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.