In the Framework, Daisy Johnson emerges from her Terrigenesis husk fully recovered from her wounds after having being exposed to a shattered Terrigen Crystal thanks to Melinda May. Johnson and May fight their way out of the Triskelion before being stopped by Madame Hydra and two HYDRA agents. Madame Hydra notices that even in the Framework, May keeps being a fighter while Alphonso Mackenzie remains a protector and Leo Fitz keeps a "romantic" temper. After pointing out that Madame Hydra has not talked about her, Johnson uses her recovered powers on Madame Hydra and projects her out of the building. Madame Hydra falls on the ground, severely injured.
In the real world, Aida is stunned by May's rebellion in the Framework. When she resolves to work on the issue so that May is no longer a complication, Anton Ivanov offers to simply kill May. However, it is soon revealed that he is incapable of doing so. Indeed, since Ivanov uses a body designed and built by Aida, he suffers from the same limitation as Aida and thus can't harm any of their captives. However, Aida tells Ivanov that if one of them begins to threaten the existence of the Framework, that rule will be overdue.
Back in the Framework, at the Playground, Mackenzie, Grant Ward, and Antoine Triplett watch a TV broadcast of Sunil Bakshi, who turns out to be HYDRA's voice on television. While S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, including Phil Coulson and Jemma Simmons, mourn the loss of Patriot, they learn of the attack on Madame Hydra. Simmons and Ward quickly understand that Johnson is probably the Inhuman mentioned by Bakshi. Meanwhile, Johnson and May, now fugitives, make their way to a S.H.I.E.L.D. meeting point.
The Doctor is outraged by the attack on Madame Hydra since it places HYDRA in a moment of weakness. His father Alistair Fitz tells him that he has to lead HYDRA in his lover's place. The Doctor summons Bakshi to the Triskelion and orders him to broadcast the identity of Johnson and May in order to instill terror in people's heart. Ward, fearing for his girlfriend's life, leaves the Playground to find her.
Fitz informs the Doctor that Johnson and May have been spotted and that a team of HYDRA agents is after them. Before the Doctor can lead the chase himself, Madame Hydra wakes up and asks him to finish his Project Looking Glass, saying that this will help her to heal. Johnson and May, having reached one of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s safehouses, are nearly caught by the HYDRA agents but are finally rescued by Burrows, Coulson, and Mackenzie, though Mackenzie threatens to kill May for having kept Hope Mackenzie hostage. Back at the Playground, Johnson confirms to Ward the story of the real world that Simmons told him and that he refused to believe in.
Simmons studies the pictures taken by Triplett while he was working undercover within HYDRA. She quickly recognizes a design of Quantum Batteries with the mention "Project Looking Glass". Since the design is more complex than Simmons has seen in the real world, she assumes that these Batteries are designed to produce something highly sophisticated and require massive amounts of energies. She and Triplett borrow a Quinjet for a recon mission to Ivanov's naval base in the Baltic Sea. Once they arrive, Simmons figures out Aida's plan: creating a reactor which will enable her to produce living matter and thus become human herself.
Fitz returns to his son and informs him that the HYDRA team failed to apprehend the fugitives. The Doctor gets angry at his father, who quickly chastises him for his behavior and tells him that if he wanted him to react this way, he would have left him with his mother. Fitz then goes to interrogate Holden Radcliffe, who is still in HYDRA's custody. However, Radcliffe refuses to tell him anything, mocking Fitz, both for his life in the real world and in the Framework. Though Fitz severely beats the fallen scientist, he does not get any valuable information other than the images of Radcliffe informing Johnson of the backdoor to the real world.
At the Playground, Coulson tells Johnson that she must weaken HYDRA within the Framework to achieve her own goal. Therefore, S.H.I.E.L.D. agents storm the studio where The Bakshi Report show is recorded. After holding Bakshi's staff hostages and Ward and Johnson have a conversation about what is real or not in the Framework, S.H.I.E.L.D. broadcasts a subversive message featuring Coulson where the former history teacher proudly announces his allegiance to S.H.I.E.L.D. and reveals HYDRA's lies thanks to the footage recorded by May's Body Cam during the assault on the HYDRA Enlightenment Cultivation Center where Patriot died.
Finally, in the real world, Ivanov informs Aida that his men are on the verge of attacking the Zephyr One where Johnson and Simmons, both threatening to the Framework, are. Aida orders Ivanov to get ready for the final phase of her plan since the Doctor has completed his Project Looking Glass in the Framework, asking Madame Hydra to take him with her.
- Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson
- Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May
- Chloe Bennet as Daisy Johnson/Quake
- Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz/The Doctor
- Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons
- Henry Simmons as Alphonso Mackenzie
- John Hannah as Holden Radcliffe
- David O'Hara as Alistair Fitz
- Brett Dalton as Agent Grant Ward
- Mallory Jansen as Aida/Madame Hydra
- Zach McGowan as Anton Ivanov/Superior
- B.J. Britt as Agent Antoine Triplett
- Simon Kassianides as Sunil Bakshi
- Patrick Cavanaugh as Agent Burrows
- Jordan Rivera as Hope Mackenzie
- Kavita Patil as Mrs. Lee
- Emily Peck as Laura
- David Weiss as Serious Man
- Andy Comeau as HYDRA Doctor
- Ben Cain as HYDRA Agent
- Dasha Flynn as Woman with Glasses
- Asha Goyal as Hope's Friend
- Ray Siegle as Soldier (uncredited)
- Washington, D.C. (Framework)
- Playground (Framework)
- Ivanov Oil Platform (Framework)
- Ivanov Oil Platform
- South Ossetia (mentioned)
- Playground (mentioned)
- Berkeley University (mentioned)
- Escape from the Triskelion
- Siege of the HYDRA Broadcasting Center
- Infiltration into the HYDRA Enlightenment Cultivation Center (mentioned)
- Holotable (Framework)
- Quantum Batteries
- D.W.A.R.F.s (Framework)
- Project Looking Glass
- Phil Coulson's Prosthetic Hand
- Backscatter X-Ray Eye Implant
- Superior's Knives
- Framework Headset
- Darkhold (mentioned)
- Diviner (photograph)
- HYDRA (Framework)
- S.H.I.E.L.D. (Framework)
- Howling Commandos (Framework; mentioned)
- Victoria Hand (Framework)
- Nick Fury (Framework)
- Skye (Framework)
- John Garrett (Framework)
- Daniel Whitehall (Framework)
- Mrs. Fitz (Framework)
- Grant Ward
- Alistair Fitz
- Mrs. Fitz
- Nick Fury (indirectly)
- The title of the episode is a play on "All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty together again", which is a line from the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty.
- This episode pays homage to Bill Paxton who played the character of John Garrett, a member of Hydra infiltrated in S.H.I.E.L.D. Paxton passed away on February 25, 2017 in California, after What if... it was the second tribute to Paxton.