Agent Carter Season 1 Ep 4 (TV Show Review)

The first three weeks of Marvel’s second live-action television show Agent Carter have been quite spectacular. I fell in love with the show from the get-go and the writers and producers have certainly not disappointed. And the highlight was when the network defender the show’s initial low ratings, showing that the powers-that-be had full faith in the show, especially since it is just an 8-episode mini-series. Hopefully the show gets renewed immediately since I’m loving everything that is going on (up to a point), and the twists that keep coming are just spectacular.

This week’s episode, “Blitzkrieg Button“, we see some more of the moral moral and emotional conundrums that Peggy has had to face of late, especially once she learns that her friend Howard Stark, a close friend she otherwise trusts implicitly, deliberately lied to her and misled her. The psychological impact of it all is pretty scary as a viewer, and to see the show focus more on the character development and less on the action was certainly a nice change of pace too. Though, I have to admit, the character of Dottie Underwood just became way too awesome.

Agent Carter Season 1 Logo 0001

I’ve mentioned before that the show does a lot to explore the gender politics of a post-WWII America, where the returning soldiers get all the good jobs and many of the women who have taken up their jobs in their absence and proven to be good at it too are all sidelined. The status quo at SSR certainly reinforces this, and creates a perception of a counter-terrorist organization that is far more vested in gender politics than something actually noteworthy. A bit harsh, but yeah, it definitely fits the bill.

The reason I mention this is because there is a scene between Agents Carter and Thompson where the latter tells the titular hero that she can never succeed at the agency since she’s a woman and she’s automatically not good enough to do a man’s job. I get what the show and the writers have been trying to do, but they are absolutely brutal about it too and that just doesn’t sit well with me. Peggy has already faced up to a lot of criticism lately, and this is kind of like another metaphorical nail in the metaphorical coffin. I just can’t go along with it.

Thankfully, this condescending moment aside, the rest of the episode holds up really well. Howard Stark returns to New York to ascertain which of his inventions are now in the hands of the SSR, presumably to keep anything too dangerous out of the hands of the government. The reality however is very, very different and this what leads to a major divide between Howard and Peggy, their friendship and trust in each other tested to its limits. We’d seen some inkling of this before really, back at the end of the second episode IIRC, and now some of Howard’s secrets are out for Peggy to see, and it isn’t pretty. He is a lying, manipulative bastard, and though writer Brant Englestein does give the character some actual motivations and reasons to lie as he does, it also seems a bit contrived.

But that shouldn’t be surprising I think since Howard is a self-made man, whereas his son Tony Stark aka Iron Man was born in luxury and wealth and uses both of those to fight crime. Father and son are basically in the same kind of a situation, though times apart. It is an interesting difference I must admit and one that really intrigues me as well.

Back to Peggy though.

With all that goes on in this episode, what with the Peggy-bashing and lying-to-Peggy, we also see more and more of her world as defined by the characters around her. This episode features the best look yet at how the Griffith functions, and I think that was a good thing since it gives some character to the housing accommodation and also proves to be a way for the writer collective to insert more references as to how there’s this veil of deception around Peggy, both where her friends are concerned and otherwise as well.

Agent Carter Season 1 Cast 0001

One really neat thing in this episode is that we are reminded of the Nazi roots of the SSR. That is, the SSR was borne out of WW2 in an effort to combat Nazi aggression in Europe and the first three episodes didn’t really deal with that in any meaningful way. However, this episode takes Chief Dooley off to Nuremberg where a whole bunch of Nazis have been tried and sentenced to execution by hanging. Carrying on over from the recent events in NYC, Dooley believes that this is an important lead as to find out what the hell is happening, and the twist that this small plot-thread creates is something really interesting, potentially a reference to another famous war-hero known to be active in the area, or something else altogether.

Very exciting.

All in all though, I think the best part of this episode was Peggy punching Howard in the face and the two of them having a shouting match with each other. That was certainly a lot of fun. It cleared up some of their frustrations and got some much-needed say-so out of their system. That was invaluable from my perspective since both characters are shouldering a lot of responsibility, with their careers and lives on the line, and this is only natural I feel.

The show is still on the right track. Given that it is now halfway through its first-season order, not a lot of MAJOR stuff has happened yet, but it is clear that all the little plots and characters are going to have a big influence on the eventual outcome of the show when the eighth episode rolls around. We saw in this episode some evidence of that, and I think the next couple episodes are going to do the same as well.

It is very much a great time to be a Marvel fan, and soon, within a month, we are going to be watching Agents of SHIELD as well, so that’s fun too!

More Agent Carter: Eps 1-2, Ep 3.

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Posted on January 29, 2015, in Agent Carter, Review Central, TV Show Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

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