The Mid-Season Replacements: Marvel’s Agent Carter

Unlike a lot of people, who found it boring, I liked the first season of Marvel’s Agent Carter, starring Hayley Attwell as Captain America”s girlfriend, Peggy Carter, trying to get the post-war SSR to take her seriously as a field Agent, instead of someone to do the typing.

It was a bright and breezy, eight-part series, demonstrating Peggy’s superiority to everyone around her at the SSR (with the possible exception of fellow Agent, Daniel Sousa: Enver Gjokaj, with a serious limp) and enlivened by the very British, very absurd conversations between Peggy and her confidant, Howard Stark’s butler, Edwin Jarvis (a great comic/serious turn by James D’Arcy).

Despite the viewing figures dropping throughout Agent Carter‘s run as a mid-season replacement for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., it’s been renewed for a second season, this time extended to ten episodes, and again keeping a place for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which we won’t see again until March.

I’m basing this review on episode 1 only, though the series premiered with a double-episode. And a fine mix of action, wit and interesting plot strands it turned out to be.

The action this time is set in Los  Angeles, though there’s evidently going to be a large strand to do with New York. To start with, Sousa is out west, Chief of the SSR’s West Coast Bureau, but still technically subordinate to Chief Jack Thompson (Chad Michael Murray). Sousa pulls a case of a woman’s body, found frozen to death in a lake – in the middle of an LA heatwave. Local Police Detective Henry reckons it’s the uncaught Lady in the Lake Killer – but it turns out that Detective Henry is covering up a death of a scientist by other, outre and potentially contagious means.

Meanwhile, in New York, Peggy Carter has led a team in the successful capture of Dottie Underwood, and is about to interrogate her when Sousa calls Thompson to ask for the loan of a senior Agent. And Thompson, still as chauvinist and insecure as ever, sends Peggy.

Since Howard Stark is in California, getting into the Movie business, Jarvis is on the spot to help – along with Mrs Jarvis, who makes an onscreen debut. A link is traced to Isodyne Energies, a company owned by powerful businessman, and Senatorial-candidate Clifford Chadwick, who is quite clearly tied up in all this as we can see by the end of episode 1, having swept out all tracks, for the moment, that is.

And in New York, Jack Thompson is making an arse of himself trying to strong-arm Dotty in the Interrogation Room, that is, until  the FBI swoops and takes both the case and the prisoner over. Thompson gets a friendly word of advice: the SSR was a war-time agency, but this is 1947 and the war’s over. Before long, so will be the SSR. By co-operating, Thompson will be putting himself in place to get in on its successor at a high level.

So, treachery, corruption and why did Dotty break into a Bank to steal somebody’s lapel pin in New York, and a mysterious murder in which people get frozen to death and explode into little carbon chunks.

And in the final scene, inside Isodyne, the friendly scientist who wants to wine, dine, dance and probably shag Peggy proudly contemplates some kind of caged black fluid shape-changer tat looks exactly like the monolith in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

It looks like a fine start to me.

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