Reaction: Agents of SHIELD – “Parting Shot”

Bobbi and Hunter

I’ve been sick this past week, but I didn’t want to skip over the latest Agents of SHIELD episode, as it was both emotional and exciting while also marking a big change to our beloved show. Last week brought General Talbot back into the midst in an effort by the global community to come to a consensus on the Inhuman problem, while also revealing a potential vaccine against Terrigenesis. This week’s episode was a direct follow-up to last week’s, dealing with SHIELD’s pursuit of Gideon Mallick and his attempts to strike a bargain with Russia to further HYDRA’s plans. It was a fun mission, with most of the team working together for a change, but the most important developments of the episode occurred in its final minutes. So let’s jump right into “Parting Shot” written by Paul Zbyszewski and directed by Michael Zinberg.

I’m going to largely skip the bulk of the episode, except to say that it had lots of enjoyable moments. I really liked seeing the team all working together for a change, as the sprawling cast and the compartmentalization of SHIELD in an attempt to tackle multiple objectives has left our core team kind of splintered, so it was great to bring them back together again on the same mission. Especially considering the end result of this episode. I was honestly shocked to see Bobbi and Hunter leave, but it’s hard for me to imagine a more fitting final episode for the pair. By this point it’s not a secret that the powers behind the show have been planning a spinoff show for the pair called Marvel’s Most Wanted that will be filming its pilot episode soon, but I never would have imagined losing them from SHIELD before the end of the season.

As for the way Bobbi and Hunter left, the actual reasons and mechanics why, I thought it was brilliantly crafted. Having them take the fall so SHIELD can keep working serves so many plotlines and character arcs. Given Bobbi and Hunter’s debating this season over SHIELD’s motives and methods as well as their own personal loyalty to it, the nature of their sacrifice served as the ultimate affirmation of their devotion to the cause despite their disagreements and doubts, as well as to their ultimate connection to the people with whom they fought side by side. Yet at the same time, it allows them to leave on their terms, giving them a convenient yet still hard-earned out that lets them continue to fight the good fight in their own way.

Bobbi and Hunter have had a rocky road with SHIELD, with Hunter starting as an independent operative working with Isabelle Hartley and Bobbi first introduced as a HYDRA agent, though actually undercover for SHIELD. There was the whole “real SHIELD” period which had Bobbi betraying Coulson’s team, while Hunter found Coulson in his exile and signed up to help. Bobbi was captured and tortured by Ward and Kara, and almost killed while protecting Hunter from Ward’s trap. And now with the whole Inhuman situation, the pair has seemed a little out of their element. Bobbi never seemed 100% comfortable after her rehabilitation and Hunter’s loyalty was always more to individuals than to the greater organization that is SHIELD.

So now they can go their own way together. Since we first found out that Bobbi and Hunter used to be married, I’ve found the couple to be an entertaining and interesting one. They’re so very different, yet so evenly matched. Hunter may seem like the jokey, sarcastic one but Bobbi is more than able to hold her own in that arena, while on the other hand Bobbi seems like the much better fighter but Hunter is crafty and not to be underestimated. We’ve seen them grow over a season and a half from reluctantly working together with a healthy amount of disdain for each other back to being partners again, both in the field and in the bedroom. And while we’ve watched them develop relationships with other members of the team, Bobbi with Simmons for instance or Hunter’s recent attempts to ingratiate himself with May, they’re still better together than they are apart.

I’m intrigued by a series featuring these two, maybe with their own small team eventually. There have to be a million missions that are just too small for SHIELD to handle that Bobbi and Hunter could take care of, and it would allow them to focus on a wider variety of cases while SHIELD tackles the big picture stuff. SHIELD will always have to be concerned with the “greater good” because the fate of the world may often be in the balance, perhaps only one step down from the Avengers, but there are lots of people out there who need help and the particular expertise of SHIELD agents and Bobbi and Hunter would be a perfect fit for those. I’m imagining some sort of cross between the A-Team and Angel Investigations, where Bobbi and Hunter are both sent on missions and stumble across those who need help. I think Marvel’s Most Wanted would have to be a lighter, funnier, more “fun” show than the somewhat-serious Agents of SHIELD, which could provide a nice companion piece. I only hope it doesn’t mean that Agent Carter won’t be returning.

From SHIELD’s standpoint, I’m happy they’re leaving even if I’m sad to see them go. SHIELD’s cast has ballooned a lot since its first episodes, with Hunter, Bobbi, Mack, and Lincoln joining as regulars, not to mention a slew of recurring characters who have become a part of the rotation. They’ve all brought something new to the table, and I love that SHIELD can support so many characters and storylines, but I’m fully in support of some trimming. I miss our core team, and especially miss getting to see them all work together, and if spinning Bobbi and Hunter off into their own show allows more of that then I’m all for it. And even though I might have preferred for Lincoln to go just for personal reasons, I can admit that with the Inhumans storyline we’re currently in he serves more of a plot purpose than do Bobbi and Hunter, while Mack has found a new purpose on the show working with Daisy on the Secret Warriors project. So Bobbi and Hunter were the obvious choice, as well as the pair with the most potential when it comes to a spinoff series.

But oh, that final scene! I was emotional when they learned that Simmons was the one who send them the first mystery drink, got choked up when I realized the entire team was there, but I completely lost it with Mack. Mack’s close bond with the pair combined with their shared history means that Mack stands to be hurt the most by their departure, but I was not emotionally prepared to watch him tearfully offer his own toast to Bobbi and Hunter, unable to hug them and tell them how he truly feels. The entire scene was just masterfully executed, one of the best SHIELD has ever done, and yet it was so understated and perfect. It was the ideal way to send these characters off, not saying goodbye but merely thanks, good luck, and goodbye for now. And of course, the tie-in to the episode title was just a little brilliant cherry on top.

What do you think? Did you enjoy “Parting Shot”? Were you surprised that they cut ties with Bobbi and Hunter so soon? Are you excited about Marvel’s Most Wanted? Should they pick a better title that isn’t so close to the last Muppets movie (Mockingbird perhaps)? What are the odds that it gets picked up, considering SHIELD isn’t exactly killing it in the ratings? Do you think SHIELD will benefit from having fewer characters? Did the final scene make you cry? Was it Mack that caused it, or did you start tearing up before then like I did? Wasn’t it great to have the team working together this week? What do you want to see in the next episode? Let me know in the comments!

3 thoughts on “Reaction: Agents of SHIELD – “Parting Shot”

  1. When Mack cries, the world cries with him. That’s not from me. That’s from Chloe Bennet at WonderCon last weekend and she FILMED the scene. It actually took me a while to realize that the scene was really the “parting shot” of the title that brought home any emotion the episode didn’t have already. It was sad, but it was also pleasant since it just represented the love the team has for each other. I would have accepted the scene even if only Simmons gave the shot but it becomes truly masterful when the team does it too. It will definitely be remembered. And yes, I cried too.

    Side note, I enjoyed the running gag of Daisy not knowing Russian. It does, on one angle, doesn’t make sense since, as Bobbi said, they are spies, but it’s one thing that makes Daisy ever-relatable despite her now superhero status. SHIELD has been very accommodating to other locations and races, but language will always be a barrier the team can exploit for fun like Bobbi and May at the bank or Daisy trying to open a door. I just cracked when she responded “de nada.” Perhaps being with Joey and Elena inspired her to learn some Spanish 😉

    If you think about it, while SHIELD’s a part of the MCU, this show almost has its own universe of characters that all have interesting stories. There are characters introduced in season one whom we haven’t seen in a while that added to the world, characters in season two that had their own histories and desires regardless of not being main characters, and even the characters now who play in SHIELD’s theme. I was never 100% behind the idea of a spin-off, but I guess this world would be big enough for one, especially by two who still have a world to introduce us in themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t get that “Parting Shot” referenced the parting shots of alcohol that the team bought Bobbi and Hunter until yesterday when I read someone else’s recap.
      Haha yes! I loved the gag of Daisy not knowing Russian! I should have mentioned it, but honestly with being sick it completely slipped my mind. And the de nada bit totally cracked me up!
      I think the world of Shield is definitely big enough to support another show, the question is whether the network and viewers will ever get behind it.

      Like

  2. grrrrr, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr… just realized SHIELD was back when I saw your blog… and binge watched four episodes.

    Um, what’s happening now?

    Mack seems to have gotten a lot of character development in the last two episodes, hooray. He’s a nice study of complexities: the one guy on the team who actually looks like a superhero, and is not quite comfortable with the action hero stuff (“I hate this stuff” as he says in the Watchdogs episode). The parting shots scene was fabulous, and Mack was the best.

    Surely Marvel can support another show. Carry on Bobbi and Hunter!

    Meanwhile, SHIELD just gets better.

    Like

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