Synopsis – In 1946, Peggy Carter is relegated to secretarial duties in the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR). When Howard Stark is accused of treason, he secretly recruits Peggy to clear his name with the help of his butler, Edwin Jarvis.
Episodes – E01 to E08
My Take – Back in 2011, in a little known film called Captain America : The First Avenger, we were introduced to a gun totting bold love interest to the titular symbol of hero. Well now she has her own series, “Agent Carter”. Being a bit skeptical about how the show would actually turn out, well not that I got anything against actress Hayley Atwell, I decided to stay away from this Marvel produced show. It was not until her appearance in recent episodes of Marvel’s another TV stint Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D & the sequel Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014) & of course not to forget the glowing reviews the series received, I decided to finally give this 8 episode season a watch. Boy! Was I not disappointed! Set in 1946 New York, right after the events of Captain America : The First Avenger. Peggy works for a clandestine and patriotic organization (SSR) where she is often treated like most secretaries in the forties. Its not until billionaire scientist & now fugitive Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) enlists her help to find his stolen inventions, which apparently have landed in the hands of the enemy. In order to assist her in her upcoming endeavors, Stark assigns his butler, Edwin Jarvis (James D’Arcy) along side her to work in secret, leading into a brilliantly written post-war story of espionage. First, it is extremely well-written (congratulations to the writers), witty, sophisticated, it is essentially a continuation of the tongue-in-cheek humor from the Roger Moore’s James Bond movies.
The plots are well-thought out with only tiny, microscopic holes here and there. After all, they have to adapt a comics, science fiction story to the TV format of 42 minutes. The production values are terrific–as in all Marvel stories–contributing to one of the most enjoyable aspects of the show: its immersion in the milieu of its time. The clothing styles. The technology. The idioms. At the same time, the series tweaks technology when it comes to the gadgets that Agent Carter uses in her craft. Her devices are hybrids of forties items and more modern, even futuristic, technologies. It is really interesting to see how life in post war America was presented, the atmosphere, how people dealt with the consequences of the war. The creators seem to me to be slightly biased against the SSR people (essentially performing the tasks that in real life were prerogatives of the FBI). Beating detainees to a pulp, really? Western counter-intelligence agencies used to have other ways to outsmart their opponents, I gather. At this point women had proved to be very good at spying so a spy agency should value its female agents way more than in this series. Agent Carter wasn’t tied into the modern Marvel movies in a direct way, but there were a ton of cool connections throughout, beyond Peggy’s important history with Captain America. Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper, having a ball), while only appearing in three episodes, was crucial to the story, and we got an intriguing look into his psyche in the season finale. Dum Dum Dugan and the Howling Commandos showed up, we got to see more than one Black Widow at work (including the startling manner in which even very young girls in the program were ready to kill) and then there was Dr. Ivchenko, AKA Fr. Fennhoff – who is also known as the Marvel villain Dr. Faustus and who turned out to be tied into the Winter Soldier by the end, via a cool Marvel-movie type final scene. In general, the characters really clicked. Yes, as a Nikita fan, it was surprising to see Lyndsy Fonseca play a non-action role here, but she made Angie incredibly likable and charismatic and the scenes between her and Peggy were very sweet, showing Peggy making a far more normal connection than her life usually allows.
The acting is top-notch, the lead actress is stunning in all departments, totally immersed in her character, her emoting was convincing and her ability to deliver and act on the witty lines was fabulous. Hayley Atwell had already established how great she is as the character and easily slid into the lead role, and pairing her with Edwin Jarvis (James D’Arcy) was an inspired move. Atwell and D’Arcy had terrific, non-romantic, chemistry together, playing Peggy and Jarvis as an instantly lovable, quirky duo and making the scenes where Jarvis accompanied Peggy on missions really pop – even before Peggy got to beat up bad guys.With only eight episodes, Agent Carter moved quickly, in a satisfying manner. Bridget Regan was introduced as Peggy’s neighbor, Dottie, leading into a really awesome reveal that Agent Carter was introducing the Black Widow program into the mix. Kudos to Marvel and ABC for putting this on broadcast TV! Characters really die (over and over again) and the fight scenes are real intense but covered with cutaways to a radio serial being produced in a studio with sound effects. As if now we don’t know if there is going to be a Season 2, but I do hope it does happen!
Status – Season 1 (Completed)
Network – ABC