So this is the interesting episode: the one where we get to find out how this show fares as a show, instead of a one-off, two-hour event. I was fairly pleased with this episode, and how the show is shaping up in general, although I am disappointed in one unfortunate similarity to Agents of SHIELD… but more on that in a moment.
What I find interesting about this show rather than SHIELD is that it is telling one story that builds week to week, rather than the almost Twilight Zone feel of SHIELD (new mission every week, sometimes a horror movie, sometimes sci-fi…). This episode picks up with Agent Carter trying to figure out what that heart with a squiggle could mean, to no real avail. One of the girls in her building gets kicked out for having a male visitor, and that reminds Carter that no building is impregnable – how did the stuff get stolen from Stark? She visits to find out.
Unfortunately, two other SSR agents also show up to investigate why one of Stark’s license plates was discovered in the wreckage of the Roxxon building. They take Jarvis in for questioning. Carter shows up to work cool and calm, and spies on the interrogation, where she learns Jarvis was once accused of treason. He also stays cool and calm, despite getting slightly peeved about the implications that his wife could get deported (leave her out of this…) Carter finds a “rookie” way to sabotage the interrogation and gets heartily chewed out for it, but we all know her true motivations. She and Jarvis return to Stark’s vault to investigate.
They go down the hole in the floor (these shows really love their holes in the floors, eh?) and deduce that since it was raining that night, Stark’s “bad babies” could easily have been floated out the storm drains to the ocean. Hey look! A boat with that heart symbol on it. They find Stark’s inventions (what haven’t been sold on the Black Market already) and Jarvis calls in an anonymous tip as the most adorable mobster ever.
Unfortunately, they were being watched and Carter and Jarvis get attacked by an ex-carnie muscle-for-hire. They have an epic battle scene, really showing off a little more stunt work than last week, I’d say. Finally, Carter uses some Stark tech to make the assailant’s muscles tense up to the point of breaking his own arm (but shouldn’t he have developed a strangle-hold on that pipe?). Carter and Jarvis escape, and the SSR shows up to take the thug into custody and re-lock up the stolen tech.
Kresminksy (the rude, demeaning one) takes the thug in his car, but they get bumped from behind – then very calmly killed in the middle of the street by someone we never see. While (I hope) he was no one’s favorite character, it was definitely a shock to see a main character get killed off this early, and out of nowhere, in pure Whedon fashion.
His death hits the rest of the SSR hard too, despite his personality, and the Chief reminds them all that this is all Stark’s fault, and he’ll make sure he doesn’t lose another agent – and that Stark will pay.
So, first of all, to get this off my chest – TWO WEEKS until the next episode. Really, Marvel? You played this with SHIELD and now Agent Carter? I’ve never seen a show this inconsistent, and yet I can’t be mad enough to stop watching. I wonder, though, why they didn’t just air the first two episodes separately, air this episode next week, and the schedule would have been a lot more predictable. Mmrpmh.
My next thought, of course, is “what next”? As Mr. DAPs was saying recently, it’s so far felt kind of like a scavenger hunt to find the “Stark Stuff”, so what course does the show take from here? We know that Carter and Stark face off and she feels betrayed, for reasons as yet unknown. We as the audience know that Stark isn’t a pure villain, but he is kind of chaotic-neutral: he does his own thing, and can afford to not have to worry about laws too much. He tends to be well-intentioned, but where does this all lead?
No, the true villain of this mini-series is Leviathan, and while they weren’t mentioned directly, they’re almost certainly behind the assassination of the witness and Kresminsky. But when do they make their big move, and what is it going to mean for the Marvel Universe at large?
Now, let’s talk about Chekov’s Gun.
This is writer’s lingo for the idea that you shouldn’t put a gun on stage unless it’s going to be used later. Basically, why waste time telling a story about something completely unimportant? (Not that that doesn’t happen, but it kinda shouldn’t).
So let’s talk about Dorothy. She’s the new girl in the building, a ballerina from Iowa, who moved in after the other girl was kicked out because of the ominous guy scaling the building in the first scene. Holy cow there was a lot of storytelling around this point. I don’t know about anyone else, but I got super nervous when “Dottie” showed up. Iowa is just too innocent to not be a cover.
Next, we saw the rattlesnake rattle of Jarvis when his wife gets threatened. He risked a lot to save her life, and he clearly loves her very deeply. If this doesn’t become a problem in a future episode, I will be very shocked. My guess is the bad guys use her to get to Jarvis, and Jarvis all but quits the spy game as a result. Or, she actually gets killed and he avenges her like a boss. Either way, the character we’ve only heard from offscreen is going to be super super important later.
I’m also looking forward to that typewriter doohickey coming to life in SSR possession. Messages sent to SSR from whomever, something like “Leviathan is coming” probably. Or, Agent Carter figures out how it works, and starts communicating with the enemy, endangering herself and others. Something like that. It’s another one of those things that has too much storytelling around it to not be important later.
But mostly, I’m peeved I have to wait an extra week.
Until then, Agents, no men above the first floor!