Agent Carter Pilot
by: Oliver Layco
Agent Carter was much talked about before it’s initial release. This would be Marvel’s first series, in movies or television, that would have a female lead. Fan favorite Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) is the focus and how her life is going after the “death” of Captain America and how she is adjusting to normal life. We find out she is essentially a secretary for the Stratgic Scientific Reserve; which is killing her need to be on the field doing work. However, when she’s in the office she fights off the sexist nature of the 1940’s in a great way. She questions the men who want her to file since women are better at that sort of thing. Then we can see the discomfort in her male counterparts. We then later find out that Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) is being accused of selling his weapons on the black market. It’s great to see Dominic as Stark again because he plays the role so perfectly. During the scene of his Congressional hearing, it’s very similar to what his son went through in Iron Man 2. When it’s obvious Congress wants Stark’s head on a pike, he immediately goes into hiding and eventually reaches out to Carter to help clear his name. This is when it starts to take the feel of a spy thriller; which it does fantastically. From there I start to notice all the little things they did to make it feel like the era it’s set in. Excuse my jumping around, but back in the beginning of the episode we see Peggy getting ready for work and she dresses in a very vibrant red and blue outfit, perhaps in tribute to Captain America, that is in sharp contrast to the drab black and grey suits that everyone else wears. We also find out that she has a roommate who has come down with tuberculosis; it’s small details like that that make this show great so far. By the end of the premiere I didn’t think I would be as attached to her roommate as much as I was. Then there’s also a diner that Peggy frequents where she becomes good friends with the waitress. One of their conversations that stuck with me was that Peggy feels unfulfilled after the war, but the waitress suggests that she just has to suck it up and that she could probably get away with some sort of work on her looks; which is an accurate description of what women had to go through then. It’s even evident in a later scene where one of the patrons of the diner tells the waitress that she should stick to what she knows because brains aren’t her strong suit; and then proceeds to slap her butt. This irks Peggy and she sticks a fork on his pressure points and suggests that he rethink the way he treats women and that he never return to the diner. There are many instances throughout the premiere, and I’m sure the whole series, that will point out sexist acts that were prevalent then and to some extent still prevalent today. Anyway, sorry for the tangent, but back to the plot of this series. To help Peggy in clearing Stark’s name, we are introduced to human Jarvis (James D’Arcy). He is a great partner for Peggy and they have banter back and forth that seems to come naturally the moment they met. From there they have to track down one of the weapons that was stolen from Stark’s vault. However, they have to work fast because the SSR is also looking for the same leads that would pin Stark on selling his weapons. This is where the pacing really picks up and the story goes along real well. The first weapon they get word of is a chemical bomb that could level an entire city block. To beat her male co-workers to retrieving the bomb, Peggy goes blonde and seduces the seller into a kiss so that he passes out. We then see Peggy also knows how to fight and defend herself when she takes out a henchman who spots her. It’s great also after Jarvis informs her of the sensitivity of the device of how we see her bring it home to try and diffuse it. Unfortunately she was followed from a mysterious third party who mistakenly kills her roommate. After she properly disposes of the bomb, they go to a familiar name in Anton Vanko (Costa Ronin) to try and figure out the source; again, it’s nice to see these little details they put in the episode. Peggy and Jarvis head to the oil factory to try and gain control of the situation. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work in their favor and they barely escape! Although, before they escape from the explosion, the man with the voice box tells them that something or someone called Leviathan is coming. This sets up a main villain perhaps for the rest of the series. From disguises, to fake accents, to car chases, to secret gadgets this episode had everything a spy thriller should but it didn’t sacrifice on any story elements. I think the mini-series element is going to work in it’s favor so that it doesn’t feel dragged out. In short, everyone should just start this series because it’s only going to get better.