We’re terrible, terrible recappers, we admit it.
See, no one was singing the praises of Agent Carter season one as loudly as we were and no one was happier than us when it got renewed for its second season. And we’d even argue that we were among the most excited Agent Carter fans in the known universe when we sat down to watch the season premiere on Tuesday night. But the Nyquil kicked in a little earlier than we thought it would and by the next day (yesterday), we were both wallowing in our yearly tradition of passing a bad cold back and forth to each other until, between the two of us, we’d gestated some sort of super-strain that turns everyone who comes into contact with it into a grumpy, fuzzy-headed, sniffling mess.
And that’s why we’re late with a half-assed recap, teacher. The dog ate our homework.
So here’s the quick n’ dirty version: It was fun, but maybe a two-hour premiere loaded down with so much table-setting and story setup wasn’t the best way to kick things off. In truth, we’re a little overwhelmed by everything that’s going on and we’re not even sure we can make sense of it. Granted, there is the aforementioned Nyquil factor, but still. By the end of it, all we could grasp was that there’s some sort of dark matter something or other, which seems to tie into the current season of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (although we could be wrong on that because we dropped that show a while back) and that this is the third Marvel TV series in a row that introduced a black male supporting character and then seemingly killed him off (Daredevil and Jessica Jones being the other two).
Maybe we’re being unfair about that last point, since the final fate of the charming Dr. Wilkes isn’t necessarily written in stone yet, but it did strike us as a somewhat unfortunate turn of events, given not just the similarities to other Marvel series but the charges against the show last season that it was a bit too lily-white. We’ll reserve judgment as to whether it was a good idea or not when we’re a little more sure of where they’re going with it. After all, on Agents of SHIELD, last time we checked, getting sucked into a weird portal doesn’t necessarily equal a death sentence. Even so, the optics of introducing the show’s first non-white character and then shuffling him off to a dire fate almost immediately are highly questionable. We’ll just have to see what it means in the long run before we can harrumph over it
But for right now, it means that Agent Carter is going all-in on the more fantastical elements of the Marvel universe and to be honest, we’re not sure we’re in love with the idea. Peggy is a super-hero in every sense of the word. From the gadgets and skills to the red-white-and-blue color scheme of her wardrobe, she’s got every right to claim her place among other, more colorful members of the Marvel pantheon. But we were kind of hoping this series would stick more to the spy aspect of her character and not have to deal with story elements that required digital special effects teams to render. Because for us, there is no Peggy Carter moment more satisfying to watch than seeing her beat the crap out of her nemesis Dottie. More of that and less of the over-the-top sci-fi wackiness, we’re thinking. Especially since a show like this has so much potential to reach an audience that isn’t really into the more comic-booky elements of your average superhero story. Again, we’ll have to see where they’re taking this, but we can’t deny feeling a little disappointed. Send her up against Russian spies and HYDRA agents. Leave the goofy space portals for Agents of SHIELD or The Avengers to deal with.
In other news, we get to meet the charming Mrs. Jarvis, played to bubbly perfection by Lotte Verbeek, who charmed the hell out of us in Outlander last year. We’re not sure if she’s going to have a larger role to play going forward (there seems to be a little bit of a mystery as to her background) or if she’s just a way of giving Peggy a female friend and ally, since the show has her drowning in a sea of men. Either way, we very much appreciate the great lengths they went to to show that she’s not remotely the jealous type and that two women can meet each other through a man and not wind up fighting over him.
Which brings us to our other complaint for these episodes: Jarvis is being turned into a buffoon and we’re not sure why. It’s fine to use the character as a sort of damsel-in-distress script-flipper, but we see no reason why he should be played so broadly. A couple of his scenes had us cringing because it felt like the only thing missing from them was a laugh track. It’s okay to have a male character in this story who isn’t particularly heroic, but it strikes us as a little shallow to turn such a character into a constant joke.
Anyway, Peggy’s back and kicking ass and that matters more to us than any of the quibbles we may have. Hopefully, the somewhat confusing and elaborate storyline they’re putting together for the season will start to make sense in the next few episodes. Those are our scattered thoughts. What did you guys think?