Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 3×13: “Parting Shot”

Banner by the Collected Mutineer
Banner by the Collected Mutineer

Okay so things are starting to heat up in the SHIELD headquarters. There’s a new big bad Inhuman on the loose, who’s sporting the corpse of Grant Ward, Hydra is rising again, and tensions are really beginning to rise between humankind and the “enhanced.” Spoilers ahead. 

Synopsis Screenshot 2016-03-23 15.45.04

“Parting Shot” is told in a nonlinear timeline: the “present” being an interrogation of Bobbi and Hunter by the Russian government, and the “past” being 31 hours prior, when they first arrived in Russia. Team SHIELD had tracked Malick to Russia after the failed symposium in Taiwan, and Bobbi is sent undercover into the base, since she is the only team member who speaks fluent Russian. She quickly realizes that not only is Malick planning to create a “state” for Inhumans, but that he will overthrow the current Russian prime minister to do so. Malick has planned an assassination of the prime minister at the hands of an Inhuman, who is also a Russian general.

Such an event would amp up the current “alien threat” to a level 11.

Coulson quickly devises a plan to save the prime minister, and though Team SHIELD is able to create a diversion and get the prime minister away in time, they are unable to defeat the Inhuman without blowing their cover. In the end, it’s Bobbi’s choice to shoot the general, and although Hunter was protecting the prime minister, both are arrested and held by the Russian government.

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Both Bobbi and Hunter, though they are separated, give the same cover story of “we were on vacation” when they are questioned. We realize that neither of them know that the other is alive, and when they are finally reunited, their emotional conversation reveals that neither of them expect to make it out of this.

President Ellis and Coulson both intervene, and manage to “convince” the Russian prime minister that Bobbi and Hunter are not agents for the U.S. government, and will never be agents because SHIELD doesn’t exist.

In a word, Agents Morse and Hunter are “disavowed.”

Where We’re Headed

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Malick is playing the political game, and he’s playing for keeps. This episode acknowledges that the Marvel universe is in a new kind of arms race a la the Cold War, but this time, the race is for “powered” individuals.

To Malick and others like him, it doesn’t matter that superhero groups like the Avengers protects all of humanity, and that such an arms race is unnecessary for the protection of Earth. In the end, Malick’s purpose is not to help anyone, Inhuman or otherwise, but rather to dominate and control power in whatever form it takes. If SHIELD’s purpose is to use power to protect, then Malick’s is to corrupt, and both are very thinly veiled allegories for our own universe.

A Spy’s Goodbye

While I knew that Mockingbird would be getting her own series, and that Hunter would be joining her, I was unprepared for the sheer onslaught of feels I would get at the prospect of them saying goodbye so soon. Perhaps, this biggest sucker punch to my emotions was that Daisy, Mack, May, and the rest of the SHIELD crew were unable to vocalise their goodbye because to do so would be to put Bobbi and Hunter in danger.

So instead, we have a spy’s goodbye: a silent raising of glasses to friends and colleagues who must move on.

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For my part, I am never ready to say goodbye to Adrianne Palicki. Ever. 

-The Collectress

P.S. Don’t worry–Bobbi and Hunter will be back in Marvel’s Most Wanted on ABC.

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