If you read comics then you probably know who Peggy Carter is. If that’s not the case and you noticed a new series about cute female agent surrounded with male colleagues who don’t take her seriously than you probably noticed campy surroundings and comical atmosphere. If, despite all that you continued to watch the series and actually enjoyed “Agent Carter” then you’ve seen quite a good spy thriller show with elements of feminism of the early fifties and a bit of male sexism along the way. If you haven’t read the comics and haven’t seen the show, then it’s time to begin since the first season of “Agent Carter” was one of the funniest period series currently available.
Peggy has an interesting background. She’s a girlfriend of Steve Rogers commonly known as Captain America and we can say that makes her an ex. An ex only because Steve is lost during the WW2 and she’s left alone as the agent of SSR to take phone calls, coffee and take notes for her predominantly male colleagues. Radio show about her exploits with Captain America in which she’s always the damsel in distress doesn’t help her case either. When her longtime friend, playboy and inventor Howard Stark is suspected of espionage and selling arms to the Russians, Peggy is his only chance to prove that he’s innocent. With the help of his butler, the British named Jarvis, Peggy will start her own investigation in which she’ll go under the radar and try to prove his innocence. That is the beginning of the short season in which we will get to know, love and respect Peggy Carter. She will in her noir style go undercover on various missions and discover whole different enemy and main story in the process. Her emotions will not remain untouched. When her colleagues look the other way she will exploit her damsel in distress image to solve the cases without them noticing. That deceit, however, can last only for a while. Even the best spies cannot work that close to the professional agents and go unnoticed.
Hayley Atwell and James D’Arcy had great chemistry in the first season of the series. Their dialogues and differences were one of the reasons why the show was so catching to begin with. It was interesting to see how both of them evolved in the season and how their acting was getting better with every new episode. Characters and storylines also evolved and I would say that both ABC and Marvel have learned the lesson with their main show “Agents of SHIELD” in the last year. Peggy Carter is an important character within the Marvel Cinema Universe and her role in founding SHIELD is irreplaceable. It was interesting to see that her relationship with Captain America didn’t do her best in earning the respect of the male agents and that she had to go from scratch. As only female agent in the agency her job wasn’t easy and nobody actually believed she’s capable of anything.
Her capabilities were appreciated only by Howard Stark (father of Tony Stark aka Iron Man) who had worked with her and Captain America during the war. In the beginnings of the Cold War it was difficult to decide who can be trusted and great playboy and inventor Howard Stark seemed just the right choice for the Russian spy. An Atmosphere of Joe McCarthy and Red Scares didn’t do him any good and Agent Peggy Carter was the only real help he could count on.
This season didn’t pass without expecting cameo of the Marvel legend Stan Lee in a wonderful little scene in which he asked Howard Stark the sports page of the newspapers. Stan Lee also had a cameo in the “Big Hero 6” and almost any other movie within the MCU and I think that this cameo of his confirmed how seriously, Marvel sees the role of Agent Carter in the next stages of their Movie Universe.
Communist plots were fruitful ground for movies and series similar to “Agent Carter” in the past, but here the spear is pointed out more to the US itself and the effectiveness of their intelligence in the times of peril. Not recognizing the skilled and capable Carter and dismissing more often than not obvious signs of danger under their noses other agents of the SSR often seemed like caricatures of the real agents and that was the only real shortcoming of the series.
Enver Gjokaj and Chad Michael Murray played the agents Thompson and Souza which are male figures of opposite physical and psychological characteristics. Thompson is cocky young agent, often sexist, making more of himself than he really is and Souza is disabled in war, but very cunning and capable agent whose position is similar to the one in which Peggy found herself. That connection brought the two characters closer together, but during the season that fact wasn’t always good for either of them.
I was really surprised with how good the first season of “Agent Carter” turned out to be. It was very well written, well-paced drama in which there was enough tension for me to expect every episode with excitement. I am happy that with this series Peggy Carter established herself as an important character within the Marvel Universe and I’m looking forward to any future installments of the character in the forthcoming Marvel features. Hopefully, “Agent Carter” will get another season. Highly recommended for all, not only comic lovers.