E.L.D. in his arm. They get back inside and Coulson says that all they have to do now is survive while returning fire. Mack ducks into a nearby shack and realizes that he's out of bullets, and grabs a fire axe. The Watchdog leader comes in and grabs a pair of shears, and attacks Mack.
Coulson and Jeffrey set up a table as they realize that they're running low on ammo. The building shakes and a Daisy blasts a Watchdog through the window. Meanwhile, Melinda finds Mack and knocks the leader down. She and Mack attack the leader and finally take him down. Melinda clutches at her wounded shoulder but says that she's fine.
Holden checks the unconscious Melinda and says that she never stops fighting. He realizes that Melinda rejected the simulation because it was too powerful. They need to give he an enemy to fight, and Holden knows what to give her.
Fitz steals Aida's head and says that he'll figure out what broke her. He quickly locks the head away as Jemma calls to him. Fitz says that he was locking the head away and assures her that she handled Talbot.
Coulson confronts Talbot over his lying to the Inhumans about Jeffrey being one of them. Talbot points out that after Daisy went rogue, he had to deliver an American hero. Jeffrey is there and asks Talbot to leave the room. Once Talbot leaves, Jeffrey tells Coulson about what happened in Vienna. He wants to get to safety after the explosion, but he tripped and didn't know the woman he supposedly rescued was there. When he tried to deflect, everyone thought he was being honest. A few months later, Talbot came to him with his offer. Jeffrey thought that he could help and believes the Inhumans deserve the same rights as anyone else. He offers to call a press conference and resign, reinstating Coulson as director. Coulson tells him that S.H.I.E.L.D. still needs a face, and Jeffrey is good at lying. He wants him to defend S.H.I.E.L.D. to the public and handle the politics. However, when it comes to operations, Coulson is going to call the shots.
The Melinda LMD goes to her locker and checks her shoulder wound. She probes it and finds the circuitry inside. Daisy comes in and "Melinda" says that it's just a scratch and she's fine.
Written by Gadfly on Jan 18, 2017