There was no way I was missing this show, if only for two reasons: Hayley. Atwell. But I do have to say that I had my doubts about how good it would be. Everything I heard about it was rather…loose. There would be Peggy Carter. She would chase bad guys. There would be misogyny. She would fight it. Yeah!
After watching the two hour premier episode (or first two back-to-back episodes?), I am happy to say I really enjoyed it, and I’m looking forward to more.
Set in New York City after World War II, the show captures many fun elements of the era. The clothing, the cars, and the jazz and swing music are awesome and give a style and feel that’s distinct from the other Marvel properties. The ongoing radio drama about Captain America’s adventures (that diminishes Carter’s role in his exploits, much to her chagrin) was also a very nice touch.
Following her service in the War, Carter now works for the Strategic Scientific Reserve, a special task force pre-dating SHIELD (though I imagine SHIELD’s formation will be a major plot point…at some point). There she is treated as an inferior by most of her co-workers, though naturally she is far more capable than them. She is also the only female agent in the organization, so it seems she is only there due to her war record and has only been let it begrudgingly.
The story opens with Howard Stark’s (played again by Dominic Cooper) weapons showing up in enemy hands, which has led the government to investigate him as a traitor. He contacts Carter to help him clear his name, and so she begins working behind her organization’s back. To help Carter in her missions, Stark assigns her his butler Edwin Jarvis (James D’Arcy). And yes, now we know why Tony’s machine assistant is named Jarvis.
Atwell is as exceptional in a leading role as you had imagined, or at least as you should have imagined. She also gets to show off her American accent and a wider range of acting skills as she slips into a variety of disguises to further her mission. However, what really brought the show together for me was D’Arcy’s portrayal of Jarvis, Carter’s hapless but loyal aid who proves very helpful to her but who is certainly not cut out for the espionage game. Providing much of the comic relief, he balances Carter’s single-minded determination.
Agent Carter’s first season is only eight episodes long. But fear not! The show is not supposed to be a mini-series, so if it’s successful enough, further seasons can be expected. So go watch it and make it successful.