Review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “The Parting Shot”

In which Damian and Hanna chat about the latest episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with all the spoilers.

Damian: So that was better than the last episode. It was pretty average. Which is a little sad since it seems to be our last episode with Bobbi and Hunter as core cast.

Hanna: So let’s start there. Bobbi and Hunter left because otherwise they would have had to admit that S.H.I.E.L.D. still exists.

Damian: I think so? They were compromised by the Russian government.

Hanna: So here’s the problem: I’m sure that if I went back and watched carefully I could figure out what made this different from other political situations they’ve gotten into and exactly why it had to end this way…

Damian: I’m guessing that the mitigating factor is “it’s Russia”? That seems to be what they were going for. Let’s give a quick rundown of what happened, because it’s real easy actually.

Hanna: Go for it.

Damian: So Bobbi and Hunter followed Malick to Russia, where Malick is trying to incite a coup.

Hanna: And put an Inhuman in charge of Russia

Damian: A Russian Inhuman former KGB assassin. From then on the plot is them trying to save the prime minister of Russia from being killed and replaced by said assassin. They do that, but they are compromised in the process.

Hanna: Bobbi and Hunter are captured and the way to get them out is for them to continue pretending to be tourists and now they can never be with S.H.I.E.L.D. again? Even after they get out?

Damian: They could have fleshed it out more. They were on file now?

Hanna: Does the American government have a list of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents now that it doesn’t technically exist?

Damian: I don’t know.

Hanna: It worked this way because the plot needed it. There was enough handwaving to sort of make it work. And the were in Russia. It was fine.

Damian: It was staggeringly average. The spy stuff was pretty slapdash and not very tense. We knew we weren’t losing Malick. And we’ll see what sort of trouble happens with Malick that would have been prevented if they’d taken him out. He’s the last head of Hydra! They don’t know about Ward!

Hanna: But Coulson has a feeling.

Damian: That’s not enough to justify it. They needed another reason not to shoot Malick.

Hanna: The entire episode was basically this, so there aren’t any subplots to talk about. We did get a new Inhuman to fight.

Damian: Clumsily set up, clumsily enacted, and clumsily resolved.

Hanna: It’s bad when the super special agent team are sitting around going: “What do we do?” And the audience is like: “Hit him in his normal body!” Especially since they already had an Inhuman with the same sort of idea — the woman who could make copies of herself: the trick was to hit her in her main body. It’s the same sort of idea and really they took too long on that one.

Damian: Literally three agents are caught flat-footed. So, we didn’t like a bit of the middle of this or their big fight. We did like Bobbi and Hunter in the bar.

Hanna: Yes, that was sweet.

Damian: It was sweet, a little maudlin. They didn’t do anything like it for characters who had actually died.

Hanna: They did a scene like that for Tripp. They were all sitting around drinking and telling stories.

Damian: Okay, yeah. A ‘spy’s farewell’ was a nice line, but what happened before that didn’t feel much like a spy operation. This was the second episode in a row that was a spy operation that didn’t feel at all like a spy operation.

Hanna: One thing I really appreciated was the interrogation. Interrogation and torture often get conflated in pop culture and it was nice to see them not go the torture route.

Damian: It might be cool to see a bit more ‘spy’ stuff. Something more understated.

Hanna: I enjoy that Hunter’s cover is his memorized mushroom soup recipe. That was fun. My last issue was with May and Hunter’s argument over shooting Ward when Andrew was in danger. The problem wasn’t that she was still pissed. It was that her argument centered around sacrificing themselves and their loved ones for the greater good. But she was angry because he put her loved one in danger. It made no sense. Like in a badly written or badly edited way.

Damian: Whatever the case, it may be the most inane version of that conversation we’ve had to date in the show.

Hanna: Anyway. I’m sorry to see Bobbi and Hunter go, because I like them.

Damian: I can’t disapprove of the cast getting tighter.

Hanna: I think we’re going to miss their lightness and banter. Losing the back and forth might be a little rough.

Damian: I think maybe they are trying to transition back to the original core cast. A stronger focus on them may be good. It might also be making room for Joey and Elena.

Hanna: I would be very much on board for that.

Damian: It wasn’t great, but there were some scenes that made it fun to watch. I liked Hunter escorting the prime minister out, bantering and shooting. I also like the very end. We get a scene where Malick is shooting clay pigeons and his daughter walks up. She looks like the socialite she is. And she does something pretty cool.

Hanna: She walks up and asks about his day and Russia and Ward and S.H.I.E.L.D.

Damian: Meaning that she is ‘Malick junior’. She’s being groomed to be the next in line, which is cool. He actually seems to like her. Malick is interesting for once. I hope they don’t undercut that by having her kill him or something.

Hanna: It would be neat to see a father/daughter supervillain team. We’ll see what they do next week!

Hanna and Damian will return next week to discuss the next episode of Marvel’s Agent’s of S.H.I.E.L.D.