If you have yet to watch the Agent Carter premiere I have two suggestions: 1) go watch it 2) don’t read any further until you have…major spoilers ahead.
I’d like to start this review by pointing out the Hayley Atwell is amazing. She reprised her role of Agent Peggy Carter of SSR (precursor to S.H.I.E.L.D) perfectly. Also, I loved the clips of Steve Rogers throughout especially at the beginning. Now, this is not because I am tuning into the show hoping to see the heroes we are used to in the MCU but because it shows how losing Steve has affected Peggy.
As we know from the Captain America movies there was a major connection between Peggy & Steve, obviously this lose would have an impact on her and the premiere did a great job of showing that.
More about Agent Carter’s character, she is independent in a time where female independence was rare, she won’t let her male counterparts push her into a corner, she does an amazing job at staying ahead of the bad guys as well as her coworkers who view her as a bonified secretary.
Through out the episode there were a variety of other characters of varying levels of interest. Dominique Cooper’s Howard Stark only makes a brief appearance although I am sure he will return. I really like the character of Howard Stark, not just because it links things up nicely to the films but also because he reminds me a lot of his son, he’s rich, he’s funny, he’s not afraid of authority, he’s a playboy; this is one instance where the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. With that I hope he ends up having a bigger role throughout the series.
There is also James D’Arcy as Edwin Jarvis , Howard Stark’s butler who would later be the inspiration behind Tony’s J.A.R.V.I.S from the films. D’Arcy’s portrayal of a young Jarvis was incredible, probably my second favourite character so far after Peggy Carter of course.
The rest of the cast from Chad Michael Murray’s SSR agent and his team to Sarah, Peggy’s waitress friend they are all a bit interesting and/or just not to the same caliber at this point. The villains on the other hand are so far a bit dull and uninteresting but i’m sure it will improve. Another character I was excited to see was Anton Vanko, father of whiplash aka Ivan Vanko from Iron Man 2. Anton at this point is a Russian scientist working with Howard Stark before he gets deported back to Russia later on which we heard about in the earlier film.
Episode 1: Now is not the end
The plot for this episode is simple yet still fun to watch. Howard Stark is being accused of selling his weapons to the enemy (Similarly to what happens to Tony in Ironman) he then approaches his trusted friend and S.S.R agent Peggy Carter for help. Asking her to use her resources and her position in the S.S.R to hunt down the true perpetrators and clear his name. Carter and Jarvis team up to find Howard’s weapons and encounter danger on the way.
The sequence where Peggy goes undercover to get information from Spider Raymond (fence) was fun as it showed her all dolled up and sporting a flashy dress. She finds a bomb at Raymond’s which is Stark’s technology, a bomb which implodes with the capacity to destroy anything around it. This bomb was created with such dangerous technology that when Stark created it he wouldn’t even sell it to his friends. In order to disarm the bomb she needs (which my husband pointed out is very convinent) common household ingredients. so she gets out of there, not before almost been seen by her co-workers, and goes home, only to find her poor, sweet roommate Colleen,home sick from work. She goes in the bathroom, disarms the bomb and returns to find Colleen dead, shot in the head, if only she wasn’t occupied with keeping her block from imploding. This, obviously, leads to a big fight sequence between Peggy and Colleen’s killer.
Peggy & Jarvis go to see Vanko to try and determine where the bombs were created and are informed by Vanko that the bomb was giving on Vita rays, one of the components used to make Steve into Captain America. She then goes back to the office to get a Vita detector which leads to a moment of thinking about Steve and missing him, which I must say hurt my heart a little bit.
The climax of the episode was when Peggy & Jarvis track the bomb making to a factory, where the villains have assembled and have A LOT of Stark’s super-explosive. Unfortunately one of them sets off a bomb, getting away with the rest in a milk truck. There is then a pretty good action scene in which Peggy escapes jumping onto the car that Jarvis is driving, climbs into the car and they barely escape the blast.
Episode 2: Bridge & Tunnel
The second hour was a bit slower, less action and excitement but a good winding down of the premiere. The main focus was to try and find the milk truck containing the rest of the bombs. There is the threat of Peggy’s coworkers finding out that she was at the party undercover on her own secret mission and a lot of time is spent on her trying to get access to the photos to see if they got any of her, which turned out to be not necessary as she was cleaver enough to hide her face the whole time. The show didn’t pick up again until Peggy and Jarvis track down the truck. I loved the scene when she went undercover as a health inspector in order to check out the milk trucks, where she finds out that an employee named Sheldon McFee uses one of the trucks to commute back and forth to work. She and Jarvis go to his place and although Carter tells Jarvis to leave he disobeys (which turns out to be a good thing) as the guy she beats the crap out of, in a pretty awesome fight sequence I might add, is not the one who took off with the truck from the factory, he is actually outside trying to take the truck which has already been tampered with by the disobedient butler.
McFee gets away but the Leviathan agent who tried to take the truck agrees to cooperate for protection. The three of them leave in the truck with poor Jarvis sitting in the back surrounded by explosives. Cue assassin from the first episode to just screw things up. This was actually probably the worst fight scene, it could have been better but it seemed as though they were trying to do a big budget fight scene with a small screen budget. Jarvis then drives the milk truck into the river with the assassin still on top and Jarvis, Peggy & the Leviathan agent get out/off of it, however, the agent does not survive but he leaves a final clue.
Comic Book / MCU References:
1) Leviathan–A evil organization similar to Hydra first seen in Secret Warriors #11 (2010)
2) Edwin Jarvis–Tony’s childhood butler, also in the earlier comics as Tony’s butler, later replaced by J.A.R.V.I.S the AI.
3) Anton Vanko– As previously mentioned Anton Vanko is the father of Ivan Vanko (Whiplash)
4. Roxxon Oil– Mentioned in the comics as well as appearing throughout the MCU Roxxon oil is Marvel’s go to oil company. It is in the show not only the sponsor of the Captain America radio program but also the factor that gets blown up belongs to Roxxon oil. The company although pivitol in the creation of S.H.I.E.L.D they also play a role in the deaths of Maria and Howard Stark. First appeared in Captain America #180 (1974) as well as appeared repeatedly in the Iron Man movies.
5. Abraham Erskine– A nod to the first Captain America film and reference to Dr. Abraham Erskine (portrayed in the First Avenger by Stanley Tucci)
6.Leet Brannis–Criminal active in the 1940s, he was a jewel thief and a crime boss, First appearance All Winners Volume 1 #4 (1942)
7. Goodman, Kurtzberg & Holliway– When Angie is telling Peggy who the other women in the building are she mentions Mary– a legal secretary at Goodman, Kurtzberg & Holliway, this law firm is a part of the comics, the place of employment of She-Hulk AKA Jennifer Walters and is called Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Holliway.
There are of course smaller story lines that are happening at the same time as the main story arc, following the death of her roommate she needs to find somewhere to live. After constant mentioning of an opening at her building Peggy finally gives into Angie and goes for an “interview” for a new place to live. This “interview” basically consisted on Peggy pretending to be more “typical 1940s female” than she really is because that is what is expected. Also there is the “everyone i’m close to dies” issue as well, worried for Angie’s safety as well as Javis’ because of the deaths of Steve and Colleen.
I was very pleasantly surprised with the premiere, I will admit I was a bit concerned at first that they would shoot too high with it trying to accomplish big screen effects on a television budget but I was wrong. I loved it and am so excited for next weeks episode. Below is a trailer for the next weeks episode & I will also be linking this post to my upcoming post on Agent Carter’s battle against 1940s sexism. I’d give it an B+ (points taken away due to the lack of entertaining villains & that one fight scene)