It’s hard to be a secret agent and be in a relationship. In “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Season 3, episode 8, two couples were struggling this week. Coulson launched an operation to investigate the ATCU behind Rosalind’s (Constance Zimmer) back. Meanwhile, Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) finally talked about their feelings, but they were distracted by a major realization about the group that sent Will (Dillon Casey) to space.

FitzSimmons’ Kiss: Fitz is looking for the ram’s head symbol that’s on both the monolith chamber and Will’s uniform. The books he brings in reveal that the symbol is connected to an organization that sends people through the portal as sacrifices. The design goes back at least a thousand years.

He is convinced that they’ll find something, but Simmons gets irrationally frustrated and angry. She tells Fitz that it’s just horror stories and they should stop looking. “Just stop trying to do all the right things. It’s too much,” Simmons says before she storms out.

Fitz follows her and says they’re cursed. They couldn’t figure out their feelings until they were about to lose each other. He asks if she loves Will. “I don’t know. I think … yes,” she says.

Fitz says that he still can’t hate the astronaut. He has done his research and Will did everything right while he was on Earth. Even while he was on the alien planet, he was still a good guy and comforted Simmons in a way no one else was able to. “And you dove through a hole in the universe for me,” Simmons says before he kisses her.

She kisses him again, but when they stop, Fitz still insists that they’re cursed. Suddenly, Simmons sees something in the books on the floor.

Investigating the ATCU: Mack (Henry Simmons) worries that Coulson is getting too close to Rosalind after he invites her to S.H.I.E.L.D.’s secret base. However, he is clearly not under a love spell. He launches Operation Spotlight, an investigation into the ATCU. He pairs off agents and May (Ming-Na Wen) asks for Lincoln (Luke Mitchell) in particular.

Daisy (Chloe Bennet) makes the ATCU think their system has been compromised. It allows Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki) and Hunter (Nick Blood) to get into the building undercover as FBI agents.

At the base, Coulson starts to hint that he doesn’t trust his new lover. He tries to find out if Rosalind met any other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, but she claims Coulson is her first. He doesn’t quite believe her, but she insists that it’s true.

Over at the ATCU, Bobbi can’t find Andrew (Blair Underwood) nor does she find any Inhumans. Instead she discovers what appear to be fish oil pills and Daisy reads that they’re giving all employees mandatory medication. They’re giving out Terrigen and making more people Inhuman.

Andrew is actually at an undisclosed location with Gideon Malick (Powers Boothe), who goes to Andrew and claims that he is a good guy. “I advise the president’s staff and I want to assure you that we’re doing everything we can,” Malick says. He says that he needs more information on S.H.I.E.L.D. in order to help Andrew.

Meanwhile, Coulson needs more information on Hydra. He gets Rosalind into a containment room. He locks her in there and tells her to convince him that she isn’t Hydra. The director recalls the first time she mentioned Tahiti and knows that she has to either know a S.H.I.E.L.D. or Hydra agent to have any knowledge about Project Tahiti. Rosalind still plays dumb.

Then, Coulson confronts her about the Terrigen, but Ros has no idea what he is talking about. She isn’t allowed on the floor Bobbi is on due to “risk of infection.” She realizes that her reports on what happens on those floors come from Malick. She explains that the Tahiti intel came from him as well. It seems Rosalind didn’t realize that she is working with Hydra.

The ATCU agents attack Bobbi and Hunter, but they have powers. Luckily, Bobbi has some supercharged batons, and they manage to knock out the agents. Banks (Andrew Howard) gets them out on Rosalind’s orders, and May and Lincoln fly them to safety.

Once everyone returns, Fitz and Simmons explain that the ram symbol has evolved over the years. They show many variations from over the centuries until it forms the octopus that serves as Hydra’s logo. Hydra sent Will through the portal, and they’re making Inhumans at the ATCU.

Hydra’s History: Malick (Powers Boothe) says that he knows Ward was looking for the Von Strucker family vault, but claims it doesn’t exist. Ward doesn't believe him and knows Malick has to be in charge of the vault now. He says it’s “Hydra’s greatest power” and wants to use it with Malick. However, the senior Hydra member doesn’t like that plan. He sends in a team of men to attack Ward. The former double agent manages to take them all out on his own.

He ties up the few that are left alive and tortures them for information. Ward finds out that he needs to go to Germany to get whatever Malick is hiding. He gets on a flight to Russia and opens the emergency door to leave when they’re above Germany.

Malick isn’t surprised when Ward manages to get into the vault. Malick admits that he wanted the young villain dead before, but he might be a good leader for Hydra after all. The older man gives him a history lesson and reveals the evil organization was built long before WWII. “Hydra’s actually as ancient as this stone,” Malick says as he takes out a small version of the monolith.

Malick explains that Hydra was supposed to help their “leader” return. Malick claims they’re building an army for it and he and Ward can rule alongside it. He also says he’ll help Ward take down S.H.I.E.L.D., but Ward will have to help Hydra learn how they brought Simmons back first, something that had never been done before.

Later, Andrew asks to talk to someone about what’s going on, and Ward approaches him. Ward says that Hydra wants to know how to turn him into the monster. He puts a new type of gas into his containment chamber. “I thought I knew all the best ways to bring Melinda pain,” Ward says. “May thinks I’m a monster, but you actually become one. I guess we know her type.”

Elsewhere in this episode:

  • May gives Lincoln the silent treatment. She says that she’s been trying to figure out what to say. She apologizes for not finding out Andrew is Lash sooner. She knows that Lash killed most of Lincoln’s friends. “I’m sorry. I should have known,” May says.
  • Daisy tells Lincoln that they don’t need to talk about their kiss. She says they’ll see what happens, but first he needs to establish his place on the team.