Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Life of the Party / Monsters

Last night brought us a double dose of Agent Carter. While each of the two episodes felt good to me as a standalone, I think airing them back to back wasn't necessarily the best move overall for the storytelling. The lighter tone of this season (which I like) doesn't sustain as well over two hours. (And Peggy's miraculous recovery from injury in the second episode was more pronounced without a week off between.)

Still, both hours had plenty of good stuff in them. I'm not sure how much I've really liked the character of villainous Dottie before, but she sure was a lot of fun last night. Of course, putting Jarvis out in the field is always great entertainment. Jarvis was also at the center of my favorite scene from the second episode, where Peggy stops the car ("Unsafe!") for a Jarvis to draw her into a great conversation about her suddenly teeming love life.

Whitney Frost has fairly well completed her transformation into supervillain, and is a more credible one than many Marvel properties manage. I'm still a little murky about what exactly her plan is for zero matter (is it as simple as devouring people who don't agree with her?), but she's certainly dangerous enough to be the bad guy, and espouses motivations of helping others that makes it clear she thinks she's the good guy. Those are pretty much the two key boxes to tick, and Marvel movies generally only succeed in one at best.

I was glad to see Jarvis' wife Ana back in the mix, though I'm cautiously hoping that they don't use her injury in the "motivate the protagonist to boot heads" trope. I mean, I suppose they're off the hook already in that it's Peggy who's the real protagonist (and in that it seems unlikely to me that they'll actually kill Ana, which is the actual trope). I guess it's just that in a show that is ordinarily so smart and subversive about gender-imbalanced writing conventions, I'd hate to see them embrace one of the more notorious.

Still, both episodes of Agent Carter offered up a lot of what they've really polished about the show this season. I'd give both installments a B+. And it turns out that next week will not be the season finale -- this year there are 10 episodes instead of 8. (Though whether it will actually be the series finale when it comes is up in the air. The ratings are not great.) We'll see if they can move toward a satisfying conclusion.

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