We flash back again to 1945, this time to SSR base “The Rat,” where Werner Reinhardt (now known as Daniel Whitehall) is waiting to be interrogated. Agent Carter comes in, and he comments on the pen that was left sitting on the table, assuming they wanted to see what he’d do with it. It could have been useful for many things, including escape, writing a confession, homicide or suicide, but instead it sits undisturbed, which Carter says tells her everything she needs to know about him. He points out that it’s also good for signatures, and Carter interprets that as meaning he wants a deal. He observes that the government has recruited many German scientists, but Carter isn’t willing to make a deal after seeing the girl he’d caged up and the mound of bodies he left in his wake. He says that they must be dying to understand the items they recovered, and he starts to tell her a story. He calls it a “myth from the east,” which tells of a star that fell from the heavens and of blue angels who came bearing a gift for all mankind meant to save the world. He says he’s based his whole life on it, but that history has the details wrong and he wants to set people straight. The “blue angels” actually came to conquer Earth.
Back in the present, the Doctor is questioning Whitehall’s interpretation. Instead of “conquer,” which the Doctor thinks is a bad translation, he heard that they came to end mankind, sparing only a choice few. The Diviner would decide who lives and who dies, and thus who would inherit the Earth. Only someone who the Diviner determines is worthy can enter the city and the temple inside it. Whitehall questions the wisdom of providing the Doctor with men and money, when he might just take the Diviner and get the true power for himself. “I’m not management material,” the Doctor says, denying any interest in the power. This worries Whitehall, who asks what the Doctor has to gain from all of this. “I have nothing to lose,” the Doctor says. “I’ve lost everything important to me and I want to kill those who took it, and finally be reunited with my family.” Whitehall asks what he means by “reunited.” “In the afterlife,” he clarifies.
Ward is leading Christian into the woods, who sarcastically asks if they’re going to talk or just go camping. He says that he doesn’t know what HYDRA did for Ward, but that they’ve got to have a better plan than just kidnapping. Ward says that HYDRA doesn’t care about Christian, and Christian asks if they care about Ward. He claims that he helped get Ward out of SHIELD, but Ward says that all Christian wanted was a public trial with his face all over the news. Christian insists that he gave the speech Coulson wanted, but that Ward is free because of him. Ward says that he escaped, but Christian points out that he was only guarded by four men, which was an intentional move by Christian. Ward laughs and says he enjoys watching Christian work his manipulation instead of having an honest conversation. Christian mentions his wife, and Ward points out the change in tactics: bringing up his wife, using Grant’s name repeatedly, and turning everything that happened back on Ward. “You take after mother,” Christian says, “you twist every act and blame it on someone else.” He says that he wasn’t the one who put the match in Ward’s hand when he burned down the house, he’s not the one who pulled the trigger on Ward’s gun that killed people. Ward agrees, saying he takes responsibility for his actions, that he let Christian hollow him out.
Ward stops in a small clearing, where a shovel is leaning against a tree. Christian realizes where they are and can’t believe that Ward is still hung up on the well. He’s exasperated that Ward still blames him for the incident, saying, “We both know it was you who nearly killed Thomas down there!” “Do you sleep better telling yourself that?” Ward asks. Christian, slightly panicked, insists that the well isn’t even there anymore, that it doesn’t exist because their parents filled it in. Ward shakes his head and says that they only covered it up, before tossing the shovel for Christian to start digging.
On the Bus Fitz is trying to meet Coulson’s challenge, assembling the transceiver with one hand while a clock counts his time. He struggles and fumbles, trying to build muscle memory that will compensate for his current disability, but is clearly getting frustrated. Skye tells him to take a break, and Trip points out that Fitz could do it in his sleep. “In my sleep I’m quite good at it, the problem is I’m awake,” Fitz replies. He wonders if Coulson actually needs him or is just trying to keep him busy. Trip points out that he just gave a button to a 300 pound Hawaiian dude. “We been through some crazy,” Trip says, but “Coulson’s been our anchor. He may seem lost sometimes but he’s always got a plan.” Coulson walks in and Trip hands him the blue tie, asking what it’s about while Skye says she kept waiting for that other shoe to drop. He says that the tie was a gift from Audrey (aww!) that he spilled poi all over, and that he needs Trip to get in the cockpit and head them towards Australia.
Back at the Playground, everyone is busy sifting through paperwork, “the life none of us chose,” as Hunter calls it. He finds a file on Werner Reinhardt, noting that he was locked up for doing lots of nasty stuff, and finds a picture of the man. Simmons looks at it and is shocked to see that it’s Daniel Whitehall, looking exactly the same. Everyone is skeptical, and Simmons says, “I would have agreed with you before ‘alien’ became a word we used daily.” Hunter wonders if he’s Asgardian, but his age does explain the Red Skull connection. The picture was taken from an SSR prison called “The Rat,” but what doesn’t make sense is the information that he was kept there for life.
Back in 1945, Carter comes back to talk to Whitehall/Reinhardt. He asks if curiosity brought her back and if she wants to make a deal with the devil. She says she considered it, but that she doesn’t want to work with him. He insists that they could learn so much together, but instead she tells him that the world will forget him and his work, and that no one else will come to see him for the rest of his life, that it will all be buried. “I seriously doubt that,” he says, “nothing stays buried forever.” “You will as long as I have a say,” Carter says, and leaves. We watch as Reinhardt’s life progresses, as his prison cell slowly fills with papers and books and mementos, as it is updated with newer furniture, his plant grows, and as he slowly ages into an old man. We’re told that it’s 44 years later when two guards with a wheelchair come to visit Reinhardt, commenting that Secretary Pierce took pity on him and decided to pardon him, saying it’s not his fault which side he was on. Or perhaps its merely budget cuts that led to his release. As they help him into the wheelchair, one of the guards leans down and whispers in his ear, “Hail HYDRA.” “After all these years, why now?” Reinhardt asks. The guard informs him that they’ve found the woman and she’s still alive, and when Reinhardt seems doubtful the guard invites him to see for himself.
Back in Austria, but now in 1989, Reinhardt is wheeled into a lab, saying that they’ve lost so much time. He’s told that they’ve been under SHIELD protection since the war. A group of people are led in, and he’s told that they’re elders from the village, but among them is the woman who had a positive reaction to the Diviner, looking exactly the same. Reinhardt is astonished that she’s lived a full life and hasn’t aged a day while he has grown old. “I don’t know how it’s possible, but we’ll learn,” he says. “Discovery requires experimentation. We’ll find out what makes you so special.”
At the Playground, the team learns all they can about Reinhardt, how he got a medical parole after which there are no records of him until he dropped the accent and changed his name. They don’t know how the newly named Whitehall reverted back to his current appearance, though Hunter suggests it’s the fountain of youth. While the others talk he sneaks out with the file and takes it to Bobbi, telling him that he’s found her hook and now she just needs to reel him in. She takes it in to talk to Bakshi, asking whether his devotion is based out of fear or respect for Whitehall. He says that devotion goes deeper than respect, making her guess it’s fear motivating him. On the other hand, it could be his programming. “Compliance will be rewarded, I hear,” she says wryly. She wonders what he’s so afraid of, what horrible acts Whitehall might perform on him. He fires back, asking if her friends know the acts that she’s capable of, and what she did to ingratiate herself with HYDRA. His fear of Whitehall’s judgment is matched with the fear he assumes she has of the red in her ledger being discovered. She opens the file, showing him everything they know about Whitehall thanks to his cooperation, including his real name and age and even his medical history. She says she knows Whitehall gave him a second chance, but wonders whether he’ll get a third after helping SHIELD find a way to kill him. She says she knows who Whitehall is, but wonders what kind of man Bakshi is. “A loyal one,” he says, and attempts to bite down on a tooth before slamming his face hard into the table and falling to the floor, foaming at the mouth. Hunter rushes in to help, and they try to stop the poison from killing him, observing that they checked his mouth so he must have had the suicide capsule embedded in his cheekbone.
Christian is still digging, telling Ward that he doesn’t know what he wants. Ward says he wants the truth about this one event from their past, and he wants Christian to admit that he pushed Thomas down the well. Christian insists that Ward was the one who did it, that Thomas was terrified that Ward wouldn’t pull him up, and that Ward enjoyed it. Ward thinks that Christian is just trying to put thoughts in his head like he always has, and that used to convince him. Christian says that it’s just that Ward can’t reconcile the horrible, ugly things he had to do with the hero he so desperately wants to become. As he says this, he hits something hard. As Ward comes over to investigate Christian hits him with the shovel and runs, but Ward catches him and slams his face into a tree before dragging him back to the well.
He opens the well and holds Christian over it, telling him admit the truth to himself. Christian cries no, and Ward threatens him with dropping him down the dark well, giving him plenty of time alone to think. After a few agonizing moments Christian finally admits that he’s the one who did it, that he wanted Thomas dead. He says he’s sorry and tells of how Thomas was the only one their mother didn’t torture, and dad always let her do it. She loved Thomas so much that Christian felt he had to end it. He says he wanted her to feel their pain but he didn’t have the courage to do it himself, so he forced Ward to. He says he’s sorry over and over, and Ward says that’s all he wanted to hear. He stands up, helps a bloody Christian to his feet and gives him a hug, and we see a flicker of mixed emotions pass over Ward’s face. “Come on,” Ward says, leading him away arm-in-arm, “it’s time we went home.”
The Bus has made it to Australia where he explains his crazy plan. He wants to use a satellite network to map and find the city, but the main location in Hawaii was too much to infiltrate. However, there’s a less secure backup station in Australia that comes online if the one in Hawaii goes down. The watch Skye delivered will find its way to the new relay commander in Hawaii named Darren, while the button will make it onto the coat of a general (who got too fat for his jacket) he is to meet there. When the button and the watch get close enough they’ll set off an EMP, shutting down the Hawaii station and giving them six minutes to patch into the system in Australia before it comes back on. He asks Fitz how he’s come along with the transceiver, and is told that his best time is seven minutes and twenty seconds. When Coulson says that’s not good enough Fitz replies, “That’s with my bad hand, with both I can do it, definitely.” Coulson smiles and tells Skye they might actually have a chance at finding the city before HYDRA.
As Fitz, Coulson and Trip infiltrate the relay station (and Skye stays back on the Bus to latch onto the signal), we see the commander and the general shake hands and the Hawaiian relay go dark. They have six minutes, but something is jamming their transmissions back to the Bus. It’s a HYDRA ambush! Coulson goes to rescue the tied-up relay crew while Trip gets Fitz to the access point. Fitz gets to work as Coulson directs the workers to hide, but suddenly Trip is shot in the shoulder. Fitz stops working to help, but it looks like Trip is going to bleed out. One of the rescued crew steps up to help, saying he’s a doctor, and we see that in fact he’s the Doctor.