The first two episodes of Agent Carter proved to be an out of the box success. Can the third episode keep up the hot streak?
Let’s bitch it out…Despite being the third episode, ‘Time & Tide’ has all of the bearings of a second episode. It’s left trying to pick up the narrative threads of the first outing and possibly welcome new viewers who have come aboard following the good reviews and strong viewership numbers. That’s a lot of weight to carry. Unfortunately ‘Time & Tide’ struggles a little to keep things moving while still being accessible to newbies.
The main plot is basically a repeat of the second episode, plus or minus a few tweaks. Instead of recovering a milk truck full of explosives, Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) investigates Howard Stark’s impregnable safe and the case of its missing contents. Turns out her time in the tunnels during the war served her well, because it doesn’t take much to deduce the means by which the inventions were spirited away through the rain tunnels to the Heartbreaker ship.
Despite finding the Constrictor (original purpose: back massager) and the other stolen Stark materials, Jarvis (James D’Arcy) convinces Peggy to call in the discovery anonymously so that she can continue clearing Stark’s name “from the shadows.” After a surprise – and awesome – attack, she and Jarvis run off, leaving behind a witness who can identify her but is conveniently killed (along with Kyle Bornheimer’s Krzeminski) in a roadside assassination. The recovery of the Stark items should be a happy occasion, but ends up immediately turned on its ear: the girls are crying, the men are angry and the blame is squarely laid on Stark and the “concerned citizen” who called it in. And so continues Peggy’s bad luck, no good, very bad day.
While the episode is relatively straightforward, there are a few developments of note. Before their investigation can get started, Peggy’s colleagues track the bumper from last week’s “incident” back to Stark, zeroing in on Jarvis in Stark’s absence. Thompson (Chad Michael Murray) leads the interrogation while Dooley (Shea Whigham) and Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) watch, convinced that Jarvis’ suppressed record, which contains charges of treason, is proof of his guilt. Peggy takes a professional bullet to get him out, but the action comes at a price: her position in the SSR office is already a source of mockery and this latest episode results in a public dressing down in front of all of the men. I expect we’ll continue to see the continued disintegration of her professional life unless she somehow manages to score a win (something she clearly hoped the Heartbreaker discovery would be).
Unsurprisingly Jarvis’ tale of treason is sympathetic and tied to his as-yet-unseen wife, Anna. It also establishes the foundation of his relationship with Stark and details why he remains so loyal to a brilliant philandering boss who takes off and leaves him to handle the fall-out. Given the preview for the next episode, it seems that Jarvis’ relationship to Stark is similar to Peggy’s. Despite what we know of Howard Stark and how instrumental he is to Iron Man’s future, we don’t actually know that much about him. Here’s hoping that Peggy’s trust in him doesn’t turn out to be misplaced.
- After booting out one girl for improper behaviour, Ms Fry (Meagen Fay) introduces her replacement: Dot (Bridget Regan), a dancer. Presumably all of the house antics, including Annie’s (Lyndsy Fonseca) desperate attempts to bond with Carter, will pay off with some kind of inevitable double-cross?
- I’ll confess that I don’t have a great sense of Annie’s purpose yet, but it is nice to see Peggy engage her in guarded conversation after Krzeminski’s death. As I predicted last week, these scenes help to humanize and ground Peggy outside (or in spite of) all of the spy drama. Describing Krzeminski as a brute who was good at his job feels like a reasonable way to tow the company line while still letting someone in emotionally.
- Finally, can we all agree that Jarvis’ “American” accent and accompanying lingo are amazing? “Yo, chap!”
- Jarvis (after Thompson tells him they’ve found the bumper of the missing car): “Just the bumper? I wish you’d found the whole car.”
- Jarvis (after Thompson insists he take a ride downtown): “Well this will be novel. I haven’t ridden in the back of a car in years.”
- Annie: “I’ve got half a bottle of Schnapps and a rhubarb pie. Let’s see which one makes us sick first.”
- Carter (when Jarvis states Stark believes the safe was broken into with advanced technology): “Mr. Stark believes brushing your teeth requires advanced technology.”
- Carter: “Mr. Stark would trust a shark not to bite him if it had a short enough skirt.”
Your turn: did you find the episode a little too similar to last week? Are you surprised that Stark’s items have already been recovered? Did you expect a fatality this early in the season? Is Annie secretly a mole or is she just Peggy’s civilian lifeline? And did Jarvis’ treason story endear you more to him? Sound off below.
Marvel’s Agent Carter hits pause and returns in two weeks on Tuesday, Jan 27 at 9pm EST on ABC