Welcome to Bae Watch Wednesday, where I tell you all about the fictional characters you ought to be crushing on. This week we want to talk about the kickass hero and awesome spy Bobbi Morse.
Who is Bobbi Morse?
Barbara Morse, who prefers to be called Bobbi as she feels Barbara is cruel and unusual punishment, is a character from ABC’s Agents of SHIELD TV show. I am well aware that Bobbi Morse has a long and storied history in the comics, but since I don’t read comics I’m only focusing on the MCU version!
We first meet Bobbi Morse in season 2 of AoS. The previous season had tied in the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, showing that Hydra had infiltrated SHIELD. In season 2, SHIELD has gone dark and Hydra is operating openly. That’s where we first meet Bobbi — working for Hydra.
It’s not as bad as it seems, though. Although Bobbi is fiercely and terrifyingly realistic as Hydra head of security, she’s actually undercover for SHIELD. Her job was to shadow and protect Jemma Simmons, who Phil Coulson had sent undercover at Hydra. Bobbi steps in to save the day when Simmons is compromised and returns to work for SHIELD directly.
There’s a slight hiccup in the proceedings when Bobbi runs into her ex-husband Lance Hunter at base. She knew he would be there; she was the one to recommend him to Coulson as a potential agent. But Hunter was unprepared and thoroughly unhappy to see his “hell beast” ex-wife.
The two must find a truce in order to do their jobs. Bobbi, a consummate professional, has no problem with this. Hunter is more of a loose cannon and struggles. Both are good at what they do, though, so they make it work. And hey, if they happen to fall into bed and have hate sex while they’re at it, why not?
Trouble comes in when Hunter discovers the secret Bobbi has been hiding. It turns out, when SHIELD fell to Hydra, Bobbi was working on a SHIELD ship. She fought fiercely to stop the invaders and was willing to give her life to fulfill Nick Fury’s command to destroy the boat. Her friends point out that maybe there is another way.
Working together with Mack Mackenzie, Bobbi begins to serve Robert Gonzalez. When Coulson is named the new director of SHIELD, Gonzales’ team decides to start their own SHIELD, one with fewer secrets and more equality. Bobbi has been undercover at Coulson’s SHIELD all this time, waiting for the right time to grab information.
Hunter finds out the truth when Mack kidnaps him to stop him from asking questions. Bobbi hopes that he’ll see things her way — after all, she’s still working for SHIELD, just a SHIELD that, in her opinion, is better. He can’t quite get over the betrayal and goes to work for Coulson. The two factions fight until Bobbi storms the base and capture Coulson’s team.
A fragile peace ensues when Coulson agrees to work with Gonzales to the benefit of all. But Bobbi doesn’t benefit for long. Agent 33, a former SHIELD agent, had been captured by Hydra and tortured while Bobbi worked there. She blames Bobbi for what she went through. Unfortunately for Bobbi, Agent 33 has teamed up with terrible human Grant Ward.
Ward and Agent 33 kidnap Bobbi while the rest of the team deals with a potentially world-ending event. They torture her looking for “closure,” but she won’t break. They soon learn of her weakness, though: Hunter. Intending to kill Hunter for payback, they set a trap. At the last moment, Bobbi sacrifices herself for her love, getting shot in the lungs.
Season 3 picks up with Bobbi in rehab for her injuries. Ward and Agent 33 had done a serious number on her, and she needs a lot of recovery time. Bobbi is frustrated at her limitations, though. She’s used to action. While she has a background in science that makes her useful in the lab, she wants to return to her normal work.
What makes things worse is when Hunter sets off to get revenge on Ward for his actions. She worries about him; despite all they have been through, they do really love each other. At the same time, Bobbi has to watch Leo Fitz agonize over losing Simmons. It serves to remind her that she’s not the only one struggling with romance.
Soon Bobbi returns to field work, where she continues to give her all. Despite her previous conflict with Coulson’s team, she truly believes in the mission of SHIELD. She soon goes on a mission with Hunter and Melinda May to shadow Coulson as he joins forces with previous antagonist Glenn Talbot.
When the mission goes awry, Bobbi is there to set things right. Bobbi is an expert at combat and quickly decimates the opposition. She and Hunter then follow Gideon Malick as he goes to a secret base, where they radio for Coulson’s team to give them back up. Bobbi puts her linguistic skills to use distracting Russian soldiers and getting intel.
The mission ultimately ends poorly. Though they succeed in achieving their objective, they are captured. Bobbi and Hunter face execution for their actions. Although Coulson stops that, they ultimately decide to give themselves up to save the rest of the team. They leave the show in the episode “Parting Shot,” which beautifully explores their potential future, together.
Why is Bobbi Morse Bae?
Bobbi Morse is like the perfect spy character. Adrianne Palicki brings the perfect combination of beautiful and deadly to the role. She definitely wouldn’t be out of place in a James Bond-esque movie, and in AoS she flourishes in the role of the kickass female character (though they also have many other kickass women on AoS).
I do have to say, though, that I’m not sure I agree with Hunter when he says he prefers her blonde. She looks mighty fine as a brunette when we first meet her. Maybe Bobbi just looks good, no matter what? I wouldn’t be surprised.
In the comics, Bobbi Morse is also known as the hero Mockingbird. While that never explicitly comes up in AoS, she definitely is still an awesome hero, and a lot of Mockingbird comes through.
First off, Bobbi is an amazing fighter. She moves fluidly and, though her fighting style is elegant, she doesn’t waste energy on showy moves. The show brings in Mockingbird’s trademark batons, which are Bobbi’s weapon of choice (though she can kick your ass with just about anything — the batons just work best).
The batons are more than just a simple stick, though. They have cool comic-book-ish features, like when Bobbi uses them to electrocute an enemy who is in the water. They also return when thrown, much like Captain America’s shield. It’s a nice hallmark to the comics for comic fans, but not to the point where it alienates fans who don’t read the comics.
Even without her batons, Bobbi is deadly. She fights better than just about everyone on the show, with the exception of Melinda May, the best fighter ever. However, May admits that she scouted Bobbi at the academy, showing the impact of Bobbi’s reputation. When the two work together, though? It’s beautiful.
And Bobbi is literally tough as nails. When Ward has captured her, he sets the entirety of his evil mind to breaking her. Despite his unique techniques, though, he can’t break her. She has a spine of steel that is far stronger than anything Ward can throw at her. Even when he finds her weakness, she finds a way to stop him from achieving his goal in the end, at her own expense.
Bobbi isn’t just a one-dimensional fighting machine, though. She’s a genuinely fun character, especially in her crazy relationship with Hunter. There’s a solid reason the two of them divorced years before the show; they are definitely dysfunctional. Bobbi is too dedicated to the cause, and Hunter is a mercenary. But the two definitely still love each other.
Watching Bobbi interact with Hunter gives great moments. Every time they say “don’t die out there,” it makes you believe in love a little bit more. It’s their own secret code, a way of ensuring affection without making it blatant. And they sass each other constantly because they know there is a core of love running beneath all the snark.
When Bobbi returns to Gonzales, it’s heartbreaking to see Hunter crushed under her betrayal. But even then Bobbi is remarkable. At first, she tries to appeal to Hunter. She knows she is doing the right thing and wants his help. When he doesn’t give in, though, she sticks to her guns. She won’t back down from doing the right thing — even for him.
Bobbi has good relationships with the rest of the team, too. She bonds with Fitz while the two of them work in the lab. While she’s not at his level, he still appreciates her intelligence. After rescuing Simmons from Hydra, they build a good friendship. Mack is a longtime friend. And May and Bobbi share a mutual respect.
But it’s really the dynamic with Hunter that makes Bobbi such a compelling character. Her struggle to choose between her emotional attachment and her moral compass drives her character. She plays it so wonderfully that you really don’t know which you would prefer. In the end, having them come together makes you happy even as you sob at “Parting Shot.”
What’s Not To Love?
Agents of SHIELD is an awesome show with a lot of awesome characters (stay tuned for more, of course). But Bobbi Morse stands out even amidst this illustrious crowd. Sure, she’s got all the requisite boxes ticked: great spy, good at undercover, can speak a ton of languages, and thoroughly kicks ass with any weapon at hand, especially her batons.
But what makes Bobbi Morse stand out is her innate morality. A show about spies is, by nature, going to have a lot of grey areas. Morality sometimes takes a backseat to getting the job done. And, to be fair, we see a lot of the other characters struggle with the decisions they’ve been forced to make.
When it comes to morality, though, Bobbi Morse will not stand down. She knows what’s right and what’s wrong. She’s made some questionable choices; giving up Agent 33 to secure her cover is iffy, and definitely come back to bite her. But when push comes to shove, Bobbi Morse is the shield. She does what needs to be done to save the world. No hesitation.
Bobbi and Hunter leaving AoS in season 3 is a tragedy. They had a lot more to offer, and I’m beyond sad that their spin-off wasn’t picked up. I would have watched Huntingbird til the end of days, to be honest. But what little time we had with Bobbi was phenomenal. Bobbi Morse is a hero, and in a show of heroes, she stands tall.