“Yes, I Think it Works.”
By Corey Dirrig
(Warning: Full Spoilers for the first season of Agent Carter follow.)
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is one of the biggest and most ambitious events to ever happen on the silver screen. The company created a shared universe between it’s heroes individual movies, sharing plot themes, certain characters, and underlying arcs, then brought them all under one movie through the brilliant direction of Marvel cinematic overseer and producer, Kevin Feige. Marvel continues to expand it’s universe through more movies as well as multiple TV shows, short films, and comics. So it was a surprising choice for Marvel to make a period piece starring a normal woman during the 1940’s just after World War II. But Marvel’s Agent Carter shined bright in it’s initial eight episode run, bringing a stunning story, amazing characters, and a compelling, ordinary woman to believe in. it was engaging, stunning, and overall a fantastic first season.
The executive producers/show runners Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters get a lot of credit when it comes to the power of this show. In a universe full of superheroes and supervillains, gods and demigods, monsters and aliens, they made Peggy Carter one of the best, most-compelling characters in the MCU. Haley Atwell returns as the already established Agent Peggy Carter, tackling the lead role as brilliant as ever. Atwell is believable, charming, and her delivery as the character is unmatched by anyone in the MCU, except for maybe Robert Downey, Jr.’s Tony Stark…. maybe. Teaming up with Edwin Jarvis, Howard Stark’s trusted butler played marvelously by James D’Arcy, the two have such an amazingly natural chemistry on screen. They are such a quirky, yet perfect pairing, becoming more and more lovable as the series went on. Lyndsy Fonseca was charming as Angie Marinelli, a waitress at the local diner and aspiring actress, as well as Peggy’s one normal relationship in the series, eventually moving in together at the end into one of Howard Stark’s penthouses. Rounding out the top tier cast was Bridget Regan, introduced as Peggy’s neighbor Dottie Underwood, and an awesome revealing as a Russian Black Widow spy.
The show really shined as a period piece, starting off with a period-fitting male dominating SSR. The dismissive attitude towards women was sort of off-putting, but given the era of when the show takes place and Peggy growing throughout the show and gaining their respect, it is a dismissive grievance. Many of the SSR agents are pretty cut-and-paste in that regard, except for Enver Gjokaj’s Agent Sousa, who I sympathized for due to his injury from the war. Agent Dooley (Shea Wigwam) and Agent Thompson (Chad Michael Murray) became much more likable throughout the season, though, and it was much more enjoyable for it. As Dooley conducted his own investigation of Howard Stark (played again by Dominic Cooper), he learned Stark was not the culprit he was looking for, which added depth and growth to his character development.
Peggy and Thompson’s trip to Russia gave us a cool easter egg, as Dum Dum Doogan and the Howling Commandos joined them on their mission. Their investigation took them to a seemingly abandoned Russian school. While investigating, they were attacked by a young girl from the Black Widow program, another intriguing easter egg connecting the series indirectly to Scarlet Johanson’s character, Natasha Romanov, telling the audience where she came from and who she would become in the modern movies. The scene where Thompson had his flashback added tension to an already stellar action scene. The Howling commandos saved a Russian doctor, Dr. Ivchnko, at the end of the mission, who would eventually be revealed as a popular Marvel villain.
Dooley’s sacrifice towards the end of the series signified powerful character growth for him. It’s sad that if the series gets a second season, he won’t be returning as he was becoming one of my favorites. Dr. Ivchenko – known in the Marvel Comic universe as villain Dr. Faustus, as shown in a report during a late episode – who was tied into a very awesome Captain America: The Winter Soldier easter egg in the final after-credits scene.
9/10 – The DNA Network
Agent Carter is some of Marvel’s best work to date. Hopefully Peggy finds a way to come back for a second series.