Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Marvel's Agent Carter - Now is Not the End

Set in 1946 just after the end of the Second World War, Hayley Atwell reprises her role as Peggy Carter in Marvel's latest television project. Still mourning the death of Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Peggy is stuck pigeon-holed as the lone woman in an office of alpha-male spies on the lookout for Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) who has disappeared while testifying in front of Congress about the possibility of his company selling arms to enemies of the United States during wartime.

After Stark reaches out to his old war buddy claiming his technology was stolen and put in the hands of America's enemies against his wishes, Peggy agrees against orders to investigate the sale of the stolen technology by a local fence (Andre Royo) with the help of Stark's butler Jarvis (James D'Arcy). The night is only a partial success as Peggy is able to retrieve and destroy the unstable explosive but her roommate (Ashley Hinshaw) pays the price for Agent Carter's heroism. Needing help to finish the job, Jarvis introduces Peggy to scientist (Costa Ronin) whose son will year's later grow up to do terrible things but who can point Carter in the right direction to the man (James Frain) still in possession of the stolen formula and is creating more of the experimental explosive.

As a pilot episode "Now is Not the End" has more than a few rough edges, it over-relies on clips from Captain America: The First Avenger, and the revelation that the storylines may mostly revolve around yet another secret evil organization (while Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is still dealing with HYDRA) is a tad disappointing. The show also spends far too much time on Peggy's chauvinist colleagues who are rally only peripherally tied to story. On the plus side, Atwell carries the show and Peggy is given multiple opportunities to show off both her brains and brawn. I'm more sold on the character so far than the pilot's premise but there's enough here to keep me around, including Nikita's Lyndsy Fonseca (even if she is stuck in a role that, at least so far, seems rather limiting).

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