I was not emotionally prepared for that shit.
Seriously. Last night’s episode may have been a backdoor pilot for Marvel’s Most Wanted, but it was also a testament to the universe Marvel TV has built. We’re three seasons in, and have strong connections with these characters, and the characters’ connections with each other feel real. In the movies, they have about two hours to establish the characters and story, drop any twists, and close out the story. This is why the MCU Villains feel so one dimensional compared to their TV counterparts. Save for Loki (who has had several films to shine), what Villain is better than Kilgrave (fuck that guy), or Fisk, Punisher, or Grant motherfucking Ward? That’s because we’ve had time to get to know these people and what makes them tick and what informs their decisions.
The same can be said about the heroes, too. In the MCU, a small little indie flick called Captain America: Civil War is set to be released in a few months. We’ve had 11 films to get to know these characters, and the conflict feels organic. It’s real. You may or may not have heard about the wonderful reviews Batman v Superman: Donk Donk has been getting these last few days, but one of the standout issues critics have is that the relationship between the Trinity doesn’t quite feel right, because they have almost no history leading up to their inevitable meeting. Civil War is not going to have this problem.
And neither does Agents of SHIELD. People often complain about how slow the first part of the first season was, because the show was spinning its wheels waiting for The Winter Soldier to drop the hammer and fuck shit up. Once that happened, it was off and running. But people who make that complaint overlook something: Those initial episodes established these characters and their relationships. We got Coulson and May backstories. FitzSimmons. Daisy (then, Skye) grew on all of us. Hell, even Ward (pre-fuckery) was an interesting character.
Then when shit did hit the fan, we were that much more invested in these peoples’ fates. Mackingbird was introduced as part of Pointier SHIELD in the second season, and Hunter joined the fight after his team was killed by Creel. We’ve had a season and a half to get to know these three, and they feel just like family. All of the time cracking up at Hunter’s quips (he is the best), marveling at Mockingbird’s ass-kickery (she kicks it so hard), and rooting for Mack to get his damn Axe Shotgun have lead us to this episode. We’re only three seasons deep, and I was welling up like when Rudy made that damn sack.
Then they had to linger on Mack holding the shot at the bar, giving his own personal toast to Bobbie and Hunter. Shit, just thinking about that is making me well up again. WHAT THE HELL. Those tears between Mack and Bobbie and een Hunter were real. I came here to laugh, not to feel.
Thanks to this episode, I am looking forward to Marvel’s Most Wanted much more now. If the show doesn’t pan out, they could always re-join the team.
1. Some people may think: Dude, they are world class spies, and didn’t realize the room was filled with their former teammates? Well, kind sir, I will tell you: Their teammates were world class spies, too, and didn’t want to be seen. Bobbie and Hunter were focused on the lackey agent at the bar. I’m fairly certain that doof hadn’t ever seen the team, so didn’t know what to think when six randos bought them shots and raised a toast. I for sure didn’t expect it.
2. You have to admire Hunter’s commitment to the cover story. On holiday picking mushrooms? PROVE IT oh you have a bunch of mushrooms in your pockets? Well then. The best part was the way he dodged the questioning from the Interpol agent by telling him the recipe to his Mushroom Soup. The secret ingredient?
MORE SOUP CHICKEN BOUILLON. And Bobbie’s comfort food? Cheeseburgers.
3. Think about the part where Hunter was talking to Fitz and Coulson on the intercom and Hunter casually brought up the Netflix Documentary and Fitz perked up “THE ONE ABOUT THE AMAZON!” and Coulson had to get them back on track. That is another example of how well these characters mesh and get along, thanks to the slow burn we’ve gotten over the past three seasons. Remember when Fitz was on the lam and Hunter talked him out of that diner bathroom? And when Coulson and Fitz and Hunter realized they were spending too much time together? These relationships feel real and the characters get along so well. It feels real and natural. It’s not some mash up of two starkly different characters because the internet wants it. Hunter and Mackingbird felt like a real family. FitzSimmons feels like a real pairing. Coulson and May feel like real work-spouses. Daisy and Mack play XBox for Christ’s sake. Be glad this show has some filler episodes, because to date they’ve been filled spectacularly.
4. One thing is for sure, I didn’t expect that emotional choke out at the end, because the humor in this episode was tops, per the usual. I loved the deadpan between Bobbie and Hunter while they were on the stake out discussing their (lack of) vacations. “Florence?” “Wasn’t me.” COME ON. And when the team realized only Bobbie spoke Russian, and Daisy remarked that she dated a Russian hacker once, but only learned the dirty words? Hilarious. “The letter that looks like New Hampshire with legs is a ‘D’ right?” “Dah.” It was a good time, right up until the end.
5. The episode was a lot of fun, even with the whole Interpol interrogation scenes. It was fun, right up until reality hit: There was no way out of this where everyone wins. Hunter and Bobbie were ready to take the fall to keep SHIELD safe. They were done with the spy game, and came to terms with that being their end.
One of the best parts of the episode was watching Coulson try to give them one last escape. That Hand Fitz made him is wondrous, and scrambled the audio and visuals from inside the interrogation room. After introducing himself in a way that was strikingly similar to his portrayal in Iron Man 1, 2, and Avengers, he told them he had 90 seconds, and that when he gave a word, Fitz would detonate an EMP and explained the way out. Hunter and Bobbie didn’t want it; they wanted to end it. Coulson did all he could, and with his final speech to the Prime Minister of Russia, at least got them out of jail. Sure, they took the fall, but not as harshly as it could have been.
6. For some reason, I have always understood that Inhumans could be anywhere (Hell, Mandusa was a cop), but it never crossed my mind that they would also be world leaders (or their Generals). I fell slow (not like an idiot), because Talbot was a Senator in Heroes with powers. IT’S SO OBVIOUS. It’s also incredibly dangerous having an Inhuman with nefarious goals in charge of a country’s military with the (arguably) largest stockpile of nuclear weapons on the planet.
Did you notice what Simmons said when she described Peter Pan’s powers? He could control his shadow. But not just that: She said his shadow was “Sentient Dark Force.” Where have we heard that term before? AGENT MOTHERFUCKING CARTER. Dark Force is the same Zero Matter that Whitney Frost and Dr. Wilkes got all tangled up in. We’ve also seen Darkforce in the first season of Agents of SHIELD: The guy that was hunting the cellist controlled Dark Force. Darkforce manifests in different ways. Maybe this Inhuman’s power tapped in to the Dark Force dimension, and instead of being within him (like Whitney and Wilkes), became his shadow. It was intangible up until it needed to be tangible (just like Wilkes), which was why Bobbie was able to body slam it when it tried to choke her.
7. But it didn’t really matter what Peter Pan’s identity was, because he was going to kill the Prime Minister and Hunter. Bobbie is an assassin, and had one target: The general. In a perfect world, she could have kicked all of those commie asses and then killed Peter Pan, but her time was severely limited. Peter Pan’s shadow was about to kill Hunter and the Prime Minister. There was no time. She had one job and did what Hook hasn’t been able to do for decades: She killed Peter Pan. And immediately surrendered. There was no way out. That was one of better action related scenes of the show to date. What do you do in an impossible situation? There was no thinking eight steps ahead. All Bobbie could do was react.
8. I loved the foreshadowing (pun absolutely intended) with Hunter in interrogation with his hand wrapped up. Then near the end when he was fighting Peter Pan’s Shadow, he punched it, but ended up punching a steel beam. I know it was a serious moment, but I laughed. That was Chekhov’s bandage.
9. It was interesting watching the politics at play: The Prime Minister knew that they saved his life, but was more concerned with the optics of the situation: Multiple high ranking officials were dead, and someone had to take the blame, and it sure as hell wasn’t going to be him. President Ellis reiterated that SHIELD no longer existed, and that Coulson was an adviser to the ATCU. The Prime Minister knew they were full of shit, but, Politics.
Remember this when Civil War rolls around: Hunter and Bobbie prevented a cold war style arms race with Inhumans. SHIELD is a step ahead, but known Russia and Leviathan’s past, that lead wouldn’t hold for long. Now we have Civil War and the issue of governmental oversight. SHIELD is officially defunct and has no oversight. That might change after Civil War.
10. So Malick has a daughter. How many people want to bet she is being set up to be Madame Hydra? Malick seems to be the ultimate head (besides SquidWard) of Hydra right now, and she was very informed on his business dealings. Malick doesn’t hide much from his daughter: She knew he was in Russia regarding the Inhumans and knows about SquidWard getting more strength. In the comics, Hive even possessed Madame Hydra for a time, until Osborne developed a way to remove Hive from her, saving them both.
By season’s end, Madame Hydra and SquidWard will get Malick out of the way. Hive might possess her instead, and Malick might turn to SHIELD for help getting his daughter back. I can see FitzSimmons figuring a way to separate Hive from its host, and doing it to save the memory of Hogface. It would be a clean way to wrap up Malick’s story, and leave both Ward and Madame Hydra alive for future shenanigans.