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Black Widow's Origin Explored in Agent Carter

Bob Chipman | 4 Feb 2015 12:00
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The rest is mostly a set of fine action scenes and character-building, as the investigation/rescue mission stops at welcome intervals to let Carter finally show off her sizable soldiering skills to Agent Thompson, among the most persistent of her office tormentors (but also the most upfront about it), who in turn reveals a surprising new dimension to his personality and behavior. No prizes for guessing that softening things up between Carter and Designated Heel Thompson occurs parallel to things starting to sour with Agent Sousa, the war-wounded "nice guy" whose puppy-dog crush on Peggy is an ill fit with his pursuit of the "mystery traitor" he's about 99.8% of the way she just so happens to be (Oh no! Not the one guy who was good all along just as she's finally earned the grudging respect of the others!)

Interestingly, the overarching meta-plot doesn't actually move forward all that much, instead preferring to let the Black Widow Program add to the loose tendrils dangling off the Leviathan mystery. It's not clear what "Dottie's" mission actually is - she snoops around Peggy's room, doesn't find the blood (or seem to be looking for it) but makes time to moon over a photo of pre-Captain Steve Rogers, play with her makeup and try out a British accent in front of the vanity mirror all Single White Female-style. Also, Peggy and the Commandos find a lone school-aged Widow trainee still hanging around the school gifted with lethal gun/knife/combat skills of her own - intriguingly, she lives to fight another day but doesn't get a name...

PARTING THOUGHTS:

  • Are they really going the Lesbian-Crush-Stalker angle with Dottie? That'd actually be disappointingly rote enough for an otherwise highly-inventive series that I'd be genuinely disappointed. I mean, I'd get over it pretty quick, but still...
  • It's surprising how, well... surprising that they managed to hide the Black Widow connection in plain sight this long. In retrospect, it feels inevitable that a line would get drawn somewhere connecting THE female Avenger to Carter's girl-power narrative.
  • That said: IS "Baby Widow" a young Natasha Romanoff? I don't know. In the Comics' Universe, she's old enough to have been a child at this point in time (kept artificially young via super-science), but you have to wonder if the Marvel Cinematic Universe isn't too sparsely populated at this point to have more than two ageless WWII-era warriors running around in such close relation to one another.
  • Also, I wonder if it's something they'll actually want to "drop" on this series when it's so key to the background of a (so far) movie-only character. Best guess: If she's Natasha Romanoff, we'll see Baby Widow at least once more with some winking teases for fans, then the same actress will turn up as Young Natasha in Age of Ultron origin-flashbacks for Widow as an Easter egg for Carter.
  • As of now, it looks like they're setting up Thompson as Peggy's eventual love-interest. If so, I'd say my guess from last week about Sousa being on an express train to Ironic Tragic Villain Land gets a lot more likely. It's already not going to go well for him to find out that the crush who rejected him despite (in fact, possibly because of) his nice-guy attempts to stick up for him is a "traitor;" and if the rest of the (now more respectful) SSR - even jerkbag bully (as far as he knows) Thompson - lined up on her side against him, a psychotic break could almost be called natural.
  • That said, are three remaining episodes enough time for him (Sousa) to fulfill my prediction in-full by finding out about Cap's blood, using it to try and fix his injuries and inadvertently becoming a version of "Evil 1950s Cap" William Burnside? No idea - but I'd be pretty psyched to see it happen, regardless.

Bottom Line: A good series reaches a high point.

Reccomendation: If you're not watching yet, start - especially if you're among those who want Marvel to put more energy into woman-led franchises.

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