"Seeds" is the twelfth episode of the first season of the American television series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., based on the Marvel Comics organization S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division), revolving around the character of Phil Coulson and his team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents as they investigate attempted murder at the S.H.I.E.L.D. Science Academy. It is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), sharing continuity with the films of the franchise. The episode was written by Monica Owusu-Breen and Jed Whedon, and directed by Kenneth Fink.
Clark Gregg reprises his role as Coulson from the film series, and is joined by series regulars Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, and Elizabeth Henstridge.
"Seeds" originally aired on ABC on January 14, 2014, and according to Nielsen Media Research, was watched by 6.37 million viewers.
SHIELD Academy scientist cadets Seth Dormer and Callie Hannigan go swimming in the pool late at night, only for the surface to freeze; Dormer is almost frozen but is rescued by another student, Donnie Gill. Fitz and Simmons are contacted by Principal Anne Weaver to consult in the investigation, accompanied by Skye and Ward.
Meanwhile, Coulson and May travel to Mexico to find Richard Lumley, Linda Avery's ex-partner who went off the grid after she was murdered. Lumley reveals that he, Avery and other agents went to China in search of an 084, which turned out to be an infant girl (Skye); the other agents and an entire village died to protect her. Avery hid the child within the foster system, installing a SHIELD protocol to ensure that she be moved from one home to another to protect her.
At the academy, Fitz and Simmons give a talk to encourage the cadets to remain calm, but during the talk Gill is suddenly frozen, forcing Fitz and Simmons to work quickly to save him. While the rest of the team go to a student hangout in the boiler room to gather intelligence, Fitz befriends Gill to find out if anyone would target him, and is impressed with the devices Gill has been privately designing, giving him advice to perfect his tech. Hannigan reveals that Gill and Dormer in fact staged the attacks on themselves to test their weather machine, and to lure Fitz and Simmons to the academy to trick them into helping perfect the device.
Coulson and May join the others at the academy, and they learn Dormer and Gill were supplied with parts by Ian Quinn, who wants to purchase the completed weather machine. Dormer calls Quinn to secure their deal, and Quinn asks him to demonstrate the machine's capabilities, so he and Gill create a maelstrom around the academy, wreaking havoc. The device is hit by a lightning bolt, electrocuting both of them, and Dormer goes into cardiac arrest before May pilots the Bus into the eye of the storm to rescue them. The storm passes and Gill is incarcerated, having developed cryokinetic abilities from the machine.
Coulson tells Skye what he learned about her origins, initially upsetting her, but she later admits she feels comforted that SHIELD has been protecting her for her entire life. In an end tag Coulson contacts Quinn to inform him that SHIELD is watching him, and Quinn responds by telling Coulson that 'the Clairvoyant says hello'.
In December 2013, Marvel revealed that the twelfth episode would be titled "Seeds", and would be written by Monica Owusu-Breen and executive producer Jed Whedon, with Kenneth Fink directing.
In December 2013, Marvel revealed that main cast members Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, and Elizabeth Henstridge would star as Phil Coulson, Melinda May, Grant Ward, Skye, Leo Fitz, and Jemma Simmons, respectively. It was also revealed that the guest cast for the episode would include David Conrad as Ian Quinn, Christine Adams as Agent Anne Weaver, Dylan Minnette as Donnie Gill, Daniel Zovatto as Seth Dormer, Boyd Kestner as Richard Lumley, Zachary Burr Abel as Tad and Maiara Walsh as Callie Hannigan. Kestner and Abel did not receive guest star credit in the episode. Conrad reprises his role from earlier in the series.
Skye notes the inclusion of Bucky Barnes on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Wall of Valor memorial, ahead of his prominent role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
"Seeds" was first aired in the United States on ABC on January 14, 2014.
The episode, along with the rest of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s first season, was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 9, 2014. Bonus features include behind-the-scenes featurettes, audio commentary, deleted scenes, and a blooper reel. On November 20, 2014, the episode became available for streaming on Netflix.
In the United States the episode received a 2.2/6 percent share among adults between the ages of 18 and 49, meaning that it was seen by 2.2 percent of all households, and 6 percent of all of those watching television at the time of the broadcast. It was watched by 6.37 million viewers.