Much better. Last's night's episode was so much better. It felt like the story actually progressed somewhere, while last week felt like it pretty much marched in place. I know they were moving the chess pieces around, but still.
We start out in the hatch. With the revelation that the villains SHIELD had previous locked away were out, Coulson is anxious to start rounding them up - one in particular. But before any of that happens, Eric, the guy in the hatch, wants to vet all of Coulson's team with a series of questions while hooked up to the ultimate lie detector, some of the logical, some of them random. Everyone passes with flying colors except Ward (big surprise there), but even Ward manages to get passed eventually.
That formality out of the way, Coulson takes off with Simmons, Fitz, and Trip to go track down the first of the escaped prisoners. May begs to go along, but Coulson still won't have anything to do with her after learning she was reporting on him all along.
Their target is Marcus Daniels, aka Blackout, a villain who takes power from light and energy of any kind and uses it to hurt of kill those who stand in his way. When they captured him before, he was stalking a cellist - Audrey - the woman who became Coulson's girlfriend.
Of course, Audrey thinks that Coulson is dead (because, you know, he should be). So he lets Trip and Simmons take the lead on contacting her. They get to her just as she is starting to freak out because Daniels is after her again. They get her to safety, but Daniels gets away because, instead of trying to rehabilitate him, SHIELD (or was it HYDRA) was trying to enhance his abilities. Overwhelming him with light didn't work like it did in the past.
However, Fitz has an idea that he got from the experiments of Bruce Banner that might work - Gamma rays. Unfortunately, to make that work, they have to use Audrey to lure him out into the open. Coulson doesn't like the idea of doing that at all. He also refuses to see her or speak with her. He will at some point, but not until he can be with her, and now is not the time.
Anyway, they set up Daniels, and he comes as predicted. While the first attempt to hits him with the rays doesn't seem to work, the second round does, and he explodes. The resulting concussion waves send Audrey back into the wall. Coulson was lured out to get a better angle on Daniels for the second attempt with the waves, and he then rushes to Audrey. She sort of sees him, but thinks it is an illusion. She closes her eyes again and opens them to find Simmons looking at her. Coulson's secret is safe - at least for now.
The group flies back to the base, and along the way Simmons and Fitz patch up their relationship which was fraying due to Fitz's jealousy of Trip. Not that either of them admits it, yet.
Meanwhile, back at the hatch, May takes off as soon as she gets the plane back in working shape an fueled up. If Coulson won't forgive her, she is going to start trying to defeat HYDRA on her own.
So now we are down to Skye, Ward, and Eric. Ward wants Skye to start working on decrypting that drive, however she can't do it. She has to do it in a certain location and not just anywhere. And she thinks they need to get the satellite feed going to help track the other villains that have been released from the fridge. To do that, she has to hacked into the NSA's feed. She goes off to do that, which leaves Ward alone with Eric.
And when she comes back, the feed is working, but not showing anything yet. However, Eric has mysteriously disappeared. Ward takes advantage of the two of them being alone to start romancing Skye. She falls for it until they go in for a kiss, and she finds fresh blood behind his ear. Ward goes to clean up, and she finds an iPad that is giving the location for the three of them in the hatch.
She uses that to try to find Eric. He's hiding in a closet with a penny set up to show when someone has entered a room. Skye thinks that is weird - until she finds Eric's body. Now she knows the truth - Ward is HYDRA. And Ward is now looking for her.
She manages to reset the penny before Ward gets to the closet and he falls for her excuse that their kiss frightened her a bit because of how much she liked it. She's ready to continue now, however, but unfortunately duty calls. Ward claims that he's gotten word from Coulson, and they need info from the drive right away. As in Skye doesn't even have time to grab something - they have to leave right now. Our last shot of them is them flying away in the plane.
Which means that when Coulson and his team return, they find no one in the bunker and no clue why.
But the last scene is of May. She walking down the road when a car stops. She gets in, and I knew right away that the driver was her mother. Her mother has retired from some agency, but we aren't told what agency it is. May is determined that she needs to track down Maria - another tie in to Captain America.
So many questions that need to be answered at this point. How will Coulson and his team find the others? Will Skye get the upper hand over Ward? Was she able to leave something behind for the others to find? Will Coulson be able to tell May he's forgiven her?
Suddenly, three more episodes this seasons doesn't seem like enough.