The team is called in the investigate an 0-8-4 (code for an unknown object) in Peru. The agents are ambushed by a Peruvian military squad led by one of Coulson's old flames, Comandante Camilla Reyes (Leonor Varela). They get ambushed again, this time by Peruvian rebels, and are forced to retreat from the combat zone under fire. The S.H.I.E.L.D. agents soon find the thing that's causing all this trouble: an immensely powerful object that might be an ancient alien artifact, but is definitely (in Coulson's words) "much, much worse" than a nuclear bomb. The agents and Reyes' team attempt to fly the artifact to a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility, but an unexpected betrayal leads to a literally explosive climax.The second episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..
- Affably Evil: Reyes admonishes Coulson over his apparent mid-life crisis, even while holding him hostage.
- Argentina is Naziland: The MacGuffin was built by HYDRA scientists who fled to South America.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Nick Fury is upset with how quickly The Bus was damaged, how expensive it is, and the damage to the really nice bar that was caused during the ruckus.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: Coulson and Reyes during the jungle shootout.
- Blood from the Mouth: Coulson, after taking several hard knocks to the face from one of Reyes' mooks (while bound to a pole, no less), spits a moutful of blood.
- Brick Joke:
- Early in the episode, Coulson offers Skye a drink and politely asks that she use a coaster with it. Later in the episode, after it's had a hole blown in it by the weekly MacGuffin and the interior largely wrecked, Coulson sets a broken drinking glass up on the bar and Skye slips a coaster under it with a sly smile.
- Skye is given a pamphlet on emergency procedures on the plane when settling in, later during the Explosive Decompression it flys into her face.
- It's mentioned that Coulson used to work out of a Winnebago. Nick Fury threatens to downgrade him to one in the stinger.
- The Cameo: Nick Fury, giving Coulson quite the talking-to about the hole blown in The Bus.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- The Bus' safety brochure.
- Fitz mentioning that the drone could have activated the 084.
- Continuous Decompression: When Fitz blows a hole in The Bus. Coulson and Commandant Reyes almost get sucked out, two of Reyes' mooks do.
- Continuity Nod:
- The MacGuffin is mentioned to possess traces of both gamma radiation and Tesseract-like energy signatures. It's old HYDRA tech.
- Coulson tells Skye the last "084" was a hammer.
- Coulson also recounts to Skye about the time he got stabbed.
- We get another perspective shot on one of Fitz's little drones. This one is named Sleepy.
- There's a second one at the climax. That one's called Sneezy.
- Ward uses a stun device similar to the one used by Loki in Germany.
- Agent Ward tells Fitz to "speak English" while explaining a complicated scientific thing.
- Da Chief: Nick Fury is as exasperated at his subordinates as ever.Fury: Really? Really, Coulson? Six days? It only took you six days to take a completely renovated piece of state of the art machinery and turn it into scrap?
Coulson: My team acted with my authority.
Fury: Don’t talk to me about authority. Do you know how much this plane costs? It's got a bar! ...a really nice one. Talking to me about authority; you know I have the authority to downgrade your ass to a Winnebago!
- Determinator: Agent May. She dislocates her own wrist without hesitation to escape her bonds in the airlock, beats up an armed mook twice her size with her bare hands, then snaps the wrist back into place without so much as a wince. Her team (and surely most of the audience at home), witnessing this, are utterly speechless.
- Discreet Drink Disposal: The aversion of this tips Ward off to Reyes' betrayal. A squad of soldiers were shown the minibar and told to help themselves, and yet several hours later none of them had actually touched their drinks, implying that there was something they planned to do that they really needed to be sober for.
- Distressed Dude
- All of the titular agents get captured and restrained at one point.
- Coulson is on the receiving end of a harsh beating during his bondage.
- Fitz being held at knife-point is what convinces Coulson and the rest of the team to temporarily surrender in the first place.
- Episode on a Plane: Which eventually turns into Die Hard on a plane. ...so, "Inverse Die Hard II".
- Every Car Is a Pinto: Shooting a Chevrolet pickup through the rear window will cause it to detonate.
- Evil Former Friend: Reyes and Coulson used to work together and they must have been close if Reyes expected her seduction to work. Then she tries to hijack The Bus.
- Explosive Decompression: While the decompression is used accurately the "explosive" nature of it is not totally accurate.
- Face–Heel Turn: Comandante Reyes used to be an honest officier and Coulson's ally. Now, she's a Knight Templar at best.
- Funny Background Event:
- When they arrive, Fitz-Simmons can be seen taking a selfie in front of the temple.
- Later, Fitz can be seen clinging on to a stable-looking pillar for dear life for the remainder of the scene following the Explosive Decompression in The Bus's main cabin, long after everyone else has started moving around normally again.
- Gratuitous Foreign Language: On the cover of the Mobile Command manual, the Russian text can be translated as "of the vehicle-born mobile station command", with the last word's grammatical form being one used in phrases like "giving a command". And it starts with a lowercase letter. Not sure about the other languages.
- Honey Trap: Attempted by Reyes with limited success.
- How We Got Here: The episode opens with Coulson making a seemingly routine flight check-in with a Tempting Fate sign-off, then a hole suddenly gets blown in the side of the plane and Coulson nearly gets blown out of it. Then the episode switches to "19 hours earlier..." Ends up being Once More, with Clarity!.
- Hurl It into the Sun: Turns out to be standard S.H.I.E.L.D. protocol for dangerous technology; use the Slingshot to shot it into the sun.
- I Can Rule Alone: Implied by Coulson to be Reyes' ultimate plan. She never replies.
- Ironic Echo: "I'd hate for you to have to learn what a 30,000-foot fall feels like."
- La Résistance: Skye paints the Peruvian rebels as this, fighting back against exploitative federally-owned mining operations; Comandante Camilla Reyes just sees them as illegal insurrectionists to be swept away.
- Latin Land: The incorrect representation of "Incan" temples and the actor not bothering with Peruvian accents.
- Literal Metaphor: Serves as the final gag of the episode.Fury: I want it fixed just like you found it. I don't want Fitz-Simmons making some silly modifications, like a... a... a damn fish tank! [...] [walks away]
Coulson: [into his earpiece] ...yeah, we're gonna have to kill the fish tank.
- Knockout Gas: Used on May to take control of the cockpit.
- New Old Flame: Camilla Reyes for Coulson. She is unsubtle when reminiscing about their past together and attempts to persuade Coulson into a romp in his office for old times' sake. In truth, she's doing it to distract Coulson while her men take over The Bus. It doesn't work because Coulson is too smart.
- MacGuffin Escort Mission: It starts out with the agents attempting to transport the thing to a nearby S.H.I.E.L.D. outpost for research, but Coulson's former flame and her troops have different plans.
- MacGuffin Melee: Twice. S.H.I.E.L.D. is involved both times over the same object, but their opponent certainly changes.
- Mayincatec: The Inca temple that doesn’t look in the least bit Inca. The building looks Mayan right down to the writing in the inside walls.
- Midlife Crisis Car: Reyes insinuates Lola is this.Reyes: Your renewed idealism, your collectibles, your airborne man cave, surrounding yourself with young, attractive agents...(pats him on the thigh) you're having a mid-life crisis.
Coulson: More like an afterlife thing, really.
Reyes: And I'm not even going to mention the red corvette.
Coulson: Her name is Lola.
Reyes:: [laughs] Of course it is.
- The Mole: Skye may be this, as per the text message she received and replied to.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: In-universe, Coulson notes that Reyes wasn't that direct before.
- Shout-Out: Ward at one point uses a shockwave-generating device exactly like the one that Simon uses in Serenity.
- Save the Villain: Coulson to Reyes. See Ironic Echo.
- Spicy Latina: Camilla Reyes attempts to seduce Coulson. On a less genre savy man, it would have worked.
- Spotting the Thread: Ward notices that the soldiers aren't drinking the booze they poured and prepares for trouble.
- This Ain't Rocket Surgery: At one point, Skye notes to Coulson that she "isn't a rocket scientist", but everyone doesn't seem to be getting along. Coulson then lists off everyone's skillsets, including noting that Fitz is a rocket scientist, so they should all "figure it out".
- Trailers Always Spoil: A very subtle example: ABC (and various members of the cast, via Twitter) drilled it into viewers with every commercial to be sure to stay until the end credits for a big surprise, outright advising that they "not risk any spoilers." It then closed with the usual Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. logo, albeit with one tiny alteration: the eagle was wearing an eyepatch. It was so small and always went by so fast, it wasn't noticed by the Internet until the day before the episode aired.
- Tranquil Fury:
- May is decidedly unhappy that Coulson (albeit unintentionally) placed her in a combat situation, and gives him a silent, chilly shoulder when he comes to her to apologize in private. Her facial expression is clearly that of a severely pissed individual, yet she calmly goes about her duties piloting the plane.
- Samuel L. Jackson is not a remotely tranquil Fury.
- Trash the Set: Two episodes in. Director Fury points out how quickly The Bus got trashed when giving Coulson an earful.
- We ARE Struggling Together: The team's argument after extraction from Peru.