Exploding eyeballs, x-ray vision, impossible heists and background on Coulson's mysterious history are just some of the things featured in this week’s episode.
It opens in Stockholm with dozens of men entering a subway station wearing red masks and carrying briefcases. They are being followed by a mysterious woman. The woman follows the men onto a train and proceeds to knock all of them out using the emergency brake. After severing the hands of one of the men to free the handcuffed briefcase, she steps into the tunnel and opens the case, revealing a heap of diamonds. Satisfied, the woman disappears.
The bus is en route to Sweden when Coulson discovers that Skye has been using S.H.I.E.L.D. cars in the hold for "personal time." He asks for her help, as someone has been cracking complicated security networks in recent heists. Apparently, the thief has been completing robberies with her eyes closed – literally. With the case of the red-masked men, the thief was able to identify which of the 55 briefcases contained the diamonds (the rest were decoys), and Coulson wants to know how. Skye does what any modern girl would do and searches social media sites for photos of the incident. Coulson finds the thief in one of the pictures and realizes that she is his former trainee, Akela Amador. It’s now personal. Although Coulson refuses, the team insists that Coulson report Akela as a rogue agent to HQ.
Akela meets her diamond buyer in a Belarus hotel room, closing her eyes to scan the premises and revealing multiple armed men in the building. She hands the buyer some golf balls, which disguise the diamonds, and accepts a keycard as payment.
Agents Skye, Fitz and Simmons drive a surveillance van to a village while Coulson and Ward head in by foot. The team receives a mysterious signal and realizes Akela is approaching the van. She doesn't look happy. Akela rams the van off the road and successfully escapes despite Skye's attempts to use her gun for once.
Skye rediscovers the signal and realizes that it comes from an implant Akela has in her eye that gives her the ability to have "x-ray vision" when her eyes are closed. Agent May is adamant that Akela should not be forgiven for her attack, even though the team knows she is doing all of this under the command of someone else. Skye is on Coulson's side and vouches for Akela's forgiveness, but it may be for nothing, as May has already left to intercept Akela in her hotel.
Akela wakes up to May in her room, but refuses to look at her, afraid that her "handler" will either force her to fight the agent or activate the kill-switch in her eye. Akela fights in defense, killing the lights, and is spared from demolishment at the hands of May by Coulson and his tranquilizer.
Waking up yet again, Akela finds herself in the holding cell of the bus, and Coulson informs her that they've rigged her ocular feed to a pair of glasses worn by Agent Ward. Ward is going to continue Akela's original mission until they can figure out what to do so they do not arouse suspicion by Akela's handler if the job isn't done. In a heartfelt scene, Akela shows her despair for not listening to Coulson's orders four years earlier in a mission gone wrong, getting her entire team killed.
Ward and Skye arrive at the mission destination but are unable to look at each other because of the fear that the ocular feed would give them away. Ward enters the plant, and Akela gives Coulson information to make him believe her handler is an older, heavyset Englishman. Fitz and Simmons decide to remove Akela's implants and finally free her from her bondage. Ward finds his target, and in a hilarious scene, is instructed by the handler to seduce the guard, thinking he is Akela. Ward tries small talk for a while, but ultimately opts to knock him out and sneaks into the next room. Inside, two men are writing equations on the walls. The ocular feed takes a picture of the mathematics, and Ward's mission is complete.
An alarm sounds off when the unconscious guard fails to check in with security, which sends Ward vaulting through the building amidst gunfire. Fitz and Simmons continue with their operation, trying to remove the ocular transplant. Things are rushed when Ward accidentally sees his reflection in a mirror. Fitz and Simmons sever the implant before the kill switch can be engaged by the handler and drops it into a canister with sighs of relief. Akela is now free, albeit one eye less.
Coulson tracks the handler, who unfortunately has an ocular transplant of his own and offs himself with the kill switch. Akela is reassured that she will receive a fair trial for her crimes and that Coulson himself will testify on her behalf. Akela mentions to May that Coulson is strangely different since the incidents of "The Avengers," yet another hint at what really happened when he "died." The episode ends with Coulson joining Skye in her car hideout and the two agreeing that they both need some peace.
"Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." continues to make progress towards fully developing the characters, which is imperative, as it cannot rely on Marvel cameos and high-budget effects in every episode. Viewers are getting to the meat of the series, and gimmicks are no longer necessary to draw in a weekly audience if the show is serious about building a plot that will keep people returning for more.