Thursday, February 19, 2015

Agent Carter Recap: Episodes 6 & 7

Hello, Agents! My mission tonight is recapping episodes 6 & 7 of Agent Carter. I’m rather dazed because next week is the season finale, and it feels like the end of Captain America all over again. However, I’ll do my best to focus on what’s happened in the last two episodes rather than what may be ahead!

Grab your badges for clearance, and let’s get to this! (However, before I give you full S.S.R. access, I ask you to make sure you are already caught up on Agent Carter. It’s impossible to write a recap without revealing major plot points, so this will spoil the show if you haven’t seen it yet. Now, if you are up to date with our favorite British agent, you may proceed.)

Episode Six: A Sin to Err
Agent Carter is back in New York, and back on the trail of her investigation. Armed with some information from her Russian mission, she tries to learn more from Dr. Ivchenko, the psychologist she and her team rescued from the barracks in Episode 5. Peggy doesn’t get much from him, as he apologetically explains that he didn’t have much access to Leviathan’s plans. He shares tidbits of information, but Agent Carter is so fervent about getting answers, that Chief Dooley reprimands her and sends her out of the office.  She shares her suspicion that a female assassin from Leviathan killed Agent Krzeminski, and the chief green lights her to chase the hunch. Peggy also believes this female operative was used against Stark, so she partners up with Jarvis to investigate the many women Stark has been entangled with over the last six months. It’s a long list, and Jarvis endures a good deal of abuse from each lady on it, since Stark always leaves the break-ups to the butler.

While Peggy and Jarvis are searching for the female Leviathan agent, another case is cracked back at the S.S.R. Agent Sousa has uncovered that Agent Carter is a double agent. Chief Dooley dispatches several men to track her down. Peggy Carter is now considered a fugitive. Several men come after her and Jarvis, but she fights them off, with a bit of assistance from the butler. 

She and Jarvis make a run for it, only to run straight into Agent Thompson. His newfound friendship with Carter no longer matters. He’s back in S.S.R. mode, and he’s ready to make an arrest. After being in combat beside Peggy in Russia, he shouldn’t underestimate her skill, but he does. It results in Peggy knocking him unconscious in an alley, which Agent Sousa sees. If anyone wants to believe the best about Agent Carter, it’s Daniel Sousa, but there seems to be nothing left to redeem her. Since Peggy won’t fight him, and he won’t shoot her, she gets away again. 

She and Jarvis split up, with Peggy heading back to her apartment. Jarvis tells her not to go, rightly saying it’s the first place the S.S.R. will search for her, but Agent Carter can’t be kept away. She has to get back the vial of Steve Rogers’ blood. Tearing through her apartment, she stuffs the item in her satchel just as the S.S.R. is reaching her door. To the land lady’s dismay, Agent Thompson kicks in the door, ready to catch Agent Carter. Instead, the apartment is now empty.The only evidence of Peggy being there is the gaping hole in the wall. Her land lady now believes that she’s a menace, and allows the other agents to ask the neighbors for information. Peggy is out on a ledge, balancing beside the windows. She manages to alert her friend and neighbor Angie to what’s happening, just as the S.S.R. comes knocking on Angie’s door. 

Ever the actress, Angie spins a tale about Peggy visiting her grandmother, and Angie grieving her own grandmother. It’s dramatic and emotional enough to get to even Agent Thompson, and the men quickly skedaddle away from the weeping waitress.

 Once they’re gone, she helps Peggy into the apartment. It’s enough for Peggy to catch her breath and share a brief parting with Angie, who tells "English" she’d like to hear the whole story one day. Then Peggy is on the run again. She’s nearly out of the building when Dottie Underwood encounters her.  At first, Dottie plays the sweet, concerned neighbor, but then she turns vicious and knocks Peggy out. As she’s fading, Peggy realizes Dottie is the Leviathan operative. Dottie is about to murder Peggy when Agents Thompson and Sousa interrupt. Dottie recaptures her innocent, clueless persona, and the agents haul Peggy away. 

They’ve unknowingly saved her life, but now, she’s their prisoner. Leviathan’s assassin, alias Dottie Underwood, is still on the loose.To make matters worse, the seemingly innocent rescued Russian doctor is actually a scheming, evil and manipulative leader of Leviathan. He’s already pried information from one agent, and caused that man’s death. Furthermore, he’s been communicating with Dottie from inside the S.S.R. How can Peggy bring them down when she’s imprisoned there?  

This was an edge-of-my-seat episode, and I couldn’t pull away from the tension for even an instant. Two things I have to mention, though, are actually more entertaining than intense:
1)      Jarvis. Just Jarvis. He’s always fantastic, but watching him help Peggy investigate Stark’s exes was really quite comical. Also, the scene where he pays a kid to leave him alone was both hilarious and adorable. (sadly, I couldn't find a gif or video clip.) Lastly, he’s able to mostly hold his own where action is involved. I think I need a British butler/partner in crime like this guy.

2)      Angie’s performance and Thompson’s reaction. First, Angie proved that she belongs on stage. Her act saved Peggy for the time being, and if not for Dottie, it would have allowed Peggy to get away entirely. Also, Thompson’s reaction was priceless. Somehow, the dramatic young woman gets New York’s most arrogant agent to talk about his grandmother. (Angie: “What’s your grandmother’s name?” Thompson: “Gam-gam.”) And his attempt at comforting her was so awkwardly amusing.
You have to see it to fully understand. Click here for the video clip
And overall, I ate up the general suspense. I’ve gone on about this episode long enough, but it was definitely one of the most intriguing. (Although I seem to feel that way every week!) Now onto the seventh!   

Episode Seven: SNAFU
 Agent Carter is under arrest and being interrogated by her former S.S.R. peers. Agent Sousa is the first to question her, and while he was once the closest thing Peggy had to a friend in the organization, that’s now gone.  It’s evident that his anger and betrayal are driving him as much as his duty to the S.S.R. as he presses for answers, to no avail. Chief Dooley doesn’t get much information from Agent Carter, either, and Agent Thompson doesn’t make any more real progress. 

Thompson's attempts at interrogating Peggy were probably my favorite to watch, because there are evident shifts in his character. A few episodes ago, he would have held nothing back. Now, it’s almost as if his job pains him. He tries to persuade Peggy to give him answers by reminding her how he’s behaved in other interrogations. She fires back that if he wants to hit her, this is his chance, and she lifts her cuffed wrist as proof. Yet even though Chief Dooley told his agents not to go easy on Carter “just because she’s a girl,” and even though Thompson is known for being brutal in interrogations, Agent Thompson doesn’t want to hurt Peggy. Maybe it’s a small thing, but I really like how his character is slowly becoming more human. He’s been a jerk more often than not, but he’s growing on me in ways too. But enough about Agent Thompson! This is a review for Agent Carter! For her part, I was proud of how she handles herself through the questioning. She's finally able to express her frustrations over all she's endured at the S.S.R. When they doubt her ability to carry off an investigation under their noses, she calls them on how they've always overlooked her. Her temper is firing, but she manages to remain confident and in control of the situation.  


The session is getting nowhere for the S.S.R. when something unexpected happens: Jarvis arrives. He gets past the S.S.R.’s phone company cover, calmly stating he’s been there before for questioning. The pretend switchboard operators try to get rid of the butler, until he announces he’s come with the signed confession of Howard Stark. 

That’s his pass to see Chief Dooley, and soon Peggy knows that Jarvis has arrived. As it turns out, she isn’t thrilled that Stark has sent a confession, taking the full wrap and leaving Peggy to look like a “patsy,” or damsel in distress. Chief Dooley isn’t as delighted as Jarvis had hoped, either. Instead of trading the signed Stark confession for Peggy, he decides to detain both Peggy and Jarvis until Stark arrives- if he does. The agreement is, if the tycoon turns himself in, the now-fired agent and the butler will be free. With the deal gone sour, Jarvis privately confesses to Peggy he panicked and wrote the confession himself and Stark is not coming. 

She’s quite upset at first, but Jarvis reminds her there was “panic involved,” and Peggy quickly sees that he was only trying to aid her. Since the plan went awry, they need another way out. While they’re being held across from the chief’s office, Peggy noticed Dr. Ivchenko by the chief’s window. The psychologist is tapping on the windowsill, and Peggy quickly recognizes it as Morse code. She jots down the message, with Jarvis reading over her shoulder. (Another surprise: He can read Morse code! Is there anything this butler can’t do?) The code reveals the S.S.R. is in danger! Peggy tries to warn Chief Dooley, who refuses to listen initially. She finally spills the full story, gaining back some trust. Ultimately, it’s when Peggy hands over Captain America’s blood that Agents Sousa and Thompson realize she’s on their side this time. 

They go to check out the building where Dr. Ivchenko’s contact is presumed to be, but while they’re gone, the doctor gets to Chief Dooley. In episode six, the Russian psychologist revealed his power as a hypnotist. He used this ability to cause one agent to commit suicide; now he uses it to control the chief. Dr. Ivchenko ends up with a Stark invention, and then he leaves the chief with an experimental military vest and a final directive. Agents Thompson and Sousa nearly catch Dottie, who was the one communicating with Ivchenko. She makes a mad escape, though, and Ivchenko rejoins her with the invention and the two get away.  Chief Dooley, still under mind control, imprisons Carter and Jarvis in the interrogation room. 

They’re cuffed to the table, and the chief breaks the key in the lock. There’s no way out. Thinking fast, Agent Carter asks Jarvis how he would feel about lifting the table and smashing the mirror glass. He agrees, and after a few delays, they shatter the divide. It’s only then that they realize they’re still cuffed to the table. Agent Thompson comes in, and Peggy tells him they need to find the chief. Thompson frees the prisoners and they rush to Chief Dooley’s office. The chief is inside, wearing the Stark vest experiment. It’s glowing orange, and instantly, we can tell it’s not good. Jarvis confirms it when he explains that it’s an unstable prototype. The idea was to keep soldiers warm. The result was a vest that locks on and overheats to the point of explosion. It isn’t sensitive to anything external, so ice won’t cool it. Tampering with the locks or wires only speeds up the process. There’s nothing anyone, even the scientists, can do. Burning up, Chief Dooley gives one agent a message for his wife. Then he turns to Carter, and makes her promise to complete the mission. She does so, and then Chief Dooley shoots out a window, jumping through as the vest explodes.

The other agents are saved, but the chief is lost. Now the losses and stakes are higher than ever. Restored to the S.S.R., and working alongside the other agents and Jarvis, it’s up to Agent Carter to bring down Leviathan- once and for all. I called episode six intriguing, but episode seven was intense and a bit insane. It’s stuck in my head, and I desperately want to see Leviathan cut down. While Dr. Ivchenko has got to go, I seriously want to see Dottie get hers. I also want to see Agent Carter become the official leader of the S.S.R., and I’d like Agent Thompson to remain the less arrogant, somewhat kinder version he’s revealed on occasion. I’m sure episode eight will satisfy me in many ways, except one: I’m not ready for Tuesdays without Agent Carter. Sigh. 

I'll see you for one more S.S.R. mission next week! Until then, stay alert and don’t trust anyone who tells you to focus. Also, be wary of new neighbors who seem too good to be true. They’re possibly assassins. Now I’m off to work at the “phone company”! ;) 


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