One of the reoccurring themes this episode was the idea of illusions: things are not what they appear to be. A street performer has superhero powers that he might use for cheap tricks. A girl in a pretty flower dress is secretly working for a covert organization that wants to take your power. A reformed computer hacker may not be that reformed. A ideologue might be willing to compromise his integrity for the right price. "Girl in the Flower Dress" was all about stripping (maybe burning would be a better word) the layers to reveal the truth.
Our story opens in Hong Kong where a street performer is having a rather lackluster performance. Everyone is polite but from the looks of his empty coffers, they aren't overly impressed. Sensing that he isn't about to make much money tonight, the street performer pulls out a show stopping number in which he appears to throw fire balls into the crowd, while a pretty girl in a flower dress looks on approvingly. Raina, our titular girl in the flower dress, would very much like to see the street performer, Chan, do his magic again. He hesitates and in the intervening moments takes the time to give us his story. The ability to make fire in his palms started a few years ago but the truly remarkable thing is that he feels no pain when he conjures the fire. And then men in flame retardant suits kidnap him. Like ya do.
So what does Centipede want with Chan--I'm sorry. Scorch. Chan's unique ability isn't that he can throw fireballs; it's that he can do it without feeling any kind of pain. His blood platelets are essentially fire resistant. He can burn from the inside out and not be destroyed by it. Sound familiar? It should because it's Centipede's biggest problem in making their own superhero army. The plan? Remove Chan's platelets, essentially stripping him of his ability to create fire pain free (but he can still create fire) and then leave him neither super nor a hero.
And then it's a Coulson/Skye showdown. Skye has one chance to explain her actions or she's done. Let's take a step back: during her afternoon delight party with Miles we saw that Skye keeps a very tiny microchip in her bra. She hands this over to Coulson and reveals that it contains all the information she has on her parents, missing or dead she's not sure. But their entire lives were wiped away clean, except for one document that was classified by SHIELD. She wants SHIELD's help to find her parents or at least what happened to them. And because sad orphans are sad, she is marginally forgiven.
And then there is some extra scene where the Girl in the Flower Dress is talking to a prisoner who tells her to move on to stage two by using "The Clairvoyant." Cue the dramatic music.
--Loved that after a rapid Chinese exchange between May and Chan, Coulson's only response is "So we're good right?"
--Place your bets on Skye's parents. Alive or dead (mother alive, father dead) and the chances that they are working for Centipede (high).
--May got to fight a little but she's still really under utilized though I did appreciate that they let Ming-Na use her native tongue in this episode.
--Do the science brainy duo do anything? And which one is which? It's a statement of how your show is going if I can't distinguish between people and don't care enough to look them up.
--No SHIELD for another two weeks. When we come back, I suspect we'll see the return of Dr. Hill as our new villain and the hunt for Skye's parents gets under way.