Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap and Review: "Parting Shots"

Wednesday, 23 March 2016 - 1:49PM
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Wednesday, 23 March 2016 - 1:49PM
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap and Review: "Parting Shots"
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Big spoilers for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season three follow!


This week sees the departure of Agents Bobbi Morse and Lance Hunter in an emotional ending that left us misty-eyed (ok fine, there were tears). "Parting Shots", aka "I'm Not Crying, You're Crying," sets the stage for the Agents of SHIELD spin-off, Marvel's Most Wanted. Bobbi and Lance were the main focus of the episode, which dealt with their loyalty to each other and to SHIELD, with an added spotlight on Bobbi's serious secret agent skills, Hunter's comedic quips, and the fantastic chemistry between the two characters.
 
The episode took a step back from Hive's rise to ultimate villainhood this week to focus on the departure of our dearly beloved power couple. The two are caught and interrogated in an attempt to prevent Malick from staging a coup in Siberia in order to gain the upper hand in controlling the Inhumans. The proposed "sanctuary" for Inhumans would likely serve as more of a prison camp, especially since the potential for Inhumans to serve as human weapons makes them a valuable commodity.

Malick is eager to control this source of power, referring to Inhumans as "the key to our survival", so he brings in an Inhuman Russian general (the "world's first Inhuman politician") to assassinate the prime minister. This particular Inhuman seems to have an affinity for the Vader stranglehold, except that he manages to choke his victims from the inside using his bare hands. He pulls this off by controlling his own shadow like an evil Peter Pan—if Peter Pan's shadow were made of sentient Darkforce. (This was a nice nod to Agent Carter's second season, and once again connects the show to the greater MCU as we'll be seeing more of Darkforce in the upcoming Doctor Strange film.) Obviously, this ability makes him difficult to fight, and the only way to subdue the shadow is to get to the general himself. In order to stop this Inhuman equivalent of Melisandre's murderous shadow baby from killing Lance, Bobbi wastes no time killing the general. If Lance's life hadn't been in immediate danger, she probably would have tried to subdue the general without killing him, but as it was, she couldn't let anything happen to Lance.

Bobbi and Lance's greatest weaknesses really are each other, but even so, they steadfastly refused to give up SHIELD when under interrogation for killing the general. To prevent the Russian prime minister from finding out about the continued existence of SHIELD, Bobbi and Lance nobly sacrifice themselves and cut all ties to SHIELD. With the high tensions and political ramifications of working with Inhumans, it's more important than ever that SHIELD's work is kept a secret. If the prime minister found out that the American government was allowing SHIELD to continue to operate and gather Inhumans, it could start another Cold War. The use of Inhumans as soldiers and the potential for a cure are both hugely important factors this season, with the show taking on international relations and the struggle for world power. This week reminds us that a bigger picture approach combined with character-driven emotional storytelling is part of what Agents of SHIELD does best.
 
With energetic fight scenes, complex relationships, moral qualms, and teary goodbyes, "Parting Shots" was a decent exit for Bobbi and Lance, if a little rushed. Granted, Adrianne Palicki and Nick Blood had to start filming for Marvel's Most Wanted, but it would have been nice to have given them more time to delve into the more complex reasons behind their decision to leave the team. It was only in the last couple episodes that Hunter really started talking about his qualms with the lifestyle of being a SHIELD agent.

But if we didn't get to see much of the process leading up to their exit, we'll certainly be seeing the repercussions. It's difficult to imagine the show without the couple's endearing banter and "Amadeus Ravenclaw Hunter's" snappy one-liners and outsider perspective. Not to mention, the loss of Agent Morse means that Agent May is now the only fully trained Agent with a high level of expertise and a diverse skill set (such as the mastery of multiple languages). Still, seeing the team dealing with their departure will allow for more time develop the other characters in the show. Losing Bobbi will have an especially big impact on Mack, so hopefully this will be a stepping stone for further character development, since he's still occasionally left in the margins of the consequential action of the show.
 
It was definitely an emotional goodbye this week, probably because it was a goodbye for the cast as well, with Adrianne Palicki and Nick Blood heading off to work on Marvel's Most Wanted. I'm looking forward to the spin-off and have no idea what to expect at this point, but it will be interesting to see how the pair holds up without the team. I'm sort of hoping the show will be a succession of fabulous romantic vacations-turned-solo spy missions, but for now we'll just have to wait and see.
 
The end of the episode introduced Boothe's daughter who seems a little overly fond of Hive, so we'll probably see that develop a bit more in next week's episode. Daisy seems a little intense in the promo as she faces off with a terrorist group called the Watchdogs. She's continuing to get uncomfortably close to a Magneto storyline with her increasingly aggressive defense of and protectiveness over the Inhumans.
 
 

Best Lines

 
"I'd like a cheeseburger."
 
"Are those mushrooms?" "For the soup."
 
"What are the chances he just tripped and fell and wrapped himself in a nice comfy tarp?"
 
"The letter that looks like New Hampshire with legs,  that's "D", right?
 
"De nada." "Pretty sure that's not Russian." "Whatever."
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