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
- Next episode
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 3
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. home
- Watch this episode or the entire season on Amazon now