This weekend I finally watched the last two episodes of Agent Carter. This was a short run series, but I think that worked to its advantage. They show was really able to focus on a story and every week brought us closer to solving the mystery. Overall I think this show did a phenomenal job of introducing us to Peggy Carter, SSR agent and showing us the early days of S.H.I.E.L.D. It also really brought forth the idea of inventions that can do phenomenal things and how those inventions ending up in the wrong hands is incredibly dangerous. I think the other part about the first season that I appreciated is that it served as a nice closure to the time with Steve Rogers and Captain America. There were some great moments in the last couple of episodes that really drew on that connection. For me personally it was great to see a woman lead on a show like this, even though it takes place in the late ’40’s, and drawing on the issues of being a woman in that time. If you have not see the show I recommend you take a weekend and watch the episodes, it is fun romp and a different take on the comic book story. (Mild Spoilers for Agent Carter after the jump.)
Peggy Carter, SSR Agent
Of course the whole point of the show is to introduce to Peggy Carter as an SSR agent. She had served during the war and now she wants to keep serving, but alas it is the 1940’s and sexism exists. It was okay for women to help out during the war, but now that the war is done all she is good for is a secretary (according to some). It is fascinating to see this women who, if you watched Captain America, we know is more than capable of handling any situation. The problem is that she does work for people that don’t see it that way. There is a great moment in the second to last episode it is great to see her actually call out the various perceptions of her, none of which match the reality. Throughout the show we see her handle herself in a wide variety of situations and even beat up a couple of bad guys. The one great advantage being not many want to admit that they were out witted and beat up by one woman. It is great to see her come into her own and overcome the obstacles of basically not being treated as capable or, on the opposite spectrum, being placed on a pedestal.
The story the chose for the first season of Agent Carter really was brilliant. Howard Stark is on the run and wanted for treason because some of his extremely confidential inventions have ended up in enemy hands. All of the inventions defy any technology that they had at that time, some even that we currently have now. The inventions from Howard Stark bring us into the elements that we are used to seeing on Agents of SHIELD where everything defies most people’s thought of what is possible. Now at this point in the story the entire concept of S.H.I.E.L.D and what it will become is just a blink of the eye, but you can see how it would get there. So many things that defy logic and current thinking, yet these things are happening. At what point does an agency realize that these items are too dangerous to be out in the world because the implications are just too strong. See what some of these items did and how some people wanted to use them makes you understand why someone would want to lock them up and never let them out.
Steve Rogers / Captain America
Part of what is great about this show is that it really is a great look at what happens to these characters after Captain America is lost. It is Howard Stark getting Peggy Carter to clear his name and there is even an episode with the Howling Commandos involved. This creates great opportunity to reference back to their time with Steve Rogers as Captain America and the tragedy that his loss would have been on all of them. There are two moments that are particularly distinct, one is when Howard asks Peggy to steal one of his “inventions” from the SSR and she finds out that it is actually the last remaining vial of Steve’s blood. She is so angry at being lied to because how could Howard not trust Peggy with such a secret. She cared for Steve just as much if not more than Howard. The other moment is finding out that one of Howard’s greatest shames or regrets was his inability to find a rescue Steve. It is touching to think about how his life had such an impact on their lives and I wonder how much it influenced the people that they became.
There is so much more that I could talk about, but it really does need to be watched. It is based on ideas brought up in the comics, but it plays much more as a ’40’s Detective Noir, which is part of the fun. At the same time they keep many of fantastical elements around in the story. It is the beginnings of a larger world where so much more is possibly then many initially realized.
If you are interested in an episode by episode breakdown you can see David’s series on Sourcerer.