Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Better Angels

Agent Carter this week served up a pretty fun episode, with the solid comedy and heist-like spy sequences the show does best.

A pleasant dose of the familiar came in the form of Howard Stark. In the first season, with Howard on the run as part of the main plot, we didn't really get to see much of Stark, Carter, and Jarvis together as a team. So while I missed out on the fun of Jarvis' wife Ana this week, Stark replaced her in the comedy-action triad this week, to fun results. (And a build to a nice tossed-off joke about Jarvis spending eternity as a disembodied voice.)

We also saw the predicted reappearance of a not-dead Wilkes. Compared to what Whitney Frost got from her encounter with zero matter, Wilkes definitely got the short end of the stick. You might even say there's unfortunate symbolism in adding an African-American to the Agent Carter characters only to render him invisible and silent (at first), and then unable to physically interact with the other characters. But I supposed the trope being played here is not marginalization, but killing/threatening others as motivation for the protagonist. (Though that is one that Marvel -- well, really, comics in general -- lean on far too much.)

Carter swung into action with another of the stealth mission sequences this show does well, heading into the gentlemens' club. I liked that Carter still came off like the smartest agent around this week, even while not really succeeding in her mission, and needing an assist from Jarvis. We're past the point of the show having to endlessly prove her skills to the audience, making it possible for more nuance.

Hopefully we're now moving on to more nuance for the character of Agent Thompson. It was disappointing and familiar to see him swoop in from New York this week to basically be "the bad guy" within the S.S.R. But it seems this season it may have only taken him one episode to figure out Carter was right; I'd much prefer to see him truly join the team in episodes to come.

I'd call this episode a step up, to a B+. We'll see where things go next.

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