"Eye-Spy" is the fourth episode of the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..
Stockholm, a number of identically-dressed men with red masks and briefcases enter a subway station, followed by a mysterious young woman tracking their movement. Upon boarding the train, the men stare at the woman, before she takes advantage of the emergency brake to knock them all unconscious, severing one of their hands to fetch his handcuffed briefcase. Alone in the tunnels, the woman opens the case to reveal a cache of diamonds before disappearing.
Aboard the bus on route to Sweden, Coulson finds Skye taking personal time within one of the S.H.I.E.L.D. cars, asking for her assistance to learn someone cracked elaborate security systems in multiple heists. In the case of the masked men, the thief managed to identify which of the 55 briefcases contained the diamonds, having pulled of several other impossible heists with her eyes closed. Skye posits that they can find the woman through civilian social media photos of the bizarre masked men, in which Coulson recognizes his own former trainee, Akela Amador. Coulson identifies former protégé as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent gone missing and now rogue, though he resists May’s suggestion they update HQ on their findings, and Skye assures him Akela’s turn couldn't be his fault. Meanwhile, Akela meets with her buyer in a Belarus hotel room, closing her eyes to correctly surmise several other armed men in the building. Handing the man golf balls that disguise the diamonds, Akela accepts a keycard as payment for the stones.
The ground team of Coulson, Ward, Fitz, Simmons and Skye drive toward the small village, as Coulson and Ward get out on foot to ask around for Akela’s hotel. Meanwhile, the team in the van taps into a mysterious signal broadcasting nearby, quickly realizing it to be Akela’s own video feed approaching the van. Skye tries in vain to use a gun for defence, but not before Akela rams their van off the road and escapes. Skye recovers the data stream, which the team soon realizes originates from an ocular implant within Akela that switches to x-ray when her eyes close. May insists that Akela attacked S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and can’t be redeemed, though a message on the camera’s viewpoint quickly brings the realization that Akela is doing another’s bidding. Later, Skye agrees with Coulson that Akela may deserve a second chance, before Coulson realizes that May found Akela’s hotel from a room service receipt and already left to intercept.
Akela awakens to find May in her hotel room, refusing to look at the agent for fear her handler will order them to fight, or activate a fail safe kill-switch within her eye. Akela opts to protect herself by engaging May, gaining the upper hand by turning out the lights, though Coulson manages to intervene with a tranquillizer before Akela kills May. A while later, Akela awakens in the bus’ holding cell, while Coulson assures her they transferred the ocular feed to a set of glasses worn by Ward, intending to carry out the mission until they can remove Akela’s implant. Having been watched for the last four years since her captivity after the failed mission, Akela expresses relief, and laments that not following Coulson’s last orders got her team killed. Meanwhile, Ward and Skye arrive to Akela’s assigned destination, unable to look at one another to avoid compromising Akela’s cover.
As Ward enters the mysterious plant, Coulson and Akela work out from her handler’s instructions that he’s at least English, older, and heavyset, while Fitz and Simmons prep for surgery to remove Akela’s implant. Ward follows the directions to finally find his target, before the handler instructs that he seduce the guard, still thinking the feed to be from Akela. Ward reluctantly does his best to make bro-mantic smalltalk with the guard, ultimately knocking him out and entering the next room. Once inside, Ward sees two men working away with equations written all over the walls, the most alien-looking of which causes the implant to take a photograph, completing the mission. The alarm rings when the guard fails to check in, sending Ward running through the installation to flee from gunfire, while Fitz and Simmons continue attempting to remove Akela’s implant. Ward accidentally sees his reflection in a mirror, forcing Fitz and Simmons to sever the implant before the handler triggers a small explosive in the Akela’s device, thankfully now removed. Elsewhere, Coulson manages to track the handler’s location, but when Coulson identifies himself as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, the Englishman’s own implant blows, killing him instantly.
Back at the Bus, Coulson informs Akela that her handler was a former MI6 agent who fell off the grid a few years ago. The latter remarks that he was as trapped as she was. Getting to the matter of Akela' mission, Coulson explains that the equations on the wall are definitely alien to S.H.I.E.L.D. and must be worth a lot to whoever is the mastermind behind these eye implants. He assures Akela that she’ll receive a fair trial, while Akela points out to May that something seems worryingly different about Coulson since his injury at the Battle of New York. Coulson returns to Skye’s carside hideaway, as the two agree about the importance of having somewhere peaceful to rest, and Akela finally sleeps without fear of being watched. Fitz enlists Skye and the glasses to see Ward’s cards in a game of poker, but quickly folds when he realizes that Skye will also see him without clothes. Suspicious, Ward turns around as Skye turns on the glasses.
- Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson
- Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May
- Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons
- Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz
- Brett Dalton as Grant Ward
- Chloe Bennet as Skye
- Pascale Armand as Akela Amador
- Dominic Burgess as The Englishman
- Michael Klesic as Kropsky
- Julia Emelin as inn keeper
- Nick Gracer as armed guard
Continuity and References to the Marvel Cinematic Universe
To be added