I want to absolutely clear here…I love Agent Carter. Straightforward? Maybe, but I mean it. This show has a LOT of good things going for it, and with its condensed format it will make sure we get a true adventure every single time.
I think what I like most about Agent Carter (aside from Agent Carter herself) is that there is a relative simplicity to this series that works in its favor. Part of the problem with Agents of Shield was that it was just too broad in scope in its first season. They did everything, and didn’t get truly focused until the end, with Agent Carter, you know the plot of the first season (and possibly more) within the first thirty minutes, and it’s great.
Don’t worry, if you somehow (how have you not seen this?) not viewed the two-part premiere, I won’t spoil much for you. Broad strokes will be given, but not the nitty-gritty.
Moving on, it was truly refreshing to see this series open with the end scene of Captain America, as it shows that the events of that movie have not been lost on one Peggy Carter. In some ways, this series is just as much as Peggy Carter proving who she is as much as it is about saving the world. Peggy has gone from right hand man (or woman if you prefer) to Captain America to a secretary who can’t get any respect, and is seen as a woman and nothing more.
It’s actually really sad to see some of the insults and snide remarks thrown at Peggy. From rude, to crude, to just demeaning, it’s almost hard to believe that people acted this way in the 1940’s, and yet it’s all accurate to a degree.
So naturally when Howard Stark arrives and offers Peggy a chance to save lives and prove her worth once again, she happily accepts.
This right here shows the simplicity of the series. The whole plot essentially is retrieving items that were stolen from Stark, and stopping those who have plans for them. Doing so will actually clear Stark’s name as he’s being branded as a traitor. Simple, to the point, and it works. What could go wrong?
Now naturally, there is more at play here, a group known to the Marvel universe is pulling strings, (no, not that group, or THAT group either), and it’ll be fun to watch to see how they’re involved in this. Also, just because Peggy has allies here, it doesn’t mean they’re all on her side. This is a spy game after all, there will no doubt be twists and turns here.
What truly though makes Agent Carter special though is in fact Agent Carter. Hayley Carter pours everything she has into Peggy, and it shows. She is truly one with her character, and you can’t help but love that character. Peggy is just as fiery and skilled as when we last saw her. Whether it’s showing off her spy skills, using her brains to solve a hard situation, or just beating the crap out of bad guys, you will root for Peggy Carter.
But don’t think she’s all tough with no heart, for me, some of the best scenes from the premiere were her in very vulnerable moments. A shocking death right off the bat proves that Peggy isn’t over what happened to Steve, and that she believes that anyone close to her will die. A grim thought, yet Carter makes you believe it.
Thankfully, she’s not alone, one Edwin Jarvis is there to help. Loyal butler to Stark, good husband to his wife, and friend if you need him, Jarvis is a true compliment to this series, and might just be my favorite character. Aside from Peggy of course! The chemistry between Peggy and Edwin is perfect, as the two are essentially opposites in both approach, skills, and demeanor. Which is funny cause they’re both British. The two work very well together, and a truly touching scene near the end of episode two shows that these two are destined to be good friends.
There is action and suspense a plenty in the premiere, and it’s all believable, yes, even with Marvel dipping their hands into things. Key for me were the hand-to-hand combat scenes. Peggy is not an unstoppable force, she takes hits, and has to be healed from time to time. But I’ll be danged if she doesn’t give as good as she gets.
If there is to be a downside, it’s very personal for me, they really lay on thick that Peggy’s co-workers (save for one or two) don’t see Peggy as anything more than a decent secretary. More than that, there are men in the premiere who see woman as nothing more than a thing to bark orders at. Yes, this was true to the time, but it was painful to watch in some scenes. Hopefully this’ll improve, or at least lessen in time.
In the end though, Marvel has really done something special with Peggy Carter. Strong acting, simple yet engaging story, epic action, and the promise of something special makes this a worthy show to watch.
Oh, and yes…love the hat.