Pilot Review: Agent Carte

It is only the first full week of 2015 and we are already off to a strong start. I really enjoyed Galavant on Sunday and Tuesday brought us the premiere of Agent Carter, the newest in the Marvel franchise and the first to feature a woman as the lead character.

When It Airs: Tuesdays on ABC at 9:00 EST

Summary: After the war, Peggy tries to find a balance between working for an unappreciative SSR and helping Howard Stark avoid a treason charge and retrieves his stolen inventions with the help of Stark’s butler, Jarvis.

My Impressions: Confession time: I haven’t seen either of the two Captain America movies. So this was my first introduction to Peggy Carter, other than what I’ve seen of her on Tumblr. Immediately after seeing the first episode (which is the only one I’ve seen so far), I knew I was going to need to watch the first movie so I could get some backstory on this incredible woman.

So much has been said of Hayley Atwell’s performance as Peggy and every bit of the praise is deserved. She was dedicated, strong, frustrated, and vulnerable at various points throughout the episode and she sold each emotion and made them all into one cohesive portrait of a woman who not only misses the job and responsibility she held during the war but the man she shared them with.

I am so intrigued by stories of women readjusting to life after World War II. It was a compelling basis for The Bletchley Circle and it remains compelling in Agent Carter. Peggy lives in a world that undervalues her experience because of her gender and sexism is abundant on the show. We see it in all forms. The diner patron who was both repeatedly rude to his waitress then patted her butt as she walked away is an obvious example of patronizing attitudes toward women as is Agent Thompson’s assertion that Peggy would be better at filing than he was. What excited me most though, was the way the show pointed out that Agent Sousa’s defense of Peggy was also a form of sexism. He had good intentions and didn’t wish to see her treated poorly but he was still doing it because she’s a woman and was defensive of her in a way that he would not have been if she were a man.

Regardless of the form it takes, Peggy has no patience for those who would treat her (or any other woman) in a way that takes away from their agency. She understands the way people see her and then subverts their expectations. She’s both resourceful and competent as a fighter and has all the cunning needed for a spy.

I was also thrilled with the dynamic between Peggy and Jarvis. They approach things so differently and it’s the way their two personalities come together to create a team that is such fun to watch. Their banter cracks me up and it’s so important for Peggy to have someone else to talk to who values what she does and Jarvis is perfect for that.

I am also extremely excited to have Enver Gjokaj on my TV screen regularly for the next 7 weeks. I adored him in Dollhouse and I cannot wait to see more of him (and maybe of he and Peggy bonding over the ways they are overlooked in the office). He’s so talented and I hope he gets a chance to show off how fantastic he is.

What did you think of Agent Carter?

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