I finally found time to watch the first season of Agent Carter which came out at the beginning of the year. The show is set after the events of Captain America the First Avenger and World War II. Peggy works for the SSR, the Strategic Scientific Reserve but is looked down upon and underestimated by everyone else due to the fact she’s a woman. In an act to prove herself and feel powerful again she sets off on her own private investigation outside of the male-dominant SSR. Things get complicated as an unexpected threat arises which puts her, Howard Stark and his butler, Edwin Jarvis in grave danger as well as the rest of the world.
What I thought of the story:
Every MCU film/TV show offers a completely unique feel. Agent Carter is in the detective/noir category which fits well with the time era. What’s good about TV shows is that the story can be dragged and fleshed out to maximum capacity compared to films. The show includes a few side stories such as Peggy’s personal life which adds a little drama to dive into and offers an interesting break between the action. The show was essentially about discovery, revelation and justice with personal drama slotted in between. The story was fun and exciting and expands the universe even more whilst providing a completely different form of storytelling we haven’t seen within the MCU walls. None of the episodes felt less than any others and kept a consistent thrill factor. For me the episodes got better and better (provided a rewarding finale) which is good because TV shows need to keep upping the ante as it goes on. From start to finish we feel Agent Carters pain of loss and oppression so it’s satisfying to witness the rightful comeuppance she deserves at the end. There isn’t anything within the MCU that provides us with a main female character (not until 2018’s Captain Marvel) so it’s refreshing and interesting to follow the story of the opposite sex. The show also provides some insight into a few MCU origins too- some more obvious than others (but don’t worry, I’ll be doing an easter egg blog post too!) There was only eight episodes which isn’t a bad thing but I was surprised. If the story only requires eight episodes then that’s okay, there’s no point dragging anything out any longer than it has to because the story felt long enough. The compelling story proved that it only needed eight episodes. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have enjoyed anymore!
What I thought of the characters:
There is a lot of lovable and hateable characters (hateable in a good way) throughout the series as well as cameos from Captain America the First Avenger. Starting with Agent Carter of course, she is made to look undermined and belittled even though her fellow (male) agents are all aware of her efforts during World War II. She is a part of the SSR but only works as a secretary because of the fact she’s a woman. It’s entertaining to watch her balance her work and single private life at the same time. On the other hand, it’s painful to watch as her male co-workers essentially treat her as a lower life form. Although, that makes it all the more rewarding when we see her set out on her own private investigations without the help from the others. She possesses all the right traits and characteristics a main character should have as she has the knowledge, skill and packs a punch just like any other hero in the MCU! However, she doesn’t work alone- Howard Starks butler, Edwin Jarvis lends her a hand. Jarvis is a sophisticated gentleman who comes across as timid and overcautious. Although he keeps a level head and monotone voice most of the time it’s funny to watch him encounter troublesome situations where it’s obvious to see he’s out of his comfort zone. Jarvis is my favorite character in the show simply because of his comic relief. Howard Stark makes an appearance from time to time and he’s just as obnoxious as he is in the first Captain America film. Nothing much to say about him other than expect the same rude and outlandish character you witnessed in Captain America but multiply it by a hundred… or a thousand perhaps. The supporting role characters that are worth mentioning are Daniel Sousa, Jack Thompson and Roger Dooley- all a part of the SSR. Sousa is a handicapped agent who is looked down upon similarly to Peggy so those two can see eye to eye, most of the time. He is the nicest of the agents and the only one that doesn’t treat Peggy like dirt. As for Thompson, he aspires to be chief so he mainly focuses on impressing everyone which often means pushing his fellow agents out of the spotlight. Chief Dooley is chief at looking down at people, oh and the SSR. He’s the most arrogant of the SSR members and spends most of his time behind his desk complaining about people. You can tell that most of the men in this show are portrayed as bigots! It works well because it makes Peggy seem more out of her depth and more of an underdog even though us, the audience, know full well what she’s capable of so I ended up praying that she’d hurry up and show everyone what she can do! So when she does it’s great!
What I thought of the visuals:
The fact that the show is set in 1940’s America means that there has to be a few cosmetic changes to the landscape! The show effectively makes you believe you’re in the past. The buildings, outfits, cars all play a part and successfully suck you into that time era no questions asked. That’s why I loved the first Captain America film so much, because it was set in the past which gave everything a breath of fresh air. It proves that it doesn’t have to be set on Xandar or Asgard to be completely out of this world. There isn’t a huge amount of computer animated effects which makes things all the more realistic. The show goes back and forth to various main locations such as the SSR office or the Diner. Both look like they’re from the 40’s and it’s awesome. It’s like having a history lesson whilst watching the show. Nothing ever feels like a green screen bombardment either- even if there was green screen everywhere I couldn’t tell because everything looked believable and realistic!
My final thoughts:
Agent Carter provides a unique and fresh chapter to the MCU story book and stands on its own effortlessly. The narrative is just as fun and diverse as the characters are. I don’t feel as though the show lacked anything either which is amazing. It’s categorized as a 1940’s action/drama and that’s exactly what you get and more and I love it. I’m so glad Agent Carter got her own TV series and I can only imagine how justifying and empowering it is for a female audience to see a female lead hero for once! I can’t wait for Season 2!
If you’re looking for more you can check out my post on Agent Carters easter eggs here:
Season 2 starts January 2016 and follows Peggy as she moves from New York to LA. It is said to include a big villain from the comics so I can’t wait to watch and find out. Also, there’s a Funko POP bobble head set to release in October time I believe!