On your feet, soldiers! Marvel’s Agent Carter returns this week with the third episode of the series, promising to delve us further into the mystery of Leviathan, the current “big bad” facing our heroine. We’ll also see the Strategic Scientific Reserve move ever closer to finding Howard Stark by putting the handcuffs on faithful old Jarvis. Will Jarvis’ secrets be revealed? Will Howard Stark manage to evade the grasp of the S.S.R.? Last week’s premiere was a strong start to the series so hit the jump to see if the trend continues with the latest episode, “Time & Tide”.
Agent Carter doesn’t feel like something created by Marvel Studios. Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a bad thing or a slight against what Marvel’s been doing, but I feel like this is a show that can stand on its own two legs with absolutely no mention of it predecessor, Captain America: The First Avenger. Its certainly closest to the first Cap in terms of its style and theme, what with it being firmly rooted in the World War 2 era of the U.S. , but aside from a name drop here and there, I’m actually rooting with each episode that ties to the Marvel Universe can be given a back seat to the fantastic character work we are seeing week in and week out. From watching tonight’s episode, I almost see the show as a combination of L.A. Confidential and Indiana Jones.
The Strategic Scientific Reserve did a great job of presenting a real threat to the duo of Agent Carter and Jarvis, creating some of the most tense scenes of the night, while also allowing us to get a few additional teases regarding the English butler’s past. Last week, I almost saw the S.S.R. as comical, seemingly bumbling their way into clues and finding themselves far behind the exploits of Carter. This episode though, the S.S.R. comes across as cold, calculating, and efficient, minus their eventual downfall thanks to some sly work on the part of Peggy of course. The interrogation scene between some of the S.S.R. agents and Jarvis, as they threatened him and his wife with deportation in an attempt to get their hands on Howard Stark, made for the most thrilling segment of the night. You could practically hear a pin drop as both Jarvis and Carter attempted to figure out a way to get out of the sticky situation they found themselves in and that put me on the edge of my seat.
During this espionage, Peggy is also attempting to be a part of a boarding house for women with a landlord/den mother who puts Mother Superior to shame. While this situation is certainly true to the time, I don’t know how to feel about it on the whole, as it seems to be spinning it’s wheels, with Peggy not having much to do there outside of look uncomfortable and have a clashing personality with the women around her. It’s an obstacle to lay at her feet that doesn’t necessarily seem warranted, as the worst that can happen is she’s booted from her new abode and forced to find new accommodations as she had done in the last episode. Not really much skin off her back if the worst were to happen here, so I feel like there’s something of a disconnect.
One of the main weaknesses of this episode was the seemingly backseat that Leviathan took for most of the proceedings. Obviously a shadowy organization is going to work from the shadows, but we’re not dealing with a show here that has 22 hour long episodes to build something, this is a mini-series we’re talking about. Aside from taking out one of their own agents, and the crass S.S.R. agent who’s been rubbing Carter the wrong way, they didn’t really seem to do much in this episode aside from house another Stark MacGuffin for Peggy to take out. Each episode should be giving us another piece of the puzzle to learning more about Leviathan and this one was absent of that.
Speaking of weaknesses, the death of Teddy, the S.S.R. agent I had mentioned earlier, seemed out of place, and probably would have fit more for a character that the audience had been rooting for from the beginning. Time and again we were shown why this character was worthy of scorn with his mistress, his wisecracks, and his seemingly inability to do parts of his job. Bumping him off and then showing the morose environment of the office didn’t have the emotional impact that any other character would have given me had they kicked the bucket. Blaming Howard Stark for his death, as Teddy’s boss does almost instantly, also seemed a tad odd.
On the action front, Carter and Jarvis were able to tag team a large agent of Leviathan in a scene that had one too many cuts for my liking, with each blow landing signaling another cut. Prior to this, the duo were able to delve further into their relationship, which is always welcome, and Jarvis gave us the funniest scene of the night in attempting to mimic an American “tough guy” accent. The relationship between Peggy and Edwin is definitely one of the biggest strengths of the show for me, and it’s nice to see that we can never be quite sure how honest Jarvis truly is at any given time. Ultimately though, I feel this episode, while certainly having it’s strengths, wasn’t as good as last week’s first foray into the world of Agent Carter, and the mini-series needs to ramp things up a tad more with the little time that it has.
Agent of M.I.S.C.E.L.L.A.N.E.A.
– Constrictor, eh? For those of you not in the know, the Constrictor is a D-List Marvel villain who usually would bump heads with random heroes, not having much in his arsenal aside from two metallic coils that extended from his forearms. I don’t expect we’ll be seeing the device named after him do the same though.
– Great to see Marvel is already rolling out television commercials for their first Netflix enterprise with Marvel’s Daredevil. It’s hard to believe we’re only three months away from the premiere in April.
– “Clearly, you don’t know the rules of the house.”
– “She’s talking Houdini, that’s never good.”
– “You got any friends in Moscow?”
“Or anywhere else?”
“Don’t be that guy.”
– “My landlady gave me an idea.’
“Oh splendid, now if we can only chat with your butcher.”
– “I haven’t been in the back of a car in years.”
– “Actually, the deathray’s accounted for. It’s in Nevada, I believe.”
– “The war’s over, I thought we were all spending money again.”
– “Well, that works.”
“Not if you want a massage.”