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A Shadowy New Villain Menaces Agent Carter

Bob Chipman | 14 Jan 2015 12:00
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Speaking of "women of their time," I have a few more... "offbeat" thoughts about the subplot of Carter having moved into The Griffith Hotel For Women (a women's-only boarding house whose rigidly-puritan matron enforces an ultra-strict no-men policy) but on its own it's a fascinating setting that grounds the proceedings back in the "seldom told tales of postwar women" zone: The dichotomy of a "safe space" for women acting more like a prison in the name of said safety is amusingly ironic... until you think about how many descendants the idea has today.

PARTING THOUGHTS:

  • "The Constrictor" (the Stark weapon Peggy uses to zap the boat henchman) shares its name with a moderately-obscure Marvel villain with an interesting backstory: He started out as a "fake" supervillain created by S.H.I.E.L.D. for an undercover operation who got "flipped" to the real thing.
  • Congratulations, James D'Arcy (Jarvis): You're British, you're benignly handsome, your demeanor is charmingly deferential and you're in the Marvel Universe, so welcome to Tumblr Immortality. Say hi to Tom Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch in the lounge.
  • "Now I gotta go call Kzerminski's wife" [about his death.] "I'll call his girlfriend." The male SSR Agents all walk a fine line (so far) between being sexist blowhards but also letting the audience understand why they were likely considered "cool guys" in their day. (So which one do you suppose turns out to be HYDRA? Cuz y'know there's at least one...)
  • Alright, gang. This show is trying really hard and doing a lot of things right; so let's cut it some slack and agree to act reeeeeeaaally surprised when it's eventually revealed that the tall, thin mystery-hitman (who watched Carter and Jarvis get on the boat and subsequently killed the henchman and Agent Krzeminski) turns out to be *GASP!* another tough-as-nails woman, but this one working for the bad guys???
  • Speaking of which: We're obviously meant to assume that "mystery villainess" is actually The Griffith's new resident, Dorothy Underwood. So obviously, in fact, that the real identity is probably Angie (Lyndsy Fonseca) the automat waitress whose been trying to be Peggy's BFF since episode one... and was instrumental in getting her to join The Griffith.
  • Actually, let's talk about The Griffith: My pet theory for the series as a whole is that sooner or later someone will turn out to be the MCU version of Ophelia Sarkissian, aka Madame HYDRA - and the creepy matron obsessively managing the lives of women would certainly qualify as a candidate. But there's other things going on, too - to start with, she makes particular note that she's a patron of the ballet...
  • It's worth noting that, in the Marvel Comics Universe, "Leviathan" refers to an outfit that's more-or-less HYDRA's Soviet equivalent. It's the Soviet connection that's interesting: The "presumed-dead soldiers turned evil" angle is reminiscent of the plot of The Manchurian Candidate, a reference-text that also figures in the conception of Soviet/Russian-aligned Marvel characters like Winter Soldier and (wait for it...) Black Widow; whose pre-good-guy Soviet brainwashing included a past as a ballerina. (Also, in some versions of the backstory, she's actually old enough to be alive at this point in time despite appearances otherwise.)

Bottom Line: Doesn't hit as hard as the premiere, but good television.

Recommendation: This is turning into something special. Check it out.


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