Following an expectations-shattering pilot episode that has been seen by more than 20 million viewers, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was back for a second week--the much-anticipated "0-8-4," a reference to last week's teaser. This week, we're expecting an even more exciting teaser... Let's get started. The episode begins in the air, as the Bus moves its way to its next destination--when a hole is blown in the side of the plane. We see Coulson barely able to hang on, nearly being sucked out the hole in the side, and then the title card.
19 hours earlier, Coulson and Skye show up, with the hacker moving out of her van and into the Bus. Ward objects that she doesn't belong with the group, but Coulson notes that she's so good it's worth it. Ward says that she's a risk, but Coulson denies it. Fitz and Simmons join Skye at the entrance, enthusiastic about it. Ward and Melinda May both attempt to dissuade Coulson, but he tells them the decision is made. Fitz and Simmons help Skye find her bunk, and then Coulson joins her, explaining that he was "killed" by Loki's spear in New York. He tells her that "0-8-4" is an object of unknown origin that they have to investigate. The last one, he sayws, was a hammer. At an Incan archaeological site in Peru, Coulson and the gang arrive and start threat assessment while Fitz and Simmons talk about the local flora and fauna. They stop abruptly when they come to an Incan temple. Coulson explains to Skye that her job now is to work against people like her, creating diversions if something is discovered that makes a splash. The archaeologist tells Coulson that one of the artifacts inside of the temple is "impossible," and it looks like some kind of high-tech weapon. Fitz and Simmons determine that the object, whatever it is, predates the temple but it's not alien--it's German.
Outside, Ward and Melinda May talk in vague terms about why she went into retirement--before they're jumped by a handful of guys in berets. They take out the first few, but then they're swarmed by men and Jeeps. They're apparently under the command of a female soldier; Coulson gets a distress call and comes out to see them, only to see that he and the soldier (Camilla Reyes) are on a first name basis. They question each other's jurisdiction a bit, but then stroll off together. Inside the temple, Skye, Fitz and Simmons are still trying to figure out what the object is--it's "alive," apparently, and Ward comes in to, again, register his objection to Skye being there. Outside, Coulson and Reyes are taking a walk, shooting the breeze, when rebels apparently attack the site, taking out the tents outside and some of the vehicles. With the rebels coming, Ward pulls the 0-8-4 out of the wall against Fitz's wishes and they try to get it out. Out in the field, there's a gunfight between S.H.I.E.L.D.'s field agents, the rebels and the government forces led by Reyes that's brought to a close when Ward uses a percussive, nonlethal energy weapon to take out everyone in the area. Then, they all board their vehicles and hightail it, with some of the rebels in tow.
Aboard the Bus, the agents begin to close the ramp with Coulson still below in Reyes's vehicle. He beats them there, though, and the group gathers around the device, which is in a sack on the floor. Finally witha minute to speak, Fitz explains that the device is fueled by Tesseract technology and contains lethal levels of gamma radiation. Which presumably means it's not safe to take off, and it's not safe to get out of there with the rebels outside. They take off anyway, and Coulson checks in with headquarters, telling May that top speed is a priority and apologizing for putting her in combat. She gives him the cold shoulder. In the lab, Ward is having a confrontation with Fitz and Simmons; in the back of the Bus, Coulson tells Reyes that her people are welcome and will be returned home as soon as he can manage. Coulson enters the lab and breaks up the screaming match. Skye admits to being terrified, the other three start yelling at each other again and Coulson tells them to work it out and storms off. In her bunk, Skye lays down and watches the Hula girl that used to be on her dashboard do its thing. Upstairs, the agents in Reyes's command are having dinner. In the lab, Fitz and Simmons are looking at their Stark-graphics inspecting the item, which they say is a powerful weapon. In the living area, Skye tells Ward that the idea behind the Rising Tide is the collective will of people coming together to solve problems; Ward tells her that they see the world differently, is all. We get lots of soft music to let us know they're meant to have chemistry. He has a gunshot wound, and tells her that he's used to being the "whole solution" but that there are too many variables on this mission--including the Peruvian military--for him to do so. In Coulson's room, he's giving Reyes a tour. She closes the door, getting all flirtatious, and he tells her that he doesn't remember her being so direct. In the living area, Ward notices that the soldiers are nursing their drinks and becomes concerned. Coulson has figured it out, too, and everyone is trying to be the first to get to May, who is knocked out by gas from the soldiers. The soldiers take Fitz and Simmons, and Coulson asks Reyes why she betrayed them. She gives a glib, Whedonesque answer to tease us until after the commercials. Aboard the Bus, Reyes has her people beating up on Coulson, who's tied up. Reyes is holding the agents and Skye in the cargo hold and using them as leverage. In the hold, Ward tells Skye that he's going to go their way and try to piece together a solution. Upstairs, Reyes tells Coulson that the weapon was created by Nazi scientists decades ago after the fall of Hydra. She accuses him of having a mid-life crisis and he tells her that she's in trouble now that she's given his team a common enemy. May frees herself by dislocating her wrist, beats up their guard and then drives a truck through the lab doors. Upstairs, Coulson is being held at gunpoint when he confirms his flight plan change--something the bad guys needed him to do so that the plane isn't shot out of the sky. Little do they know that while Reyes has been ranting, he's been getting out of his bonds and the labrats have been irradiating the weapon, causing it to blow a hole in the side of the bus and project at least one of the soldiers out through it. The plane has a big hole in it, and Agents Ward and May are headed out to take out the bad guys while Coulson fights for his life. Ward is taking on the baddies and sends Fitz and Simmons to find the device. May returns to the pilot's cabin to take down the guy who took it over. Fitz and Simmons get the device, but gets smacked with an in-flight emergency card and gets inspired. May takes over the cockpit as Ward continues to fight bad guys and Coulson tries to save Reyes from being pulled out of the plane. Skye grabs a life raft and inflates it, where it's sucked into the hole and prevents Ward falling out of the plane. Coulson stops to tell Reyes, now bound to a pillar, that "I told you they were good," and then goes to check Lola for scratches. Skye asks him what she signed up for, and thinks it's crazy that they're just going to destroy it. He tells her that it's important to do so, so that nobody like Reyes can get their hands on it. May recruits Ward to develop Skye as an asset, suggesting that if she's to last, she has to have a supervising officer. At the Slingshot (where S.H.I.E.L.D. is going to blast the weapon into the sun), they all sit on the back of the plane and watch it. Coulson tells them all that it was an inspired idea to blow the hole in the plane. As things are getting easier, though, The Rising Tide sends Skye a text asking for her status and she confirms she's in. After the plot ends, Fury shows up to tell Coulson that it's not acceptable to blow up the plane, and instructs him to fix it--that Skye is a risk--and asks how Lola is.