We move back to Coulson killing Ward on Maveth. While Ward is left for dead, an eerie tentacle wraps around his view flashing back through Ward’s life before finally returning to the present. The creature stares at a multitude of screenings contemplating the character of Grant Ward, believing that he would have been an interesting man to have met in life. Gideon Malick reappears stating that he has a new plan to refresh the Inhuman supply and brings Lucio, the Inhuman with medusa-eyes, as an example. The creature asks to see his eyes, and Lucio freezes everyone in the room. The creature then moves out of an imprint made of dust that it causes to fly into Lucio.
General Talbot sees his wife Carla leave him off on a plane who blames him for choosing work over family and paying the price. Coulson arrives to see the act but states that he just wants to talk about the ATCU, claiming that technically he’s Talbot’s boss by order of the president. Talbot doesn’t take that claim well and insists that Coulson will never be his boss and they will never be partners.
Back at the base, the team prepare to follow Coulson with Hunter eager to grab a weapon out of the Inhuman threat. Fitz says that’s what they have Daisy and Lincoln for, but Hunter’s less convinced. He asks to see Fitz’s new invention, but Fitz says it simply makes gloves. Bobbi and Daisy comment on the gathering at the symposium with Daisy being less enthusiastic about people being negative towards Inhumans. She states that terrigenesis is not a disease but an awakening that caused her to become who she was meant to be and that she uses her abilities to do good things and stop bad people. Bobbi points out that some of those bad people are Inhumans, but Daisy comments that humans do bad things as well yet no one holds a symposium for that. Bobbi simply states that Inhumans are unchartered territory and asks about Lincoln’s first cov-ops mission.
Lincoln is at the airport tracking Talbot and Coulson under the watchful eye of May who’s trying to teach Lincoln not to rush in and use his powers. Talbot complains that the symposium will be a waste of time, but Coulson says that they need to figure out if any of the ambassadors would be possibly harboring Inhumans or secretly working for Malick. Meanwhile, Coulson also hopes that Talbot can work things out with Carla at least for the sake of their son. Before the two leave, Carl Creel, the Absorbing Man appears to them, causing Lincoln and May to attack. Creel first gets the upper hand by absorbing the rubber off a tire to block from Lincoln’s powers, but May hits him with a metal pole causing him to conduct the electricity. Before Lincoln can deliver a fatal blow, Coulson orders him to stand down while Talbot reemerges. To their surprise, Talbot states that Creel is actually his bodyguard.
The team transfer Creel back to the base where he is locked in a containment unit. Simmons begins to question him despite the bad blood between him and the team. He states he got his powers from an experiment, but Simmons also questions how he survived contact with the Obelisk. Creel says he doesn’t know, only that it hurt. Hunter is also furious that Talbot is working with Hartley’s killer, but Talbot states that he was only brainwashed by Hydra and has since reformed. Since Talbot refuses to go without Creel and bringing in their own Inhumans would ruin the symposium, Coulson agrees to take Creel and, even further, bans Daisy and any other weapons from going to the event.
Malick observes the creature, noting that Ward’s body is not the best shape. The creature states that the host must be dead, and that he cannot inhabit Inhumans as “we do not feed on our own kind.” Instead, he says that Grant Ward will suffice his needs.
May, Bobbi, Hunter, and Creel prepare to go on the mission with Hunter tempted to throw Creel off the plane. May states that he needs to focus on the mission, but Hunter doesn’t trust a guy who killed his friends. May throws back that the only reason Hunter is here is because of Bobbi, and that he couldn’t care about the mission otherwise. Hunter says he’s only trying to watch May’s back, but May states that they’re not friends.
Coulson states out their mission which includes five other delegates from separate countries. Coulson and Talbot believe that one of them is really connected to Malick and sends the team to gather intel on who it could be. Coulson will be attending the event as a CDC doctor while Talbot will be attending as himself, the president’s representative, wearing a traditional Taiwan outfit, which looks like a dress. Using Fitz’s technology and his new hand, Coulson gathers the fingerprints of the delegates for Bobbi, Hunter, and May to sneak into rooms. Talbot accuses many members of the symposium with being the inside man but eventually narrows it down to everyone. Back at Hydra, the creature requests Giyera and Lucio to find five humans alive.
With a break from the mission, Daisy invites Lincoln to train with her to prepare for an agent assessment test without powers. While Lincoln’s not excited to fight, Daisy’s impressed with how much better he’s doing in the field. Of course, he’s still not a match for Daisy and states that the field’s not really his thing. Simmons interrupts their sparring practice by requesting Lincoln’s opinion on a finding.
Talbot and Coulson begin the discussion by talking about the new “alien” threat. Coulson clarifies that the “aliens” are actually Inhumans who just want to find a place in the world. Rather than being a disease, the Inhumans contain a genetic anomaly that is not transferrable and only affects a small population. While some of the delegates are hostile or paranoid to concept of Inhumans, the Russian delegate Petrov is willing to create a sanctuary city within his country. Bobbi, however, does not trust the idea of all the Inhumans in one place where Malick’s involved. Hunter then becomes preoccupied when he notices Creel leaving his post.
Simmons demonstrates to Fitz and Lincoln a new reaction she observed using Creel’s blood. With a sample of Daisy’s blood from two years ago, she doses the sample with terrigen to cause terrigenesis. However, once she dabs the sample with Creel’s blood, the process reverses. In theory, Simmons finds she can create a vaccine for Inhumans to prevent them from going through terrigenesis, maybe even reverse the process in general. While Lincoln appears interested, Daisy is appalled.
Eventually, the rest of the delegates begin agreeing on the idea of a sanctuary city. While gathering intel, May intercepts a message meant for the Australian delegate Ellen King, leading Bobbi to break into her room. There, she finds evidence that King is keeping an Inhuman, Eden Fesi, under containment for military experimentation but has no connection to Malick. Hunter tails Creel to the back of a truck where he finds Talbot’s son in a stasis cube. After seeing the evidence, Creel knocks Hunter unconscious.
After the official vote, Talbot then calls out a traitor in the group: Coulson. Using the team’s surveillance, he proves to the delegates that Coulson has been spying on them, only to have Malick appear to group stating that Coulson is, in fact, the director of Hydra.
May and Bobbi rescue Hunter who explains that Hydra is keeping Talbot’s son in captivity. The group deduces that Malick is blackmailing Talbot to betray Coulson at the symposium, and that the building is actually surrounded by Hydra agents, leaving them with no weapons. Hunter, however, shows that he secretly smuggled in a plate of weapons along with Bobbi’s batons, so the fight is back on for SHIELD. Bobbi and Hunter search for Coulson and Talbot while May looks for Talbot’s son.
"I love you."-Bobbi "I don't hate you quite as much."-May
Lincoln then argues with Daisy that the vaccine could be protection for people who don’t want to change or shouldn’t change, like Daisy’s mother wanted. Daisy points out that her mother was crazy and that he sounds like one of the Watchdogs on the Internet. Lincoln insists that there needs to be a balance, and the vaccine maintains a choice. However, Daisy states that the condition is a birthright, and if the government got their hands on a vaccine, it would no longer be a choice. Lincoln argues medically, their condition is actually a disease, but Daisy interrupts saying that just because he went to medical school doesn’t mean he’s the final judge. Lincoln fires back that he wasn’t hacking his way through life like Daisy was, causing small jolts of sparks to fly from his hands.
Malick states that while the symposium knows about his dedication to the World Security Council, little is known about Coulson. Through photo evidence of Hydra’s technology, Malick claims that Coulson wants to gather the Inhumans in one location to destroy them. Coulson, however, deduces that Malick must have something on Talbot to cause this and beseeches him to come clean as he is dragged out of the room.
Giyera and Lucio gather five humans for the creature and freeze them in place surrounding it. Giyera asks if one of them will be its new host, but the creature says that it has other plans for them. When the two leave the room, the creature spreads its dust around the room, leading to painful screams behind a closed door.
Hydra agents lock Coulson in a basement and disarm him (literally). Malick then betrays Talbot as well by handcuffing him to Coulson and locking him up as well. Coulson questions why Malick is doing this, but Malick responds that he’s building an army. Coulson states that there’s no way he can convert them all, but Malick’s not interested. While Coulson and Talbot are about to face death, Creel comes to their rescue, taking on a metal coating and beating the guards. While Creel has located Talbot’s son, he says he lost him trying to keep his cover in knocking out Hunter. He then helps the men escape while Talbot takes Coulson’s hand.
"Give me a hand!"-Coulson "Got it!"-Talbot
Talbot admits that Malick took his son when he became the head of ATCU with Carla leaving him because of that reason. Bobbi and Hunter take on the rest of the guards. Just as one is about to shoot Hunter, Creel snaps the guard’s neck, though Hunter says they still aren’t even. Fortunately, the group escapes when May pulls the van with Talbot’s son and an unconscious guard ready to go.
Daisy goes to apologize to Lincoln for acting militant against the vaccine. Lincoln admits he’s envious of Daisy’s natural zen with her powers under pressure. When Daisy points out that he seemed in control at Afterlife, he states that it’s different being out in the field. Now he can’t seem to help himself. Daisy says that perhaps it’s good to lose control once in a while, and the two consummate their relationship.
The team recover Talbot’s son whom Coulson says will make a full recover, something that may interest Talbot’s wife. After the adventure, Talbot finally agrees to be partners with Coulson who can call him Glenn…occasionally. While they’ve succeeded in teaming with Talbot and rescuing another Inhuman in stasis, Coulson can’t help but feel as though Malick is reporting to someone else. In the midst of this, the creature emerges surrounded by the burnt remains of the five humans and slime. Ward’s body is now healed.
In the final tag, Malick has a toast with the Russian ambassador. After revealing the “director of Hydra,” Malick reassures the man that he will try to create the Inhuman sanctuary. Unbeknownst to them, Hunter and Bobbi have stored themselves inside the plane, listening to everything.
- Eden Fesi is actually the name behind Manifold, a member of the Secret Warriors from Austraila who has the ability to teleport. If you notice in the report for Eden, the military states that witnesses have seen him dematerialize.
- Mack is not present in this episode.
- The Watchdogs is actually a group that was known to work against Captain America in the late 80's comics. Look out for more of them in future episodes.
- While Carl Creel was something of a Secret Warrior in this episode, his son, Jerry Sledge/Stonewall, was actually the real Secret Warrior in the comics. Lots of potential in this episode!