Official synopsis for Parting Shot:
“Bobbi and Hunter become ensnared in an assassination plot after tracking Malick to Russia.”
Parting Shot may have been the thirteenth episode in season 3, but felt much more like a back-door pilot for the show’s proposed spin-off, “Marvel’s Most Wanted”. Although enjoyable, showcasing the great dynamic and chemistry between Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki) and Hunter (Nick Blood), this episode did little in terms of furthering the ongoing plot.
The episode opens on Bobbi being interrogated in a Russian prison, showcasing her defiance under pressure, in a scene oddly reminiscent of that in the season 2 finale. The story then shifts to the previous day, with the episode jumping between timelines in a manner that seemed much better utilized in the season 1 episode, Tracks. For a show that seems to adjust its own canon fairly often, there were a remarkable number of references to seasons past this week.
Bobbi and Hunter are shown surveying a Russian compound, waiting for the rest of the team to arrive. In one of the most entertaining moments of the episode, they start to question how much time they have for themselves, versus sacrificing for SHIELD. It dawns on them that they’ve never even taken a vacation together. Hints of their departure started here, and were scattered liberally throughout the episode.
During Parting Shot, Gideon Malick acts the puppet-master once again, and one has to wonder if SHIELD are ever going to gain the upper hand here. As part of his ongoing scheme to set up an Inhuman sanctuary (which the team conclude will be a prison) Malick stages a coup to take down the Russian Prime Minister. What SHIELD isn’t expecting is a Russian General who is an Inhuman, capable of manifesting a “sentient darkforce”. After a resounding beating, the team concludes that this shadow is indestructible. Bobbi ultimately identifies that the only way out is to kill the General himself, pulling the trigger just in time to save Hunter. It is entirely understandable although rather jarring in a show that continues to preach ‘everyone deserves a second chance’.
This episode serves to remind us that Hunter and Bobbi would do anything for the ones they love. Having turned on Bobbi last season for “betraying” SHIELD, Hunter then deliberately walked into a trap to save her, leading to their reconciliation. Hunter then embarked upon a mission to get revenge on Ward, even being prepared to sacrifice Andrew Garner in the process. May confronts Hunter during this mission in a somewhat confusing scene, saying that Hunter isn’t willing to let his friends die for the greater good. Given May’s unwillingness to give up on Andrew earlier in the season, this scene was somewhat jarring.
I’m hoping that in the promised spinoff series, Marvel’s Most Wanted, Hunter’s issues with SHIELD are taken more seriously. As a man who was a soldier and then a mercenary, the secrecy of the spy life would be unsettling, and it would be great to see that conflict explored. The possibility of exploring their pasts is exciting, because the two play beautifully off each other.
Bobbi and Hunter finally conclude that the only way of not exposing SHIELD’s involvement is by the two being disavowed. There are several bizarre sequences with half the characters denying SHIELD’s ongoing existence whilst the rest clearly know it’s still very much around. Ultimately, everyone seems to just have an unspoken agreement that they’ll all pretend SHIELD isn’t a black-ops agency operating without oversight, so long as Bobbi and Hunter leave.
A highlight for me from Parting Shot was the spy’s goodbye. The scene was full of emotion from the and I applaud the actors for their execution of it. The hardest hitting goodbye to witness was Mack’s, although it would have been nice to see some interaction between the three earlier in the episode, given that they had an established relationship prior to joining this version of SHIELD.
The tag scene warrants a quick mention as we meet Malick’s daughter. She appears to be even more committed to Hive’s cause than her father, almost giving off the air of a zealot. What connection does she actually have with the Inhuman? Is she going to play a large role in the show’s mythology of Hydra?
Let us know what you thought about Parting Shot and this farewell to Bobbi and Hunter in the comments below, or hit us up on Twitter!