Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD S03E13 “Parting Shots” REVIEW

Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD S03E13 “Parting Shots” REVIEW

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stars 4

Airing in the UK on: E4, Sundays, 9pm
Writers: DJ Doyle, Paul Zbyszewski
Director: Michael Zinberg

 

Essential Plot Points:

  • Bobbi and Hunter have followed Malick and Petrov to Siberia. The rest of SHIELD is hot on their heels in a quinjet.
  • Bobbi and Hunter watch from a distance as Malick and Petrov enter a massive secret facility. Shortly afterwards an inhuman with high tech wrapped around his head is wheeled into the facility on a gurney. The facility is presumably going to become the “Inhuman sanctuary” Petrov and Malick spoke about last episode.
  • After running foul of some Russian soldiers, but dealing with them, Bobbi and Hunter meet up with the rest of SHIELD. They decide to infiltrate the base.
  • The Russian president is on his way to the base and he’s not keen on the Inhuman reservation idea.
  • Turns out the Inhuman is the Minister Of Defence, General Androvich. He has killed the president’s personal attaché, and so Petrov has had him restrained.
  • Petrov asks Malick for his help to sort out the mess before the president arrives but Malick sees an opportunity to create a coup. He suggests Petrov releases the General and allow him to kill the president too.
  • Having lit the blue touch paper, Malick skidaddles before the shit hits the fan.
  • SHIELD realise what’s happening and try to prevent the assassination.
  • The president arrives, the general starts to make his move and SHIELD swoops in.
  • Hunter tries to lead the president to safety but has to shoot Petrov along the way. Hunter is captured by the president’s guards who don’t realise that Petrov has turned traitor.

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  • In his ensuing fight with Bobbi and Daisy, the General reveals his Inhuman power: to create “shadows” versions of himself that can hit hard but can’t be hit back. The general himself hot foots it away leaving his shadow self to fight independently.
  • The only way to defeat the shadow creature is to kill the General, which Bobbi is forced to to in front of the other Russians… who also don’t know he’s turned traitor.
  • This is not looking good for Bobbi and Hunter.
  • They are interrogated by the Russians, but they cannot reveal they still work for SHIELD because if the Russians knew SHIELD still existed and was recruiting Inhumans, it would start a cold war, in which the weapons are alien hybrids rather than nuclear.
  • They stoically maintain SHIELD no longer insists and even when Coulson offers them a way out they refuse to take it, because it will compromise SHIELD.
  • They could face death but in the end Coulson and US president Ellis makes the Russian president see sense; they did, after all, save him from being assassinated. The Russian president may still be suspicious of their story – that they were ex-agents on holiday (in Siberia???) who just happened to be in the right place at the right time to save him – but he lets them go free.
  • But to maintain the story they will never be allowed to US agents again of any sort.
  • Bye bye Bobbi and Hunter. Good luck with the spin-off.

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Review:

So that’s it. No more Bobbi and Hunter for Agents of SHIELD, and the show may have done itself a disservice by making them so damned adorable for the last few episodes, and especially in this one. Because they not only left in style, they left in such style it’s difficult to remember that you watched this show for any reason other than the bickering, bantering exes.

Okay, that may be a little over the top. There are good moments here for Mack (good grief – was there a tear in his eye at the end) and Daisy (her fight with Bobbi against the shadow guy was, as the kids would say, AWESOME). But “Parting Shots” was totally dominated by Ms Morse and Mr Hunter. Even if you didn’t know this was to be their SHIELD swan song you probably could have guessed from a) the way they had so many scenes, b) the way the script was going out of its way to give them a BIG HEROIC SACRIFICE, and c) the not-very-subtle foreshadowing in the exchange, “I just need a break.” “Are you talking about a vacation or something else?”

Of course, they have every right to go out on a high. Even more so with the spin-off series still months and months away (if it happens at all – officially it’s still only at a pilot stage); Marvel’s TV producers will have wanted to leave the audience wanting more. But you’re still left with the worry, are we going to miss them too much?

Of course, shows survive the departure of characters all the time. Even really popular characters. It just seems a shame the writers have worked so hard on making us love Bobbi and Hunter within SHIELD only for them to head off for a project that may not click with viewers. It’s a big gamble. Hopefully it’ll pay off and the parent show won’t miss them too much.

Agents_of_SHIELD_3.13_parting_shots_hads_together

The episode itself is definitely one SHIELD’s better entries, tense as you’d like with loads of action, a strong human story at its heart and a good few twists along the way. The irony behind the human story is that while the rest of SHIELD are sad to see Bobbi and Hunter go and distraught at the manner of their departure, you can’t help feeling that the pair themselves are pretty sanguine about the whole thing. Certainly Hunter was quite ready to leave SHIELD behind, and Bobbi doesn’t seem that bothered at a forced career change and a chance for a holiday. Hope they got a decent redundancy package, though.

That doesn’t lessen their heroism, though. They could have ended up executed if things hadn’t turned out the way they did. Blimey, was Hunter really that desperate to leave SHIELD?

It’s not an out-and-out classic, though. There interrogation/flashback structure leads to a couple of repetitive cell scenes. And the way the plot contorts itself into the position where both Bobbi and Hunter end up caught in “compromising” situations and forced to make their sacrifice is very clunky at times. A slightly less convoluted storyline with a simpler, clearer sacrifice may have helped overcome the slightly “theoretical” feel to the choice they have to make. We’re not talking plotholes, here – everything makes sense. It’s just that the whole “we could start a cold war here” angle feels and little abstract and one level removed from reality, meaning that the importance of their decision loses a little bit of impact.

However, this is mere nitpicking in what is another strong episode in one of the longest runs of strong episodes this show has ever had.

 

The Good:

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  • Daisy and Bobbi’s fight with the General’s shadow avatar was superbly put together. The shadow creature was an excellent concept, the effects to achieve it were top notch and the direction and editing made the whole sequence one of the best action scenes in the series yet. Slo-mo action may be a little old hat, but here it was completely justified to give one particular extended shot a chance to show off some brilliant fight choreography, while the shot of the shadow erupting through the floor and smashing Daisy against the ceiling was amazing.
  • All the Bobbi and Hunter banter achieved exactly what it was supposed to do: make you love them even more so that their departure had even more emotional clout. This was one of the best:
    “I was just trying to recall the last time we went away together on a proper vacation.”
    “Well, let’s see… Rio, Caesar Park Hotel.”
    “On a mission. Stakeout.”
    “San Diego.”
    “Visiting your mum doesn’t count.”
    “Florence?”
    “That wasn’t me.”
  • Loved Mack calling Bobbi, “Rosetta Stone”. That’d be a great code name!

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  • This shot. We’re not even sure why – it’s just Bobbi’s “how can they fight in these hats?” expression, we think.
  • And, of course, Bobbi and Hunter are great throughout.

 

The Bad:

  • The politics in this episode seem to be predicated on the assumption that Russian secret intelligence is totally rubbish. Do their spies really not know what the US government is up to as regards Inhumans? It seems unlikely.
  • Also, even if the Russians are forced to swallow Bobbi and Hunter’s story, what’s to stop them immediately tracking Coulson now he’s out his head above the parapet? And didn’t anybody notice Daisy using her powers. Has somebody wiped all the CCTV in the facility? The whole operation is full potential security breaches for SHIELD.
  • Taking of which, sweet as that final Bobbi and Hunter scene may have been, how did that guy following them NOT notice all the other SHIELD agents in the bar? They were blending in about as well as James Cordon in a Trappist monastery.
  • Hunter’s mushroom gag eventually begins to overstay it welcome.

 

And The Random:

  • Mack once again admits he useless when it comes to foreign languages. Is this going to become a running joke or is it just a handy coincidence that it’s become a plot point in two of the last three episodes?
  • Daisy mentions that she “dated a Russian hacker once”. Could this have been Kurt from Ant-Man? He’d make a great guest star on Agents Of SHIELD.

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  • Malick’s daughter, who we see at the very end of the episode, is Stephanie Malick, played by One Tree Hill’s Bethany Joy Lenz. If you were a bit surprised where she suddenly came from, everything will apparently be revealed in episode 3.16, “Paradise Lost”.
  • Hunter mentions the “jumbo chaga mushroom” which is a real form of mushroom (a particularly ugly one that grows on trees) that would be found in Siberia. Did you also notice that just after he mentions “porcini” mushrooms, there’s a cut to a shot of him crushing what could be a porcini mushroom under foot. Is that supposed to be metaphor?
  • Malick says that not-Ward, “Is still gathering himself.” This is an injoke that will make sense when the full nature of not-Ward is revealed.

Review by Dave Golder


 

 Read our other reviews of Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD

 

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