After a few weeks off, Agent Carter (Hayley Atwell) returns to confront her benefactor, Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper).
Let’s bitch it out…
At the end of the last new episode, all of Howard Stark’s bad babies were recovered by the SSR, leaving many fans (myself included) wondering what the driving conflict would be for the remainder of the series. Sure we have ghostly typewriters and Peggy’s undercover work, but where is the urgency coming from now that the world isn’t being threatened by constant destruction?
‘The Blitzkrieg Button’ doesn’t actually offer up any answers. In fact, it is a bit of a red herring. This isn’t a standalone chapter of Agent Carter focusing on a random mission to recover Stark’s mysterious weapon at all; this is really the connector piece intended on setting up the back half of the miniseries.
If nothing else, this episode offers a significant re-evaluation of the Peggy Carter / Howard Stark relationship, by which I mean it brings to an end of their professional agreement. It’s thanks to one particular object that Stark wants: the titular Blitzkrieg Button. Unfortunately for Peggy, the device is not the EMP that Stark suggests it is; it is, in fact, a vial of Steve Rogers’ super soldier blood. The truth about the vial is reason enough for Peggy to react the way she does – loudly denouncing his capitalist interests in favour of Rogers’ selfless heroism – but I think it’s quite clear that there is more to Stark’s rationale than he’s letting on…or more than she’s letting him explain.
It’s a tough episode for Peggy, though. While Dooley (Shea Whigham) goes looking for background on Stark from a death row Nazi German Colonel, he leaves Thompson (Chad Michael Murray) in charge, which means SSR sexism goes into overdrive. As expected Thompson gets in a cheap dig about how Peggy (and women) will never be equals. In fact the only person who truly comes to Peggy’s defense in the entire episode is Jarvis (James D’Arcy) and she isn’t even around to hear him defend her honour. At least Peggy gets to absolutely rip into Stark in a much-needed rant that smartly includes a dig of her own about his womanizing.
Meanwhile, the SSR are closing in. Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) obtains a valuable lead as he interrogates a homeless witness down at the wharf. Naturally this gives Thompson a further license to act like a dick, which makes it so aggravating that his cheeseburger and booze bad cop routine ends up yielding valuable intel about the well dressed man and the dark haired woman involved in the assault on the boat last week – ie: Jarvis and Peggy. The question now is whether Sousa is gog to make the connection as he begins colouring dark hair on the photo of the blonde from the club heist back in the pilot.
- Comedy thy name is lab techs lighting themselves on fire in the background, especially while Peggy desperately snaps pictures with Stark’s pen camera. It’s a bit of a farce, but the moment of levity is appreciated in a mostly serious/dark episode.
- More comedy: desperate times call for desperate measures, which means stuffing chickens down your shirt or creating special pockets for pickles and other food in the communal dining hall. Life is tough for these ladies.
- In the cold open, Peggy and Jarvis save Stark from a smuggler named Otto Mink (Gregory Sporleder) who pursues Peggy throughout the episode as a vendetta for his double-cross. It’s a pretty rote plotline as we wait for him to pop up and try to take her out, which makes Dottie’s (Bridget Regan) surprise murder of him such a pleasant surprise (that’s a strange sentence to write, by the way). My husband clearly stated his suspicions of her when she conveniently turned up mere hours after Peggy moved into the Griffith, but I’ll confess I didn’t expect her to turn out to be a secret agent with flashy acrobatic skills.
- Also fun: The shocked expression on Mink’s corpse as he lies under Dottie’s bed.
- I’ll admit that Dooley’s sojourn is lost on me. I wasn’t sure how or why the lies about the Nazi battle factor into the larger story details (and honestly I don’t know that I care). I’m sure more will be revealed next week when Peggy heads to Europe to grab the Howling Commandos. So until then…
- Stark (when Carter changes in the bathroom): “You don’t have to change with the door closed. I thought we were friends.”
- Peggy (looking at the first eight of Stark’s pen pictures): “She seems uninhibited.”
Your turn: what did you think of the revelation about Stark’s bad baby? Is Stark really up to something else? Were you surprised that Dottie is an assassin? Is Sousa going to figure out the truth about Peggy soon? And how much do you want Thompson to get his butt handed for him for his misogynistic ways? Sound off below.
Marvel’s Agent Carter airs Tuesdays at 9pm EST on ABC