It wasn't the Earth-shattering reveal we'd all been waiting for, but Skye is suddenly a lot more interesting this episode. Plus, plots actually advance!
In a pool at the SHIELD Sciences Academy, a student named Seth Dormer suddenly is frozen over, like full-on ice. Talk about a...cold...open? Anyway, the team arrives to trace down the culprit. Fitz and Simmons also give a talk at the Science Academy, and Ward and Skye tour the campus. Coulson and May take off on a side-mission to Mexico City however, after after the rogue partner of Agent Avery, who dropped baby Skye off at a church decades ago.
Ward questions Dormer, who says it definitely wasn't Donnie Gill, local wunderkind with a 190 IQ. During Fitz/Simmons' talk the very same Gill starts freezing up. Like cased in ice. The duo start to work busting him out, and they find a canister that returns him to normal once smashed. Ward tells Fitz to go buddy up to him for more info, and they hang, and finds an mini-ionized air cannon. Donnie reveals he has more, like a special battery he can't get to spark, but Fitz helps him with the calculations. Meanwhile, the team snoops around and finds out the attack in the pool was staged to bring the team, along with Fitz (AKA the smartest graduate ever) to the Academy. As Fitz goes to confront Donnie, Seth knocks him out, and Gill/Dormer gather their stuff up.
Mexico: Coulson and May wait at a counterfeiter for rogue Agent Lumley to appear. Coulson’s worried SHIELD may have changed more of his memories than they admit, and express he disdain for secrets now. May drops that she’s been sleeping with Ward, just in time for Lumley to appear. She chases him down an alley, where he promptly sneak attacks her. A fight ensues, but Coulson and Lola stop him. Strangely, Lumley is glad to be caught.
Back on the Bus, he reveals he was part of a two-team mission to investigate a 0-8-4 (the same distinction given to Thor's hammer), which turns out was baby Skye. The first team died, and the remaining team started getting knocked off one by one. Lumley and Avery covered up the baby's non-origin and got her placed into foster care to protect her. SHIELD made sure she didn't stay with one family too long to keep her safe. Coulson promises to get Lumley to a safe non-SHIELD location before they regroup with the team.
Seth calls Ian Quinn, their part supplier, who decides their deal is off, but Seth is convinced he needs a display of god faith. They take their device to a parking garage to fire it off.
Skye asks if something is wrong between her and Coulson. He admits their side mission and spills all the beans. Odd weather outside starts to form as he does; Seth declares their device works as hail starts pummeling everything, growing larger. They’ve accidentally created a superstorm (think small localized hurricane). Everyone on the ground is staying put while things get uprooted and thrown around. Fitz has May lower the Bus down into the eye of the storm, where Seth and Donnie try stopping their device, but they’re hit by lightning. Seth goes into cardiac arrest, and they attempt to revive him, but it doesn't work; he dies, and the storm has to work itself out.
After the storm ends, Donnie gets put into observation. Coulson confirms he knows about May and Ward now, and he says Skye wants to keep investigating despite the reveals. As Donnie gets hauled away, he puts a single finger against the window and some frost appears. Credits scene: Coulson uses Seth’s phone to call Quinn, promising to shoot his plane down, and Ian says hello from the Clairvoyant.
I know Skye got the most as far as character moments this episode, but I wanted to mention that Fitz stealthily has become more fleshed out as a character the last few episodes. Specifically...he's a dick. It's like he realized he wasn't more than the nerd version of Ward in the early episodes and got testy about it. So now he has to remind everyone all the time he's the smartest guy in the room, even though Simmons wants to put her face on his face. This is how you get friendzoned, fellow nerds. But also YAY, a character is more unique now!
Back to Skye; kudos to the producers for Coulson deciding to not keep his trip from Skye. They didn't drag out what could've been an episode of people holding secrets, it just happened and she knows now. The parental relationship is becoming stronger, and Skye's story is moving right along. She's growing closer to SHIELD, which will be interesting in future episodes considering they selectively hold secrets and resurrect people with horrific brain surgery.
But if Skye is a living 0-8-4, that makes for some additional mystery. The only two of those in the MCU so far have been Thor's hammer landing in New Mexico and the Hydra leftover from Episode 2. Every other weird item has resulted in someone getting powers at great personal gain. So does Skye have powers? Does she give them? Is she secretly an Asgardian? We'll see.
Also, nice touch with Skye noticing Bucky's memorial. I'm sure this will lead to a callback with "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" coming out in April. The trailer showed a Helicarrier falling out of the sky, and since "The Dark World" got a callback, I expect repercussions.
Anyway, glad the show has becoming much more watchable in its second half. The Donnie Gill AKA Blizzard stuff could've perchance been "Emo" as the kids say, but the side-mission kept the series moving. Good stuff.