Agent Carter Premiere Review

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By: Haylee Fisher (@haylee_fisher)

After a supporting role in Captain America: The First Avenger and her own one-shot, Hayley Atwell as Agent Carter wowed audiences and created a fan base all her own. In fact, she has become so popular, she now has her own TV show that premiered its limited run last week (episode three airs tomorrow night). Now Atwell can show an even broader viewership her wonderfully multifaceted portrayal and prove she is just the hero we need right now.

Agent Carter takes place in 1946, right after the end of World War II. The men were coming back from war and women were feeling the gender inequality more than ever. Though Agent Carter had proven herself as a more-than-worthy agent during the war, as more men came back, her role in the SSR kept getting more and more diminished until she was more or less a secretary. However, she gets thrown back into the thick of things after her friend Howard Stark comes to town and asks her to help exonerate him from the crimes he’s supposedly committed, namely selling weapons to the enemy. With the help of Stark’s butler Jarvis, she hopes to clear his name, all while living her life in a post-Captain America world.

Atwell’s portrayal of Peggy Carter is beautiful, and the aforementioned Edwin Jarvis, played by James D’Arcy, is a hoot and the perfect foil for Peggy. She’s strong and doesn’t need anyone to save her; he’s sarcastic and bumbling and slightly overwhelmed by this new world of espionage.

Rounding out the supporting cast are the male agents, including douchecanoe Chad Michael Murray and Enver Gjokaj, who could be a possible love interest or who could be a Hydra assassin – you never know in the world of Marvel!

There’s also Lyndsy Fonseca, who plays a waitress Angie Martinelli at a restaurant Peggy frequents. I don’t know what I think about her; she was a little too pushy in trying to get Peggy to live in her same apartment building. Is she more than meets the eye?

Agent Carter is a fun show that really gets going right out of the gate, even moreso than the Agents of SHIELD pilot, though I do admit I shed a tear at the blatant use of the Captain America: The First Avenger clip as an emotionally manipulative opening scene. Yet we learn right away that Peggy doesn’t sit in her house all day mourning Steve. She’s a kick-butt agent with an amazing sense of fashion. And through the fashion and the sets, the show really does feel straight out of 1946.

Another thing that helped indicate the time period was the misogyny Carter and the other women on the show experience. The men in her office constantly put her down, Angie the waitress gets berated and even slapped on the butt by one particularly gross gentleman (whom Peggy then threatens with a fork to the artery); even Peggy’s late roommate has to show a man who is back from war how to use a rivet gun after he takes the job from a woman at the factory.

But despite all of the discrimination, Peggy never loses her cool. She proves her skills by doing just that: using her skills. She knows she’s better and smarter and doesn’t need defending. She’s not cocky about it, she just knows she needs to get the job done and she’s the best person to do it, which is made all the more easy since her coworkers constantly underestimate her.

The show was not without funny moments. I laughed out loud during the juxtaposition of the Captain America radio show with their version of Peggy being a damsel in distress and the real Peggy fighting, proving she most certainly is not.

There was one bad thing about Agent Carter, though: it’s only eight episodes! With just the two that have aired so far, the show has proven itself to be one of the strongest debuts of this TV season. It has elements to entertain the hardcore Marvel fans, but is accessible enough for someone new to the fandom. It has the perfect leading lady in Hayley Atwell, who in just two hours illustrated a capability to stand toe-to-toe with other strong women on TV today. And it has relevance; even though there are other strong women on TV, the male leads still far outweigh the female leads. Not only that, but the fact that gender inequality in the workplace was an issue in 1946 and continues to be one today demonstrates why Agent Carter is an important show for 2015.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


    2 Comments

  1. Robert McGovernJanuary 12th, 2015 at 8:36 am

    My only complaint about the show is I can’t imagine Peggy would accept living in a complex that has a curfew of 10pm. Her line of work could lead to her breaking that often.

    I loved when she did the Milk trucks inspection.

  2. SarahJanuary 12th, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    An awesome review made even better by the use of the word “douchecanoe.” I absolutely loved seeing a show with such an incredibly strong female lead and Hayley Atwell rocked it like you said!

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