Obviously, this article may contain spoilers that people want to avoid.
Agent Carter has yet to be picked up in the UK, so I've had to watch it online and I have to say, I made the right choice!
After THAT midseason finale in Agents of SHIELD I wondered how I would cope, seriously the way it ended just made me want the next episode to be available right now. But in Agent Carter, Marvel have definitely made a more than suitable replacement. If not for the trailers that keep appearing online I'd have forgotten about all the "game changing" things happening on Agents of SHIELD. It's fair to say, Agent Carter has definitely left a good impression - and I for one would love to see more of it!
The only downside of watching it online (and generally living in the UK) is people live tweeting all the episodes! It means my Wednesday morning twitter viewing is spent avoiding spoilers for shows I want to watch, but it's so worth it when the shows are of the quality of Agent Carter. The show began as a seemingly formulaic programme that had Peggy Carter and Edwin Jarvis (more on him later) saving the world by night while Peggy was an under appreciated cog in the SSR machine by day, it quickly became so much more.
The relatively short run of 8 episodes allowed the story to progress at some pace, each one offering something to the ongoing plot and as a result there were no real filler episodes. Also despite the short run, each character was able to be fleshed out well, initially Peggy's SSR colleagues seemed to be underdeveloped personally but by the end, they were all relatable characters. Jack Thompson (Chad Michael Murray) started off as seemingly the golden boy, a war hero who was very good at interrogation, but ended up revealing his heroics were all a sham, and he shot a man trying to surrender. Had the series went on for longer we probably would have had a much longer wait to see his true colours. Even the recurring cast played their part, Lyndsy Fonseca was particularly excellent as aspiring actress Angie.
Hayley Atwell excels in the role of Peggy Carter, carrying on from her turns in the MCU films brilliantly. The series takes place one year after Captain America's disappearance and it shows how she tries to move on: the finale in particular playing a key part in demonstrating that she finally has moved on from Captain Rogers. Peggy's role in the finale mirrored her final moments in Captain America: The First Avenger, talking over the radio to someone she cared about on a plane, but this time the result was different, and it was clear to see the emotion on her face at the end. Finally letting go of Cap was no mean feat, and the subtle way it was dealt with was another nice touch.
A particular highlight of the series was episode 5 which featured a guest appearance from the Howling Commandos (mainly Dum Dum Dugan, played by Neal McDonough, but there were some other guys too). This was the episode when Peggy (finally!) got to see some action in the field and it certainly did not disappoint. As soon as they got there Peggy took charge and showed just how capable she was, which earned the respect of Jack Thompson. There were also nods to the present day MCU, with the birth of the black widow project teased. This episode also featured the first appearance of evil Dr Ivchenko/Fennhoff which was a turning point in the story. Unwittingly, the SSR had brought back a powerful enemy (complete with magic hypnosis ring) who would soon cause trouble for pretty much every character, including exposing Peggy's nocturnal adventures with Jarvis. Ivchenko teamed up with Dottie, the black widow, to cause trouble for the SSR as well, and may well be back if there is a series 2. The phrase "game changer" is one that is often used to describe significant events in a TV shows run and it's pretty safe to say that each of the last 4 episodes of Agent Carter were a game changer, which in a series of 8 episodes is quite impressive.
Undoubtedly though, the highlight of the series was one Edwin Jarvis. James D'Arcy portrayed the butler of Howard Stark excellently. Initially, Jarvis seemed to be a bit of comic relief, but his character grows through each episode. His interrogation in episode 3 proved there was more than meets the eye with this butler and his willingness to shoot down his boss in the finale underlined it. Jarvis is supremely loyal, whether it is to his wife (as he cannot work after 9 due to him and his wife being in bed), Peggy (helping her to find Stark's technology) or his boss (politely accepting Stark lambasting him in the finale for suggesting Stark would want Jarvis to shoot him down), Jarvis will help anybody he can. D'Arcy's portrayal turned someone who could have been a caricature into a highly likeable, and hilarious person who definitely added to the show.
Overall, as you can probably tell, I was hugely impressed with Agent Carter, and I'd very much like to see more (that means someone in the UK better pick it up so I can watch it again!). And I truly hope that there is another series next year.
Oh, and I need The Captain America Adventure Hour in my life!
What did you think of Marvel's Agent Carter?
Fun trivia quiz - Neal McDonough (Dum Dum Dugan) has a previous connection to the Marvel Universe, what is it?
He was the voice of Bruce Banner in the 90s cartoon of The Incredible Hulk