Marvel’s Agent Carter

Marvel Studios/ABC Studios
Marvel Studios/ABC Studios

So, I have wanted to post a review of Marvel’s Agent Carter since it first premiered on January 6, but decided to be good and wait the recommended three episodes before doing so. Luckily, that third episode (I’m counting the two premiere episodes as one since they were back-to-back) aired Tuesday night!

Now before I get into my thoughts about the show, I will admit that, prior to Agent Carter’s release, I was a bit ambiguous about this latest Marvel offering, not because I have anything against SSR Agent Peggy Carter, but because I didn’t really know much about the character outside of the Captain America movies and wasn’t really sure what kind of story arc the show would cover in just eight episodes. Yet though I am not totally wowed by the whole “Howard Stark might be a traitor” plot line, Hayley Atwell is incredible to watch as Carter and I can’t help but want more! 

To quickly recap, Carter was a respected member of the Strategic Scientific Reserve during World War II and Captain America’s “best gal.” But it’s now 1946 and the war is over; though Carter is still a member of the SSR, she is relegated to administrative tasks – her skills being ignored or outright dismissed by her male colleagues. Enter Howard Stark, an old acquaintance, who enlists Carter’s help to find some of his deadliest weapons, which have gone missing. While Carter is trying to prove Stark’s innocence, her SSR coworkers are trying to prove he’s a traitor – selling the weapons to the highest bidder – but all is not as it seems. Dun, dun, DUN!!

To be sure, the old-fashioned spying and intrigue is fun to watch, but more than anything, I like watching Carter as she tries to adjust to a peacetime world that isn’t nearly as progressive as the wartime one seemed to be. Okay, maybe like is the wrong word because the blatant misogyny is hard to take, though I understand it reflects the culture at the time (and too often, now). But seeing her persevere through it all really does inspire me, and it is clear that Carter truly does know herself and her worth, even if the people around her don’t.

I’m sure Carter’s colleagues will eventually put two and two together and realize that she is the (quite capable) spy who has always been a few steps ahead of them, but I wonder if we will actually get to see it. Entertainment Weekly recently reported that the ratings for the show continue to drop and immediately insinuated that the problem may be that fanboys don’t want to see a show with a female lead. But I think that’s the wrong assumption and completely dismisses those of us who are fangirls.

There are likely a number of viewers, such as myself, who are eagerly waiting for Carter to finally get her due and the longer that takes, the harder it may be for some of us to stay engaged. Also, I don’t think the show was helped by the fact that there was a two-week break between episodes three and four. Nothing destroys a new show’s momentum like an extended break! But I’ll get off my soapbox now…

Regardless of what the critics think, Marvel’s Agent Carter is a really fun look at a little-known character whose on-screen impact has been huge, largely thanks to the strength of the actor portraying her. Like Clark Gregg’s Agent Phil Coulson, Atwell’s Carter is a heroine you want to root for, and one who could teach you how to fire a gun and save the world.

4 thoughts on “Marvel’s Agent Carter

  1. The funny thing is that ABC is fairly pleased that Agent Carter is pulling an a male demographic they usually have trouble to reach. I hope that this little fact along with the cross-promotion the show offers and all the positive buzz in the social networks will be enough that Marvel and ABC will stick to it.

    1. Huh, good to know!

      To be honest, I didn’t really look at a ton (read: any) ratings data to see what the demographic breakdown for the show was, but I feel like I’ve been hearing these general rumblings for awhile. While I’m sure there is some kind of gender divide – though it sounds like it’s not as big as some people suggest – I feel like the argument that it’s a guys show or a girl’s show is really myopic, and fails to take into account the wide spectrum of viewers who may be attracted to the story.

      1. Well, a lot of people are claiming that the show is a flop, but I think to say “it stayed under expectations” is more correct. I think what hurt Agent Carter the most is Agents of Shield, plus, a lot of people hear “mini-series” and think “Oh well, then I will watch it in one go once it is over”. But it certainly doesn’t have a problem with the male demographic, which is something. It’s hight time to get away from the notion that male viewers can’t identify with female leads. If female viewers can identify with male leads, why not the other way around?

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