The following is a season review of Marvel’s Agent Carter, available on ABC and Netflix Denmark.
Marvel’s Agent Carter started as a Marvel One-Shot about the S.S.R. Agent Peggy Carter, it was a spin-off of Captain America: The First Avenger. Not unlike Agent Coulson, Peggy Carter has been known to show up in various capacities in Marvel Cinematic Universe films, even those that have little to do with Captain America. But the ABC show is the character’s playground, and it is so refreshing to see a show like this one actually have a fair bit of success, at least critically.
The first season of Marvel’s Agent Carter follows the aforementioned S.S.R. Agent, Peggy Carter (played by Hayley Atwell), as she is secretly employed by Howard Stark (played by Dominic Cooper) to clear his name after having, supposedly, sold weapons to America’s enemies. This leads to her having to balance her life as a government agent, her life as a woman, and her mission to help her old friend.
It is a sad fact that we don’t see a lot of female-centric action properties on television right now. It was a very smart move for Marvel to release a show like this one, featuring one of the very few true heroines on television today. Agent Peggy Carter is someone to look up to even though she doesn’t have super powers. As an independent woman with adventures of her own – and a strong moral compass – she has become one of the best female role models on television.
I guess you could argue that this female narrative falls apart somewhat when you realize that the first season is very much set in motion by the smart and skilled, but womanizing, Howard Stark. But Howard is no match for her, and she is very much superior to him. He needs her help, she rarely needs his.
To a larger extent, though, her character has always been viewed as Captain America’s love interest… Until you watch this show. Peggy Carter is her own woman, and Steve Rogers doesn’t define her. If you hadn’t already, this show should make you realize that she was Steve’s equal, and even more trained than he was. You can only imagine what the super soldier serum would turn her into, but I digress.
Hayley Atwell’s performance in, first, Captain America: The First Avenger and, later, Marvel’s Agent Carter One-Shot is what made this show happen. With a lesser actress this show would buckle under, it simply wouldn’t work. Hayley Atwell is beloved by fans for a reason. Atwell brings warmth to her character, as well as a lot of charisma, and, as a result, Peggy Carter may be the most enjoyable and entertaining female Marvel Cinematic Universe character at the time of writing.
Atwell carries the show, but she is aided by her excellent sidekick, Edwin Jarvis (played by James D’Arcy). D’Arcy adds to the show in a great way, even if the character simply serves as an intermediary between Peggy and Howard for a while, I hope to see his character grow in importance and independence. Enver Gjokaj and Chad Michael Murray, who play Daniel Sousa and Jack Thompson, respectively, are two enjoyable supporting characters. It really surprised me how my opinion of Thompson had changed by the end of the season.
What did keep me away from the show, for a while, was that, at the halfway point of the season, I felt that the show wasn’t handling the material as well as I would have liked. I see a lot of potential in this show, but I didn’t really see a lot of great content in the first half of the season (first 4 episodes). The latter half, however, really reignited my interest in the show.
All in all, the first season of Marvel’s Agent Carter is a short but sweet surprise, and it does a good job of handling the new fan favorite character, Peggy Carter. Hayley Atwell truly is marvelous in this show, and I’m so excited to see more of her as the show goes on in the future seasons.
I’m Jeffrey Rex