Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD – Season 3 Episode 13
Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD explores the idea of an Inhuman nation and waves goodbye to two of the more interesting characters on the show.
It was announced a while ago that Marvel and ABC were developing a spinoff for this show called Marvel’s Most Wanted that would focus on Bobbi on Hunter on the run. This is the episode that sets this up by having these characters leave to pursue their own stories.
Normally I don’t get on well with backdoor pilots as they generally feel like a waste of an episode of the show that created the potential spinoff. This happened during the 9th season of Supernatural and many episodes of The Flash and Arrow this season have felt like setup for another show. Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD is slightly different as the characters being spun off are integral to the show at this point so having an episode focused on them just before they make their exit doesn’t automatically feel forced.
The issue I do have is that Bobbi and Hunter are so integral to the show that their loss will be a significant one. I like the other characters but Bobbi and Hunter consistently make the whole thing better. Hunter in particular with a breath of fresh air when he was introduced so I’m not sure how the show will fare without them being there.
This episode is a perfect reminder of why these characters are so good. I liked that the episode was structured around their interrogation with flashbacks to the events that got them there. Each transition built tension for the other story and everything seemed to happen organically rather than make me think “what’s the point, I know they’re going to get captured anyway”. The interrogation scenes were a really good reminded of what these characters mean to one another as their resolve only dips when the other one is threatened. I especially enjoyed Adrianne Palicki’s stoic performance until Hunter was mentioned and made her break her silence. Hunter took the other approach by trying to appear idiotic until his tone changed when Bobbi was mentioned. It’s a great way to show the relationship between these characters without actually having them interact.
When they did interact the writing was very strong as well. The contrast between being on a spy mission and talking as a couple was really well done by them having a discussion about their lack of vacations together while attempting to collect information. Hunter’s irritation at the way S.H.I.E.L.D. seems to work as an organisation and the outcomes of most of the mission is further developed from last week when he points out that he thinks it’s stupid that they are spying on Malick rather than simply killing him. He also talks about allying with Ward after he betrayed them as being bad leadership on Coulson’s part. Basically he’s pretty uncomfortable with the way things are and definitely wants a change of pace. Bobbi on the other hand believes in what she does and sees it all as acceptable compromise to get the mission done. It might seem like she has been indoctrinated into the S.H.I.E.L.D. way of thinking but she has been written with enough agency to seem sincere in her beliefs and her reasons for having them.
The mission itself was really well done with excellent set design of the Russian facility and I liked the twist of Malick only humouring the plan to build a reservation of Inhumans to provide an opportunity to assassinate the Russian Prime Minister and stage a coup. It shows that Malick’s plans are bigger than the simple national rivalries that go on in the world and it reminds me a lot of the Red Skull’s views in Captain America: The First Avenger come to think of it. I wonder what Hive will have to say about that.
At any rate the Inhumans are being established as essentially the next version of the nuke when it comes to global politics. It’s an arms race between nations to build a power base of people with superpowers to defend their borders. Malick’s plan seems to be establishing his own nation rather than having any allegiance to other power. Absolute power seems to be his goal which will probably bring him into conflict with whatever Hive has planned as I said above. I like the way it’s going and further development should be interesting.
I loved the assassination attempt with a dark-force shadow Inhuman attempting to kill the Prime Minister and the S.H.I.E.L.D. team attempting to stop it. The action was incredibly well choreographed and the visual effects were excellent. Bobbi and Daisy’s battle with the shadow was a particular highlight with some real tension in the fight itself.
Bobbi and Hunter’s exit was handled incredibly well. There seemed to be no other choice but to completely disavow them and let them go it alone. As far as the Russian Prime Minister knows S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn’t exist and President Ellis says that they don’t work for any government organisation so as far as anyone knows they acted completely alone. They are allowed to leave because their actions saved the Russian Prime Minister’s life and removed all of his opposition but they can’t ever be associated with S.H.I.E.L.D. or the United States Government so they are on their own. It all makes sense and there’s a lot of regret from Coulson who doesn’t want to lose them but also respects their choice.
The goodbye scene where the rest of the team bought them drinks without directly interacting with them was excellent. Bobbi calls it a “spy’s goodbye” and it completely works as a way to show respect without being seen in public with them. So much was conveyed through the facial expressions of the entire cast with particular attention to be paid to Adrianne Palicki playing Bobbi have her resolve slowly crumble until a tear rolls down her cheek. It was an incredibly emotional moment and gave these characters an appropriate exit that showed how much of a profound effect they’ve had on the others. Mack having the longest lingering look was fitting as he has spent more time with them. It was really powerful stuff and definitely a better choice than having a tearful goodbye with sentimental dialogue. This was subtle and understated which made it perfect. Can the show survive without them? I have my doubts. It’s a shame that the impact was somewhat lessened by Malick and his daughter (Bethany Joy Lenz) clay pigeon shooting. The episode should have ended with the goodbye especially since this scene didn’t provide any worthwhile information that couldn’t wait.
A solid episode that gave Bobbi and Hunter an appropriately powerful goodbye worthy of their contribution to the series. Their big goodbye moment was nicely done and incredibly emotional to show the impact they have had on the rest of the characters. The mission to investigate Malick and eventually stop an assassination attempt was really well done with some great fight choreography and impressive visual effects. I wonder if this show can survive the loss of two characters that have been so integral to the series.
- Bobbi and Hunter having an appropriate exit
- excellent fight choreography and special effects
- that goodbye scene
- the impact of the goodbye being lessened by a pointless tacked on scene