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Marvel’s Agent Carter hits a Snafu

I would consider myself a latecomer to the Marvel universe. I was never a big comic reader, and the comics I have and mostly DC (mostly Superman, actually). My wife and I binge-watched the Phase 1 Marvel movies (Iron Man 1 & 2, Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger) shortly before seeing The Avengers.

Now, I’ve seen all the subsequent movies (Iron Man 3, Winter Soldier, Dark World, Guardians) and I’m an avid follower of Agents of SHIELD and Marvel’s new show, Agent Carter.

For those who need a reminder, Peggy Carter was Steve Rogers’ (aka Captain America) partner and girlfriend during World War II. After Rogers disappeared in the Arctic and the War ended, Carter took on a role with the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR), a precursor to SHIELD.

The new show is set in the late 1940s, as Carter deals with bad Russians and sexist co-workers in the SSR. Despite fighting with the Howling Commandos during WW2, her colleagues view her as vital to such missions as filing reports, answering the phones, and taking the lunch orders. While she has to play the role of a secretary, he works behind the scenes to stop the bad guys. Howard Stark, the father of Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark, is Public Enemy #1 and on the run. He confided in Carter that someone broke into his private vault and stole several of his more dangerous inventions (his “bad babies,” as he calls them).

I thought this show would turn into a “find a new bad baby every episode” kind of thing, but the lot were recovered at the end of Episode 3 of the eight-episode miniseries. Since then, the SSR has investigated a believed link between Stark and an evil Soviet organization called “Leviathan,” as well as the fictional WWII Battle of Finow, which ended with a bunch of massacred Russians before the Nazis even got to the party. The show has introduced Dottie Underwood, a product of the Red Room (a Soviet facility for brainwashing young women and turned them into spies and assassins (yes, Dottie is the precursor to the Black Widow program).

So here’s where we are now, after the peni-ultimate episode, titled “Snafu” (see what I did there?). Carter and the SSR were able to extract a Russian therapist (Dr. Ivchenko) from a Leviathan prison to SSR HQ, but he’s actually working for Leviathan. Carter’s efforts in helping Stark weren’t actually sanctioned, so not she’s been captured and is considered a traitor.

So Carter is interrogated by her colleagues, but doesn’t reveal anything else (why?). Stark’s butler, Jarvis (who has been assisting Carter all season), tries to save Carter with a forged confession by Stark. While quarantined in an office, Carter and Jarvis witness Ivchenko secretly communicated out the window with Dottie via Morse Code. Carter decided to tell the SSR everything to gain some level of trust. It was a great scene when Chief Dooley, Agent Thompson, and Agent Sousa questioned how she could conduct an investigation without any of them noticing, and Carter rubbing in their faces that sexist views effectively blinded them.

Anyway, Dooley sends Thompson and Sousa across the street to get Dottie, but she gets the slip on them and escapes. Dooley keeps an eye on Ivchenko, who used mind control to hypnotize Dooley. The entranced Dooley locks up Carter and Jarvis, and helps Ivchenko steal a particular nasty bad baby, all while making Dooley imagine he was reconnecting with his family. When Thompson finally frees Carter, they find Ivchenko gone and Dooley wearing a strange glowing vest, another Stark invention. The vest is supposed to warm the wearer up in a frozen wasteland, but has a nasty habit of exploding. Naturally, the vest is securely locked and can’t be removing, so Dooley orders Carter to catch Ivchenko, shoots out a window, and leaps to his explosive death. A sad death.

At the end of the episode, Dottie and Ivchenko set off the stolen invention inside a crowded movie theater. It’s a gas canister that induces rage, followed by death. When some latecomers try to get into the movie, everyone is dead. I think we know what happened at the Battle of Finow.

I think it’s safe to assume that I am eagerly looking forward to next Tuesday.

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