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Recap: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S1 E5 "Girl in the Flower Dress"

An elusive girl in a flower print sundress may hold the key to the mystery that brings Coulson and team to Hong Kong to rescue a young man with an unusual and dangerous power. Meanwhile, Skye has a secret that jeopardizes her relationship with the team right when they need her most.

The fifth episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Tropes in this episode:

  • Antagonist Title: The titular "Girl in the Flower Dress" is the episode's villain.
  • Anal Probing: Skye brings this up as an implied method of keeping track of each Differently Powered Individual. Fitz denies that they have those... probably.
  • Appeal to Obscurity: Raina uses this to convince Chan to take a Code Name.
    Raina: You need a similar name. More powerful name. A name like Scorch.
    Chan: Scorch? You're joking.
    Raina: Have you ever heard of Steve Rogers? No? But Captain America...now, he's on the news, and lunch boxes, and a poster on the wall.
  • Artistic License - Biology: Centipedes are NOT insects.
  • As You Know: Ward conveniently recaps how Skye joined the team in an offhand comment during their Battleship game.
  • Back for the Dead: Debbie, the red-haired doctor from the pilot, was responsible for at least one death by spontaneous combustion/explosion. Chan gruesomely burns her to death.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Despite Scorch killing one of their key people and destroying their Hong Kong base, and Skye getting a partial dump from their servers that could cause them a lot of trouble once S.H.I.E.L.D. analysts have a chance to go through the data, Centipede achieved what they set out to do: Find a compound that can potentially make their next generation of serum less destructive to the user.
  • Bait and Switch: See Never Trust a Trailer, below.
  • Batman Gambit: Coulson expected Skye to contact her hacker buddy, so he had May follow her.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Coulson warns Skye about this, saying that she might not like what she finds out about her parents. Skye replies that it can't be worse than what she's already imagined.
  • Blunt "Yes"
    Miles: So what, are you guys just going to destroy all my stuff?
    May: Yes.
  • California Doubling: Los Angeles (specifically, L.A. Chinatown) doubles for Hong Kong.
  • Call Back: Miles did some research into his buyer. She works with centipedes... harmless. They've finally come back, still doing research to perfect their super soldier serum.
  • Came Back Wrong: Yet another hint about Coulson. He was up early; a little extra energy to burn. Coulson also notes that he wasn't so trusting before getting stabbed.
  • Code Name: Raina plays on Chan's ego by dubbing him "Scorch". Coulson immediately realizes that this is a bad omen when he hears it.
  • Comic Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Raina averts this trope when she gives Chan the name Scorch, justifying that no one will remember his real name but will remember a more entertaining one. She even points out that few people remember the name Steve Rogers but they remember Captain America.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The miniature explosive device used to open heavily-locked doors from Iron Man makes a return. Coulson even strikes the same quick back-turned, arms-crossed pose in anticipation of it detonating.
      Coulson: I love these little things.
    • There's a reference to the Centipede user in episode 1.
      Raina: Wouldn’t be the first one to blow up on you. (Pause) I’m beginning to think you’re bad luck.
  • Downer Ending: S.H.I.E.L.D. fails to save Chan from Centipede's experiments, and are forced to kill him after he goes berserk. One of their own agents, Kwan, dies as well. Meanwhile, other than Debbie, the villains escape scot-free.
  • Dual Wielding: May takes down Chan with two syringes of Extremis.
  • Everyone Has Standards: As Skye tells Miles, S.H.I.E.L.D. is off limits as far as the Rising Tide's abilities are concerned. She also has no sympathy for those who sell someone out for money.
  • Every Man Has His Price: Miles believes in freedom of information, but he was tempted by a million dollars. He wanted to build a life with Skye. He did at least attempt to investigate the source, but their cover was good enough to fool him.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Chan's brutal roasting of Debbie (slightly toned down for Channel Four pre-watershed airings in the UK, but still pretty horrific). Kwan got off light, by comparison.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Fitz feels quite hurt that Skye would betray The Team for Miles after everything they've been through together, to which Simmons replies "Well, who knows what they've been through together."
  • Funny Background Event: Agent Kwan asks how they will get into the building. In the background, May shoots off the ground towards the roof.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Coulson requests that Fitz and Simmons remove Miles' handcuffs so that he can use his hacking talents to assist in the mission.
  • Hack the Traffic Lights: Miles tries to get away from Coulson this way.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Debbie is killed by Chan and Chan is (perhaps) killed by an overdose of the serum that enhanced his powers.
  • Humiliation Conga: Miles is a prolific hack-tivist with the Rising Tide, and is paid a million dollars to break into S.H.I.E.L.D.'s intelligence feed. When he is caught, he hides behind the ideals of freedom of information and fighting against secretive government or intelligence corruption (and arguing that he took the money out of love for Skye). The argument eventually falls apart after his cracking leads to the kidnapping of Chan Ho Yin, the death of Agent Kwan, and Centipede extracting Chan's fire-resistant blood platelets. As a result, Skye dumps him for betraying his principles for money, S.H.I.E.L.D. makes Miles choose between a cramped cell or wearing a bracelet that prevents him from using electronics, dumps him in Hong Kong (far from his home in Austin, Texas), and transfers his bribe to the dead agent's family.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Coulson and May agree that, once the Night-Night gun fails, they have to eliminate Chan.
    Coulson: Mr. Chan, we don't want to hurt you.
    Chan: [turns to face Coulson]
    Coulson: But we have to.
    May: [doses Chan with Extremis]
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: May and Ward knock back a couple of stiff doubles after the mission.
  • Karmic Death:
  • Love Makes You Dumb: Miles at least takes the time to see if Reina's organization was legitimate when they offered him a million dollars to crack into S.H.I.E.L.D.'s feed. However, as Skye points out, no one offers that kind of money unless they're up to no good, and it should have been a little suspicious that a supposed "ecological research group" would have dealings with a secretive organization like S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The promo for this episode made it seem like Coulson had kicked Skye off of The Team for being a mole for the Rising Tide. In actuality, Coulson told Skye that he was giving her one last chance to be truthful about what she was doing or he was going to kick her off.
    Coulson: You have a secret, Skye, and one chance to come out with it–that's now!–or I'm done with you.
  • New Old Flame: Miles for Skye. Shortly after his introduction, they're in bed.
  • Not So Stoic: Coulson is pissed at Skye's betrayal, and even when he offers a second chance, it's clear he's not close to forgiving her.
  • Oh, Crap:
    • Hunting for her clothes after sex, Skye opens the bedroom door to find May standing there, holding her top.
    • Coulson turns around and sees that Chan has killed Kwan, amping up further on Extremis.
    • A third one when he realizes they gave Chan a villain name and he's using it, cementing that he's past the point of reason.
      Coulson: Ah, crap. They gave him a name.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: The SIM card (acting as a flash drive) Skye hides in her bra contains all the information she's found about her past.
  • Parental Abandonment: Skye's an orphan looking for her family. Their information was redacted by S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Playing with Fire: Chan can create and shoot flame.
  • Required Secondary Powers: Chan's blood platelets are fire resistant, which is what allows him to generate flame without burning himself. Once the Centipede group extracts them, he burns himself with every attack.
  • Restraining Bolt: Miles and Skye get a wrist device that impairs their ability to use electronic devices, though Skye is in a position to have it turned off when necessary. The next episode implies that it also allows S.H.I.E.L.D. to track what the wearers do with electronics when they aren't actively impairing their wearer.
  • The Reveal: Skye is looking for info on her parents.
  • Riddle for the Ages: It is never explained how Chan initially got his fire powers, though Coulson briefly mentions that he had lived near a nuclear power plant that once caught fire.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Chan's actions amount to this after having his blood platelets removed. As soon as he breaks free, he fries a hole in Agent Kwan (his S.H.I.E.L.D. handler), lashes out at the other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, and burns Debbie (his Centipede handler) to death.
  • Sanity Slippage: How much of this is due to Centipede is unknown, but Chan quickly embarks on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge after getting his powers boosted.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • Raina (the titular character) escapes, and the group behind Centipede is still out there.
    • "Scorch" never died on-screen, so he may return.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Ward and Skye while playing Battleship.
    • A hint of Coulson and May; when she offers to spar with him to burn off some of his extra energy, it is a warmer and more familiar tone than she uses normally, with the hint that the two used to do so with some regularity.
  • Shirtless Scene: Skye and Miles after sex. They're both in their underwear. It's a treat for both genders.
    • Female Gaze: For a hacker on the run from the U.S. government, Miles doesn't look like he spends most of his time at a monitor.
    • Male Gaze: It's like Skye expected to end up in bed with him; those are fancy undies, not every day fare.
  • Shout-Out: Miles runs a "rather nasty" Zombie Pigman mob in Minecraft.
  • Squick: In-universe example. Fitz doesn't like the idea of S.H.I.E.L.D. using probes.
  • The Starscream: Raina's happy to turn on her boss, leaving her to Chan's mercy.
  • The Stinger: The lead villain talks to a contact in prison, and tells him to go find the "Clairvoyant".
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: Happens to Chan during Debbie's experiments: "This isn't testing, this is torture!"
  • Super Power Meltdown: Coulson and May take out Chan by overdosing him with Extremis, causing him to explode.
  • Super Serum: The Centipede serum makes a return, distinct from the Chitauri tech it was used in conjunction with in the pilot.
  • Technobabble: How Fitz-Simmons explains Skye's hacking technique.
  • That Man Is Dead: S.H.I.E.L.D. held Chan back, but not Scorch.
  • Torso with a View: How Kwan dies, courtesy of Scorch.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: The SIM card Skye hid in the pilot makes a return.
  • Villain Ball: The Centipede organization could have avoided a lot of trouble if they'd just asked Chan to donate his platelets voluntarily and then told him not to use his powers until his body produced new ones. Chan was extremely grateful and no doubt would have gone along with such a request, and worst-case they could just lie and say it would help make the serum better (which is technically true, just not for Chan personally). This would also allow them to extract platelets from him every month or so, providing them with a regular supply until they figure out how to duplicate the effect, rather than just draining him dry once and discarding him.
  • Walking Techbane: S.H.I.E.L.D. has bracelets that can turn anyone into one of these. Coulson gives one to Miles and another to Skye.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Skye says that Miles isn't dangerous, just an idealist.
  • Wham Line: "It was just an ecological research lab. Insects. Some study with centipedes."
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Skye chews out Miles for risking her cover. Once that's blown, she then gets on his case for selling information. First, because money and Second, because no one honest pays that much for supposedly harmless intel.
    • Skye gets it in turn from Coulson, since he trusted her over the objections of both May and Ward.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Raina does this to Debbie by leaving her to deal with Chan.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S1 E4 'Eye Spy"Recap/Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S1 E6 'F.Z.Z.T."

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