In Hong Kong, a street performer named Chan Ho Yin catches the eye of a woman named Raina (who wears, as it happens, a flower dress), who gets Yin to take her back to his apartment under the guise of being a wide-eyed fan. Once there, though, she confirms he can produce and manipulate fire and then has a couple men in silver fire-retarding suits capture him. When he comes to, Raina tells Yin she'd like to help nurture his "gift" and to introduce him to the world as a superhero. Her scientists give him a serum designed to strengthen his powers -- but he's unaware that it contains Extremis, and that Centipede, including that red-haired doctor from the pilot, wants to use his fire-resistant blood platelets to stabilize the Extremis serum and keep their test subjects from combusting; to that end, they drain his blood, leaving him defenseless against his own power.
Back on the plane, after Ward compliments Skye's recent performance and Coulson gloats that she's fitting in, we learn that S.H.I.E.L.D. knew about Yin, whose powers after a nearby decommissioned nuclear plant caught fire, and told him to keep his ability under wraps. The report comes in from Hong Kong that Yin was taken by people who left behind a shred of fireproof clothing, suggesting they're professionals -- and not only that, they got their information from the Rising Tide. Naturally, this casts suspicion on Skye, but Ward sticks up for her, so Coulson allows her to try to trace the hack to clear her name, and she comes up with a famous hacker named "Miles Lydon," so S.H.I.E.L.D. heads to Austin in pursuit. Lydon manages to give Ward and Coulson the slip -- only to find Skye at his apartment waiting for him. She berates him for attacking S.H.I.E.L.D. when she's already safely inside, but recriminations quickly give way to the knowledge that (a) he taught her everything she knows and (b) these two are lovers and have not enjoyed each other's company for a while, if you take my meaning.
No sooner have they refreshed their memories of each other, though, than does S.H.I.E.L.D. track her down; she tries to tell Coulson that she and Miles look out for each other and she wasn't aiming to betray S.H.I.E.L.D., but Coulson's like, well, I guess having May follow you was a solid idea, traitor. S.H.I.E.L.D., including a very disappointed Ward, take Lydon and Skye in cuffs to Hong Kong, and on the way, the two hackers fight over Skye's softening toward S.H.I.E.L.D. Ward is convinced Lydon is dirty rather than an idealist -- and this proves to be the case, as Lydon was paid to the tune of seven figures for his leak. Caught, he explains to them he was paid by an eco-lab studying centipedes, which prompts Skye and Ward to give each other a look of extreme(is) recognition. Skye expresses her disillusionment with Lydon while S.H.I.E.L.D. tries to save Yin -- but when they do, he turns on them, as without the platelets to stabilize him he's going rage-insane just like the other super-soldier subjects. With the part of the lab in which May and Coulson are in lockdown, Ward is forced to bring Skye into the building to try to open it up, and she succeeds, while elsewhere, Raina coldly leaves Dr. Redhead to be combustible fodder for Yin. Having tried and failed to use the night-night gun on him, which you'll remember was the only possibility to save a subject heading for Extremis explosion, Coulson and May are forced to paralyze him, seal the lab, and allow him to detonate. Downer!
In the end, after sending Lydon away with a gizmo that will prevent him from using electronic devices for a while, Coulson gives Skye his verdict -- she's been lying the whole time, and she still is, so either she tells him why she's really there or he's done with her. In response, Skye hands over the chip we saw her hide in her bra in the pilot and tells Coulson it contains everything she has -- on herself. She learned to hack and joined the Rising Tide, as it happens, to find out anything she could about her parents, but there's nothing out there but one document redacted -- by S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson tells her she might not like what she eventually finds, but even though he gives her a gizmo of her own to stop her hackery for the moment, he does concede that he might be able to help. But not next week, because that's a rerun of the pilot.
Oh, and in the very end, Raina visits a guy in prison and tells him with the stable virus, Stage Two of the super-soldier projects should be possible -- but she'd like him to get in touch with "The Clairvoyant" for insights on Stage Three. While he's up, maybe he can let us know about the ratings for November sweeps.
Accompanied by geographically appropriate Eastern plucked strings, we begin in Hong Kong, where a street performer talks about how his grandfather told him every man is a mystery. He doesn't follow with "Am I right, ladies?" but maybe he's still honing his material. His magic tricks, however, go unappreciated by the crowd, with the exception of an African-American woman in an Eastern floral dress who regards him with a smile. Emboldened, he opens his hand and a small sphere of flame appears in it, which he then turns and throws toward the crowd. Although it dissipates, the sparks and heat from it are obviously real enough and produce some applause and some frightened reactions. The woman in the dress steps forward to chat him up, whereupon he introduces himself as "Chan Ho Yin" and she tells him her name is "Raina." She goes on to say that she'd love to see the fire trick again, and when he offers that he doesn't think it's a good idea, she agrees: "It's a great idea." That's hacky enough that I don't think adding "in bed" to it hurts it any.
Cut to Chan's apartment (see?) after he apologizes for the clutter and gives Raina a beer, she notes the old framed posters for Houdini performances and guesses that he appreciates the greats. Chan, however, says that while he idolized Houdini for many years, he's realized that there was no real magic there -- just tricks. Sounds like someone's seen Breaking the Magician's Code. After speculating that what he does is real, Raina asks him again to show her and he again hesitates, but eventually produces the flame in his hand once more, even having her lightly touch it to prove it's not an illusion. Fascinated, she asks how long he's had this power, and he tells her it's been a few years -- a dishtowel caught fire in his hands the first time it manifested. He adds that the flame doesn't hurt him in the slightest, and in a wonder-filled voice, she tells him he has a gift and she's never seen anything like it, which might be more meaningful after this scene.
She wonders why he doesn't show the world, and he seems to want to but starts to explain that there are people opposing the idea before cutting himself off. He does say, however, that given his interest in magic he wonders if this happened to him for a reason, and Raina soberly agrees that he's been chosen before asking him to close his eyes, "and I'll show you." Given his quickness to comply, I'm guessing that Yin's busy pursuit of magic doesn't leave him a lot of time to watch TV. And sure enough, when he opens his eyes, he sees two guys in flame-retardant silver suits flanking a now hilariously bored-looking Raina, and although he puts up a fight, one of them settles the issue by slamming something heavy into his face and us into the title card.