Coulson continues as director of the new shadow S.H.I.E.L.D. operation, and is forced to hire a group of mercenaries to supplement their efforts. They soon discover that HYDRA is after an artifact from World War II and is employing Crusher Creel--the Absorbing Man--to obtain it. Meanwhile, General Talbot continues his hunt for the team.
While Lance considers a new job offer, Coulson and his people try to track down Creel before he can give the obelisk to Hydra. Meanwhile, Fitz tries to cope with the loss of his partner and Raina reenters the picture.
The reason for Jemma's departure is revealed, as Donnie Gill is discovered and both Hydra and S.H.I.E.L.D. want him because of his ice powers. Meanwhile, Fitz confronts Grant for the first time since Grant tried to kill him.
Coulson and Melinda go undercover to get a painting which may hold the key to Coulson's deteriorating condition. However, when the mission goes source and Hydra sabotages the Bus, Fitz may be the only one who can save the team.
When Skye's father refuses to help her, Raina is forced to threaten Jemma's cover unless Coulson helps her recover the obelisk. When he refuses, Jemma is forced to turn to an unexpected ally to make her escape.
The world turns against S.H.I.E.L.D. when Hydra impersonates them to attack The United Nations, and an unexpected enemy leads the charge to bring about their downfall.