Riveting scenes between Murray, Atwell and D'Arcy. Snappy dialogue. Intense and emotional moments, with a shocking turn for the series.
Not many. A couple of slightly awkward scenes and a couple of things that could be considered predictable. Mostly made up for by things we didn't see coming.
Don’t let the stylish, noir, action-packed humor and fun fool you. Agent Carter is an emotional, gritty and dark show hiding in plain sight behind its innocent look.
Agent Carter — As Peggy (Hayley Atwell) settles in to her new home with Angie (Lyndsy Fonseca), Miriam Fry (Meagan Fay) makes her presence felt immediately when she humiliatingly ousts one resident in front of everyone. The rules of the house may be ones Peggy finds herself in trouble with later. Meanwhile, with both Leet Brannis (James Frain) and the Green Suit (James Landry Hébert) dead, the SSR focus their investigation on Edwin Jarvis (James D’Arcy) based on the license plate found in the Roxxon wreckage. When a surprise visit by Peggy to investigate Stark’s safe is interrupted by Agents Jack Thompson (Chad Michael Murray) and Daniel Sousa (Enver Gjokaj), Jarvis has no choice but to go with them to protect Peggy hidden inside the house. As Thompson’s interrogation escalates to humiliation and threats to deport both Jarvis and his wife because of a previous charge of treason, Peggy risks everything she’s worked for in the SSR by purposely slipping information in front of everyone to save him.
Still reeling from the day’s anguished events, Peggy and Jarvis follow clues under the Stark residence that lead to the nearby harbor and the mysterious symbol left by Leet Brannis on a nearby ship. All of Stark’s stolen technology is inside. Peggy, seeing an opportunity to reclaim lost credibility, is stopped by a quick-thinking Jarvis, who rightly insists that revealing her role in finding the missing weapons will only implicate her. After tipping the SSR anonymously, Peggy and Jarvis find themselves in a fight for their lives against muscle left behind to guard the cache of weapons. The vicious struggle leaves their opponent incapacitated, but with no time to do anything but run, Peggy and Jarvis must hope fate prevents the witness from identifying them. When one of the SSR’s own is assassinated in cold-blood along with the witness, everyone is left in emotional shock. The stakes have been escalated in a deadly game of cat and mouse. With the body count mounting, let’s dive deep into the emotional and shocking events of this week’s Agent Carter!
This isn’t your average, ordinary comic book series. Jarvis and Peggy both absorb emotional gut shots. Lesser men or women might have folded.
What started as the consummate odd couple with Jarvis and Peggy is growing into a heartfelt camaraderie between kindred spirits. These two are bonding with each emotional and physical struggle they endure. Both sacrificed their pride, put themselves at risk and endured unexpectedly painful anguish in order to protect the other in this third installment of Agent Carter.
Hayley Atwell and James D’Arcy share a kinetic on-screen chemistry that glows a bit more brightly each week. It was a beautiful thing to watch these actors display such subtle emotions as Jarvis and Peggy fight through adversity for each other. This story revealed how important loyalty is to both characters and in so doing, gave us deeper glimpses into each.
Thompson’s interrogation of Jarvis was a mood changing scene in what ultimately became a surprisingly emotional episode. The threat of deportation and the humiliation of treason, made what started as a simple next step in the investigation into a painful moment to watch. D’Arcy’s charm was at first disarming. As Thompson pressed and threatened in smug and arrogant jabs, the bubbling anguish and anger of Jarvis was a clear momentum shift for the episode. Murray was equal to the task. Demonstrating his range and growth as an actor, he is quickly shattering the golden boy persona he’s played so often. Thompson is a hard-assed agent and Murray is making us believe it.
“Seeing as whatever you did’s been swept under a rug, I’m guessing it’s a big green one made of Stark money, hmm? So you dodged the treason conviction. But you couldn’t get out of the dishonorable discharge. Well, I guess money can’t buy everything. This looks bad. Bad to every good man who ever served, bad to your friends, neighbors. And to the fine folks at the office of immigration. Yeah, I’m putting that on the table. That’ll be a fun conversation to have with the wife.” ~ Thompson
Only quick thinking by Peggy, but at equal risk to herself, salvaged the spiraling interrogation squeeze. By intentionally letting the information of the stolen car report slip, Jarvis was free to walk. But both knew in a glance as he trudged out, more defeated than triumphant, that a difficult conversation about his treason loomed. That one look spoke volumes. Both silently acknowledged the humiliation he endured. Could Peggy trust him? Was her faith in Jarvis misplaced? Had she made an error in judgement? This small moment between them created countless questions.
This series has done a remarkable job of casting. Hayley Atwell was a given, but she has demonstrated remarkable depth for Peggy in just three episodes as is so often the case with television where characters can be explored more closely. D’Arcy is an absolute gem. His humorous and bumbling English butler persona is balanced so well with his tender and emotional support of Peggy. The interrogation was however another level entirely. The grit and determination not to talk was palpable. Both Atwell and D’Arcy shared equal moments of anguish and both were superb in the subtleties of emotion throughout the moment.
The verbal berating of Peggy by Chief Dooley (Shea Whigham) and backlash from Thompson over a blunder that set Jarvis free hurt to watch. Atwell didn’t have to say a word for us to know Peggy had sacrificed any progress she’d made at gaining respect from her peers. The look in her eyes was enough. As she stepped from Dooley’s office, to the stares and humiliation of her co-workers, her commitment to Jarvis with the question of treason hanging in the balance was evident. Had she made the right choice? Was it worth it?
These two powerful moments not only brought a realism and grounded feel to the episode, but they were an emotional shake up. The stakes at hand were real. Lives were in the balance and the road to clear Stark’s name may be a long, hard climb. That realism was delivered by fantastic performances. Murray, D’Arcy and Atwell have come into their own. Agent Carter has it’s moments of charm and comic book wit, but it’s also emerging as a gritty and emotional drama.
Peggy and Jarvis both have far more to them than it first appears. If they don’t have trust between them, can they possibly survive?
Peggy’s fragile balance to maintain respect came crumbling down around her with the capture and release of Jarvis. All the questions floating in her head are the same ones anyone would be asking. Did she really know Jarvis? And better yet, could she trust him? With an emotionally deflating day behind her, it’s no surprise Peggy didn’t feel like talking to Angie afterward. As is so often the case of a hero living a double life, there are simply times the people around them feel distant, if for no other reason than they have no idea the real troubles and dangers a protagonist faces. Having already lost one roommate and friend, Peggy simply shut Angie down.
Angie had to feel a bit conflicted, but if there were small flaws in this episode, this might have been one of them. Fonseca’s performance was a good one. We certainly got her frustration loud and clear, but the instant tension and hurt she felt seemed a bit excessive. The moment served to help set up the introduction of Dorothy Underwood (Bridget Regan) in the hall, but the instant cold treatment from Angie felt like a small chink in what was otherwise a strong episode. Though redeemed later, when Peggy visits the diner at the end, this moment felt slightly off. Peggy did have bigger fish to fry, but the off-putting attitude from Angie felt a bit over the top.
With a sharpness to her and a bite in her eyes, Peggy and Jarvis begin the investigation of Stark’s safe. We applaud the writing in this sequence. So often characters let things go and drive audiences mad with the one little thing or element they won’t say or won’t ask. When Peggy dances around the issue of Jarvis’ treason charge and he refuses to offer up details, it felt like this was about to happen. Instead, she comes directly out and asks as most normal people would do. After hearing his explanation and understanding he put himself at great risk to save his wife Anna in the process, it’s clear to Peggy and us that his intentions are much more noble than we thought. It’s also clear that Jarvis values loyalty highly. His service to Stark is a prime example of his gratitude for helping them both escape the war.
Whether it was Peggy’s desperate attempt to return to even the lowly state of good grace she held with her peers or the excitement of finding Stark’s missing technology, Peggy clearly wasn’t thinking things through when they finally reach the cache of stolen Stark weapons. Jarvis however, in his protective mode, was the voice of reason. Even though she had snipped at him twice about sleeping on the job of protecting all of Stark’s bad babies, Jarvis was still looking out for Peggy by stopping her from turning the items in to the SSR directly.
“Publicly revealing these items won’t clear Mr. Stark’s name. They’ll only place you under suspicion along with him” ~ Jarvis
“I will call them in, and they will respect me.” ~ Peggy
“But they won’t. They’ll only use it to tear you down. If you wish to clear Mr. Stark’s name, you must do so from the shadows.” ~ Jarvis
It’s Jarvis that is thinking clearly about things. Peggy, on the other hand, is clearly still struggling with his advice the previous week to accept help. As good an agent as Peggy is, she’s learning patience and tact from Jarvis while he learns deduction and tenacity from her. It’s an interesting chemistry brewing. The two of them started as the solid odd couple from completely different worlds and are slowly building mutual respect—Jarvis perhaps a bit more quickly than Peggy. It’s her nature to fight for what she has. She’s never gotten anywhere in life without that fight. In time she may come to realize she doesn’t have to do that with Jarvis. He is different.
When the hired muscle guarding the weapons appears however, Peggy is in for the fight of her life. Having seen the “muscle constrictor” earlier it was completely clear it would come up again and get used, but that didn’t spoil the enjoyment of seeing it happen. Peggy clearly packs a punch and can take care of herself against many, but sometimes ingenuity wins the day and when Jarvis distracts her opponent who has her beaten, she cripples him with the constrictor. Ouch. Peggy is as resourceful as she is tough.
Because of her toughness, Peggy sways back and forth in her treatment of Jarvis. She holds him at bay at times and accepts his help at others. It’s unclear if she’ll finally relent and accept his partnership willingly. Especially now that they’ve shared more of themselves and each put themselves at risk for the other. What is clear, is that Atwell and D’Arcy look completely comfortable working opposite each other even in the moments their characters are at odds. The writing for these two has been exceptionally good and the performances between them even better.
Great shows make us care even when the characters we don’t like are lost. Agent Carter made us feel the emotional impact of Ray’s death.
Major characters die in television shows with regularity these days. Some are heartfelt, some are applauded and some leave audiences completely indifferent. Ray Krzeminski (Kyle Bornheimer), in more ways than one, was an ass. He wasn’t liked very much by even the men in the office. He did his job, but found ways to rub nearly everyone the wrong way in the process. Between his snide remarks, womanizing and arrogant indifference to the feelings of others, he became the poster child of the male chauvinistic crowd in this show. We were rooting for the day Peggy would put him in his place and left him helpless with his tail between his legs.
The writing team took a bold and different turn with Krzeminski. Needless to say, we didn’t see his execution, and that of his witness, coming until it was upon us. Just when it seemed Peggy’s cover would be blown for certain, someone came along and eliminated the two people who could potentially blow her cover wide open. As Peggy entered the somber office the next day to the sniffles of the switchboard ladies and a quiet jaw-clenching room of agents, the news hit her harder than expected. What was already a very sticky situation just became harsh and real.
“Concerned citizens call the cops. This guy called us directly. It’s not like we’re in the phonebook. Somebody targeted them, and I’m gonna find that bastard.” ~ Sousa
“Krzeminski would still be with us today if it wasn’t for Howard Stark, whether he pulled the trigger or not. We’re only neck-deep in this mess because of him. Stay vigilant. I’m not losing any more of you. Now I got to go call Krzeminski’s wife.” ~ Chief Dooley
What could have been played very differently was brilliantly written and performed by all involved. Shea Whigham especially brought the emotion. The weight of Krzeminski’s death was evident in every step and every word of Chief Dooley’s speech. These characters that have been so sharply played as chauvinistic aren’t simply one-dimensional either. Just as we’ve seen multiple angles of Peggy and Jarvis, we got a glimpse of the human side of everyone else in the office. If we had been told before the episode that Krzeminski’s death would stir emotion in the audience, we’d have shaken our head with a resounding no, but the writing team and the cast accomplished just that.
Atwell brought things full circle in her visit to the diner. By spilling her emotions and asking Angie if she could talk about her day and sharing the loss of a colleague she didn’t even like—the advice of Jarvis might finally be sinking in with Peggy. She needs those around her to keep her grounded. She and Jarvis are in a very deep hole that’s only sinking lower. Nothing she could do at this point would bring back Krzeminski and likely nothing she could do or say would avoid a lynch mob at her office if they knew how she’d spent her off hours working for Stark. Through three episodes of an eight-episode run, the writing team has created a considerable mountain to climb for Peggy. One she cannot reach the summit of alone.
FINAL VERDICT: Comic book wit and fun combine with emotional gravity to make Agent Carter a dark, gritty drama that knows when to take itself seriously and when to not. When the chips are down, the emotions are raw and gripping.
For all the comic book flair, action and humor, the heart of this show is the partnership between Peggy and Jarvis. The two of them have been splendid together on screen. Sharp writing by Andi Bushell continued to move that partnership forward in this episode with the two of them each put squarely in the crosshairs for the other.
They say to not judge a book by its cover, but Peggy was certainly guilty of that when she cornered Jarvis about his treason charge. Finding things are not always as they seem is often a way of opening one’s eyes and good writing through three episodes has made it fun to watch how the sacrifices both have made can potentially bring Jarvis and Peggy closer as partners. This series has been exceptionally good out of the gate and it’s going to be difficult to wait two weeks in order to see to what degree these experiences affect Jarvis and Peggy.
They have both proven themselves to the other and continued good performances by Atwell and D’Arcy have made this partnership feel very genuine. We said early on in previous reviews that the chemistry between main characters can make or break a show. These two actors have continued to deliver the quality connection that makes a show successful and Tuesday nights have been better for it.
Director Scott Winant did a solid job of bringing together an episode that was surprisingly far more emotional than anticipated. Aside from a couple of small bumps, this was a solid entry for the series. Angie’s sour reaction to Peggy mid-episode felt slightly off and when Krzeminski’s car was bumped from behind we all knew he was in trouble. What was completely unexpected were the emotional swings. The interrogation sequence and Peggy’s harsh treatment after were riveting and unsettling.
Perhaps most surprising was the brilliant performances and writing that led us to sadness and empathy at the loss of Krzeminski. Not the man himself per se, but that he was a member of their team. One of their own. As an audience even we felt a twinge of guilt with Peggy that she and Jarvis were in part responsible for his death. Despite his considerable flaws, he had a wife and will be grieved. The consequences are real. Someone, perhaps Leviathan, is playing a very dangerous game and a litany of murders only prove that the stakes are extraordinarily high.
Everyone in the SSR felt his loss and their resolve is likely to intensify in the aftermath of his death. They firmly believe Stark is in some way guilty and now responsible for the death of a partner. The question will be what, if any, evidence can Peggy and Jarvis unearth to prove otherwise when everyone that might lead to his innocence continues to die? Where do they turn next? We have no clue, but you can bet we’ll be watching in two weeks when Agent Carter returns to find out!
Questions, Comments, Concerns and My Reaction on Twitter…
- They make drain pipes too strong in 1946. Wrong window! lol
- Looks like business is good. Hey Ray .. how ya doin? Hahaha!! @KyleBornheimer
- Is anyone else getting a Delores Umbridge vibe from Miss Fry? Hope cutting words in your hand isn’t punishment. #HarryPotter
- I don’t think it will escape Peggy that Jarvis just took one for the team. And by team, I mean her.
- Who are you bringing to the show. Your wife or your girlfriend? BOOM! @HayleyAtwell @KyleBornheimer
- Actually the death ray is accounted for.. Love his sense of humor. 🙂 But this more serious than he knows.
- Well this got intense in quite a hurry. This bullet nearly hit the bone Peggy.
- And don’t think Jarvis won’t remember Peggy just took a sharp knife in the gut for him. That hurt to watch. @HayleyAtwell
- Awe. Angie just has NO idea. @HayleyAtwell @LyndsyMFonseca
- Damn. Floating treasure theory. Peggy is damned good. @HayleyAtwell
- No girl is going to trade in a red, white and blue shield for a crutch. Ray is turning into a real SOB. @KyleBornheimer
- I seriously heart Jarvis & Peggy. Not in a shipper way (despite where they are now) but as partners. Love em. @HayleyAtwell
- Is that back massage #EpicFail or torture #EpicSuccess? @HayleyAtwell
- But they won’t. They will only use it to tear you down. If want to clear Starks name, you have to do it from the shadows. Wow
- Ha!! Jarvis, you were doing great until “have a lovely night!” That accent was hilarious. lol
- Well that works. Damn that was brutal! @HayleyAtwell
- That shooter—was a woman. #JustSayin And that was even more brutal. This show is dark. More than I thought.
- Stay vigilant. I’m not losing any more of you. Chief Dooley isn’t an ass. He’s a man of his time.
- I didn’t think #AgentCarter could get better, but I was wrong. That ep was fantastic. Emotional and intense.
Marvel’s Agent Carter Review 1×03 “Time and Tide”