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In Hong Kong, China, a man does street magic. When he finishes a trick, a woman stares at him, smiling. The man flattens his palm, creating a flame in his hand and throws it toward the audience, and the flame quickly goes out. The woman, Raina (Ruth Negga) engages with the man, Chan Ho Yin (Louis Ozawa Changchien) and he invites her back to his apartment. Once there, Chan shows Raina that the flame is not a trick - he started doing it a few years ago but has never said anything to anyone. She asks him to close his eyes, then after a brief moment, open them. When he does, he’s taken by two people in flame-retardant suits.
Ward and Skye take a break from training and play Battleship. As Ward compliments Skye, stating that she’s picking things up quickly, and that Coulson made a good decision bringing her on, Skye sinks his battleship. As Melinda and Coulson watch them, they get a call from Agent Quan Chen (Tzi Ma) in China about the abduction of Chan. S.H.I.E.L.D. had been checking on Chan knowing his ability. Chan explains to the team that the Rising Tide had hacked into S.H.I.E.L.D. and notified someone of Chan’s abilities.
Chan wakes up in a room greeted by Raina. He assumes she’s with S.H.I.E.L.D. but she explains she wants to show the world his power, stating she has a way to enhance it. Raina suggests he change his name to Scorch, his super hero name.
Skye tracks the Rising Tide hacker to Austin, Texas and get video conformation that the hacker is Miles Lydon (Austin Nichols). They re-route the plane to Austin.
Once on the ground, Skye and Ward are track Miles location. Ward spots him, but Miles sees Ward and makes a run for it. Miles jumps into a car and Coulson goes after him in his car. Miles activates a hack on his phone “gridlock protocol” triggering all the lights at the upcoming intersection to turn green. Miles escapes as Coulson is blocked in by cross-traffic.
Miles locks the door to a room, and Skye is waiting for him, asking why he’s hacking into S.H.I.E.L.D. Miles thanks Skye for texting him that S.H.I.E.L.D. was on the way. She goes onto say she’s risking everything and he was close to screwing it up. Smiling at her Miles move close to Skye saying that he’s missed her and kisses her, and they quickly move things into the bedroom.
As Skye gets up looking for her clothes, she pulls out a small memory card, and Miles comments about how she still has it and he could help her with her search if she sent him more information. Skye opens the bedroom door and Melinda is waiting for her.
The rest of the team go through Miles apartment, Coulson talks to Skye, wanting her to explain herself. Skye tries to explain that she and Miles are just friends but Coulson questions her motives. Melinda interrogates Miles but he states he doesn’t know anything about Chan. Coulson tells Melinda and Ward to take the prisoners, and Ward handcuffs Skye.
Raina takes Chan to a lab and tells him they have a serum that can amplify his gift. The lab tech injects Chan and he is able to create a large fireball that he throws across the room. He says now no one will hold him back.
Miles and Skye are being held in the interrogation room on the bus as they head to Hong Kong, arguing about freedom of information and Skye’s work with S.H.I.E.L.D. As Ward listens in, Fitz-Simmons search for any evidence in Miles’ things. Melinda goes to Coulson but instead of giving him an “I told you so”, Coulson states that Skye is still hiding something else. Simmons states that she’s found some evidence.
Ward goes into the interrogation room and offers Miles to come clean about lying to Skye. He says he hasn’t but then Ward places bank receipts showing Miles has been selling information, rather than just putting it out for free. Skye is furious and Miles explains that he did it for them. Miles explains that a rich girl in a flower dress paid him to crack into S.H.I.E.L.D. Miles assumed that the business paying him was harmless, dealing in insects. Specifically, centipedes.
Chan practices and Raina talks to the doctor, Debbie (Shannon Lucio), who we saw in the first episode as one of the administrators of the centipede-looking device that contains Extremis. Raina states that Chan’s ability neutralizes the side effect of exploding. Debbie tells Raina to drain the Extremis from Chan’s body, and then leaves. Raina gases Chan which knocks him out.
Coulson tells the others that Centipede abducted Chan, and plan to create their own super soldier using the Extremis serum.
Chan, strapped to an examining table, is drained. Debbie thanks him for participating, and when Chan starts to use his power, he burns himself. Debbie and Raina explain that they have also removed his blood platelets, which enabled him not to burn before. The women leave with a vial of platelets.
Coulson explains to Ward that he will be going out in the field with Melinda because he brought Skye onto the team making her ultimately his responsibility.
Still ranting over Miles taking money for information, he states that never did it to hurt anyone. He tells her that at least she knows what she’s looking for. He thought she was what he was looking for.
Coulson and Melinda meet up with Agent Kwan outside the building. Once inside they take out the guards and release Chan from the straps, as Chan sees vials of Extremis. Melinda fights off more guards as a security alarm is set off locking them in. Coulson calls for back up but Chan injects himself with Extremis, kills Agent Kwan, and goes after Coulson and Melinda. Still burning himself, Kwan throws fireballs at them anyway.
Coulson radios Ward and states they need Skye to hack into the security system. She tries but realizes the only way she can is to be on-site.
Coulson and Melinda continue to fight Chan, after he announces he’s now Scorch. Ward and Skye get into the building, with Ward fighting off several guards.
Debbie calls her superiors, lying, stating that everything is OK. Raina advises that Chan is now unstable without the platelets and can explode like the other test subjects.
Ward gets Skye into the server room where she is able to unlock the doors to the lab. Chan escapes, and Coulson radios Fitz-Simmons to uncuff Miles because they need his help.
Chan finds Raina and Debbie, but Raina closes the elevator doors on Debbie leaving her trapped. Chan incinerates her to ashes. Coulson catches up to him and says that he doesn’t want to hurt him. From behind, Melinda injects to needles full of Extremis into Chan’s back, overdosing him on it. Melinda and Coulson run out knowing Chan will explode.
Back on the bus, Miles has hacked into the building’s system, rerouting the ventilation system for Chan’s explosion to surface outside through the roof. Skye, Ward, Coulson and Melinda make it out just in time.
Coulson gives Miles the option to go free, but makes him put on a monitoring bracelet. Coulson tells Skye to meet him in his office after she says her goodbye to Miles. Miles tells her that he hopes she finds what she’s looking for.
Skye goes to Coulson’s office, after failing to bring Ward in with her. Coulson, furious, states that she’s been lying to him ever since she’s been on the plane, and that she has one chance to come clean. She pulls out the memory card from her bra. Coulson asks if that’s everything she has on S.H.I.E.L.D. but she states it’s everything she has on herself. As Coulson brings the files up on a screen, she explains she’s trying to find out who her parents are, leading her to a redacted S.H.I.E.L.D. document. She states that she’ll never stop looking, no matter what. Coulson offers to help, then hands her a monitoring bracelet. She puts it on.
Raina visits her superior, Po (Cullen Douglas), in prison, and advises she has found a solution to the problem of people exploding on Extremis. She says “On to Stage 2” and Po quickly asks if this means his situation will improve any. Raina explains that the S.H.I.E.L.D. team she encountered in Hong Kong is the same from LA. Raina states to Po “we” would like him to make contact with The Clairvoyant about Stage 3. He states that The Clairvoyant doesn’t like to be touched, and she responds that “we all have to do things that make us uncomfortable.”