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Change of Pace Makes 'Agent Carter' Even Better

By Craig Wack | TV | January 27, 2016 |

By Craig Wack | TV | January 27, 2016 |

Even though it’s only been three episodes since we’ve had Season 2 of Agent Carter return to our lives, there’s a been laundry list of delights to enthrall us.

Most important of all is that this show has picked up the pace, which frees it up to explore much better territory.

Thinking back, there was an extraordinary amount of world building going on last year despite the fact that between the events of Captain America: The First Avenger and the Agent Carter Marvel One Shot short, we knew a lot about Peggy Carter and the world she lived in. However during Season 1 of the short series, there was just so much establishing of time and place that, in the end, really bogged the whole works down.

Much of it was an investment that is paying off now. We now know that Agent Sousa is competent, disrespected and often befuddled. We now know Agent Thompson would accuse his mother of being a Communist if it meant a job promotion. We now know Howard Stark is a scientific genius who has invented time travel and gone to at least 1968, which is why he’s way ahead of the game on the whole free love thing (more on that later).

There were snippets from Season 1 that were fun at the time (think Peggy using her agent skills to evade the stuffy housemarm who ruled over the place where she lived), but ultimately let nowhere in the grand scheme of things. Enough of those moments added up, so sometimes you kind of checked out during a particular scene.

To use the Marvel parlance, this season of Agent Carter is all connected. Stark is using his chemistry skills from his film adventure to revolutionize that industry. It just so happens that particular knowledge is key to brining Dr. Wilkes back from intangibility. If we get time for a fun slapstick gag of Peggy and Jarvis trying discretely shuffle out of a movie shot they accidently stumbled into, which is immediately followed by a meta joke about comic book movies, so much the better. It’s a great way to use moments of necessary exposition without losing momentum.

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The show feels like it’s got so much more room to move and is using every inch of this new storytelling real estate. Thanks to this quicker direction, Agent Carter commands your attention from start to finish, which is about as great a complement as a TV show can earn.

Now it’s time for some random thoughts. While the whole of the internet was oohing and ahhing over the stained glass window in Hoard’s workshop that looked like the arc reactor. I dove down the rabbit hole over the metal sign (product placement) in the same location.

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In a past life, I worked a lot with corporate logos, which has made me a nerd about sich things. The look of the Castrol logo behind Howard in that one scene just felt wrong. Too modern.

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A few Google image searches later proved the logo on Howard’s wall is in fact from 1968 not from 1947. So instead of blaming the props department for a slipup, I’m running with the theory that Howard has been to the Summer of Love and brought that oil sign back as a souvenir.

Finally, Marvel missed a golden opportunity to bring one of its greatest creations full circle.

The episode’s climactic fight scene where Peggy gets ambushed by a masked attacker, starts with a familiar opening: Peggy letting off steam by pounding the hell out of a heavy bag on the Stark Mansion veranda.

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Notice it bears a striking resemblance to a certain GIF that is a favorite at Pajiba and the subject of some hard hitting journalistic work.

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The downer to Peggy’s version is that the shots were either too tight or too wide for an accurate side-by-side comparison of our favorite star-crossed Marvel couple. What red-blooded human wouldn’t want to see Hayley Atwell wiggle … for science!

Feel free to discuss. I’ll be behind the couch.

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For discussion of other comic book TV shows please join Craig Wack and Pajiba commenter Tatiana Torres for the Agents of GEEK podcast updated every Friday and now on iTunes.