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‘Agent Carter’ Reasons to Watch: Season 2, Episodes 8 & 9

‘Agent Carter’ has always been about making the hard choices and after tonight’s two hour special there will only be one choice left! If you haven’t been watching now is definitely the time to start!

This is a philosophy that started the moment Peggy and Steve lost contact when his plane hit the ice. She and Howard don’t speak about Captain Rogers much anymore as opposed to the pivotal role his blood played at the end of last season. But Peggy believes in everything he stood for and she tries to honor him by continuing his legacy through the SSR. It’s an impossible task for anyone, but even more so for Peggy who is fighting against so much more.

Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter in Agent Carter Photo: ABC Gif: talesofnorth via Tumblr

Feminism is the first word that comes to mind but after tonight there was a different word that kept cropping up. Feelings. From the moment the episode started there were plenty to go around! Each character had their moment tonight, which means  there’s plenty more where that came from. Much like last week two hours just wasn’t enough. If the show doesn’t get renewed for a third season (which is looking even more likely since Hayley Atwell has been tapped to star in a new ABC pilot) hopefully Netflix picks it up and gives us all the binge-worthy goodness during the off season of it’s other Marvel shows. If anyone is asking me I think the execs should find a way to integrate Peggy into that Punisher spin-off we might get!

All that speculation and “business” aside, we were given two incredible episodes of Agent Carter Tuesday night and, if nothing else, this particular Marvel show might go out without the fanfare but that’s not going to stop it from having an absolutely explosive ending. I mean it, now is the time to start watching. I’m a complete and total purist for starting at the beginning of things but if you need an incentive to get hooked then episodes eight and nine are exactly where you should start! For fans of the show, don’t think I’ve forgotten about you. We’ve been here week after week and I firmly believe that the ending we get is going to feel extremely earned but we aren’t quite there yet!

Peggy Carter has remained true to her values where others in similar situations have found themselves making choices they never thought they would make. The best thing about Agent Carter is that there’s a lot less rules than other Superhero TV shows. She’s not a superhero but we do know where her story starts and where it’s going to end. Which is what makes a ten episode venture worth the investment! It’s not about the plot. It’s not about the larger MCU. It’s about the characters who are all deep and rich and who find different ways to make you love them each and every episode. So before I start doing a literal song and dance to sell this point I’m going to get right to the list!

Max Brown as Michael Carter in Agent Carter Photo: ABC Gif: aagent-carter via Tumblr

Reasons to Watch “The Edge of Mystery” (2.08) & “A Little Song and Dance” (2.09):

Flashbacks

This season in particular has been full of them. Last season consisted of quite a lot of looking back at Peggy and Steve’s relationship while also looking into the future of the SSR. The show itself is in a lot of ways a memory since it predates the actual creation of S.H.I.E.L.D. but consists of the key players who made it into the agency we know today. We know the future in ways that Peggy and Co can’t. But there’s a lot of story to tell. Even within the current narrative, which is why when this episode opens up with a flashback to Jarvis’ end of a phone call with Peggy from Season One. We see Ana’s first reaction to her husband newest job and we see Jarvis’ first promise to always keep her safe. It’s a significant scene because it’s clearly something that he’s promised before and her response from the get go has been “Don’t make promises you can’t keep,” which finally came to fruition when Whitney Frost shot Ana at the end of last episode and her fate hung in the balance.

It wasn’t just a reminder, it’s a parallel to the greater story, which in some cases is the fact that Peggy is trying to save the world but is also relative to the one thing we don’t know. Who Peggy ends up with? It’s an odd question considering that Peggy is definitely her own woman and independent to a fault. But it’s also something that can’t be helped since we learned she was married in the archival footage from Winter Soldier. So sometimes the show plays a little like the Marvel version of The Bachelorette. It’s definitely not though!

The Eligible Bachelors

Ah ha! See what I did there? It’s an interesting line to toe for a series set in the 50’s. It has the potential to fall into every romantic trope out there and yet it doesn’t. It’s easy to want a love interest for Peggy. Our earliest memories of the character consist of her reaching to touch Steve Rogers’ new suped up body and it’s an image no one is quick to forget.

Chris Evans & Hayley Atwell as Steve Rogers & Peggy Carter in Agent Carter Photo: ABC Gif: via Google

As far as I’m concerned, there’s really no competition here. Peggy and Steve are the OTP (seriously I have them as the background of my iPad!) but they’re not endgame and there’s a tremendous difference. What’s more important is that Peggy isn’t being paired up with these characters because she needs to be. She’s not settling, she’s moving forward with her life and building the kind she never would have been able to have with Steve anyway.  She’s being paired with these men because they’ve shown to be worthy of her affections. Last season we saw the beginnings of a connections between Peggy and Daniel Sousa.

Hayley Atwell & Enver Gjokaj as Agent Peggy Carter & Daniel Sousa in Agent Carter Photo: ABC Gif: agentcarterabc via Tumblr

This season, it looked like that relationship might take off the moment Peggy landed in LA and Sousa was surprised to see here. Then Dr. Jason Wilkes was brought into the picture and, if it wasn’t enough that Jarvis pointed out Peggy’s very difficult dilemma in last week’s episode, this week Peggy had a dream centered around choosing these two men and boy did her subconscious continue to complicate things!

Where Episode Eight opened with a flashback, Episode Nine brought in a little production value with some familiar faces and a good old fashioned musical number. And to everyone’s delight Hayley Atwell, Enver Gjokaj and Reggie Austin all sang and danced! The only thing that could have potentially made it better is if Sousa did it in the Hawaiian shirt! Sure it was no Hamilton, but few things are  (and that’s why it’s sold out forever, something I mention at least once a day to anyone who will listen). The interesting thing is the way the question of who Peggy will choose is being addressed. It’s important to note, however that there are some who would argue that Jack Thompson belongs in this section but he didn’t sing or dance and we know why.

It’s Place in the Larger Marvel Universe

James D’Arcy & Lotte Verbeek as Edwin & Ana Jarvis in Agent Carter Photo: ABC Gif: commander-candles via Tumblr

I considered several other options for this third and final point but this is really a key incentive to watch. There is a place for Agent Carter and we’ve already seen that through Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Marvel movies. I realize I mentioned that this isn’t an important feature of the show as a whole but that’s because it stands on it’s own just fine. What makes this a reason to watch is the small little Easter eggs that have larger connotations. Peggy is upholding a system of values that seems to have died with Steve and he experiences the same issues when S.H.I.E.L.D. falls in Winter Soldier. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. tied right into the movie and, in many ways, Agent Carter is doing the same with the soon to be released Captain America: Civil War. There was the obviously low-key truck in Episode Five that had Civil War written on the side among an innumerable amount of others that probably won’t be fully realized until after the movie premieres. But tonight was exceptionally poignant with Peggy’s case for Dr. Wilkes’ actions and his influence of the Zero Matter. Even after having a gun pointed in her face. Even after trying to convince him that he’s still a good man. Dr. Wilkes felt differently. He felt like a danger and yet Peggy wasn’t just going to let him give up like that.

This is exactly the same thing that Cap is fighting for with Bucky and it’s the very thing that will tear Tony and Steve apart. If only Howard was around to tell his son that he’s Team Cap the whole thing might be avoided but that’s all beside the point. The point is the accountability and every character in Agent Carter has it! Right down to Jarvis admitting that he’s a coward for being unable to tell Ana the truth about her injuries.

Stray Observations

  • Jack’s hand is conveniently bandaged with his middle finger pointing up and it made me giggle because it looked like he was casually flipping everyone off the entire time. Of course then he sort of cockblocked Peggy and Sousa and I wanted to flip him off. I honestly have such mixed feelings about him every other second. He wants to be the good guy, he just goes about it in a weird way. I also kind of see why he and Peggy would make an interesting couple. I’ve already gone on about this in last week’s recap and nothing has really changed. He’s a really interesting character to watch.
  • I loved that everyone was used to their full potential even Angie who we haven’t seen or heard from since last season!
  • Jarvis did something that felt really out of character but managed to stay true to himself in the end. He made me cry several times throughout the two hours but it was a good kind of cry. His emotions were right on the surface and so relatable and just when it seemed like things were becoming all about him he brought the feelings right back to Ana and what she needs in this time. It was all very natural and organic.

The Marvel Universe is big and vast and only expanding more and more, if only people would see Agent Carter‘s value the way she knows what she’s worth to the genre. If nothing else we have one more episode left and it looks like it’s going to be a real grand scale finale!

James D’Arcy as Edwin Jarvis in Agent Carter Photo: ABC Gif: agentcarterabc via Tumblr

Agent Carter airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on ABC. Be sure to tune in!

What did you think of the two episodes? Who will Peggy choose? Is Jack really trustworthy? What’s going to happen to Whitney and the Zero Matter? Do you think this is the end of the series? Share your thoughts in the comments!