Knock ’em Dead
This is a review for both episodes of Agent Carter that aired Tuesday night. We’re not splitting them up because that would be obnoxious.
Peggy packed one hell of a one-two punch with these episodes, giving us, probably, the best episodes of the show ever. With great action, great character relationships, and innovative storytelling, this was some honest-to-goodness excellent television. What more can you ask for?
The sparknotes here are as follows: Frost is going before the council to show off the Zero Matter only to be double-crossed by her husband. Peggy, reeling from an injury and needing a little more secrecy, enlists the help of Dottie (told ya she’d be back). Things go awry when Frost sucks up four council members. Dottie witnesses all this, tries to get out to inform Mother Russia, but gets kidnapped by Frost. Dottie did drop Frost’s DNA sample, which Jarvis finds and uses to help Wilkes acquire a (temporarily) corporeal form. Bad Guy from Robocop, however, senses Peggy’s involvement and, with a desire to keep the council (and his financial supporters) happy, interrogates Dottie on what she knows. Peggy and Jarvis walk (knowingly) into the trap, only to release the trap was a distraction, and Frost really wanted Wilkes. They arrive a moment too late, and in order to get away, Frost shoots Ana Jarvis is the stomach. Meanwhile, the Bad Guy from Robocop wrestles control of the S.S.R. away from Sousa, ensuring he won’t get in the way of his nefarious plan.
Got all that?
Right off the bat, the entire set-up of this story was earned. Clearly there was a desire to make Dottie an unwilling ally, and the stomach-wound Peggy suffered last episode was a great way to both weave Dottie into the story and establish a sense of helplessness for Peggy. She’s really confronting her own limitations in these two episodes, so it’s wonderful to see the mechanics serve both the beat-by-beat plot and the underlying emotional state of the characters. Remember when stories used to do that?
The humor in these two episodes was also incredibly well done. In the past, some of the humor has been a bit stale. The jokes have either been used so frequently they elicit no reaction in us or they make us roll our eyes. Here, however, we got some great humor that also led to some interesting character moments. Dottie patronized Bad Guy from Robocop during most of her interrogation, and despite her cracks, it was clear when the power shifted from one to the other. Ana, too, was given a little extra dimension, even if that came at the expense of her cooking.
It’s clear that the established love triangle is going to come to head by the end of the season, as Sousa’s feelings for Peggy have come to the surface while Wilkes hasn’t given up on Peggy either. While this is the least interesting part of the episode, at least it makes sense, and will likely please many viewers who aren’t me.
The most noteworthy aspect to these two episodes, however, was the simple “What Happens Next?” factor. We can argue all day about plot and characters, but if we don’t care what happens next then it’s all moot. However the WHN factor was incredibly strong this time around, as I was more invested in the story in these two episodes then I have been in a long time. Everything worked well, the characters were strong, the actions were logical…it was great. Remember when stories used to do that?
All in all, this was an excellent pairing of episodes. We are entering the final stretch for the season, and the momentum is there for the S.S.R. to leave us with one hell of a finale. Godspeed, Peggy!
Odds and Ends
- I don’t know, Jarvis, that Hungarian food looks pretty damn good.
- For a brief moment there I got a “Venom” vibe off the Zero Matter. I’m nearly 100% certain it’s not, but the art is clearly reminiscent of that.
- Dottie is an excellent character, from writing to acting, and it’s a shame that she’s likely not going to appear in a whole lot else Marvel produces.
- For all of the things this show does right, the science is pretty bad. I don’t care too much, but it makes watching this with my physicist girlfriend difficult.
Alex Russo likes to talk about television. You can read more of his insane ramblings on Twitter.