New Show Recap: Agent Carter 1×01, “Pilot” and 1×02, “Bridge and Tunnel”

HOLY.CRAP. Agent Carter is amazing. In some ways, it’s exactly the feminist Marvel story we’ve been craving. Firstly, Peggy actually talks to women about things other than boys. I realize this is a low bar to set, but there’s also a lot of her showing up the men by kicking more butt than any of them. 

The first two hour-long episodes of Agent Carter dished throwback 40s spy action and sass. The episodes also had plenty of 40s sexism, but Peggy doesn’t put up with that nonsense.

The show opens with a scene from Captain America: The First Avenger, which is how we connect Agent Carter to the comics and get some sense of the time period in which the show takes place. Setting up Peggy and Angie’s friendship actually felt real and not forced. Seems like the writers learned a lesson from how Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. felt forced when the team was assembled on that show. In a lot of ways, Agent Carter is the opposite to the world of AoS.

Peggy works for the Strategic Science Reserve, which seems to be a forerunner to S.H.I.E.L.D. Most of the men in her office treat her like she should be the secretary and not a full agent. If you read old Wonder Woman stories, this is exactly how Diana was treated by the JSA and JLA at first. It feels like a nice nod to the first woman of comics. It was nice to see that at least one of the men she works with realizes she is a great asset.

Her friendship with Howard (played by the very awesome Dominic Cooper) proves a good counterpunch to her relationship with the supposedly dead Steve Rogers. Much like how Tony and Steve interact, Peggy and Howard go tête-à-tête in a similar manner. It must be a genetic Stark thing.

The first two episodes remind us of Agent Carter’s connection to the Marvel universe by focusing on Howard and Anton Venko (the father if Iron Man 2 villain Wiplash). Remember that this show is spun off from a short film included as a DVD extra for Iron Man 3.

Jarvis, the Howard Stark’s butler, will probably end up being my second favorite character. He proves a great comedic contrast to the rough and tumble Peggy. Where most super hero movies would have Jarvis as the magical helper, his ineptness flips the trope and emphasizes Peggy’s competence.

My favorite part of the first two episodes was the scene in which Peggy interrogates the dude who played Buzz in Home Alone.

The big baddie of Agent Carter is Roxxon, which you’ll remember as the creators of Extremis in Iron Man 3. I’m not sure how on-board I am with their need to connect Agent Carter to the Iron Man universe. I wonder if she show would be better served by some other baddie from the Marvel universe.

Now, setting up a shadowy organization that isn’t HYRDA is a great start. Leviathan is semi-big in the Marvel Universe but this really ties into HYDRA being dead for some time following the end of World War II. I really hope to find out that Toby Jones comes back as a scientist for Leviathan since we know he escaped death at the end of The First Avenger given his present day appearance in The Winter Soldier. Making their people mute seems like a good way to stop people from spilling the beans . It also seems like a heavy price to pay to be an assassin for a shadow organization.

The best twitter hashtag is #CrikeyOReilly, an expletive substitute uttered by Peggy a few times.

I would be remiss to not mention the Captain America radio show that appears to be a nice recurring gag. Apparently the Roxxon corporation sponsors a radio show about Captain America’s adventures in the war. Peggy’s character in that radio show paints her as nothing more than a lovestruck nurse longing to be with her man, Steve Rogers. I imagine it must be very weird to hear stories that have some ring of truth even though the stories get the real story wrong.

I assume Agent Carter is a test run for all the Netflix shows we are getting in the next few years from Marvel, though I hope they continue to make eight-episode seasons of this show. I would continue to watch it. Peggy has a great story to offer and the time period has amazing clothes. There I said it: Part of the reason I watch is that the clothes are gorgeous and I am jealous and want all of them. Even the dress Peggy wears when she goes American with the blond wig to spy is fantastic. I am definitely looking forward to the rest of the season.

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Queer Pop Culture Junkie in the Northwest. Addicted to Coffee, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Fantasy Sports, The Mountain Goats, and Tottenham Hotspur.

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