When we last saw Agent Phil Coulson 36 hours ago in "The Bridge," he had been kidnapped by Raina, aka the "Girl in the Flower Dress." His team busts in on a meeting being held with a man called Vanchat. The guy tries and fails to escape their pursuit. Agent Victoria Hand lets the captive know that they need his help finding a friend. They want him to lead them to Centipede. Once that happens, they'll find Coulson. Regarding the other casualty of the kidnapping, agent-in-training Mike Peterson appears to have died in the explosion.
Skye wants to hack into Vanchat's financials, but Hand wants her booted off the bus. Agent May agrees with this decision. With a little nudge from Ward, Fitz and Simmons, Skye sets off to investigate things on her own. She poses as Agent Melinda May to get information on Vanchat's financials. Back on the bus, Ward tricks Agent Hand's interrogator so he can imply his own intense brand of questioning on Vanchat. He gets results that lead to active strikes all over the world. Agent Hand can't help but wonder why Agent Coulson is so important.
Coulson lets Po know that he'll die before giving any information. He says that the Clairvoyant is a fraud. Po disagrees, but he does admit that his friend can't see how Coulson was brought back from the dead. Po will torture him until he finds the answer to this. Coulson manages to escape from his bindings, but he's trapped in a forgotten town that's surrounded by nothing but desert. Po continues his torture until a phone call from the Clairvoyant puts an end to it. It also puts an end to Po, as he's killed via a remote death blow.
Raina is asked to take over where Po left off with Coulson. She wants to know how the super soldiers they are creating can be brought back to life. She offers to help uncover the secret S.H.I.E.L.D. has been keeping. Raina brings up the past love of Coulson's life. Her heart was broken when S.H.I.E.L.D. told her he was dead. Coulson realizes that he keeps saying that Tahiti is a magical place. He tells Raina to turn on her machine so he can finally find out why.
Ward is caught off guard when he realizes May got Skye kicked off the bus so she'd have more freedom to do her thing. This works out well. Skye gets a sketchy financial guy named Lloyd to access crooked accounts in the Caymans. She's quite proud of herself when she single-handedly overtakes her patsy's security guards. She heads out in Lloyd's sports car once she has the info she needs. She calls the team to tell them where Coulson is being held. Ward tells Agent Hand that he's taking his team to get him with or without backup.
In the desert town, Raina asks Coulson to think back to his first memory after he died. He was on a sandy beach where Director Fury ordered something done to him. Outside, Skye reunites with the rest of the team as soldiers swarm. Raina desperately tries to get Coulson to describe what he sees. It's dark. Coulson asked that they let him die back when the doctors were working on him. Skye storms into the room and promptly decks Raina. May pulls the plug on the machine hooked up to Coulson, who is in bad shape but able to recover.
Agent Hand lets Coulson know that Centipede operations have been taken down across the globe. The Clairvoyant is still in the wind though. Coulson thanks Agent Hand for all that was done. He also thanks his team before telling them to get back to work. For Skye, that begins with a removal of the bracelet that's been limiting her computer hacking abilities. She asks Coulson if he learned anything. Her boss says what was done to him wasn't real. They were just messing with his head.
A short time later, Coulson pays a visit to the doctor who was part of his visions. He says he knows about Tahiti. The doctor says Coulson was dead for days after the battle of New York. Under orders from Director Fury, a team of scientists worked to revive him even there was catastrophic neurological damage. Coulson had wanted to die. He had lost his will to live. The scientists tried to give that back to him. They gave him pleasant memories. The doctor says he's truly sorry, but Coulson leaves before he can say much more.
Mike Peterson is alive. His substantial injuries from the blast on "The Bridge" include burns as well as the loss of one of his legs. Mike is being held in a secret cell. He has no idea where he is. The only thing he does know is that he is deep trouble. A message like the ones that plagued Akela Amador in "Eye Spy" A camera has been built into his eye along with a failsafe measure that will kill him if he disobeys orders. Mike is devastated as he is now helplessly, mercilessly under someone else's control.