Sometimes I consider Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to be bi-polar, since its shifts in quality can go from simply fine to very good at the drop of a hat. Tonight’s positive swing from last week’s episode can be attributed to any number of points I highlight during this recap, mostly in that it addresses a lot of the weaknesses of the season in one fell swoop. Bobbi and Hunter’s whacky adventures in Serbia, hot on the trail of the villainous Gideon Malick, begin with time shifting between the pair being interrogated by a Russian agent in the present, and having just been captured 34 hours earlier in the past after completing their mission.
I’ve always been a big fan of Adrianne Palicki and Nick Blood’s characters of Bobbi/Mockingbird and Hunter. Their charisma and chemistry with one another has always been a big selling point of what sets the duo apart from the rest of the agents, and obviously the folks at Marvel Television/ABC took note of this as well. With the pair headlining the spin off to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. entitled, Marvel’s Most Wanted, it was unclear how the pair would leave the show, or if in fact they would leave at all. With this episode, we’re given our answer, and Hunter and Bobbi are given a really meaningful, well-thought-out send off. There could have been a thousand different ways to have given a bon voyage to both characters, but the more subdued approach that they ultimately decided on felt earned.
In the episode, we continue to timeskip from different periods, which to be honest got a tad confusing when it first showed us the present, then the past, then a time that was further back in the past where the main chunk of the story was. Bobbi and Hunter manage to reconnect with the rest of the team aboard the ship, and lay out a strategy for a plan of attack on the Serbian stronghold. Past the superpowers, Inhumans, and world-ending alien scenarios, having a nice espionage story for the agents to tackle is a breath of fresh air. It uses nearly every cast member to great effect, whether that be Daisy attempting to blast away an Inhuman antagonist with her abilities, or May working in the shadows with Hunter on gaining more intel, and the episode gets back into the strengths of the series.
Powers Boothe continues to do an excellent job as the villainous Gideon Malick here, having a particularly twisted conversation — with the gentleman attempting to create the “Inhuman Sanctuary” — about how ultimately the Europeans wiping out Native Americans in the US was the best thing for them. Malick of course is attempting to use the sanctuary as a means to simply collect all the Inhumans to create an army of them and/or feed them to Hive, still bouncing around in the basement. In this attempt to create his new world, he takes out the Russian Prime Minister’s attache and lies in wait for the man himself to stage a coup of his own. Boothe, like Bill Paxton, Brett Dalton, and many other S.H.I.E.L.D. villains, has a good handle on the antagonist role, and is luckily able to chew up scenery with the best of them.
While the team begins to descend on the stronghold to save the Prime Minister, Malick has an ace up his sleeve in the form of the “world’s first Inhuman politician,” a Russian general with shadow powers. Now, I think that the Inhumans have become a bit too much of a focus this season, eating up time that could be delegated to more worthy causes, but when there are some cool effects to bolster the concept, it works all the better. The “Shadow General” makes for an interesting and neat effect for the Agents to grapple with, especially the fight that’s set up for Daisy and Bobbi to keep them busy. Straight from Game of Thrones, combating a shadow being who seemingly can’t be stopped made for a worthy fight scene, until of course someone else figures out that shooting the human side of the equation will put an end to the shadow. Such is life I suppose.
With the Prime Minister eventually saved, Bobbi and Hunter remain in custody in the present, trying to figure out the best way for them to escape. Their cover blown, and with little other recourse as their background laid bare, the ill-fated lovers decide that the best move for them is to take that vacation they’ve been wanting for so long and to leave the team. It’s here that we’re given quite a somber moment, as the duo sits back in a bar and discusses where they plan to go with their new found “freedom.” The waitress begins bringing them shot after shot, revealing the rest of the Agents are sitting nearby, raising a glass to their “fallen comrades” in a “spy’s goodbye.” It’s honestly one of the most heartfelt moments I think have occurred during the show’s history. Kudos to the actors and creators for creating such a heart-tugging scene.
A nice “quiet” episode really demonstrated what works for the show and what doesn’t. Arguably the strongest episode this season, and a nice stinger to boot with the reveal of Malick’s daughter.
Rating: ★★★★ Very good
Agents of M.I.S.C.E.L.L.A.N.E.A.
– Interested to see what exactly the hook will be for Most Wanted.
– Both Hive and the Secret Warriors were nowhere to be found, but rather, the focus was on a core number of characters. It worked well.
– Bobbi: “I’d like a cheeseburger, medium.”
– Hunter: “It’s the truth, Bobbi and I were on holiday picking mushrooms.”
– Coulson: “It’s a big ‘no’!”
– Hunter: “Get your mind out of the gutter, woman!”
-Daisy: “De nada.”
Bobbi: “Pretty sure that’s not Russian.”
-Bobbi: “There’s no cheeseburger where we’re going.”