Marvel television ranges in length, from eight to twenty-four episodes per season among its various shows. And, as usual, Agent Carter proves that brevity truly is the soul of wit.
It’s truly impressive to see how much ground Peggy has covered this season after only four episodes. Since this is the halfway point in the series, the series had done a commendable job in moving the story along while developing characters. When it comes to said development, the showrunners dug into ABC’s past to utilize the Lost method of storytelling. In other words, a very deliberate series of flashbacks informed the present day (errrrr…later) events.
Both Peggy and Whitney Frost were depicted in flashbacks. Peggy’s story was a bit better handled than Whitney’s, as the latter resort to some pretty one-dimensional clichés, but both flashbacks brought the characters continuing conflicts to light, as well as a bit of underlying feminism.
Peggy, in an age old struggle, is debating the whole career vs. personal life dilemma before her. Her personal life, which is heavily influenced by society’s expectations of women in the 30’s and 40’s, required her to take a more passive role in the war, despite her aptitude for espionage and ass-kickery. She has almost completely capitulated to a domestic lifestyle when her brother was killed in the war, giving her the push she needed to join the S.S.R.
Whitney, on the other hand, clearly had an interesting in things involving her brain, but was told her worth was in her face. This was a great basis for a backstory given the character’s role in the series, but it lost a little bit of oomph with the abusive step-father (step-uncle?) and his equally cruel wife. It was a bit eye-rolly, but by time Whitney had made it to Hollywood (and was told to smile more), things had gotten back on track.
Whitney was, arguably, a larger part of this episode than Peggy, as she continued to test the limits of the zero matter stuck in her brain. Her hands sucked up a rat, so who knows what’s going on in there. Peggy, on the other hand, was busy interrogating a former member of the shadowy organization of the week. He’s got links to Whitney and Chadwick, and he gave Peggy quite a bit of information, both wittingly and unwittingly. Oh, and he got sucked up into Whitney’s hands too.
Meanwhile, Bad Guy from RoboCop was putting more pressure on Peggy, trying to extract some information about Peggy’s suspect/hostage. It was a small part in the episode, but enough to reaffirm your belief that his role on That 70’s Show was less benign than you thought.
Jason showed up today, but his story went nowhere so I’m not going to talk about it anymore.
All in all, it was a solid episode for character development and setting the stage for the final stretch of the show. While these things tend to lull a bit in the middle of a season, Peggy and Co. know how to keep us invested when the action is subdued.
Odds and Ends
- “Jarvelous” was the line of the night.
- Very little action this time around, which is a testament to the strength of the characters and the writing.
- The CGI on the show, while obviously not on par with the Avengers, is still pretty solid for an eight-episode series on network TV.
- Jarvis’s understanding of cop slang was priceless.
Alex Russo likes to talk about television. You can read more of his insane ramblings on Twitter.