The rocky romance between "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s" battling, bantering operatives Mockingbird and Hunter may have just hit another rough patch, but there's still a lot of road ahead.
In recent episodes of the Marvel drama, it's been revealed that Mockingbird, AKA Bobbi Morse (Adrianne Palicki) has been clandestinely colluding with fellow team member Mack Mackenzie (Henry Simmons) on a secret agenda that involves procuring Nick Fury's "Toolbox" device from Director Coulson's office -- a mission deemed so important that on Mack's insistence, Bobbi quickly but reluctantly cooled off her rekindled relationship with ex-husband Hunter (Nick Blood). But Hunter wasn't fooled by Bobbi's suddenly-cold shoulder and confronted Mack, who promptly knocked Hunter out with a sleeper hold.
During a recent visit to the set of the series, CBR News spoke with Palicki and Blood about what the future has in store for these two crazy spies. Does love stand a chance when both of your careers are frequently built on subterfuge?
On their feelings about their characters' rekindled yet thwarted romance:
Nick Blood: I think the dynamic's great. I think it's really good and there is a lot of truth in it of those relationships you have where it's kind of, "can't live with each other, can't kill each other," and that sort of thing. It's that love/hate thing. I think it's a lot of fun. I think there'll be lots of twists and turns.
On sparring verbally rather than physically:
Blood: I think that's a massive part of the whole show. That was something which I loved about the first season, the dialogue and the irreverence of it, and the humor. It grounds it. Instead of it being each character's superhuman in some way, they're regular people. They joke, and they're sarcastic, and so on. So I think that's a massive part of the whole style of [the show].
Adrianne Palicki: It's a Joss Whedon show -- there's a tone in all of his shows, and part of it is that sarcasm, that humor.
Blood: Most of the time, when there's a big explosions or there's something like that, there's always a little quip from someone undercutting it. Coulson's got some good ones. Skye always has some good ones.
On whether Palicki knows what Bobbi's secret is:
Palicki: I do know what the secret is! They kept it from me for a very long time. Every episode I'd be like, "What is it?! I need to know for my character." I found out a few episodes back, and everyone will find out in the upcoming episodes what's going on… I understand in certain ways, [not knowing] can actually help. Like, the writers put it to me like this -- not that I'm comparing myself to Ward, because, you know, but they didn't tell Brett for the longest time that he was HYDRA. That actually gave him more motivation to be a good guy, and that actually was a bigger fall for him when everybody found out. I understood that it was important to keep it at bay and to just know that Bobbi thinks that she's doing the right thing.
Blood: Their writing is consistent. They know what's going to happen, so it's not like they're post-rationalizing it or anything. It's all kind of there.
Palicki: She wants to tell Hunter because she loves him.
On how S.H.I.E.L.D.'s apparent victory against HYDRA changes their motivations:
Blood: I think like with the group, any victory like that gives them a sense of confidence, but in true Marvel and "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." style, quickly something else comes around the corner. There's another like, what, 10-11 episodes to go, or something like that? You know, it's not the end there. [Laughs]
Palicki: Exactly. And just because Whitehall's dead doesn't mean HYDRA is, so it's going to be definitely an ongoing thing.
On if, despite Coulson's offer to become a permanent team member, Hunter still feels like an outsider:
Blood: I wouldn't say so -- well, I don't know. I feel Hunter probably feels very independent, still, so I don't think he would like to admit that he's not an outsider, that he's a part of it. But I think they've been kind of welcomed. Obviously, Bobbi's got a history with S.H.I.E.L.D. -- I think he doesn't have too much respect for authority and titles, particularly in this world, but I think he takes each decision as it comes. If Coulson does something he respects, that's all good. If he doesn't, he's going to say something. But I think he sees that [Coulson is] trying to do the right thing and, he's got a lot of respect for him in that sense, but it doesn't necessarily mean he's not going to challenge him.
How does Skye gaining Inhuman powers affect Hunter and Bobbi:
Palicki: I think we all really care about Skye. Those relationships will be challenged. It's definitely going to put a little bit of a crack in the team. People having different ideas, fears about her powers coming out.
Blood: I think that instant, like, a death-in-the-family or whatever, with Trip going and then all this new information coming in, I think you're definitely going to see more of a fractured group and everyone trying to work out where they stand and how they feel about it and conflict coming up from it. But I think, particularly for Hunter, it's something he's not accustomed to. It is a big question for him. He doesn't know Skye as well as everyone else.
Palicki: It's one of those things, too, where it might not necessarily be a threat. It's kind of just interesting for the viewers to start to see how this evolves. I think the biggest impact all of this is going to have is on Skye, because she has to deal with coming to terms with the fact that she's different, and the guilt of Trip's death, and feeling like an outsider from the team.
Blood: I would feel that teamwork would be important. It's a new kind of threat, and it's something that I don't think Hunter would be able to deal with on his own, which, again, is an issue, because things are fractured and there are trust issues. How are they going to get that team together is kind of the challenge.
On the possibilities presented for the character of Bobbi, given Mockingbird's rich comic book history and Palicki's upgrade to regular cast member:
Palicki: That was one of the exciting parts about taking on the role. There's so many different aspects of it, and I'm just so excited. This is the kind of show where it's like anybody can die at any point, and I'm like, "Well they can't kill off Bobbi Morse, right? [Laughs] She's an existing character." But no, it's really exciting to see where those relationships go, and I love what they did with the Hunter relationship. It's not in the comic books, but it's such a fun element for the show and it's such a fun element for our characters. Just that alone is a good example of the different ways it could go.