Secret AGENT CARTER!

9 Jan

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Stewart here…

(Be warned of possible spoilers)

I’m sure the idea of doing a short-run show like Agent Carter seemed like a great idea for Marvel, knowing they would have time to do it during the hiatus of Agents of SHIELD, but there’s a big difference in what seems like a good idea and the execution of said idea. I am pleased to report based on the first two episodes that were on this Tuesday, the execution is pretty good. If anything, I can compare this to last year’s premiere of The Flash (from that rival comic book TV company), in that Agent Carter is well-assured of its universe and tale it wants to tell. And like that other aforementioned superhero show, it’s bloody fun.

The setup alone is ripe with fun conflict: Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), lady badass from Captain America: The First Avenger, is now in post wartime WWII, reduced to the equivalent of a secretary in the SSR despite her war record. She’s still brokenhearted over her crush, Steve Rogers, being dead (to her knowledge), but the request of an old war buddy gets her back in the game. The main plot seems to be her going into the field (behind her sexist male superiors’ backs) to clear Howard Stark’s name of treason, but the fun is seeing Carter play in a society that has downgraded women who had important jobs in the war and push (and occasionally quip) against it as she looks for the truth. Helping her out is Howard’s butler, Jarvis (rings a bell, doesn’t it?), someone who really isn’t used to all this cloak and dagger stuff Carter gets into.

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From the jump, the word is FUN for this show, and the majority of that comes from Carter herself. Beside that slight trauma of losing loved ones (which isn’t helped in the first episode), she’s one of the more fascinating ladies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and this shows her in her element, even if she’s at odds with the culture at large. And also, she’s managed to be one of the more hilarious heroines on television now (seriously, there are lines of dialogue that are so well delivered by Atwell as Carter that I actually stopped keeping track of them midway through the two eps), contending with men who aren’t up to her speed, and with society in general (you could make some great GIFs from her multiple reactions to the heavily fictionalized Captain America radio show alone). Knowing her history in the MCU (and some that may spoil the suspense of what may happen to Carter, Stark, and the SSR before this is over), its always good to have a solid lead and well-written character buoy a series like this, and Carter is definitely that.

Then there’s the supporting cast of the SSR, which include the trio of competent if chauvinistic agents, who tend to be one step behind Carter in untangling what’s going on with Stark. But she has some possible allies in Victor from Dollhouse and her sassy waitress friend/future roomie (?), besides the secretive Jarvis. And of course the sly Howard Stark (the always welcome Dominic Cooper), who you can see how his son didn’t fall too far from that family tree.

There are, as many a Marvel films/TV tend to do, some wonderful Easter eggs. Leviathan is another comic book reference to Secret Warriors, a book referenced in one of my Agents of SHIELD articles here, and here is the seemingly big bad of the series. Hell, there’s a small connection to Iron Man 2 in the father of one bad guy being a big help for Carter in the first episode.

Unlike SHIELD, which had to stretch out its story lines to fill a whole season, this Stark plotline looks like it will carry Agent Carter through to its last episode with little to no trouble. After that, who knows? Maybe if the show does really well, this won’t be the last time we get to be enjoying the Alias-esque adventures of Carter, and that would be quite good indeed.

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Some notes/theories:

–Could we have SHIELD being formed by the end of this run?

–Maybe I’m being paranoid, but Peggy’s new roomie seems a bit suspicious…yeah, it’s probably me…

–Fun way to show who’s a Leviathan baddie with the voice box the hitmen we’ve seen have.

–Also, that symbol in the sand? What could it mean?

–Hey, Jarvis has a schedule to keep with his wife. And why do I feel the need to say it like “wife” since we haven’t met the mystery lady?

So, what do you think? Are you in for the rest of this series? Comment and discuss below…

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