Then came episode five, 'The Iron Ceiling,' when we peeled back a lot of Jack's layers and saw what made him tick. My view began to change, and so I went back and re-watched the first four episodes. By the time I'd finished the pilot, I was a Cartson shipper - and found myself defending this particular ship every time I turned around. By now, it's a honed skill; because there are far more PeggySous shippers out there than there are Cartson ones. I get it (kind of) - he's sweet and nice and everyone wants Peggy to be with someone who knows her value, right?
The Alphabet SceneIn the first episode, it's easy to miss out on anything between Peggy and Jack. He's the highly attractive, yet dismissive, guy who shoves his work off on her, and she obviously doesn't care much for him. If he feels anything for her it's animosity, right? Except....wait....
MargeNext, we have Jack and Chief Dooley discussing affairs when Peggy walks in. Jack, rather than telling her to leave, suggests that she stay and learn something. This behavior is condescending, but it isn't antagonistic - in fact, it shows that, while Jack doubts their effectiveness, he doesn't really have a problem with female agents getting involved. (She then basically says she's on her period, freaks them out, and gets the day off. Go Peggy!!)
Is That Joe DiMaggio
This is one of my favorites. Peggy walks into the office and sees Jack, Sousa and Chief Dooley gathered around pictures taken from the club where she was spying the night before. She's afraid they're going to recognize her, and instead they're betting on whether or not it was Joe DiMaggio. They ask Peggy if she recognizes him, and she says innocently, "I don't follow boxing." Money is then handed out - and who is the one man who bet for Peggy?
Jack Thompson, that's who.
After HoursWe have a controversial scene when Peggy walks in on Jack after hours. "You're hiding something," he tells Peggy, and at first we think SNAP! He's onto her! Then he proceeds to tell her that, because she's a woman, her worth will never be recognized in the workplace. "No man will ever consider you an equal." Ouch. This sounds like a mean drive at first, but again - this is not the face of someone being cruel just for the sake of cruelty. "It's sad," he says. "But that doesn't make it any less true."
Jack makes it very clear from the moment Peggy proposes the idea that he does NOT want her going to Russia with them. On the surface it just seems sexist - 'she can't come because she's a woman' - but he never says that. What are his objections? "We have no idea what we're getting into out there, okay? I don't need brains. I need brawn." They bicker, and then Dooley tells Peggy that if she could get the 107th to help them, she can go. Then we get this delightful moment -
Dooley: I'm trying to run an investigation here, and I don't have time on my docket for your little crush on Carter.
Jack: ..............Yes, sir.
He doesn't deny it. His reaction shows he's guilty, and then we have our proof - Jack is that little boy on the playground who likes a girl and 'shows' her by pulling her hair and chucking pebbles.
Moreover, why else would Dooley bring it up - unless he know that Jack's reason for not wanting Peggy to come along was because he cared about her, and didn't want her to get hurt?
The Changing Room Scene
"Come on," sighs Jack, "congratulate the lady. She's on the team." "Jack," says another, "you really think that's a good idea?" "Not my call." The other guy says, "Jack, we can't be responsible for a woma-" "Let me know if you want to stay on," Jack interrupts firmly. "Cuz I've got six other guys out there who would love to take your place."
This is important. Jack's objections to Peggy coming were for her safety - and this guy pulls the 'she's a woman, she'll muck things up' card. Jack will have none of it. He doesn't want Peggy to come, but he's not going to let other people object the decision.
The Campfire Scene
Remember the look Jack gave Peggy in their first scene together. Yeah. She totes hates him, too.
Well Begun is Half Done
There was a LOT more ground to cover than I'd thought, and to avoid making this too long I'm going to split it into halves - I'll finish next Saturday. For now, I'll leave you with this last point - a lot of people raise the objection, "But Peggy can't ever have married Jack, he was in Japan!" Yes, he was, but get this - Jack was in the battle of Okinawa, in 1945. USA was attacked in 1941, and sent its troops into Europe in 1942. According to the MCU timeline, Cap was saving USA men around Europe in 1943, which is plenty of time for a man to be transferred from one battlefront to another.