Agents of SHIELD: Review: Season 3 Episode 13: Parting Shot

Shield 3.13With Hunter and Bobbi locked up and facing intense interrogation over the death of three Russian cabinet ministers, apparently at their hands, the team mobilises to try to save the day…

In a change of pace from the last episode, this week’s offering starts with Bobbi and Hunter being questioned about the deaths of several important people by a member of Interpol, then alternates between the present and flashbacks beginning 29 hours previously. It’s no secret that Nick Blood and Adrienne Palicki have been tapped up for their own spin off series, and so some of the tension of the ongoing plot through the episode – whether they will or won’t be executed for high treason etc. – is lost. Nonetheless, both produce excellent and emotional performances, with much of the episode resting on the two of them, both in the flashbacks to the mission and the current day interrogation scenes.

We also get a new inhuman in this episode, whose ability is refreshingly different and proves that the writers are not short on imagination when coming up with new powers. This is one guy who is tremendously difficult to combat in theory, although again unfortunately the conclusion – while serving to emphasise the ‘baddassery’ of a certain character – rather mitigates against the threat he was supposed to present.

Nevertheless, it’s an exciting episode, where the change of pace actually works to make it more involving and engaging. As events tick down, I found myself wondering just how secure that spin off series was. As we got to the final scene though, the pacing did start to slow considerably, and the episode becomes a little overly maudlin and self-indulgent. It’s to the credit of the whole cast that they play it straight-faced, but the fourth wall, if not broken, is dangerously stretched as one suspects that what we are witnessing is as much fellow cast members bidding farewell to one another as it is characters saying their goodbyes.

The sting at the end introduces us to Malick’s daughter, and leaves us in no doubt that regardless of how pleasant and normal she looks, she’s every bit the ruthless ideologue that her father is – the apple has indeed not fallen far from the tree.

Verdict: A solid, if slightly indulgent episode, with some pleasing elements and a mostly well-judged change of pace. Not the best episode of the season to date, but certainly among its stronger entries. 7/10

Greg D. Smith

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