Friday, February 13, 2015

Marvel's Agent Carter Season 1, Episode 6: A Sin To Err

This week's episode of Agent Carter wasn't quite as exciting as the previous outing with the Howling Commandos, but there was still plenty going on as it ably set up the season (series?) finale.

Although I'm generally enjoying the series, last week's episode made me realize I'd probably like it even more if it had been about Peggy and the Commandos trotting around the globe, mopping up any stray Nazis left over after the end of the war.  But super hero spy Peggy is good too.

There was a lot of humor as well as tension in this episode, and it all blended together pretty well. The ending was definitely a nail biter, as things are looking pretty grim for Peggy right now.

SPOILERS!

The Plot:
In 1944, we see a Russian Leviathan commander recruiting agents, including a familiar face: Dr. Ivchenko, who we met last week and was "eager to help the SSR in any way he could." See, I told you he couldn't be trusted.

Back in the "present day" in 1946, Ivchenko sits in SSR Chief Dooley's office, telling him everything he knows about Leviathan, which isn't much. Peggy tells Dooley that the Russian orphanage she and the Howling Commandos found last week was training girls to be killers. She says that Agent Krzeminski was killed by a woman, and thinks there may be a connection. She thinks one of these female Leviathan agents might even be responsible for stealing Howard Stark's technology, which would mean he's not a traitor after all. Surprisingly, Dooley tells Peggy to look into it.

She then recruits Jarvis to help her investigate every woman Stark slept with in the past six months, which amounts to a lot. Unfortunately Peggy strikes out, but Jarvis does get slapped by a bunch of Stark's jilted lovers.

Meanwhile psychologist Dr. Ivchenko expertly manipulates Chief Dooley into revealing SSR secrets, and signals fellow Leviathan agent Dottie (who's watching from the building across the street— something tells me the SSR needs curtains) and tells her to kill Peggy Carter. He then tries to hypnotize Dooley, but is interrupted by Agent Sousa. He's figured out that Peggy was the mystery blonde woman in the nightclub the night the nitramene was stolen, and thinks she's a traitor working with Stark.

Dooley then orders the entire SSR to capture Peggy at all costs. Several agents surround her in the Automat, but she hands them a beat down and heads for her apartment to retrieve the sample of Captain America's blood she hid in the wall. Her apartment is surrounded by SSR agents, and just as she's about to escape, she's knocked out by a kiss from Dottie (yowsa!), who's wearing Peggy's knockout lipstick. Just as she's about to kill Peggy, Agents Thompson and Sousa burst in, taking Peggy into custody. Ruh-Roh! How's she gonna talk her way out of this one?

Thoughts:
• Peggy and Jarvis tracking down Howard Stark's many, many romantic conquests was funny and very well done. Especially the numerous slaps to the face Jarvis had to endure.

• I was sure Dottie was assembling her sniper rifle in order to plug Creepy Dr. Ivchenko, and was surprised when at the last second he revealed he was actually working with her, signalling her with his watch. Well done, Agent Carter writers!

That said, after Ivchenko "flashes" his message to Dottie, why the hell would she write out the whole thing on a notepad? Other than for the audience's benefit?

• The scenes of Ivchenko slowly and expertly getting into Dooley and Yauch's heads were unsettling and very well done.

Many fans think Ivchenko is actually Dr. Faustus, a Captain America villain. In the comics Dr. Faustus was ostensibly a caring psychiatrist, who used hypnosis to bend others to his will. He often eliminated enemies by willing them to commit suicide. 

This is exactly what Ivchenko does in this episode. So is he Faustus? Sounds plausible to me!

• Ivchenko hypnotized Agent Yauch and tells him to go to his favorite bar, order a bourbon and then walk into traffic. Apparently Yauch's favorite bar is "Filthy's Pub." I'm guessing they're located in the bad part of town.

• Super spy/Leviathan agent/Black Widow program graduate Dottie applies some of Peggy's knockout lipstick and plants one firmly on her mouth, knocking her out.

Seeing two women kiss on TV is no big deal these days, but just imagine if this scene was actually playing in 1946, when the show is set. I'm betting quite a few heads would have exploded.

• Peggy's friend and neighbor Angie Martinelli and her struggle to become an actress is a major subplot in this episode. Has that been a thing before now? I'm pretty sure this is the first time her acting bug has been mentioned. And Angie brings it up just in time to save Peggy too!

Hopefully Angie will survive poking her nose into Dottie's room.

• Peggy wears a pair of black slacks all through this episode. Did women normally wear pants in 1946? I'm guessing not. Seems like that would make her stand out in a crowd, especially when she's trying to hide from the SSR.

• So much for Agent Thompson's new-found respect for Peggy. Last week they were actually bonding, this week he arrests her after she kicks his ass.

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