Here’s the facts, kids: we were so in love with the premiere of Marvel’s Agent Carter that we decided on the fly to review the whole miniseries. Last night’s episode continued to deliver, and Peggy gets to deal with the numerous consequences of her actions in the pilot.
Spoilers for “Time and Tide” under the jump.
Following the events of last week, Peggy is stuck. She only has the symbol the one Leviathan henchman drew on the ground to work with, and double agent-ing is starting to catch up with her. Her breakthrough comes from an unexpected place: the matron of the hotel where she’s lodging, who claims that her upper rooms are impenetrable by menfolk. Of course no place is impenetrable, Peggy realizes, and decides that figuring out how the thief got in to steal Howard’s stuff is her best bet toward figuring out where it went. Her first attempt to do so, however, is foiled when her coworkers show up and take Jarvis into custody. It turns out they’ve found the remnants of Howard’s car in the debris from last week’s explosion, and Jarvis is their best lead. It’s revealed that Jarvis has a treason charge in his past, and that looks awfully suspicious paired with his boss’s current on-the-lam status.
Thinking fast, Peggy is able to undermine her coworkers’ justification for keeping Jarvis there, but only by pretending that she massively screwed up some paperwork. Jarvis is able to walk free, but Peggy gets a horrifically embarrassing dressing-down from the chief.
Later that night, Peggy and Jarvis get back to the business of tracking down the stolen inventions. They follow the giant hole in the floor of Howard’s vault into the sewers, and follow the sewer tunnel all the way to the river, where they discover the inventions safe and sound on a boat. At first Peggy is desperate to break the find to her fellow agents herself, believing that it’s the only way to prove to them that she can actually do her job as efficiently as any of them. Jarvis points out to her, though, that there’s no way for her to attach herself to the discovery without showing her whole hand. Subdued, they make an anonymous tip call to the SSR instead. But it turns out the boat wasn’t unguarded; Peggy is attacked by a huge guy, and she and Jarvis only manage to incapacitate him after he’s seen both of their faces. They’re worried that the thug is going to identify them to the SSR, but they needn’t have worried: an unknown assailant attacks the car transporting the guy and kills both him and the driver, Peggy’s brutish fellow agent Krzeminski. Peggy heads into work the next day expecting to be torn down yet again, and instead discovers that Krzeminski is dead. Shaken, she turns to Angie for support, and that’s where the episode leaves us.
“Time and Tide” had some great action and suspense (although nothing as awesome as punching a guy on top of a speeding truck, unfortunately). However, its greatest strength was in its emotional content. The scene where Peggy was browbeaten by her boss gave me a deep sense of secondhand shame; when she and Angie fought, I worried for them. The big moment of the episode for me, though, was Peggy and Jarvis’s exchange on the boat. It’s so very clear that in that moment, Peggy wants nothing more than to be respected by her male peers on their own terms. It’s a moment of weakness for her, because her usual mentality is “these scabs aren’t worth my time and I don’t need them”, but after all she’s been through, I don’t blame her. She wants to throw her competency in their faces and damn the consequences, and it’s a rude awakening to remember that she can’t risk it.
Aside from that, we got an interesting peek into Jarvis’s backstory this episode; the wife he cherishes so much is a Hungarian Jewish woman, and he had been charged with treason for forging his superior’s signature on a letter of transit for her when he’d been stationed in Budapest. It lines up pretty neatly with what we’ve seen of him so far: he’s loyal to those he cares for, even when that loyalty leads him onto the wrong side of the law.
I continue to love Peggy and Angie’s relationship, with all its ups and downs. I’m pretty much sure that it will remain platonic, and to be honest, even their friendship, which is based on mutual respect and building each other up, is a rarity on TV. That doesn’t stop me from shipping it just a little.
The show is definitely engaging, consistently hits powerful emotional notes, and most importantly for Marvel’s first lady-led project, continues to be progressively feminist. Based on the preview, it looks like Howard’s going to be back in the next episode, and his and Peggy’s reunion is not going to be pretty. I can’t wait to see how that goes; unfortunately, I’ll have to, since it doesn’t air for another two weeks. ‘Till then, true believers!