Agent Carter, Season 1 Episode 1 Review: “Now is Not the End”

(Beware, spoilers below!)

1946, and we’re brought back to the old world of Captain America: The First Avenger. Peggy Carter is still working for the old reincarnation of S.H.I.E.L.D. (S.S.R.) whilst the big issue is Howard Stark evading questions over illegal weapons sales. Chad Michael Murray stars as Thompson, another agent in a male dominated task force.

As the team tries to track down Howard Stark, Peggy is taken by Howard, man on the run. He tells her that he’s being set up, and his very dangerous weapons were stolen. He wants to get her to clear his name. Edmund Jarvis, Howard’s butler, is tasked with helping her.

Back at work, she finds out that Souza is tracking the Stark fugitive case. Thompson is a well loved war hero chasing a man called Spider Raymond who’s after a piece of Howard Stark’s tech. Getting herself a day off pretending she has ‘ladies’ things’ she goes to Raymond’s club where she knocks him out with some special lipstick and breaks into his safe, finding a weaponised version of the formula.

Calling up Jarvis, she finds out that she needs to neutralise the formula before it’s too late. Hurrying back home she’s confronted with her kind blonde roommate before she manages to safely neutralise it. Just then, she hears a scuffle are realises that her roommate has been mistaken for her, with fatal consequences. She manages to kill the intruder, but when she manages to meet Jarvis again she confesses that she feels she has a habit of hurting those closest to her. Since she hasn’t been well used at the office she was ready to jump at the chance Howard offered her.

In Stark Industries, she finds out that the chemical might be less dangerous but still emits low levels of vita-rays. Taking Dr. Eskine’s old vita ray sensor she sets out on her mission to Roxxon in order to find out who’s behind it. The man who killed her roommate Colleen however is still alive and kicking, wanting permission to terminate Agent Carter from whoever he’s working for. Sneaking into Roxxon she manages to see the scientists behind weaponising the formula. He reveals himself as an agent of ‘Leviathan’, who cannot speak due to an incision in his throat and uses some kind of voice coder in order to speak. Later the next day, as we see Agent Carter leave her rendezvous with Jarvis, the butler is tapped into the phone with Mr Stark, saying that she was an ‘excellent choice’ and that she ‘won’t have any suspicions at all’…

This first episode of Agent Carter is a sassy and slick production which is not only enjoyable to watch as a period piece but also as a part of canon universe. Peggy comes off as the godmother of all the non-powered agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that come after her, such as Black Widow and Melinda May. Much is made of her fight as a woman in a male dominated environment and to some this might be shoved down the throat too much (it is very obvious), but Hayley Atwell’s performance is such a tour-de-force that it’s easy to be sympathetic. This isn’t The Americans or Skyfall, but instead recalls classic tones of old 40s and 50s spy thrillers and old Bond films. One of Marvel’s strongest comic properties is its espionage world as in the Secret Avengers etc., and the fledgling world of the S.S.R. is brought nicely to the TV screen.

(photo credit: wegeekgirls.com)

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