• Agents of SHIELD Parting Shot Television 

    Five Thoughts on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s “Parting Shot”

    By | March 23rd, 2016
    Posted in Television | % Comments

    As the Inhuman arms race escalates, S.H.I.E.L.D. finds itself in a precarious position. A mission gone wrong, a coup to stop, and two agents now with their lives in peril. Will everyone get through with their lives intact? And more importantly, will this effectively lead in to a spinoff series?

    1. Inevitable Spinoff Setup

    Let’s start with the obvious: this entire episode was designed to set Bobbi Morse and Lance Hunter up for the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff Marvel’s Most Wanted. We knew going in that the entire episode would force them into some sort of situation where they had to go on the run, or at least leave S.H.I.E.L.D. to some capacity, so any potential tension in the episode was slightly dampened by the inevitability of their fates.

    That said, it did manage to give them a good reason to leave, more or less. While Coulson clearly had a plan to get them out of the Russian holding cell and back to (relative) freedom with S.H.I.E.L.D., they decided offscreen “Screw it, we’re no good anywhere but in the field, let’s get disavowed and take a vacation.”

    2. Bobbi and Hunter sitting in a tree, S-P-Y-I-N-G

    Speaking of the couple, this episode did give us a bit more of a look into their relationship. When we were first introduced to Bobbi so many episodes ago, Hunter mentioned that she was the ex-wife he was always complaining about. Over the course of the show, it became clear that at least some feelings remained, in something of an “on again/off again/betrayed again” relationship. But the ship sailed on, and whatever issues their relationship had in the past were apparently resolved just by them being on the same team.

    In fact, it seemed to have reached the point where a character could even drop the cliche line of “your weakness is each other.” We’d already seen that from Hunter, given how he’s willing to toss his mission to the wind the second Bobbi is in danger, but this time around it was Bobbi who cracked when his life was in danger. The episode even gave us a callback to that first situation, highlighting the rift between Hunter’s own priorities and his dedication to S.H.I.E.L.D. and the mission.

    By the end of the episode, it sent them off on that honeymoon vacation they never had before. Bobbi was married to the job, but now that the job is no more, maybe she and Hunter will have time for each other. Or maybe we’ll get to deal with another season of relationship/mission drama in “Marvel’s Most Wanted,” one or the other.

    That said, it took me a while to not feel weird about the two of them being a couple. I was used to Bobbi in the comics as Mockingbird, so while I’m used to her being the badass ex-wife of an equally cool character, it’s usually Hawkeye I see on the other side of the divorce. Still, as this is set in the Marvel cinematic universe, where Clint Barton is happily married and not at all involved with any of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. characters, Hunter was an acceptable substitute.

    3. Inhumans in Office

    Up until now, we’ve only seen generic citizens (with the exception of Daisy and Andrew Garner) gain powers as a result of the Terrigen Fish (not nearly as catchy as Terrigen Mist, but when it’s tainted fishsticks that are making people transform, we’ll have to go with it). But this episode brought up an interesting prospect: an Inhuman in a government position.

    When the episode revealed that the Russian general is an Inhuman, and Daisy mutters “The world’s first Inhuman politician,” I immediately imagined the possibilities: Inhumans taking government positions to try and gather as many together under them as possible, an Inhuman revolution, or even one that just decides “time to weed out the week” and presses the big red button that kicks of World War III. Given Malick’s plans, and the coup d’etat he was setting up, any of the above was a distinct possibility.

    Any possibility of that coming to fruition will have to wait a little longer, as the aforementioned Inhuman general was taken down by a single shot to the head. His power, creating an autonomous “shadow” that could dive through objects and control its solidity, was pretty interesting to see, although it was obvious from the get-go that the best way to stop the shadow would be to take out the Inhuman casting it.

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    Although when Simmons described it as a kind of “dark force,” my first thought was to wonder if there was any connection to Cloak and his Darkforce abilities from Marvel comics. (Probably not.)

    4. A Forced But Decent Sendoff

    As mentioned above, the Most Wanted spinoff meant that no matter what Coulson, Bobbi, or anyone else tried, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s power couple would be leaving. With the inevitability in mind, how was their departure treated?

    Pretty well, actually.

    The team seemed pretty shaken up by their failure, and everyone was saddened to see them off. The two were disavowed and under constant surveillance, so they couldn’t even say goodbye in person to two trusted teammates they’d been through thick and thin with. With S.H.I.E.L.D. as short-staffed as it is, losing two skilled agents is a painful blow, and losing friends hurt them even more.

    But the show gave them a nice moment where everyone ordered Bobbi and Hunter drinks from various spots across the bar, before silently raising their glasses in an unspoken salutation. The music added a nice dramatic touch, and I actually found myself thinking I’d miss them.

    So does it make me want to watch Marvel’s Most Wanted? Actually…no, not really. It was such a good sendoff, with a fond farewell as the characters left on their long overdue vacation, that I felt their stories came to a satisfactory end. There’s no reason to continue following them now, everything’s been wrapped up nicely.

    5. Enter New Evil Blonde

    Like with the Marvel movies, you always want to stay after the credits. In this case, we’re introduced to Malick’s daughter, Stephanie Malick, played by Bethany Joy Lenz. So what did the scene teach us about her? She exists, she knows about Ward/Hive (Wive? Hard? Wardhive?), and she’s a good shot at the skeet range. Undoubtedly she’ll have a bigger part to play soon enough (otherwise, why bother introducing her?) but for now, she’s just a little foreshadowing and setup for whatever may come next.

    Tell us what you thought – and welcome our newest member of the team, Robbie – in the comments!

    //TAGS | Marvel's Agents of SHIELD

    Robbie Pleasant


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