Hayley Atwell in “Marvel’s Agent Carter” on ABC Television.
Well! THAT was a fun two straight hours of superhero action, was it not? You can tell both of these series are wrapping their initial (and in the latter’s case, possibly only) seasons, because everything seems to be heading toward a major confrontation or change in the status quo.
The Flash: The Nuclear Man
Okay, allow us a small moment of nerditry. Tom kept saying in awe throughout this episode, “They really did it. That’s really Firestorm.” You see, Firestorm is a hero with a backstory so complicated and a look so over-the-top that he could only come from the world of 4-color heroes known as comic books. And prior to last night, we would have assumed his destiny would be to forever remain there. Because how can you make a guy with two personalities and a flaming head seem remotely plausible or interesting? Or at the very least, not immediately ridiculous? You cast a hot guy and make him take his shirt off, sure. That’s one way to go. But we were pleasantly surprised at how well they managed to make this character seem interesting and, well… not totally ridiculous.
In other Flash news, Iris has suddenly become a much more interesting character. Granted, she’s still a walking repository of every unrequited superhero love interest cliche since Lois Lane was invented. But her scenes with Linda and later, Barry, showed an appealing confusion as to exactly what she’s doing and what she’s supposed to be feeling. She didn’t necessarily try to break up Linda and Barry, but she sure didn’t do anything to encourage the relationship – and her befuddlement over her own actions really does a lot to sell her as a well-rounded character. We guess what we’re saying is, it could have been so easy for the script and the actress to just play it as the back-stabbing move of a jealous not-girlfriend, but instead it came off quite real. Sometimes we do things – and sometimes they’re not nice things – without understanding exactly why we do them.
Meanwhile Joe and Cisco make our favorite new crimefighting team. The bit with the mirror was outrageously hand-wavey when it came to the science involved, but we kind of loved it for that. It’s a superhero story. The science can do whatever the writers want it to do, so long as they can come up with an explanation that sounds good. And while we’d like to pat ourselves on the back for figuring out and predicting that Barry was the second speedster the night of his mother’s murder, the truth of the matter is, any comic nerd could’ve told you the same thing.
We think what made this episode stand out for us was the way it really ramped up and felt like things were all building toward something; something that encompasses all the plot threads, from Harrison Wells and his mysterious past, to the Reverse Flash, to the Pied Piper to Firestorm to the Allen murder – and will involve every member of the cast (all of whom are hitting their stride). We can’t wait to see where it goes. And isn’t that the best possible thing you could say about a show like this?
Marvel’s Agent Carter: A Sin to Err
“Don’t go easy on her because she’s a girl.”
Well, Peggy Carter desperately wanted the men around her to see what she’s capable of and she got it, in a classic case of “be careful what you wish for.” Obviously, this story is going to have some sort of relatively happy ending, since we know a good deal about Peggy’s later life, but even so, it was a perfectly rendered “things fall apart for our hero” installment with several of what we like to call “Oh shit” moments. We trust we don’t have to explain what an “Oh shit” moment is.
Thompson and Peggy face off? Oh, shit.
Peggy and Souza face off? Oh, shit.
Peggy and Dottie face off? Oh, SHIT.
It was that last confrontation, with its disastrous consequences, that had us practically bouncing in our seats with excitement. Plotwise, this episode was actually pretty light and can be summed up as “Peggy gets found out, puts up a fight and gets taken into custody.” That almost sounds boring when you put it that way. How about “Everyone sees Peggy for the awesome and fearsome agent she is, which she demonstrates to them by kicking everybody’s ass.” That works so much better as a summary.
Still, if it was just an episode of Peggy kicking ass, we’d have been happy, but not nearly as impressed as we are with what we did get: a paying off of almost all the storylines and relationships so far. Similar to the way The Flash is making excellent use of its large cast of characters, this show innately understands that a hero needs an excellent supporting cast in order to tell its stories. In this hour, we saw Peggy deal with Souza, Thompson, Jarvis, Dooley, Angie and Dottie, all of whom came away with a vastly different understanding of her. Everyone dropped their masks, got real, and showed us what they were made of. Angie acted her ass off, Jarvis discovered he enjoyed the fisticuffs, Dottie felled Peggy with a kiss (in a moment of grand irony after all that asskicking), and every man discreetly cupped and protected his testicles when they thought no one was watching. It was GLORIOUS. And we are bereft at the thought that this will all go away from our TV screens soon.
Some random thoughts to cheer us up:
Souza is the future Mr. Peggy Carter, we’re more convinced than ever.
Dottie is INSANELY creepy.
Angie is…not as good an actress as the script kept saying.
We’re not too impressed with the S.S.R. treating a newly discovered Soviet political prisoner like the new guy in the office. Did no one consider that the guy might not be on the up and up?
“Premature evacuation.” Oh, Peggy. This is why we love you. Anyone can be a ballbuster, but to be a witty ballbuster? RESPECT.
[Photo Credit: ABC]
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