Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. returned to our screens last week following the show's mid season break with “Bouncing Back” -an episode that introduced a new Secret Warriors character and began to lay the groundwork for the story lines ahead. As the series adds and responds to the events of the corresponding Marvel franchise movies, the S.H.I.E.L.D. world is subject to a constantly shifting climate to which it must adapt and change. From the most recent marketing for the next couple of episodes (due to air in March) a new threat is explored and a big change is hinted that will create another strand to the ever growing web that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
ABC have released a sneak peek clip (shown above) from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 3, episode 12 -“The Inside Man” (due to air on March 15th) teasing the power absorbing abilities of Grant Ward's (Brett Dalton) new 'Hive' identity. In addition to this, a new batch of images have been revealed from episode 13 - “Parting Shot” (due for March 22nd) with an episode synopsis that could signify the departure of two major characters.
It has become an ambitious standard of the hit Marvel show to focus on several complicated, on-going plots per season that provide the expanding team of agent and Inhuman characters with enough conflicts to create action and development for a large character base. From the story lines created in season 3's first half and what we have seen so far of the second, Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his team will have their hands full dealing with two of Hydra's most nefarious heads to date as the season's main threats; the alien/human hybrid that is Hive and the group's evil billionaire benefactor, Gideon Malick (Powers Boothe).
The above clip is a small taster of how the creators have chosen to realize the power absorbing skill of Hive which is an example of the impressive visual effects standards the show aims for to correlate with the big budget movies it is linked to. This effect in action is presumably something that will be fleshed out within the episode along with the additional story lines of a Coulson/General Talbot (Adrian Pasdar) team up and another S.H.I.E.L.D traitor reveal - mentioned within the episode's synopsis. From episode 13's stills and synopsis (see below) it is clear that agents Bobbi 'Mockingbird' Morse (Adrianne Palicki) and Lance Hunter (Nick Blood) will take center stage on a mission to Russia in pursuit of Malick:
“Bobbi and Hunter become ensnared in an assassination plot after tracking Malick to Russia. As S.H.I.E.L.D. races to save the lives on the line, the team is changed forever.”
The following images and the synopsis indicate that this episode will set up Bobbi and Hunter's exit from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - on their way to their own spin off series, Marvel's Most Wanted.
As S.H.I.E.L.D continues to introduce more Inhuman characters to pad out Daisy's (Chloe Bennett) Secret Warriors sub-group (an idea that was also seriously considered for standalone territory), the team expands to a point where other characters will inevitably be sidelined. The show's fans have been very vocal about wanting Inhuman action and this is something Bobbi and Hunter (although responsible for some well choreographed fight scenes) do not provide. It makes sense at this point to branch these characters out and utilize their ex-spouse chemistry in another context and hopefully give Bobbi an opportunity to finally become her comic moniker 'Mockingbird'.
It is unclear whether “Parting Shot” will be the last full episode that features these two characters or just the beginning of a more gradual exit. Then again, with crossovers being a useful device for the realm of linked franchises that make up the MCU and the unpredictable success of new shows, it is entirely possible we will see Bobbi/Lance appear back on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. at a later date after Marvel's Most Wanted launches.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 3 continues with "The Inside Man" on March 15th, followed by "Parting Shot" on March 22nd.
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