Agents of SHIELD: “Parting Shot” Recap and Review

“Parting Shot” – The Recap

I was pleasantly surprised by this week’s episode of Agents of SHIELD, “Parting Shot.” As far as spy stories go, it was a pretty standard one: American spies in Siberia must work without the assistance of their agency to win the day.

In terms of the ongoing plot of the show, Morse and Hunter have tailed Gideon Malick and Anton Petrov to Siberia where plans for the Russian Inhumans sanctuary are discussed. Unfortunately for Malick and Petrov, the Russian Prime Minister Dimitri Olshenko doesn’t support Russia’s involvement in the Inhuman sanctuary. Prime Minister Olshenko’s reluctance to build and oversee the sanctuary upsets an opposition member of Russia’s Federal Assembly. This opposition member, General Androvich, is an Inhuman as well as a Russian minister and has the superhuman ability to project a sentient shadow composed of darkforce, or Zero Matter depending on what century you’re in. The team fights valiantly against Petrov and Malick’s forces, and is able to both defend Olshenko from being the victim of a coup d’état and eliminate Androvich.

Unfortunately, Morse and Hunter are taken captive at the close of the mission, Hunter for killing Petrov to protect Olshenko and Morse for killing Androvich. In classic film noir style, “Parting Shot” opens on Morse and Hunter being interrogated after their capture, the audience being filled in piecemeal on how the two got into their predicament.

Parting Shot
Director Coulson shares a “Parting Shot” with outgoing SHIELD agents Morse and Hunter

After extensive interrogation by the Russian authorities and Interpol during which the agencies attempt to coerce Morse and Hunter into admitting that they were working for SHIELD, the pair are eventually released by the Russians. Alas, their release comes at a hefty price. In order to keep the revival of SHIELD secret, Morse and Hunter must personally take the blame for the deaths of the Petrov and Olshenko. Their covers blown, Hunter and Morse will never be able to work as field agents in SHIELD again. Rather than take desk jobs, the pair decide to leave SHIELD altogether.

Morse and Hunter’s departure leads to an emotionally overblown final scene in which Coulson, Daisy, May, Fitz, Simmons, and Mac all buy Morse, Hunter, and themselves shots. They don’t drink these shots together though, they drink them from separate parts of the bar utilizing the long distance cheers in what Morse identifies as the “spy’s goodbye.”

"Parting Shot"
A teary-eyed Mac will miss Mockingbird most of all

“Parting Shot” – My Critique

The thing that makes “Parting Shot” stand out more than other episodes this season is that it featured some out-and-out espionage. Although any permutation of the Marvel universe should involve super-powers and super-powered people, a show about the people who work for Marvel’s foremost spy agency should involve super-spies doing the things super-spies do. “Parting Shot” was an example of what Agents of SHIELD should try to be consistently. This show’s concept works best when it’s about a tightly-knit group of super-spies outfoxing members of a global terrorist organization. That this particular group of super-spies is named SHIELD and that the terrorist organization they fight is named Hydra shouldn’t mean that the show should feel like a knock-off of The Avengers or a lead-up to Inhumans. It’s a show about super-spies, some of them with super-powers, so I’m interested in seeing a super spy show, and though I’m happy Agents of SHIELD is set in the MCU–in fact I want there to be more Marvel properties on the show–, I don’t want that to be the show’s single defining trait. Only time will tell how the departure of two members of the team will affect the show, but let’s hope that Mockingbird’s departure could mean we’ll see the introduction of another Marvel property.

Michael Bedford
Michael Bedford
Under intense scrutiny by the Temporal Authorities, I was coerced into actualizing my capsule in this causality loop. Through no fault of my own, I am marooned on this dangerous yet lovely level-four civilization. Stranded here, I have spent most of my time learning what I can of the social norms and oddities of the Terran species, including how to properly use the term "Hipster" and how to perform a "perfect pour." Under the assumed name of "Michael Bedford," I have completed BA's with specialized honours in both theatre studies and philosophy, and am currently saving up for enough galactic credits to buy a new--or suitably used--temporal contextualizer ... for a friend.