Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Parting Shot

“Is that a mushroom?”

I didn't think this episode would do a thing for me. Instead, it made me cry like a small child whose favorite toy got ruined in the laundry.

After I came down hard on Hunter last week, he was back in full awesome force this week. He didn’t even need an assist from Mack. I think maybe what really appealed to me in this episode was his sarcasm in the face of stony-faced opposition, be that INTERPOL or Melinda May. Every mushroom line made me smile.

I’m not a huge fan of in media res openings. They’re insanely overused and often don’t add anything to an episode. Not so in this case. Not only were they a sharp reminder of the stakes of the mission, they also served to break up what could have easily been a monotonous series of interrogation and negotiation scenes.

Amazingly, despite all the Bobbi and Hunter spinoff news, as I watched the episode, I wasn’t at all sure they would both survive. In fact, it was quite the opposite for a while. I was sure one of them would die, that the spinoff talk would have been a carefully planned ruse to lull the audience into a false sense of security. Either that, or that they’d pull a Legends of Tomorrow and bring the blonde badass back from the dead just to star in the new series. Neither of which make a whole lot of sense, but that’s how convincing the performances were.

Was Bobbi and Hunter’s escape too neat, too easy? Definitely. And it probably would have made for a very unsatisfying ending if they hadn’t included that final scene. A silent acknowledgement from the team that they will never again fight shoulder to shoulder. Mack even cried. Of course, this is Marvel, so I’d be shocked if they didn’t turn up again at some point or if any team member didn’t visit their future show. But, again, the performances were so good that even knowing that this non-final, final goodbye couldn’t keep me from crying.

The bulk of the mission section of the episode was fairly forgettable. A lot of fighting and running and speaking on comms without being overheard by the person standing two feet away from them. There was actual death in the episode, though. And not just at the hands of the bad guys. Both Hunter and Bobbi killed people. In general, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. goes to great lengths to not let the good guys kill people. That’s why they have Icers and Melinda May’s uncanny ability to render people unconscious without permanent brain damage. To see Bobbi and Hunter both shoot to kill was a little jarring. Bobbi, arguably, didn’t have a choice. It was kill the general or let his shadow continue to hurt and probably kill her friends. But did Hunter really need to kill Petrov? Maybe they just did that to show parity, so that neither one of them was wholly innocent here.

It was great having the whole team (minus Lincoln, sorry Lincoln) back together and working seamlessly. Fitz and Simmons doing…science, Daisy hacking and ass-kicking, Mack being the consummate big brother, taking care of his partner, May hitting people, Coulson directing people like he was conducting an orchestra. With a cast so unwieldy, it’s not often we see every single team member (except Lincoln) on the same mission, in the same place, at the same time. It was nice and almost nostalgia-inducing.

Enough glowing praise, on to the things that didn’t work for me. Mostly the tension between May and Hunter. I’m sorry, but I don’t care. I love both characters individually and I care about the relationships they have with others on the team, just not this particular dynamic. It almost couldn’t be more random. It’s like if Mack had suddenly decided to be angry with Simmons. It’s not one of those pairings that drive the show and I found myself in the position of not giving a damn whether they were getting along or not, especially since both made it clear that whatever their emotional state, they weren’t about to let the other get hurt.

Intel and Assets

--Loved the little reminder that only Bobbi and May came through the S.H.I.E.L.D. ranks properly.

--Bobbi answers the question “How long were you married?” with “Which time?” In the comics, she was married to one Clint Barton, who you may have heard of.

Hunter: “Bobbi and I were on holiday, picking mushrooms…”
Duval: “In the woods of Siberia in the dead of winter.”
Hunter: “Do you know a better place to find the jumbo chaga mushroom?”

Malick: “Just think what the United States did for the Native American populations. If we hadn’t created the reservations, they would’ve ben wiped out entirely.”
--I can’t put my finger on it, but I feel like he left something out of the story.

Am I excited for a Bobbi/Hunter spinoff? No. Do I think it’s a great idea? No. Will I watch it? After this episode, probably, yes.

four out of four spy goodbyes
---
sunbunny, who just had something in her eye during the goodbye scene she swears

2 comments:

Marianna said...

I actually enjoyed the Red vs. Blue personality clash between Hunter and May. (Sorry for those of you who aren't familiar with MTG personality types, but please trust me it would take too long to explain.) May finally made Hunter realize that thinking of the greater good IS thinking of the people you care about. As someone who gets annoyed by Red personalities, I thought that was obvious but completely realistic that that would have never occurred to him before.

migmit said...

Yawn.

OK, let's start with the Russian stuff here, just to get it over with. Almost all lines in Russian, and even writings, were very incorrect. Bobbi's accent is, of course, terrible. But this is usual (although I do wonder, why they couldn't hire some native Russian to translate for them; I know, I'll do it for 100$, if asked).

But what made me cringe was the mix of "opposition" and "minister". In Russia this things don't mix. If you're in opposition, you're not in power. Especially — defence minister. Come on, that just can't happen.

OK, back to non-Russian stuff. Unfortunately, there are problems here as well. Bobbi and Hunter are just released? With a vague promise that they won't be government employees ever? What?

And that promise is for some reason binding? Even when they already lied that they WEREN'T government employees to begin with? Why don't they just get back to work for S.H.I.E.L.D.? OK, maybe without getting in the field — which, by the way, was Coulson's original plan?

And the final scene. OK, when two of your friends change jobs, that is somewhat sad. But they played it like an end of the world. Guys, come on, they were in Russian prison, and you can't even show some happiness that by some miracle they've made it out it one piece (or is it two pieces, since there are two of them?)? They weren't even fired; they quit.

Why so serious?