This week, we bid a do svidaniya to Bobbi and Hunter in a farewell that was unexpected on two levels.
One, while the Bobbi and Hunter-centric spin-off was ordered months ago and we all knew about it, I was not ready for the show to shuttle these two off during some random episode two minutes after the hiatus ended. Two, it made me sad. Like, I had actual feelings about sad stuff happening to Hunter and Bobbi, and it was weird for me.
“Parting Shot” was Hive-free (making the permanent switch over from NotWard to Hive because typing those three extra letters was real cumbersome) and also Lincoln-free (he’s off training to be a field agent, to which I give an emphatic LOL and a Thanks Anyway), allowing for a tighter focus on Bobbi and Hunter in what appears to be their final episode for the foreseeable future. Or maybe even forever, if Marvel’s Most Wanted turns out to be ABC’s next big hit (hahaha, I know, I crack myself up too).
Post-mission, Bobbi is questioned by Interpol in Moscow about the deaths of three high-ranking Russian officials. Bobbi is unflappable and responds by asking for a cheeseburger with curly fries (crispy). A woman after my own heart.
Thirty-four hours earlier, Hunter and Bobbi land in Moscow and track Malick’s convoy. They seem woefully underdressed. I’m cold just looking at them, from underneath my many blankets.
Flashing forward again, Hunter insists to the same Interpol agent that was grilling Bobbi (for information, not hamburgers, alas) that he and his lady are on holiday in Siberia, in the dead of winter, to pick a specific type of mushroom. He’s surprisingly detailed about it and apparently very knowledgeable about mushrooms. Bobbi may be the Rosetta Stone in this relationship, but damn it, Hunter knows his mushrooms.
The Interpol agent insists that Hunter was found, with a weapon, standing over the body of the dead Russian official. Hunter claims that they were accosted by drunken soldiers and put in this mess. The Interpol agent is unconvinced; knowing they’re “former” S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, he assumes it was an assassination.
Thirty-one hours earlier, Bobbi and Hunter track Malick to the Russian base of operations. Hunter wants to take Malick out but Coulson puts the kibosh on that, noting that assassinating a former World Security Council member would be considered an act of war. Instead, he wants them to surveil Malick. Coulson says all that, but what I’m really hearing is, “Blah, blah, reasons, we need to wait until the season finale, OK?”
Meanwhile, Bobbi and Hunter sit in a bank of snow (seriously, how are they not even shivering?) and flirt, showing off their great chemistry. They bicker about whether they’ve ever gone on a proper vacation (they haven’t) and Hunter airs his grievances about the way S.H.I.E.L.D. operates (working with Ward though they knew he was bad, working with Carl Creel, and now, choosing not to assassinate Malick). Hunter is over S.H.I.E.L.D. He wants a break, but before Bobbi can address that, Hunter spots a bound Inhuman being held prisoner. The guardsmen spot Bobbi and Hunter.
The spy couple pretends to be innocent tourists who got lost picking mushrooms, and when that doesn’t work, they break out the fisticuffs. I’m really going to miss Bobbi’s fancy batons.
Hunter and Bobbi head back to the S.H.I.E.L.D. jet. Hunter drops off his mushrooms (oh, Hunter), and Bobbi reports to the team that Malick and Petrov have arrived and are heading in to meet with Russian cabinet ministers. The team heads out to see what the deal is.
In the present, Hunter and Bobbi are administered lie detector tests. They don’t crack under many, many coffee cups’ worth of questioning. Bobbi answers the man’s questions, maintaining that they didn’t kill anyone and that S.H.I.E.L.D. was disbanded. Hunter, for his part, lists off the steps for a mushroom soup. The Interpol agent attempts to use Hunter and Bobbi against one another to get one of them to crack, telling Bobbi that Hunter will be handed over to the Russian Government and probably executed. Still, neither cracks.
Twenty-nine hours earlier, the team heads into the base. May and Hunter find a dead man—Yuri Krupin, the Russian Prime Minister’s attaché.
Meanwhile, Daisy, Mack, and Bobbi make their way into a computer room. Daisy and Mack remain behind while Bobbi heads out in a Russian soldier get-up. Daisy has issues with hacking using the Cyrillic letters on the keyboard, though she somehow recognizes that the one that “looks like New Hampshire with legs” is the letter D.
Malick makes an uncomfortable comparison between what Russia will be doing with the Inhuman sanctuary to what America did in setting up Native American reservations. You know, just in case it wasn’t already very clear that he was grade-A evil. Bobbi plants a camera, allowing the entire team to spy on the meeting.
Petrov reports to Malick that the Prime Minister is against the sanctuary idea, purely because his opposition is for it. He also informs Malick that Mr. Krupin was killed by General Androvich, Minister of Defense, former KGB assassin… and an Inhuman. Now the General is in restraints, taken prisoner by the Russians. Daisy gasps that he’s the world’s first Inhuman politician, which is weird because they really have no way of knowing that for sure.
S.H.I.E.L.D. listens in as Malick convinces the Russians (far too easily) to let the General loose to take care of their holdout Prime Minister problem. Coulson realizes that Malick is staging a coup.
In the present, the Interpol agent, threatening Hunter’s life, continues to press Bobbi to admit that S.H.I.E.L.D. still exists and that she and Hunter are working with S.H.I.E.L.D. in conjunction with the American government. Bobbi says nothing.
Twenty-eight hours earlier, Hunter and May wait out an escape route while hangin’ with Krupin’s dead body. They snip at one another, with Hunter, for no discernible reason, bringing up Andrew’s Inhuman ability to burn holes in people’s chests (is he trying to piss May off?). May can’t trust Hunter on his own, which is why she volunteered to team up with him, and Hunter insists that he’d take a bullet for any one of his fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. He sincerely apologizes to May for his actions. She sorta buys it.
The Russians release the General as Malick leaves. The team is confused that Malick is leaving without his assassin. They spot helicopters and realize that the Prime Minister is coming to the base—the assassination is going to take place there. Hunter wants to follow Malick, but Coulson overrides that and tells them they all need to protect the Prime Minister. The team converges on the very poorly secured meeting. Petrov tells the Prime Minister that Krupin is dead, and the Prime Minister realizes that the cabinet members are traitors.
S.H.I.E.L.D. intervenes. Bobbi, Mack, and Hunter remove the General, getting him away from the Prime Minister, and the General unleashes his power—he manifests a “sentient Dark Force” that operates independently of him. Which, gotta say, is definitely one of the cooler Inhuman abilities we’ve seen so far.
Hunter leads the Prime Minister away, casually gunning down Petrov mid-“For Mother Russia!” Bobbi and Daisy speak with Simmons and realize that they need to take out the actual General in order to defeat his shadow. Cue cool slo-mo fight scene, culminating in Daisy getting knocked out cold and the General’s shadow taking off after the Prime Minister. Mack gets Daisy out while Bobbi goes to take care of the General.
Bobbi charges up and shoots the General square in the chest in front of multiple eyewitnesses, causing the shadow to disintegrate. It’s an incredibly badass moment that is ultimately what landed her in lock-up with Interpol grilling her and no cheeseburgers to be had. Both Bobbi and Hunter are arrested, but Bobbi’s only concern is that Hunter is alive. I still don’t fully get why Bobbi loves Hunter so much, but I sure do believe it’s true.
In the present, the Russian Prime Minister talks to the American president, insisting that Hunter and Bobbi are working for the American government, through S.H.I.E.L.D. This ass is completely ungrateful that Bobbi and Hunter obviously saved his life. The president points this out, but the Prime Minister blows him off, saying that it only matters what it looks like and what it looks like is two Americans murdered three members of his government. Which, yeah, okay, that sounds pretty bad.
Coulson shows up as an “advisor to the ATCU.” The Prime Minister tells the President and Coulson that someone needs to pay for what happened. Coulson goes in to speak with Bobbi and Hunter together, disengaging the cameras so they can speak privately. He gives them an out to escape custody and get new identities, but they refuse to take it, saying they don’t want to risk exposing the team. It’s an emotional, heavy moment that has to unfold in a very short period of time, but it works.
Coulson and the President disavow Hunter and Bobbi before the Prime Minister, and Coulson thanks them for their sacrifice… in giving up their vacation and saving the Prime Minister’s life. Coulson basically verbally berates the Prime Minister into allowing Bobbi and Hunter to be released, which is flimsy but hey, it works. Coulson returns to the jet and reports back to the team what’s happened, that Bobbi and Hunter are not coming back. Everyone is upset. Mack is extra super duper upset.
Bobbi and Hunter sit in a bar, discussing where they’ll go on vacation. Their waitress brings them a shot from an “admirer.” It’s Jemma, sitting alone in the corner, and they realize she can’t come over to say hi. Another shot. They spot Fitz. Bobbi realizes it’s a spy’s goodbye, and this extremely melancholy piano and violin music starts up that makes me tear up almost immediately, as Bobbi and Hunter see that May, Daisy, Mack, and Coulson, everyone sitting separately, are also there and have also sent them shots. Everyone takes a shot together, sitting far apart.
The team is teary as each remaining member of S.H.I.E.L.D. stands up and heads out on his or her own, nodding a goodbye at Bobbi and Hunter. Mack is the last one to get up, taking an extra moment with the two. Coulson gives them a last look and then S.H.I.E.L.D. is gone and Hunter and Bobbi are on their own, gripping hands.
It’s hard to articulate exactly why this moment works so well, especially when I’ve already admitted that I never much cared for Hunter and was only ever lukewarm on Bobbi. It must be some combination of the sad music and every single one of the actors really selling the hell out of their heartbrokenness, paired with Hunter’s believable dissatisfaction with S.H.I.E.L.D. that had only grown over the last batch of episodes. Because, wow, that was a hell of a goodbye.
In a brief closing scene, Malick is joined by his daughter, Haley from One Tree Hill, and they shoot birds by a lake. (All right, fine, her name is Stephanie.) Stephanie is, apparently, a mini-Malick to the core and knows all about S.H.I.E.L.D. and the plan in Russia. She wants to meet “you-know-who” (Hive?) and knows that his plan will change the world.
So we’ve got more than one evil Malick to contend with, Hunter and Bobbi are off to Bora Bora, and “Parting Shot” is the best episode of this half-season arc so far. And a tip of the ushanka to whoever came up with this episode title, because closing out the episode with both the alcoholic type of shot and the gun type of shot was damn clever.