Marvel Cinematic Universe Review Series – Agent Carter: Now Is Not The End (2015)
Okay, before we get started I want to make something clear, I’m not basing my review on how feminist this show is or isn’t. This is first and foremost a critical review based on my own critical opinions. If I like something I will do my best to explain it, if I dislike something I will do my best to explain that as well.
I bring this up because I know too well how hostile certain crowds on tumblr can be when it comes to the matters of sexism and feminism. So I want to make this perfectly clear, this is my blog. This is my review. These are my opinions. I will not say no to people who ask me to further explain them or attempt to bring my attention to something I either overlooked or misinterpreted. That being said the minute I get a message saying that I was overly critical to an episode because I’m sexist or am brainwashed by the patriarchy, I am going to dismiss you as a fucking idiot and will block you from sending messages to me in the future.
Now with that out of the way, I hope we all have fun over the course of the next eight reviews and we all bask in the glory that is…
Agent Margaret “Peggy” Carter…
and that I get a fuckton of notes on these posts, but I won’t hold my breath on that one.
So in the words of our strange new doctor, shall we begin?
A year after the apparent death of the love of her life, Steve Rogers, Agent Peggy Carter is working for the Strategic Scientific Reserve (S.S.R.) in 1946 New York, where she is stuck doing administrative work while her sexist male colleagues carry out all of the field assignments. The latest case at the S.S.R. is the hunt for Howard Stark, who has been branded a traitor for selling weapons-grade technology to U.S. enemies, and is now in hiding. Stark covertly meets with Carter, an old friend from World War II, one night and asks her to help clear his name. He gives her the services of his butler, Edwin Jarvis, and explains that one of his “bad babies”, the formula for molecular nitramene, is about to be sold somewhere in New York. At the S.S.R., Carter learns from the crippled war veteran Agent Daniel Sousa that the chauvinistic and promotion-seeking Agent Jack Thompson is following a lead on club owner Spider Raymond, who is looking to fence Stark’s inventions. Raymond indeed sells the formula to the silent Leet Brannis. Infiltrating the club in disguise, Carter breaks into Raymond’s safe and realizes that the formula has already been turned into a weapon. By the time Thompson gets there, Raymond is dead, killed by a man in a green suit, who follows Carter back to her apartment, and kills her roommate Colleen, before Carter pushes him out a window. Carter notices that he has a scar on his neck where his voice box once was. After attempting to comfort her, Jarvis takes Carter to see Dr. Anton Vanko at Stark Industries, who examines the weapon and deduces that it was created at a Roxxon Oil refinery, where Carter finds Brannis mass producing the nitramine weapons. Brannis also has a scar where his voice box once was, and by holding an electronic device to it, he is able to communicate with her. He warns Carter that “Leviathan” is coming, and then drops one of the bombs, giving her 30 seconds to escape. The subsequent implosion destroys the building, but Carter and Jarvis manage to get away safely, as does Brannis with a truck full of nitramene bombs. Later, Jarvis calls Stark to assure him that Carter is an excellent choice, who likely does not have any suspicions.
I love how it’s now canon that the AI J.A.R.V.I.S. is now inspired by this doofus here
That puts an enormous smile on my face. Also something that makes me smile? This parallel:
That gave me quite the grin when I first saw this episode.
So right off the bat the first thing I like about this episode is the fact that when they show Peggy getting dressed the only time we see her showing some skin is when she disrobes and all we see is two scar from a couple bullet wounds across her shoulder. We don’t see an excessive amount of T & A, we only see a visual shorthand to show that this chick is fucking hardcore. In fact, from a gender standpoint, I really like a lot of the stuff they do with Peggy. When they have her talking with Stark he’s not talking to her the way most (strait) guys would talk to a (presumably strait) woman, he’s talking to her like she’s, well, one of the guys. If you pretended Peggy were a man there really wouldn’t be much difference in how these scenes are written, presented and portrayed. BUT, at the same time, Peggy is still clearly a woman. Not just in the fact that she uses the natural awkwardness most men have about things like periods, but also in her personality. I believe men and women are both equally capable of violence but us guys tend to be more overt about it. If a guy goes nuts he’ll go out and shoot a bunch of people in a public space, if a lady goes nuts, she’ll go after the people in her immediate circle so no one suspects anything. If a guy wants to make a threat he’ll make the fucking threat with active aggression behind it, if a woman makes a threat she’ll come at with a sweeter tone but it’ll still clearly be a threat, and that’s what Peggy does. When someone douchebag at her waitress friend’s restaurant is being a loud obnoxious tool she puts a hand on his shoulder and a fork to his chest, and politely tells him to shut the fuck up and leave the damn joint before she shoves the utensil into his artery. And before departing she encourages him to tip her friend generously.
I have no idea who the fuck James D’Arcy is but I love his portrayal of this adorable scaredy cat butler. He’s like the bizarro version of Alfred in the Nolan trilogy and on Gotham. You hear those mother fuckers talk and you know they’ve seen some serious shit, you hear this guy talk and you can tell he’s about as plush as a beanie baby. Peggy, please don’t get this poor man killed, he’s utterly unqualified for this gig! Haha
Dominic Cooper continues to rock it as Howard Stark, he and Hayley have great chemistry and you can tell these two really are close friends. He also does a great job of continuing to show where Tony got his intelligence and snark from, and unfortunately it would seem his penchant for bad ideas. Then again, I doubt Howard’s ever gonna fuck up badly enough to merit an entire fucking movie!
Agents Thompson (Chad Michael Murray) and Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) make good impressions here but I think they’ll be more impactful int he future, but so far I strongly dislike Thompson and I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to, and I’m growing rather fond of Sousa and I think I’m supposed to.
ANTON VANKO MAKES AN APPEARANCE HERE! Isn’t that awesome?
I think it was a little too early to kill the roommate to be honest. I’m not saying don’t kill her, but I would’ve held off on that until at least the second episode, third episode at the latest.
I don’t usually comment on the actual look of a show or movie but God damn it do I hate the visual aesthetic of this show! It looks like a fucking soap opera, every time I saw trailers for this show it really fucking bugged me seeing how fucking cheap it looks! I’m sorry, but this annoys the living hell out of me!
My quibble about the aesthetic of the show aside, this is a solid piece of television! I highly recommend this first episode for sure! I’ll be giving, Now Is Not The End an 8.9 out of 10!
Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed this review, and if you did head on over to some of previous reviews, such as:
Please also give a little shoutout to Walking Dead Wikia user CamTheWoot for their terrific Ron Swanson GIF, or at least I hope that’s the person I should credit, I’m a little less sure about content rules on wikias…
the thing i love best about hetalia is that they’re all literally spirits of nations and they could easily be these ancient, solemn, god-like beings who are really serious and ~above it all~ but nah america dresses up as batman and poland sends cursed chain letters to his enemies