Review: Agent Carter “Pilot”/”Bridge and Tunnel”
Francis King Jr
Peggy Carter is back on the scene to set the 40s on fire.
Imagine you are at Marvel headquarters making a pitch about a new TV show. You say that the show will be set in the 1940s, that it will focus on espionage, and that it will be full of great action, funny one-liners, and slick directing. You’ve got the execs by the ear, and then you hit ’em with the kicker; the show’s about Captain America’s sort-of girlfriend who hasn’t been relevant in decades. The room goes silent. Finally, one exec stands up and shouts “WHY DIDN’T YOU LEAD WITH THAT? GREEN-LIGHT!” Probably should have seen that coming, since these are the same people who brought us the surprisingly deep-talking raccoon.
Let it be known that the Agent Carter premiere was really good. Like, so, so, good. It is a tad generic out of the gate, but, as the show goes on, it makes use of the setting and the cast and quickly becomes a viewing experience that will definitely be appointment television for the next seven weeks.
The show’s main conflict opens with lovable playboy, Howard Stark, on the run from the government after being framed for selling dangerous inventions on the black market. Stark recruits Agent Carter to find out what happened and clear his name. In the process, Agent Carter discovers a deeper and darker mystery than she could have expected.
Hayley Atwell reprises her role as Agent Peggy Carter of the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR), the precursor to S.H.I.E.L.D. of the present day. Atwell continues to do a great job portraying both the funny and emotional moments that characterize Marvel productions. The rest of the cast also perform well, with James D’Arcy performing admirably as Jarvis, and Dominic Cooper popping in to reprise his role as Howard Stark. Also, Chad Micheal Murray! It’s good to see him, even if it is as kind of a sexist jerk.
Speaking of, the sexism in the show is great. By that I mean, of course, that the show accurately portrays how a woman would be treated in the business. Most of the guys see Peggy as a secretary to handle their paperwork. What makes this cool is how much better Peggy is a her job. She’s always three steps ahead. Some people complain that Marvel is in need of a female lead. Well, Peggy Carter is the woman that you have been waiting for. Even the fight scenes pull no punches, so to speak. Agent Carter gets no special treatment as a woman. She goes toe-to-toe with men multiple times and comes out on top, showing off that her investigative skills aren’t the only thing that make her a great agent. The fight choreographers from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are also working here, and it shows. Fights are intense and slick. A scene in the second hour stands out, where a fight in real life is juxtaposed with a fight taking place on the radio. It really serves to help Agent Carter stand out.
I really didn’t have any complaints here. The premiere delivered and then some. The ground was laid and the conflict was set up, but there was also plenty of fun and action, as well as characterization. It felt like all of the time was used wisely, as it will need to be since this is only an eight-part series.
If you are at all paying attention to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or even if you just want a show to watch while the shows from the fall are on hiatus, then I highly suggest that you check out Agent Carter. If you’re not familiar with the MCU, the show starts with the end of Captain America: The First Avenger, and that will pretty much bring you up to speed. My father knows next to nothing about the MCU or comics, and he was really into it. Take that for what it’s worth.
Mild Violence, Mild Language. People are shot and killed with guns and there is a bit of blood, as well as some pretty visceral fight scenes. The language consists of some innuendo and a few uses of the d-word. It’s much more tame than the most recent episodes of Agents of Shield.
Images courtesy of Screenrant and IMDB
+ Great cast
+ Slick action
+ Great direction
+ Trademark humor
- Little shaky out of the gate