The S.H.I.E.L.D. team is on route to Hong Kong to rescue a street performer (Louis Ozawa Changchien) with the ability to create and control fire who was abducted by a woman in a flowered dress named Raina (Ruth Negga) who Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his team discovers has ties to the Rising Tide which brings Skye‘s (Chloe Bennet) loyalty to the team into question. When Skye identifies the hacker (Austin Nichols) who sold out the asset to Raina’s people who have plan to enhance the street performer’s powers turning him into a soldier (at least that’s the line they sell him), Coulson diverts the jet to Texas and goes searching for answers not all of which he will like (which includes Skye helping the hacker evade capture).
After arresting both hackers, the team heads to Hong Kong where Raina and the Centipede scientist’s (Shannon Lucio) true purpose is revealed as the man’s unique body chemistry is able to stabilize exposure to Extremis making his blood far more valuable that his role as a simple soldier. Leaving Ward (Brett Dalton) with Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), and the prisoners, Coulson and Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) lead a squad to save their asset who is taking the latest betrayal rather badly and lashing out on everyone, including Coulson’s rescue team.
Unable to save the man that started out as a victim and has morphed into a homicidal super-villain named Scorch, the team has to call on the help of both Skye and her hacker friend-with-benefits to get Coulson’s team out alive and contain the explosion when an overdose of Extremis in the bad guy creates a rather large boom. The episode ends with Skye earning back a little trust with Coulson after coming clean with a personal pursuit that led her to signing up with S.H.I.E.L.D. in the first place as well as an epilogue with Raina visiting an associate (Cullen Douglas) in prison to discuss what might be done about their S.H.I.E.L.D. problem.
“The Girl in the Flower Dress” introduces more members of the Centipede organization (one who dies and another we’re likely to see again) and finally reveals the big secret Skye has been keeping from her teammates. Although Coulson allows her to remain on the team with a short leash, it will be interesting to see how long it takes for Skye to earn back the trust of her new friends, especially Ward, who felt betrayed by her actions. Scorch, especially once he goes into full on crazy-bad-guy mode, was fun, so I’m a little sad to see the show kill him off so quickly (especially given the show’s earlier line about the number of people with powers being relatively small). I’m hoping this isn’t a pattern that continues and we’ll get to see some villains make more than just a single appearance.