At the Havenworth Federal Penitentiary, prisoner Edward Po insists on sitting alone as he eats in the mess hall. When one prisoner, Tiny, tries to take a seat, Po informs him that it's taken and Tiny hastily walks away. Suddenly a superhumanly strong mercenary, Brian Hayward, smashes through the ceiling of the mess hall and subdues the guards. Two more super-soldiers rappel down with lines, but Po refuses to leave until Brian calls him "Sir." Once Brian does, Po leaves with his three rescuers.
Aboard the plane, Skye is going over S.H.I.E.L.D. files on agent Katherine Shane, who is one of several female operatives who match the description of the woman who took Skye to the orphanage. Coulson comes by to tell Skye that there's a briefing in five minutes, and recognizes Katherine from her photo. He admits that he worked with her years ago but warns that even if she is the agent who dropped Skye off, it doesn't mean she's Skye's mother. Skye asks if Coulson can restore her computer privileges so she can dig deeper, and he refuses. However, he tells Skye that he's having Melinda access some of the restricted files. Skye is worried at Melinda's involvement since she wants her search kept private, and Coulson assures her that Melinda will do so quietly.
Melinda and Grant are sparring in the cargo hold and she quickly takes him down. Grant congratulates her on knowing his weak spot and Melinda points out that she's checked his files. When he starts flirting with her, Melinda tells him that it's not the place, just as Coulson comes in and says they're beginning the briefing.
The team review the footage from the penitentiary and confirm that the super-soldiers were using the Centipede implants. Jemma points out that they've overcome the combustion problem from the Extremis serum using the information gathered at the Hong Kong lab. Skye brings up Po's file and confirms that he's an ex-Marine specializing in tactics and rapid response. He disappeared in 2008 and reappeared 18 months ago when he cut a man's eyes out and was sent to prison. The team's top priority is find Po and Coulson tells the team that S.H.I.E.L.D. is sending them one person as backup.
Mike Peterson is at a S.H.I.E.L.D. training facility, pushing a bulldozer, when Coulson arrives and tells him that he's joining the team.
Back at the plane, Melinda and Coulson wait for Mike to arrive and Melinda warns that bringing Mike on the team is a bad idea. Coulson responds by telling her that he said she'd assist Skye in looking for her parents, and Melinda points out that's another mistake. Before she can pursue the matter, Mike pulls up and Melinda walks off. Coulson admits to Mike that she still holds a grudge against Mike because he thrower her into a wall, and Mike insists that he's there to do better than he was. He asks for a shot at proving himself and Coulson says he'll get a second chance, but warns that he won't get a third.
Grant, Skye, and Fitz-Simmons are reviewing footage of their first encounter with Mike and Grant insists that Mike is a ticking time bomb... just as he realizes that Mike is standing behind him. Coulson reintroduces Mike, who is surprised that Skye has joined S.H.I.E.L.D.. He then thanks the team for saving his life, and explains that his son Ace is with his sister Mindy and believes that he's working a construction job. Skye admits that she hasn't found anything on Po before he went to prison, and Coulson suggests that she check what he did while he was in prison. Meanwhile, Skye has confirmed that one of the super-soldiers is Brian, who served in Afghanistan and disappeared after his term was over. His sister Laura, a sophomore at the University of Ohio, is his only living relative, and Coulson has Melinda set course for Ohio.
Later, Mike visits Coulson in his office to find out what he'll do in the operation. Coulson tells him that he'll be sitting it out while Fitz-Simmons run tests on him. Mike assures him that he's stable, but Coulson points out that they need to know his limits for his own sake as well as the team's. At the lab, Jemma examines Mike and Fitz notices that she's a little too eager to be taking his measurements hands-on. Fitz then gives Fitz a new suit that they've created that will monitor his vitals and provide protection against small arms. They notice his implant and Mike explains that the S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists couldn't remove it. He then thanks the scientists for saving his life, because it was the night-night-gun that stabilized the Extremis formula in his body.
When the plane touches down in Ohio, Coulson and Grant drive to the university to question Laura. As they drive, Coulson mentions that Laura is studying women's issues and talks about how he has let his former girlfriend, a cellist, continue believing that he's dead. When Grant suggests that things would be different if the woman were in S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson comments that dating a co-worker is just asking for trouble.
On the plane, Skye calls Melinda in and thanks her for helping with her parents, but Melinda abruptly tells her to get down to business. Skye shows her footage from the prison that shows the girl in the flowered dress meeting with Po. Using a lip-reading program, Skye has confirmed one sentence that Po spoke: "The Clairvoyant does not like to be touched." As they contemplate the new information, Mike comes in and, seeing the screen, says that the woman's name is Raina and she was the one who recruited him for Centipede.
Raina visits Po at the factory where Centipede is currently operating. She tells him that they need the Clairvoyant's help to move to Stage 3, but Po warns her that the Clairvoyant has trouble seeing the man she's looking for as well as his weaknesses. Raina explains that they've had to keep moving because Coulson's team is pursuing them, and shows Po the lab where the scientists are monitoring the three Extremis super-soldiers. When she points out that it's hard to maintain them when the operation is on the move, Po says that it's time to stop running.
As Coulson and Grant wait for Laura's class to end, Skye tells Coulson what they've found out about Po and Raina. Coulson says that psychics are a myth and tells them to see if "The Clairvoyant" is an alias. When Laura comes out after class, Grant approaches her and gives her a business card identifying himself as an Ohio State Gaming Commission agent. He claims that her brother Brian has won $50,000 in the lottery and they need to find him. Laura claims that she hasn't seen Brian since he returned from Afghanistan and Grant goes back to the car. When he points out to Coulson that their plan didn't work, Coulson says that it worked fine, and it was intended to raise Laura's suspicions. She calls Brian, unaware that the card Grant gave her is a spy device with a tracker and bug. The agents listen in as she call Brian and trace the call to Oakland, CA.
En route to Oakland, Skye goes to see Mike, who is looking at a photo of his son. Mike says that the boy is growing up fine without him and that they just talked on Ace's birthday, and Skye admires how he is close to his family. Coulson comes in with Mike's new suit and says that it's time for him to join operation. Coulson briefs the team and explains that Brian's cellphone is at a factory, and he and Mike will take on entrance while Grant and Melinda cover the other. When Skye wonders why S.H.I.E.L.D. isn't sending in backup, Coulson tells her that Mike is all the backup that they need.
The next morning, the two teams go in and the scientists turn up no signs of enemy heat signatures. Skye picks up an unidentified transmission but can't identify it. When the teams fail to turn up anyone, Fitz dials Brian's cellphone number. It rings from a cargo container directly ahead of Coulson and Mike, and Brian smashes through the door of the shielded container. He shoves the container at Mike, who stops it before it can hit Coulson. Meanwhile, another super-soldier attacks Grant and Melinda.
Coulson shoots Brian with the night-night gun but his enhanced stamina negates the drug in a matter of seconds. Meanwhile, Grant take a blow intended for Melinda, buying her time to grab two pieces of rebar and attack her stronger opponent. The third super-soldier emerges from hiding and disarms Coulson, while Brian stabs Mike in the stomach with a piece of rebar. Despite his injury, Mike manages to stun Brian. The two super-soldiers stare for a moment and then run off. Coulson goes over to Brian and demands answers, but he pleads with his superiors, insisting he won't talk. Despite that, his right eye suddenly bursts as Raina triggers the implant. She and Po have been watching a video transmission from the eye implant the entire time, showing Mike and Coulson. Po tells Raina that Mike has the key to Stage 3.
Back at the plane, Fitz-Simmons tend to Mike's wound and analyze Brian's eye implant. They report that it's basically the same one that was used on Akela. Skye confirms that Centipede has updated the technology so that she can no longer trace the signal back to its source. They wonder who is financing Centipede's superior technology and Jemma suggests that may be the Clairvoyant's function.
Later, Po meets Raina at her car and tells her that he spoke with the Clairvoyant. However, he refuses to share the Clairvoyant's information until the time is right. Raina tries to find out anything she can about the Clairvoyant, but Po warns her that he cut out the eyes of the last person who asked. However, he does say that he told the Clairvoyant about Raina's many virtues. Flattered, she tries to take Po's hand but he ignores her.
Grant is at the plane's bar having a drink when Melinda come in and angrily accuses him of letting his feelings for her get in the way of the mission. When she points out that he took the blow meant for her, Grant angrily says that he did it to protect her since she was the superior fighter, and disgustedly tells her not to flatter herself. As he walks out, Skye comes in to discuss her parents' files with Melinda. Melinda irritably tells Skye that she needs to focus on the mission, not her personal attachments. When the senior agent leaves, Skye goes to her quarters and tears up her research, crying. Coulson hears her and starts to approach her, but then thinks better of it and walks away.
Mike finds Coulson in his office and says that he wants to be the best. Coulson is more interested in why Mike hasn't seen his son Ace in person since Union Station. Mike admits that the last time his son saw him, he was a monster, and Coulson says that the best way to fix that is in person. However, Mike figures that Ace is better off without his father. Coulson disagrees, explaining that everyone aboard chose S.H.I.E.L.D. over normal lives. He tells Mike to think about Ace before he makes the choice of becoming a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent or not. Mike goes back to his room and calls Ace, and says that he'll soon be coming to see him. Ace is overjoyed, and says that he has a new friend... and puts Raina on the line.
Once Raina gives Mike his demands, he goes to the team and tells them that she wants to trade Ace for Mike. Coulson calls S.H.I.E.L.D. to have them back down and agrees to make the trade, pointing out that Centipede will kill Ace if they don't cooperate. Their orders are to not use any tracking device, but Fitz-Simmons have an olfactory tracking device set up that should be undetectable. Letting Centipede take Mike will buy time so he can recover from his wound, and they can follow him and stage a rescue. Before they head out, Coulson promises Mike that he'll get Ace back.
The team drive to the bridge that Centipede has designated for the trade. Melinda wants to go with Mike, but Coulson says that Mike has asked for him. Coulson wants Melinda to hang back in case something goes wrong so that she can take point. Meanwhile Fitz-Simmons rig Mike with the scent patch and Coulson then takes Mike out onto the bridge. The rendezvous is between two trucks and Grant, perched in a sniper's position, can't see the scene. Raina and her two super-soldiers pull up and she goes over to meet with Coulson and Mike with one of her men.
When Raina greets Mike, Coulson tells her to get on with the trade. She tells him that trading Ace for Mike isn't part of the deal, and Mike apologizes to Coulson. He admits that the real plan was to trade Coulson for Ace. However, Mike has second thoughts and grabs Raina by the throat, and threatens to break her neck if she doesn't turn Mike over. Raina tells him that Centipede doesn't care if she lives or dies, but they'll make sure that Ace suffers if Mike doesn't go through with the deal. Coulson tells Mike to let the woman go, and he finally releases Raina. Coulson tells Raina to finish it and she has her other super-soldier bring Ace over.
Mike hugs his son and Coulson says that he understands that he made the only choice he had. As Mike takes his son back to the team, Raina gives Coulson a sedative and has her men drag him to the car. Melinda tells Grant not to engage and calls S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ for satellite support. Meanwhile, Mike has Skye take Ace and then runs back after Coulson to make things up. The two trucks on either side of the bridge explode as he passes between them. Grant prepares to open fire on Raina but her car explodes as well, providing a diversion so that she can leave in a helicopter with Coulson and her men. The super-soldiers open fire, knocking Grant to the ground.
As the helicopter flies away, Coulson warns Raina that whatever she has planned won't work. Smiling, she tells him that they just want him to tell them what happened on the day after he died.