Marvel’s Agent Carter debuted last week and rocked it. I already loved this character from the first Captain America movie. She always had the potential to be a great character if allowed to stand on her own outside of the shadow of her romance with the dear Captain and I think that this episode is a great start. There is a huge amount of promise in this two hour premier to see that potential come to life.
Carter kicks ass. Literally, she beats the crap out of seemingly half of the characters in the show. And she has her own dramas and the stereotypical hero guilt of “I can’t be near anyone for they shall die!” And they nip that in the bud right away with Jarvis’ chiding. Carte seems to be being written solidly as a spy hero. I honestly do not have much to compare her to since I am not s big spy action fan, but it was a hell of a lot of fun to watch Carter.
There is also a lot of promise in Jarvis’ and Carter’s relationship, too. There was a brief moment of sexual tension that gave me the wiggins, but other than that I am really excited. Jarvis seems to really respect her and his insistence on helping her is not that he does not think she is capable. He is honestly concerned about her and thinks he can be of honest use. And he is! Nothing he does undermines Carter and he never sticks his nose where is not capable. He has to go behind her back a bit, but sidekicks always end up needing to do that.
That awkward scene isn’t the only potential for tension, either. Carter’s love prospects are a present topic which can be a positive or negative for some. I see it as a necessary part of the story after her role in Captain America. They deal with her part of the aftermath of Captain Rogers’ death/disappearance very well. She is clearly heartbroken about it (who wouldn’t be over that paragon of mental and emotional manhood?), but it never gets in her way. She gets caught gazing at his picture, sure, but not when she is supposed to be doing anything and it even works as cover for her pilfering. There is a possible love interest, of course, but we do not know too much about him other than he is a wounded veteran. And he seems like he could be great, but we will have to see if his greatness is just a neutral stance amongst a sea of sexist gibbons. He even has the potential for being a really great disabled/veteran character, both groups that could use some better and more thorough representation.
And then there is the bad guy organization – Leviathan. I had to look this one up when they mentioned it. It is not in the comics I read at the moment, though it will probably make a resurgence if Agent Carter takes off. Leviathan is basically the
communist Hydra since Agent Carter takes place after WWII at the start of the Cold War. This could work quite well with the current climate of tension with our historical Cold War rival in Russia and our concerns over countries like China and North Korea. We will have to wait and see how that drama plays out in both arenas before I can say too much about it.
Now, I have two main concerns about the shoe going forward (other than the Jarvis scene, yuck): 1) the relentless sexism from the other agents and 2) the whitest of white casts. In regards to concern #1, I think they did a great job with the sexism. They were rude and dismissive, but did not really go overboard and get rape-y. However, it was exhausting. As any feminist/womanist/decent human being can tell you, watching obvious bigotry is draining when you cannot do anything about it. Hopefully, though, they will start having her prove herself to them and, until that starts changing things, her badassery will make my impotent anger into righteous anger (much less draining).
As for #2, as far as I remember, and I haven’t done an in depth rewatch yet, there were only white characters. I can see people arguing that it is America after WWII and any non-white group is going to be extremely disenfranchised and there is still segregation, so this is historically accurate. My response to that is that it certainly is not! This is not historical fiction. This is a comic book show. They transformed a sickly man into a demi-God with “vita-Rays”. They can have a Black guy in the S.S.R. I am hoping that Carter will be teaming up/leading the Howling Commandos, like in the flashbacks we saw in S.H.I.E.L.D. That will get a more diverse cast and in a way that the historical peeps may not mind so much.
Overall, I cannot wait for the second episode. I can only hope that it keeps going this strong. Hopefully, like S.H.I.E.L.D., it will only get better.