When Skye is given her powers and spends time in Afterlife, it's explained that she can control the vibrations in the objects around her, with I think some implication that this works down to the atomic level (can't remember that last part for sure). She is shown able to cause an avalanche at the distance of potentially miles, cause massive subsonic waves (I assume that's what we usually see when she fights), vibrate glasses with incredible precision (despite eventually breaking them). Her powers of 'flight' show a high level of control over whatever it is she produces as well, given that the ground suffers no consequences of having a 140 lbs human propelled upwards at ridiculous speeds.

Given these abilities it seems like she should have a wide array of tools to use in combat, especially with other inhumans. Just to name a few thoughts:

  • Cause massive oscillations within the target's body similar to a microwave, cooking them from the inside

  • Vibrate the inner ear causing instant vertigo

  • Stop an opponents heart, which should be much simpler than starting a heart; a task she has already accomplished

  • Find a resonance frequency with the target's bones to shatter them

  • Vibrating or heating an object or weapon to make it painful to hold on to, which could also work against clothing items to distract or limit powerful enemies.

  • Ignite the gunpowder in the bullets in enemy weapons while they are still in the cartridge.

Although her sonic blast seems to work pretty well against regular humans in many situations, there are also a variety of fights we see where alternate tactics would be much more effective against human opponents, and where her sonic blast is flatly ignored by inhuman opponents. This occurs in episodes when she has the bracers designed by SHIELD.

Is it explained in universe why she never seems to use her powers as anything more than a shockwave? And why is the shockwave so limited in strength (it was shrugged off by Lash), when she can channel enough energy to literally bring down a mountain at range?*

  • I know an avalanche can be caused by a relatively small amount of energy targeted at the right place, but there was no indication she knew where the right place was and just brute forced it. The earthquakes she causes are further indication that she can release massive amounts of power, as was the moment she took down half a square mile of forest before being taken to Afterlife.

I have only reached S4E5, so apologize if this is explained later and would appreciate spoiler tags for beyond that point.

  • 2
    Initially because she's inexperienced. Then because her powers hurt her, then because she's trying not to kill people (for the most part).
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 20:54

2 Answers 2


The out-of-universe explanation, of course, is that the animation budget of AoS simply isn't enough for them to use her flashier abilities more often.

But there is a sensible in-universe explanation as well.

She's holding back

  1. The writers haven't forgotten about Daisy's more dangerous abilities

    Later in Season 4, she completely tears apart two robots, which are notably tougher than humans.

    We've certainly see her do some of the things you mention in later seasons -burying the SHIELD base, killing that Hydra fellow by shaking him apart.

    If she can do this to entities of sci-fi-metal and whatever else, she can certainly do this to humans.

  2. She holds back because it's easy. Her sonic blasts are a very trivial ability for her to use. Stronger uses of her power often require a little more concentration and buildup, which can be dangerous in a pitched battle.

  3. She holds back because it's risky. Unlike some Inhumans and other heroes, Daisy is physically not much more durable than a human. Strong uses of her power, particularly without her bracers, cause extreme pain and bone damage.

  4. She holds back for others' safety.

    This is the main reason. She's not fighting in wide-open spaces, for the most part. Sure, if she wanted to she could release a radial explosion and kill her Hydra/robot/Kree opponents.

    But then she would kill hundreds of innocent people nearby, and possibly even herself. Her powers aren't terribly useful for destroying tough opponents while simultaneously sparing any bystanders. And since she normally fights with the other, entirely human agents, any truly dangerous use would certainly kill them as well.

    That's also why she rarely employs her more lethal targeted abilities. Most of the time, she's not fighting targets who can take it.

Let's put it this way. France, say, has nuclear weapons and guns. Yet the police use tasers. Setting aside the ones who are sadists or abusing their authority, this is because nuclear weapons and guns are simply poorly suited to their goals.

Daisy unleashing her full power against her usual enemies would be like nuking a a violent criminal.

But that said, she does still have that potential.

That's why

Kasius was arguably being so foolish. If she were pushed to a point where she didn't care about her own or others' safety, it would take her all of a second to destroy the entire base.

Side notes:

  1. Lash could shrug it off because he was really tough. He may also have had some specific resistance to Inhuman powers.

  2. Some of your suggestions might require more control or power than she can easily muster up in combat.

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    Also, use of lethal force isn't generally S.H.I.E.L.D.'s first choice - remember their ICE guns, ,that just freeze someone temporarily? And, practicing shattering people's bones with her powers might be frowned upon :-).
    – RDFozz
    Commented Jan 25, 2018 at 2:30
  • @RDFozz Good point regarding my more lethal suggestions. However, SHIELD certainly doesn't shy away from breaking people's bones physically, and I'd say the long-term effects of shattering someone's arm bone to knock them out of a fight is a lot less risky than hitting someone in the head hard enough to knock them out. Post-concussion symptoms can last a lifetime and be extremely debilitating. And against opponents like Lash, I doubt his life is as much of a concern as saving hundreds or thousands of lives.
    – Nicholas
    Commented Jan 25, 2018 at 14:10
  • @Nicholas - All true. I'm simply saying that it's acceptable to practice controlling her powers by (say) shattering one glass while leaving another right beside it intact. Practicing breaking someone's arm without giving them a concussion - well, she's not going to find many volunteers if she's going to try that in some sort of sparring session. The point being, she's probably not going to use her powers on an opponent like that unless she's willing for the consequences to be lethal, because she can't guarantee they won't be.
    – RDFozz
    Commented Jan 25, 2018 at 15:55
  • @RDFozz Very good points.
    – Nicholas
    Commented Jan 25, 2018 at 16:51

As you pointed out in your question, she was wearing the gauntlets. It is quite possible for her to use her lethal abilities in combat to defeat her enemies. However, we know that the gauntlets ensure that the side effects of using her abilities aren't harmful to her (to some extent, as it's shown that some damage can be done anyway, regardless as to what changes Fitz and Simmons make). And when taking away a deficit, there is almost always balance kept by taking away a benefit as well in comic and media settings. Hence, she could lose much of the force behind her hits as well.

There is always the thought that she was holding back, of course. There is also the thought that, well, her mother was the one to teach her how to use her powers. Jiaying and Daisy have a rough history to the point where Daisy is clearly shown to dislike Jiaying and prefer May as a mother figure. Feasibly, she isn't using the full extent of her abilities (lethal and all) because she doesn't wish to connect with her mother in such a way. Jiaying was a manipulative woman and even caused

Raina's death when she became a problem, mere episodes after telling Daisy not to hurt her

. Daisy prides herself on being on the side of 'good', even when she was in the Framework or working for the Rising Tide. For example, she was horrified in the episode in which she found she was married to Grant Ward (who was previously evil) and a member of Hydra, hunting down her own species for gain.

Of course, these are all just thoughts and could possibly be wrong. Unless confirmed by the show, I don't believe we'll ever have a true answer.

  • Hi, welcome to SF&F. This sounds reasonable, but you can improve your answer by citing evidence to back it up.
    – DavidW
    Commented Jan 31 at 23:42
  • Can you elaborate? I slightly edited it; is that better?
    – Kaley
    Commented Feb 3 at 0:23

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