Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely
Hayley Atwell, James D’Arcy, Enver Gjokaj, Chad Michael Murray, Bridget Regan
January 6, 2015
Summary for Moms:
Following the events of Captain America: The First Avenger, Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) has lost her date for the dance. But, in true Carter fashion, she doesn’t let that get her down and she goes to work for the Strategic Scientific Reserve: the organization she will eventually transform into SHIELD. But she starts at the bottom, as a secretary for the more senior and more male-er agents. But when her friend Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) reveals that a secret organization has stolen his tech and is trying to frame him, Carter must, with the help of butler Edwin Jarvis (James D’Arcy), clear Stark’s name, even if it means going against the entire SSR to do it!
Haha. You thought I’d be doing Infinity War next, didn’t you? Well, I’m going to keep you hanging on that thread for a little longer. This is my blog, and what I say goes, so we’re jumping all the way back to Season 1 of Agent Carter.
Agent Carter has always been Marvel’s little show that could. It’s got a flashy pedigree, with several actors from the films making reappearances, and features interesting mystery plots that tie in some classic Marvel villains. I’m still not sure if I agree with Peggy’s choice of a bright red hat and blue coat. It certainly is striking, and I get the Captain America palette tribute, but it just feels incongruous to me. Whatever. I’m not a Fashion Scientist. But I digress… all that being said, the series starts off awfully slow.
Hayley Atwell brings her A-game to the show (as usual) and continues to pull off a great combination of bad-ass and entertaining, despite being surrounded by post-war macho male stereotypes. However, aside from Howard Stark’s appearance, nothing about the first half of the show grabbed me or my mom. The looming threat of “Leviathan” didn’t feel tangible or, in fact, threatening, despite all the explosions.
The only person in peril seemed to be Howard Stark and since he boats out to the back o’ beyond for most of the series, it didn’t seem to be too concerning. My mother certainly wasn’t very interested at all. The only part that grabbed her attention was when Peggy takes a stand against Stark for hoarding Steve Roger’s blood. Her attention kept waning.
But all those trepidations go quickly out the window at the end of Episode 4: “The Blitzkrieg Button”. Throughout the episode we’re introduced to a scary and lethal (if caricaturish) villain named Mr. Mink, who is set up to assault Peggy, but is suddenly and quickly taken out by her new neighbor Dottie Underwood. This got my mom to immediately sit up and take notice. She wasn’t expecting her to be a spy and found that amazing.
From then on, for the last half of this 8-episode season, my mom was thoroughly onboard and was invested in the introduction of Dr. Faustus, secretly introduced as another friendly character who turns out to be the season’s Big Bad. His partnership with Dottie had my mom screaming at the screen at the other main characters not to fall for their tricks. The series’ pacing picks up at this point and careens toward an exciting finale that had my mom on edge and clapping for the entire duration. She was disappointed that Dottie got away, however.
Season 1 of Agent Carter is a mixed bag. The first half is a bit slow and does a lot of heavy lifting both plot and character-wise, but is not particularly compelling. However, the show picks up like a runaway freight train right at the middle and it’s a real barnstormer at that. It’s really a great addition to the Marvel canon and doesn’t underserve the character of Peggy Carter. The shorter 8-episode season really does this series a service and, despite the slow start, there is very little padding. It’d be real great if other. Marvel. series. took. this. to heart.
Mom Rating (Out of Five):
- My mom often enjoyed the fact that it looked like an “old show”.
- She really enjoyed Carter taking Stark to task over Steve Roger’s blood. Then turned to me and asked: “Who’s Steve Rogers?”. I gave her a quick reminder.
- Dottie is “a terror” and my mom has “never seen a woman so terrible.
- My mom really, really enjoyed Sousa use of earplugs.
Post Credits Sequence:
- This series actually has one! I had to remind her who Dr. Arnim Zola was (even in the Captain America films he’s not much of a presence, despite Toby Jones best efforts), and she praised the fact that the writers were creative enough to tie Faustus back into HYDRA, even though I’m pretty sure she’s forgotten all about HYDRA by now. But then again, so have the movies.