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REVIEW: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3×13 “Parting Shot”

If last week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was meant to serve as a lead-in to this week’s, then, “Parting Shot,” is unquestionably meant to serve as a lead-in to the S.H.I.E.L.D. off-shoot Marvel’s Most Wanted. The focus was predominantly on the fan-favorite ex-spouses Bobbi Morse and Lance Hunter, and was clearly meant to highlight the fact that both characters are interesting enough to warrant their own show.

While successful at reaffirming that both characters are quite the entertaining spectacle, the ending of, “Parting Shot,” somehow made me even sadder about the inevitable spin-off. Because as well as Hunter and Bobbi work together, and as fun as it is to see what they can accomplish on their own, it’s even more interesting watching what they can do with their team.

Where last week’s episode was slow and informational, and essentially served as a Season 3 version of last year’s, “Face My Enemy,” this week’s was full of action, surprises, and enough stunning visual effects to leave my on the edge of my seat. Combine that with a final scene that had me weeping like a newborn and you’ve got one of the more emotional episodes of the season. (Which is saying a LOT considering all that’s happened so far).

Let’s get into it!

Something immediately different about, “Parting Shot,” is the fact that it transitions between the present, where Hunter and Bobbi are being interrogated in a Russian facility, and the past, where we see how the duo became involved in whatever it is that got them blamed for the assassination of three Russian officials.

You know when one starts reminiscing about the last time they went on a proper vacation something bad is about to go down. Which is precisely what happens as Bobbi and Hunter are casing Malick’s Russian compound, the latter complaining about the sacrifices they’ve made just before a group of Russian soldiers surround them with very large weapons. Of course, it doesn’t matter much because you’re not going to give a couple their own show if they can’t handle themselves. Bobbi and Hunter make quick work of the soldiers and then get a little backup in the form of the Cavalry, Quake, and Mack.

The team manages to infiltrate the compound where they learn that Malick’s real goal is to stage a coup that will open up a position of power with which he can use to bring his master plan to fruition. Malick decides to pin a Russian General with Inhuman powers on the Prime Minister with the intent to have the leader killed. Naturally, S.H.I.E.L.D. isn’t down with this plan and the team splits up to prevent Malick’s scheme from being successful. Hunter and May are tasked with protecting the Prime Minister while the big guns that are Bobbi, Daisy, and Mack are meant to contain the General and prevent him from taking out the Russian leader.

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Easier said than done considering the General’s powers involve creating an unstoppable dark matter version of himself that can pack a punch and remain unaffected when it takes a hit. After both Daisy and Mack are taken out, it becomes apparent that the only way to stop the sentient being is by stopping its controller… which is what Bobbi does by assassinating the General.

And THAT is how we find her and Hunter in custody.

Unfortunately, the only way to for them to get out alive is by convincing all parties that they are not, and will not be, involved with S.H.I.E.L.D, something that is accomplished by Coulson disavowing them as agents.

WHICH LEADS TO THE SADDEST MOST BITTERSWEET MOST BEAUTIFUL SCENE OF FRIENDSHIP IN TELEVISION HISTORY.

Bobbi and Hunter are drinking alone in a bar when the bartender places a shot on their table… followed by another… followed by another. Each one from a different member of their team, who are scattered throughout the bar in honor of their friends. A teary Bobbi informs Hunter that it’s a, “spy’s goodbye,” and the group shares one last drink, together yet alone, before going their separate ways and leaving the couple on their own.

Literal tears were falling during this scene. Not even my years of mental training was strong enough to build up enough resistance to not cry during this one. Yikes. LISTEN. FRIENDSHIP GETS TO ME OKAY?! I’m a sucker for scenes like this because, particularly where Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is concerned, the most moving and pivotal scenes are those that highlight the fact that these people are truly more than just a team, they’re a family.

The back half of this season has focused heavily on the notion of, “making the tough call,” and it was once more emphasized with, “Parting Shot.” It was reiterated time and time again that, “S.H.I.E.L.D. is about sacrifice,” and sacrifices were made in spades by most of our favorite characters. Ties had to be cut in order to protect all parties and ensure the best possible outcome for those involved. Unfortunately, the only way to accomplish such a thing was through the departure of Bobbi and Hunter.

The episode as a whole definitely felt more like a Pilot for Marvel’s Most Wanted than it did an actual episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. but I do think it was a good decision to put some of the larger themes on the back burner in order to give Bobbi and Hunter a proper send-off, and to give audiences a proper episode with which to say goodbye.

Episode Grade: B+

Episode Highs:

  • The fight between Daisy, Bobbi, and the General’s dark force was so fun to watch. Great VFX and some always fun slow-mo.
  • DEAR ODIN THAT LAST TEAM SCENE IN THE BAR WAS POSITIVELY SUBLIME. In a show that’s so heavily focused on action and espionage, it’s easy to forget that the most important aspect of the show is the camaraderie and the ties that are formed between the characters. Watching Bobbi and Hunter receive a spy’s goodbye from their teammates, friends, and family was the absolute epitome of bittersweet.

Episode Lows:

  • The pre-episode hype surrounding the, “Inhuman assassin,” was a bit misleading to me. I thought he would pose way more of a threat when, in actuality, he was easily taken out by Bobbi and a few bullets a few minutes after being introduced.

Additional Thoughts (…on Marvel’s Most Wanted):

  • What I worry about where Marvel’s Most Wanted is concerned is the fact that it may suffer from something similar to what S.H.I.E.L.D. was forced to deal with in its first season: the viewers’ wish to see already-beloved characters pop up as frequently as possible. Bobbi and Hunter are certainly fun to watch, and after tonight’s episode it’s clear that they can hold their own, but there’s something distinctly depressing about imagining them without FitzSimmons chattering about Amazon documentaries over their comms or Mack rolling his eyes in the background while forced to deal with their domestic bickering. The storyline for MMW definitely has potential, but the fact that I’m already trying to imagine how S.H.I.E.L.D’s other characters might work their way into it is mildly concerning. I have no doubt that Most Wanted will be able to distinguish itself as its own entity but I think that, like S.H.I.E.L.D, it’ll take a bit for viewers to think of it as such rather than as a vessel for fun cameos and crossovers. Both Nick Blood and Adrianne Palicki are absolutely stellar, and I am beyond thrilled that they’ll really have a chance to take center stage and add a bit more to their characters, but a small part of me thinks MMW might be best as a miniseries, long enough to flesh out the characters and the story, but short enough that the plot doesn’t get overplayed and the two can return to S.H.I.E.L.D. with another adventure under their proverbial belt.

What did you think of the latest episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D? How did you think it worked as a lead-in for Marvel’s Most Wanted? Sound off with any thoughts and opinions on Twitter or in the comments below!

About the author

Silje Falck-Pedersen