Coulson and Rosalind enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner at her apartment -- their first real date. Their chemsitry is for real, but of course, this pair has a hard time not talking about work.
Rosalind wants to go back into ATCU. Coulson thinks it's a risky play, given the recent revelation that Price's old colleague, industrialist Gideon Malick, has ties to Hydra. Since he's running the science division at ATCU, that obviously poses a problem.
Their conversation is interrupted in a quite brutal manner: Rosalind is shot dead by a sniper. The phone rings. It’s Grant Ward. He pulled the trigger on Rosalind for revenge, but he’s now out to kill Coulson.
Ward’s men enter the apartment and attack Coulson. He battles his way out and thanks to Mack, escapes in the nick of time.
Coulson returns to HQ and interviews the members of the original S.H.I.E.L.D. team in hopes that someone can provide insight into Ward’s deranged ways. He learns that Ward has a need to justify his actions and to feel like a hero, and therefore, he has a weakness.
Coulson pulls together Hunter and Bobbi for a mission against Ward. The man is out for blood. What is he planning? Coulson places Mack in charge as Acting Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Will Mack be able to handle the pressure in Coulson’s absence?
Fitz, Simmons, and Banks trace Will’s Distant Star Pathfinder project back to Hydra boss Gideon Malick. They set out to investigate the facility where the project was once based -- only to find Mr. Giyera, the ATCU’s telekinetic head of security waiting for them. It’s a trap! Giyera kills Banks and delivers Fitz and Simmons to Ward and Malick. Malick wants to send Simmons through the portal so she can bring someone (or something) back from the other side. She refuses to reveal the secrets, so Malick tortures her.
Meanwhile, Coulson and Hunter enter a jewelry store dressed like bank robbers, but they’re not there for jewels. They kidnap a man named Thomas Ward…Grant Ward’s little brother! Coulson plans on using Thomas -- the only person Ward truly cares about -- as leverage against him. Coulson calls Ward and shows him that he’s holding Thomas at gunpoint. Thomas agrees to help them track Ward. He’s spent the last 10 years hiding from his brother. He pleads with Ward, and it works. S.H.I.E.L.D. manages to track his location back to the castle that housed the portal.
Back at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, Mack, May, and Daisy wonder how they can rescue Fitz and Simmons and provide ground support for Coulson’s air strike on the castle. Joey, and Lincoln gear up for battle, ready to go into the field for the first time.
At the castle, Fitz volunteers himself for the portal, thus sparing Simmons from further torture. Malick gives Ward a rallying speech and convinces him to lead Hydra’s mission into the portal. Hydra fires on Coulson’s quinjet as it approaches the castle. Coulson skydives out the back, falling through the portal before it closes.
Later, Ward, Fitz, and the Hydra team trudge through a sandstorm on Maveth while Coulson falls through and hits his head on a rock. Things are not looking good for S.H.I.E.L.D…