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'Agent Carter' Gambles and Wins with a TV Storytelling Staple

By Craig Wack | Marvel Movies | February 18, 2015 | Comments ()

By Craig Wack | Marvel Movies | February 18, 2015 |


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As a series, Agent Carter has taken risks that aren’t usually associated with a fun, audience-friendly action show.

Before the penultimate episode “Snafu,” the show’s biggest gamble has been never letting Peggy (and the audience) flinch from the misogyny of the late 1940’s world the show inhabits.

The show has walked a tightrope with that constant obstacle in Peggy’s life and career, keeping it a consistent issue without clubbing you over the head with it too much.

In the seventh of eight episodes on this series’ run, it may have taken its biggest risk to date: pull off a tense, quickly paced hour of TV without the lead character leaving the office.

“Snafu” can’t quite be classified as a bottle episode, but it came damn close blemished by only a couple of forays outside the SSR’s building (many of those used sets that were seen in previous episodes) and inside Agent Dooley’s head.

Otherwise the elements were there. Most of the scenes took place in one of a small handful of rooms, there was a lot of exposition (Peggy didn’t even punch anyone) and many important plot cards were laid on the table.

These kinds of episodes are so often equated with a show trying to save a buck or filling that monster 22 episode order. While it is cheap and easy to throw all the characters in the room and have them talk a lot, the trick is to make it compelling.

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As has been the case during this series’ run, co-stars Hayley Atwell and James D’Arcy carried the day both solo and when they were paired together.

The interrogation sequence at the front end of the episode was Atwell at her finest. As wave after wave of questions came from the three agents she had any connection with (Sousa, Thompson and Dooley), Peggy never cracked and even threw some of her fellow agents’ professional shortcomings back in their faces. Peggy was invisible to her co-workers, so she was able to conduct her own investigation into Howard Stark unchecked and unnoticed.

Once Jarvis arrived on the scene, we were treated to some great banter about flying glass, flying bullets and Morse code. The back half of the episode strayed from the office a little as the pieces of Leviathan’s schemes came together and Dooley made his Hudsucker Proxy solution to the pickle he was hypnotized into.

While next week’s season ending Agent Carter episode might not be the most celebrated finale of the week (that honor will undoubtedly go to the final hour of Parks and Recreation) it’s still going to be a sad to see a well-executed show that’s not afraid mix action with its message or use a semi-bottle episode to set up its blowout season finale, wind down for the year.

Craig Wack is a veteran journalist. Please follow his Twitter.




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