Back in Malta, Quinn is saying "twenty years, twelve mines, six continents" like he's auditioning to take over hosting duties on The Amazing Race, but the point is he found some gravitonium, "and now we get to play with it." Hall is like, if you'd maybe stop twirling your invisible mustache for two seconds you'd recall the part where it's extremely dangerous, but Quinn is like, well if that's the case it's just too bad for all of us. Then he pushes a button that brings up a wall to reveal a full-size version of the teeny prototype. "But I need you to tell me how to control the gravity fields. You can complete your life's work." Hall's probably wondering how much life he'll have left once his life's work is finished, and that's a good question from both a figurative and a literal standpoint. Also, how did Quinn get the prototype to behave so well?
Ward is telling Coulson that there's no way into Quinn's compound without having a man inside first (there's a big fuss about pulse lasers), and Coulson adds to the bad news by saying S.H.I.E.L.D. can't send a strike force into Malta. If they try to act on their own, they'd run the risk of being disavowed -- especially with Quinn Worldwide's annual shareholders' meeting happening. Amid some jabbering of futile plans, Skye offers to go in, and on her second attempt she gets Coulson's attention -- she's not an official agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., so she's not bound by the same restrictions they are and they said themselves they need a man inside. May, taking her seriously, asks if she really wants to be that man, so Skye replies that Hall means a lot to Fitz/Simmons and he could be enduring torture right at that moment like "making him do strength training." I admire the noble instincts, girl, but you still need to give it a rest. Ward protests that she doesn't have the training or experience necessary, but Skye, who's been typing away on her phone all this time, now displays it as she says she knows, "But I've got an invitation." Well, I told her to up her game, didn't I?
As the plane continues through the night sky, Ward -- although he concedes he's impressed with Skye's hackery -- still thinks it's a huge risk to send her in with no training. Coulson, yet again defaulting to that one-note brand of casual confidence, wonders if Ward is worried about her safety or her loyalty. Ward, with more patience than I might have, says it's both -- she's Rising Tide, remember? Coulson asks if that's all it is, so Ward admits that it isn't -- Skye is holding back. "She says she wants to be an agent, but she won't commit." He asks for a new strategy and Coulson offers this: "Try no strategy." Well, at least you practice what you preach, Coulson. He goes on that Ward should stop thinking like an operative and start thinking like a person and I was hoping that my issues with this character would dissipate rather than deepen, but "Coulson teaches his team about life with his refusal to take it too seriously" is not going to work for me as a core theme. Everyone else on this show can turn a funny line while still believing in something -- what does Coulson believe in? (Doesn't matter if he's a clone; he needs to be a passionate clone, and obsession with retro equipment doesn't count.)