Monday, February 9, 2015

Agent Carter Recap: Episodes 3-5

Good evening, Agents. (Or good *insert current time of day here*) 
Episode 6 of Agent Carter premieres tomorrow night- Tuesday, February 10 at 9 PM on ABC. I sounded like a commercial just then, but I really am anxiously anticipating the new episode! If you haven’t watched the previous episodes yet, I strongly urge you to do so. If you won’t have time, you’re searching for spoilers, or you simply would like a recap, here is an overview of episodes 3-5. If you haven’t read Mirriam’s recap of episodes 1 & 2, check that post out here! 
A quick disclaimer: I haven’t summarized the full plot for each episode, since I decided to focus mainly on the scenes Agent Carter was directly involved in (with a couple of exceptions.) I’ve also watched each episode only once, so please don’t turn me over to the S.S.R. if some of my details are askew. ;) Now, first up, episode 3!  

Episode 3: Time and Tide 
Agent Carter and Jarvis had a narrow (but awesome) escape in episode two. Now in episode three, it looks like they may not have escaped after all. The S.S.R. has found the license plate of Peggy and Jarvis’s getaway car at the scene of the explosion. The registration is traced it back to Howard Stark, but since Stark is missing and Jarvis was the one who reported the car stolen, the S.S.R. comes for the butler. Jarvis is arrested and brought in for questioning. At first, the British butler remains unruffled, but Agents Thompson and Sousa are relentless. Jarvis’s past is brought up with a mention of treason, and his composure truly begins to slip when his wife is threatened. Peggy must find a way to save him without revealing her own involvement with Stark. She does it brilliantly by acting like the dumb secretary her coworkers think she is. Jarvis goes free, and Peggy endures a serious scolding from Chief Dooley and more anger and attitude than usual from Agent Thompson. 

However, the drama is far from over. Jarvis may be out of questioning, but Peggy still needs answers. How was he involved in treason? Can she trust him after all?
There’s another prevalent question: How did someone penetrate Stark’s impenetrable vault?  To answer that, Peggy needed Jarvis’s help. 

Jarvis at last agrees to explain his past, proving he is Peggy’s ally and also not as unemotional as he sometimes appears. A solid team once more, Jarvis and Peggy go to explore the vault. They find and pursue a lead, ending up on board the ship The Heartbreak. There, they uncover cases of stolen Stark weapons. Jarvis calls the S.S.R. from a payphone to anonymously tip them off to the location. In the meantime, Agent Carter fights off a guard. When the S.S.R. arrives, she and Jarvis are forced to leave the man behind, although he has seen them both. 

 The guard is taken in by the S.S.R. and is describing Agent Carter to Agent Krzemenski when an unidentified assassin kills both agent and prisoner. It’s a narrow escape for Carter, once again, and tensions are still high when the episode ends.

My top 3 highpoints of episode 3: 
1. I loved getting some backstory on Jarvis. I’ve liked him from the start, and I’m even fonder of him knowing about his military history and how he went against the law to save the woman he loves. (On a side note, I would like to see his wife at some point instead of only hearing her voice.)
2. The way Peggy outsmarts the other agents by playing dumb is true genius. She knows how to use their stereotypes and prejudice to her advantage. She’s also willing to risk her professional reputation and perhaps position to save a friend.
3. This moment might actually be from Episode 4, but since I’m summarizing episodes 3-5 in this post, a few details are fuzzy. I’m going to place this here, since I mentioned Agent Krzemenski dying. He tormented Peggy, more than any other agent; yet when she hears he’s dead, she feels the loss. It shakes her, because though he wasn’t her friend or even very likeable, he was one of her team. I was glad to see this reaction. Peggy remains strong, but she has real emotions. She is able to handle them rather than constantly hide them. To me, that makes her an even stronger, more relatable character. 

Episode 4: The Blitzkrieg Button
Howard Stark is back and Agent Carter is not thrilled. None of Stark’s mansions are safe from the S.S.R., so Peggy is forced to smuggle the fugitive Stark into her apartment at the Griffin. In episode three, one of her neighbors was evicted for having a man above stairs. To avoid the same fate, Peggy must use her spy skills to get Howard past the land lady and out of sight- not an easy task, since Howard insists on flirting with the other tenants. He is definitely Tony Stark’s dad. His charms fall flat on Peggy, though, who keeps things businesslike and demands to know why Howard’s come. Since the S.S.R. confiscated all the crates from The Heartbreak, Stark tells her he needs to know what they have. He equips Peggy with a camera pen and the task of photographing the S.S.R.’s stash of his technology. After botching Jarvis’s interrogation, Peggy is given insulting assignments such as taking lunch orders. Resourceful as ever, Agent Carter manages to use even this to her advantage. She enters the lab under the guise of writing down the scientists’ dietary wishes and whilst there, snaps pictures of Stark’s weapons. Using her bathroom as a darkroom, Peggy develops the images with Stark. 
He identifies a sphere shaped one as the Blitzkrieg Button, something he tells Peggy could cause a permanent citywide blackout. Howard begs Peggy to steal it back for him, saying he doesn’t want to be known as both a traitor and the guy who shut down Manhattan. 

Agent Carter pulls off the mission, making it through yet another close encounter with Agent Thompson. Skeptical of Stark’s story, Peggy opens the reclaimed device. What she finds shocks and infuriates her: it’s a vial of Captain America’s blood. She hides it, and tells Stark off for betraying her. Through this turn of events, Peggy realizes she’s betrayed some of her own principles in helping Stark. Now tells him to leave- she’s through helping him. 
  Unbeknownst to her, Peggy gets a little help from elsewhere. The lead criminal from The Heartbreak situation is coming for her and makes it as far as her doorway. Then Peggy’s new neighbor, a seemingly sweet ballerina named Dottie Underwood, steps out. The intruder threatens Dottie and then something insane happens. Dottie murders the man in under thirty seconds. The episode left me relieved on the one hand, that this criminal was gone, but super freaked out over Agent Carter’s neighbor. Who is this Dottie, really? How did she learn to kill a man? Is she trying to protect Peggy, or is Dottie an enemy?

Top 4 highlights from episode 4:
1. Jarvis has been fantastic throughout, but in this episode, I particularly liked his characterization. It’s evident that he’s torn between loyalty to both Stark and Carter, and I empathized with him for being caught in the middle. There were also a few moments when I questioned if Jarvis could actually be villainous! It was great tension, even if I felt guilty for second guessing the butler. (I think there’s something inherently suspicious about butlers. They get blamed for everything.)
2. I love seeing more of Agent Carter’s ingenuity and close calls. I always cheer when she pulls another one over on the S.S.R., and there were quite a few instances of that in this episode. But she also cuts it close several times, making me hold my breath before I do finally get to cheer.
3. We see Peggy’s deep feelings for Steve. When she finds that Howard has a vial of Steve’s blood, she’s furious because of how much Steve Rogers meant to her. Time has passed, and Peggy hasn’t put her life on hold because of her loss, but she still feels it keenly. She still remembers everything Steve stood for, and his memory inspires her. He may be gone, but he lives on in Peggy’s heart. (I’m going to stop now before I start singing My Heart Will Go On.)
4. The scene where Carter tells off Stark has some truly solid dialogue. Howard overall gets what he deserves, and I was glad Peggy didn’t back down or give in to him. Through the whole episode, I loved how Peggy brushed off Howard’s flirting and how his charm had zero effect on her.

Episode 5: The Iron Ceiling
Since she’s broken ties with Stark, Agent Carter tries to immerse herself fully again in her work at the S.S.R. Jarvis tries to reconcile with her, but Peggy refuses to be led on a second time. Her trust is not an easy thing to win back. Unfortunately, neither is Chief Dooley’s. Agent Carter is being treated more like a secretary than ever. She manages to break a code that not even an expert can, learning that the enemy organization, Leviathan, is supposed to be buying weapons from Stark at a Soviet military complex.  Chief Dooley orders a mission to stop the sale and catch Stark, putting Agent Thompson in charge. Agent Carter insists on accompanying his team, but she is refused. Peggy reminds the chief that she has extensive knowledge of Russia. Furthermore, she can gather the best team for a Russian mission- the famed 107th unit of Captain America’s day, also known as the Howling Commandos. Chief Dooley agrees that if she can get the Howling Commandos to join them, she can be on the team, too. Neither Dooley or Thompson seem convinced Carter will be able to recruit the 107th, but one phone call later, she’s accomplished exactly that. She parachutes into Russia with Thompson’s team, and as promised, meets up with the legendary Howling Commandos. 

They enter the compound and come across a crying young girl. One of the Commandos, Dugan, tries to comfort her. It seems to be working- until the girl pulls a knife, stabs him, and kills one of the other team members. The underage assassin escapes, and the team must carry out the rest of their mission, but they’re all deeply disturbed. Later, when they are trying to escape, the girl reappears, fighting alongside other Russians. Agent Thompson freezes up, but Agent Carter saves the day and they make it out with most of their team. This was undoubtedly the action-packed, heart-pounding episode yet, and clearly the most violent. It’s also the one that left my head spinning most. While Peggy was in Russia, other events occurred in the states that have me on edge for her return. As it turns out, Dottie was trained in the same facility as the child assassin. When Peggy is away, Dottie gets into her apartment and finds the images of Stark’s inventions, stealing one of the secret photos. Meanwhile, Agent Sousa is still analyzing a photo of a suspect and finally realizes he’s looking at Carter in disguise.
  I have so many questions and I can’t wait to see how episode 6 goes down! Just look at this dramatic picture from the preview! 

Here are my 5 highpoints for episode 5:
1. The Howling Commandos! I loved seeing most of the old team back together, and I felt some of what Peggy seemed to be. While it was wonderful for most of them to be reunited, it was glaringly obvious that things weren’t the same. Steve was missing, and although I don’t think Peggy focused beyond that, I desperately missed Bucky, too. Even so, there was such nostalgia in sharing a mission with familiar faces again. I would love to see the Howling Commandos appear in another episode, but IMDb sadly says they won’t.
2. Agent Carter isn’t one to sit around sulking. Stark betrayed her and the S.S.R. doesn’t appreciate her, but she continues to earn respect. She knows her strengths and uses them even when she isn’t given enough credit, as with breaking the Leviathan code.
3. The action! Some of the episode was rather too violent for me (particularly Dottie’s flashback to assassin training) but the combat scenes were well done and reminded me of Captain America. It was an exciting break from New York City! Although I’m eager to get back there for episode 6.
4. I really enjoyed seeing more interaction between Agent Thompson and Agent Carter. Fighting alongside one another, they begin to develop more trust and respect. One of my favorite bits is when the S.S.R. team is headed back to New York, and Agent Thompson opens up to Agent Carter. Agent Thompson has not been my favorite person by any means, but I think I could grow to like him now. For once, he lets himself be vulnerable, and to Peggy of all people. I loved hearing his war history, and getting a glimpse beyond his typical arrogance to the damaged solider beyond. For Carter’s part, she’s very gracious. She could insult him as he’s done to her, use the information against him, or condemn him for his past actions. Instead, she listens and then offers him kindness. I wonder could the two agents remain friends?
5. As I already mentioned, there are so many questions! This is one episode I couldn’t get out of my head. I need more answers!
What did you think of these three episodes? Are there any highlights I left out? What do you think is coming in episode 6? 

P.S. If you read this far, you are a truly outstanding agent. ;) Mission accomplished! 


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