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TV Review: Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3.13 “Parting Shot”
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Agents Of SHIELD Season 3 Episode 13 Parting Shot Cover

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Season 3 Episode 13: “Parting Shot”
Directed by Michael Zinberg
Written by Paul Zbyszewski
Created by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen
Starring Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Nick Blood, Adrianne Palicki, Henry Simmons, Luke Mitchell, Powers Boothe, William Sadler, Ravil Isyanov, Kristof Konrad, Ivo Nandi, Bethany Joy Lenz, Endre Hules
ABC
Air Date: Tuesday, March 22, 2016, 9pm

This week leading up to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s: Parting Shot episode has been filled with promotions hinting that it would be a “game changer.” Before spoiling it for you, I will say that Marvel and ABC were right: this episode has huge implications in the Marvel TV world.

Read more below for a spoiler-filled review of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode 3.13.

To begin, I want to mention an issue I had with this episode, although I do feel that it was an overall success. There was a fair amount of flashing back and forth in time from 30+ hours earlier to present. Sometimes this creative storytelling tactic works, but this time, it was simply not necessary and frankly, confusing. As a viewer, I wanted to follow what was happening, but the plot felt as if it were thrown about, jerking me around as I held on for the ride. Although it was choppy in various parts, this S.H.I.E.L.D. installment was still powerfully character-driven, emotional, and surprising.

In summary, a S.H.I.E.L.D. surveillance mission turns into much more and an international disaster/scandal is avoided thanks to the dedication of our favorite behind-the-scenes-heroes. Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki) and Hunter (Nick Blood) are in Siberia spying on Gideon Malick (Powers Boothe) and the Russian representative on the Inhuman Council. Malick stirs up sentiments in the group against the anti-Inhuman Prime Minister (who does not support the sanctuary) and convinces the group to allow an Inhuman Russian General to kill the P.M. Back in Russia, the S.H.I.E.L.D. team infiltrates the base and ultimately, Bobbi shoots and kills the General before he can assassinate the Prime Minister. Regardless of the consequences, she makes the hard call, which allows the rest of her team (besides Hunter) to escape.

The theme of this chapter is unequivocally the exploration of what it means to be a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. There is some dissonance among the team about this, especially between Hunter, May (Ming-Na Wen), and Bobbi. If you have kept up with the show, you may be already guessing where the three stand: Hunter puts people and emotions first, while May and Bobbi almost always choose the greater good as the paramount goal. Hunter’s personality has always set him apart from the rest of the group; sometimes he gets in his own way, while other times, his best characteristics (personal loyalty, love, humor in the face of danger, passion) influence his peers…especially the love of his life, Bobbi. It doesn’t help matters that Director Coulson often blurs the lines between choosing mission over people or people over mission.

We finally see some long-awaited closure between May and Hunter regarding the incident earlier this season in which his blind revenge against Ward (Brett Dalton) put himself, May, and Andrew (Blaire Underwood) in mortal danger. Hunter has never felt like he was a part of the team, and thus far, it has been clear that he has done it all for Bobbi (and his friends). May has repeatedly said they are not friends, which is not entirely true, but it reflects her commitment to the mission as well as her fear of emotional attachment (because of past trauma, i.e. Bahrain and Andrew). Hunter tells May that he does everything for those next to him, but May says she puts the mission first, no questions asked. Hunter replies, “I don’t know whether to admire you, feel sad for you, or both.”

This conversation perfectly sets up the final act by both Hunter and Bobbi. After saving the P.M., Russia’s leader is not grateful or forthcoming. He walks away and allows authorities to burst in and arrest the two operatives. Neither crack under questioning (we get our dose of humor from Hunter, who discusses his culinary expertise in the perfect mushroom soup in minute detail) and, in the end, they avoid an international political uproar by refusing to identify themselves as part of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with any association with the U.S. Government. They can no longer be part of the team, as that would implicate the United States in the deaths of three Russian government officials, but they are, in turn, allowed to walk free.

The closing scene is very well-written and expertly directed. Bobbi and Hunter sit in a bar making an attempt at a light-hearted conversation about where they should go next. The server brings over a free shot and tells them they have an admirer. They look up and see Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge). “It’s the spy’s goodbye,” Bobbi realizes. One by one, shots are added to the center of their little table, and they make eye contact with Fitz (Iaian De Caestecker), May, Daisy (Chloe Bennet), Mack (Henry Simmons), and Coulson (Clark Gregg). Tears fill everyone’s eyes (INCLUDING MINE–DON’T TELL!) as they nod, raise their glasses, and drink, non-verbally expressing their love and admiration for one another. Mack, who is closest with the two of anyone, saves his shot for the very end and shares it with them from afar.

Fans don’t have to cry for too long, though! Bobbi and Hunter will be part of the new series, Marvel’s Most Wanted on ABC, premiering later this year. My guess is that we’ll be seeing them back with the group in one way or another in the near future.

S.H.I.E.L.D.ed Observations:

– There was a random guy (or perhaps not so random) sitting at the bar, staring at the Bobbi and Hunter a ways down in the their final scene. Who the heck is he? The fact that the camera focused on him multiple times makes me think he’s probably going to be involved in their upcoming spinoff.

– The closing scene of the episode shows Gideon Malick, shooting birds outside of a secluded cabin. His daughter, played by Bethany Joy Lenz, is with him. She actually seems to be the focus of the scene, as she’s extremely knowledgable of S.H.I.E.L.D. and even Ward’s new internal companion. Why is she so important? Will she make some sort of power grab from her father, trying to become the new head of Hydra? Only time will tell.

Videos

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3×13 Promo “Parting Shot”

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3×13 Sneak Peek “Parting Shot”

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