**WARNING: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVE NOT WATCHED AND PLAN TO, READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.
By Mark Dominic
To say that Agent Carter was pioneering T.V. is an understatement. I have seen many period television shows and let me tell you this one gets it right. Not only do you get the feel of 1946 but the soundtrack is simply amazing! The first song you hear is Carol Emerald’s (That Man) the show opens with the song right after the amazing final clip of Agent Carter and Captain America speaking to each other. It transitions flawlessly into Agent Carter’s present. You had to have the feel of the time or it simply would not work & trust me it worked. The opening montage of Agent Carter post Captain America was amazing. It caught you right up and you were ready to go.
Also saying that Agent Carter has a feminist tone is not enough. It celebrates women and shows successfully the struggles that women faced during that time post World War II. The women that held down the fort while the men were away fighting were simply supposed to forget that they had an active hand in the war and were in most part supposed to go back home and bake a pie. Agent Carter was so well written that you see firsthand the struggle that Peggy was facing as a woman and as an agent.
Now you would think that this show would be Captain America heavy but thankfully Agent Carter is not. There is the obligatory opening and an interesting subplot involving Captain America but the sole focus is Peggy Carter and her adventures. It has a strong supporting cast that only helps elevate the incomparable Haley Atwell whose performance was simply magnetic.
As for the supporting cast you have heavy hitters like Shea Wingham as the tough no nonsense acting chief of the S.S.R. Roger Dooley, Chad Michael Murray as the male chauvinist Agent Jack Thompson, Enver Gjokaj as the loyal Agent Daniel Sousa. You also you have Dominic Cooper back as the enigmatic Howard Stark and the first appearance of Edwin Jarvis portrayed by James D’arcy. In a reoccurring role you also get the fun performance of Lyndsy Fonesca as Peggy Carter’s waitress friend Angie (You may remember her from Nikita, the rebooted CW show)
Haley Atwell holds her own with these men and you believe the performances that stem from this almost adversarial role that has been placed on their characters. The phrase “cat and mouse” takes a new meaning as you see just how sly and witty Peggy is and how resourceful she is as she mostly manages to stay one step of her male counterparts, which make you wonder who taught her?
It really does speak to the level of writing to have everything intertwine into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There are so many Easter eggs throughout the entire series such as the Lucky Star Cab Company first seen in Captain America: The First Avenger. We had Roxxon Oil from Iron Man II. Roxxon appears in the 1940s as the sponsor of the Captain America Adventure radio show. Roxxon also lost an entire oil refinery to Howard Stark’s stolen weaponry in the first 2 episodes. Peggy and Jarvis interview Anton Vanko who would be the father of Whiplash in Iron Man II. The product Vita Ray (the property of Dr. Abraham Erskine, creator of the super soldier serum) made an appearance also from Captain America: The First Avenger. Continuity is a big thing with me and I do love Easter Eggs.
As for the look and feel of the show, I really have to tip my hat off to Sheena Duggal who was the person responsible for coordinating special effects on Agent Carter. They brought her back as visual coordinator as well as having Industrial Light and Magic & Base FX providing all of the special effects. So you have some really incredible visuals such as full on matte paintings of 1940’s New York, awe inspiring vortexes or some of the most amazing explosions I have ever seen done on television. It really speaks to Marvel’s commitment to provide a quality program.
My favorite episode is Episode 5: The Iron Ceiling. This episode takes Peggy out of New York and back overseas, this time into Russia. This episode not only gives us an amazing appearance from The Howling Commandos but also goes in-depth into the Black Widow program. Although it is not named this we all know what it is. To simply say that I hope that they touch on Natasha Romanov’s origin in Avengers: Age of Ultron is an understatement. I mean after seeing the training house for the young Russian agents & how they are trained to kill at such a young age chills me now even more when I think of Natasha saying “I have a lot of red in my ledger.” To see how Dottie (The Evil Black Widow) got her start was both sad and terrifying. The program really hasn’t been touched on too much in the past and was truly wide open to inter-operation and I have to say I loved this iteration. It was dark, ominous, and truly scary once you realized the stakes these little girls were facing. Life or death was a daily staple for them and to see Dottie and her transformation into a full blown Widow was incredible.
I really liked that Jack, who was supposed to be field leader, finally realized once they arrived in Russia he was way out of his league and let Peggy take lead. He saw beyond the fact she was a woman and saw she was also a capable soldier who had fought more battles & served in a capacity that was more than just Captain America’s girlfriend. To see the Howling Commandoes regale with Peggy was so much fun. Dum Dum and Peggy had a general camaraderie that only war buddies could have. And to see Jack just so far out of his depth was very funny & very satisfying to see him finally have to defer to Peggy.
Now while all this was going on back in the states, Agent Sousa was on the trail of the mysterious blonde girl from the pilot episode which we all knew was Peggy in disguise. To see him have his “ah ha!” moment when he pieced together that Peggy’s scar on her shoulder matched a photo taken of Peggy in disguise was for me at least an uh oh moment. Also to see Dottie going through Peggy’s things at the hotel for women was amazing; she was so thorough and so meticulous and to see her look in the mirror and say in a British accent” Hello my name is Peggy Carter.” was so creepy. This episode also gave us the appearance of this season’s main villain Russian psychiatrist Dr. Ivchenko who was supposedly being held captive at the Black Widow Training Center. I was sad to see the commandoes say goodbye to Peggy but was really happy to finally have her get respect from Jack.
Also the episodes 7 & 8 were amazing for the depth of emotions that the characters face. We have Chief Dooley’s surprising death, to Dottie and Dr. Ivchenko unleashing yet another one of Howard Stark’s deadly weapons and the inevitable, awesome, amazing, nail biting, brutal fight between Dottie and Peggy. I could go on forever about this show. It is now one of my favorite shows on Television. I hope there will be a second season. I look forward to seeing others views on Agent Carter. Did you enjoy it? Did you hate it? If so why? Let us know in the comments below!
Till the next time!