Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Marvel's Agent Carter, Season 1 (2015)

Peggy Carter was an important part of the WW2 operation that created Captain America, but with the war now over she finds herself - as do many other women - being pushed aside to make way for returning servicemen.  While Peggy technically still has her job as an agent at the "Strategic Science Reserve" (a fictitious war agency which in the Marvel Universe was formed to counter Nazi super weapons), she's not being allowed to do it.  Her new boss doesn't trust her to do more than answer the phones and buy the office lunches.

Fortunately - though this is perhaps not an entirely appropriate word, given the circumstances - Peggy is about to have a chance to show her capabilities.  Dangerous weapons have begun appearing on the black market: weapons designed by industrialist Howard Stark.  It is assumed that Stark has turned traitor, and the SSR's #1 priority is to bring him in.

Peggy isn't invited to take part in the investigation by her superiors, of course.  She has phones to answer and lunches to fetch, after all.  But she is secretly recruited to the investigation by Howard Stark himself.  They worked together during the war, you see, and she's the only person in the SSR that he trusts to discover how his inventions were stolen, and by whom, and thus clear his name.  Of course, she's going to have to do all this without her SSR colleagues knowing what she's up to, and her only ally will be Stark's butler, Edwin Jarvis.

Agent Carter got rave reviews (though mediocre ratings) when it aired on TV, so I was keen to check it out when it became available on home media.  There's certainly a lot to like: Hayley Atwell is great in the lead role, the supporting cast is strong, and the characters are all sharply drawn and realised.  On the other hand, I do think the core plot falls a little short of the other elements.  The bad guys' plot is dastardly enough, and I liked that their motivations extended beyond "because we are evil", but their methods of executing it seem rather over-complicated, let's say.  It's not an issue in the moment to moment while watching the show, and it is something of a common narrative conceit in such comic book fare, but if you're the kind of person to think about shows after you've finished them you may uncover a few niggles with the plot here.

That caveat aside, however, this is a fun show.

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