Agents of SHIELD: Parting Shot

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Not the happiest bar scene

There’s a big change coming for the Agents of SHIELD in “Parting Shot.” There’s a lot of tense plotting, with cuts back and forth between now and several hours in the past. The number of hours ago each segment takes place gets smaller with each flashback, making a sort of countdown to “How did we get here?”

The show opens in an Interpol black site. Both Bobbi and Hunter have apparently been captured, and are being questioned separately. Clearly, events after we last saw them, stowed away on Malik’s plane, have not gone well. They are both uncooperative with the agent interviewing them, with a few entertaining wisecracks from each. There are some good lines from both our heroes, and an increasingly exasperated agent.

Evidently, Malik’s plane landed in Siberia, and quickly got his stowaways enmeshed in a complicated plot. There are politics in play, the question of the Russian Inhuman “refuge” and you can bet that, whatever Malik is up to, it’s not going to be good for SHIELD or the Inhumans in general. As scenes cut back and forth, there’s an amusing running joke about Hunter and Bobbi having never actually taken a trip together that wasn’t work related.

Coulson manages to get some support to Bobbi and Hunter, but their attempts to find out what’s going on don’t go smoothly. May still distrusts Hunter, which puts some more pressure on everyone. Daisy finds her hacking skills aren’t as much use when not only is the system older than she is, but she can’t even read the keyboard. Bobbi is surprised to learn she’s the only one of them that speaks Russian.

Eventually, what comes to light is a schism within the Russian government that Malik is trying to make use of for himself. Events are complicated by the reveal that one of the Russians involved is an Inhuman himself. His power makes it hard for the team to fight him, and some drastic measures are called for. A portion of the man’s power involved “Dark Matter,” which as “Zero Matter” was part of the most recent season of Agent Carter, and will likely figure in the upcoming Dr. Strange movie.

As the past finally catches up with the present, there’s a diplomatic nightmare brewing. SHIELD officially doesn’t exist anymore, but their records went public in Winter Soldier, so the Russians know who Bobbi and Hunter are. Finally, to prevent a major incident, there’s only one way to resolve things. It was a surprise, and led to a touching scene near the end of the episode. I believe this is also set up for another Marvel project I’ve been hearing and reading about. There’s another small end scene which shows us a bit about Malik’s family life.

What I liked: The action scenes were good. I liked the dialogue with Bobbi and Hunter. Coulson did a good job of handling an ugly situation. Malik is a bad guy, but a smart one, and he’s going to be hard for SHIELD to beat. The goodbye scene near the end was very nicely done.

What I didn’t: The crisis that resulted in the farewell seemed a little bit of a stretch to get them where they waned to be at the end.

I think this was a well done episode. I’ll give them a 3.5 out of 5 for the show. Hopefully, we’ll see some more developments with the things they set up here in the near future.

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