Thursday, January 29, 2015

Marvel's Agent Carter Season 1, Episode 4: The Blitzkrieg Button

We're halfway through Agent Carter's truncated first season already. This episode wasn't bad, but it didn't seem to have the energy of the pilot, and felt like mostly setup for the back half of the season. We did get another connection to Captain America with the introduction of his vial of super soldier blood, which will no doubt become the McGuffin for the season finale.


The Plot:
Howard Stark smuggles himself back into the country in order to retrieve a particularly dangerous piece of tech he calls the Blitzkrieg Button (Houston, we have a title!). The Button can permanently (!) black out an entire city, and Stark is afraid the SSR science boys may accidentally activate it, plunging New York City into darkness for years. He asks Peggy to retrieve it for him. She's suspicious, but agrees.

Stark also can't stay in any of his penthouse suite, as it's being watched by the SSR. Peggy reluctantly agrees to let him stay with her in the Griffith, her strictly all-gal residence.

Meanwhile Chief Dooley (of the SSR) is investigating Leviathan agents Leet Brannis and, er, the Other Silent Guy. They supposedly died at the Battle Of Finnow, even though they got better later. He decides to travel to Germany and interrogate Nazi Commandant Mueller to get the scoop. Mueller, who's about to be executed for his war crimes, tells him that the Nazis didn't kill Brannis or any other Russian Leviathan agents at Finnow, because when they arrived everyone was already dead— mauled and torn apart by some unseen force. Hmm... 

Peggy sneaks into the SSR lab and retrieves the Blitzkrieg Button. Before handing it over to Stark though, she activates it and finds out it contains a vial of Captain America's super blood. She confronts Stark about this, and he claims he wants the blood for research, as it could possibly lead to cures for various diseases. Peggy doesn't , believing he wants to profit from it somehow and tears him a new one for lying. She punches him in the eye, keeps the vial of blood for herself, and hides it inside a wall of her apartment.

Meanwhile, Mr. Mink, the creepy gangster who smuggled Stark into the country, is miffed after being cheated out of his delivery fee. He sneaks into the Griffith to collect from Stark, and is confronted by Peggy's neighbor Dottie, who, to no one's surprise, knocks his block off— literally! 

• So it turns out Howard Stark is an even bigger horn dog than his future son! Who knew? Ah, simpler times, when social diseases could be cured with just a dose of penicillin. 

• When Peggy moved into the all-girl Griffith apartment a couple episodes ago, did anyone not think she'd eventually end up hiding Howard Stark there? Telegraphing!

• When Jarvis is driving Peggy to the lab, he tugs his ear every time he lies to her. 

Was this "tell" simply a subconscious tic, or was he deliberately (and silently) trying to signal her?

• Chief Dooley offers the soon-to-be-executed Commandant Mueller a cyanide pill in exchange for information (to spare him the pain of being hanged). Later as he's being escorted out of the prison, Dooley offers a guard one of the same pills, saying it's a breath mint.

I'm still not quite sure what the hell was going on in this scene. I think they really were breath mints, and Dooley fooled Mueller into spilling his guts by telling him they were poison. 

On the other hand, maybe they really were cyanide tablets and he deliberately killed the guard. He doesn't seem all that fond of Germans, even if the non-Nazi kind. I'm honestly not sure which to believe. If they were really breath mints, isn't it a bid odd that he'd keep them in a secret compartment inside his watch?

• Agent Thompson gave Peggy a very astute observation in this episode. He asked her why she works at the SSR, saying, "You're a woman. No man will ever consider you an equal. It's sad, but it doesn't make it any less true." 

I have a feeling his comment is going to be a catalyst for Peggy to do something greater with her life and career, probably sometime around the season finale.

• Peggy got in a few really good lines during her row with Howard Stark. First she tells him, "I can trust the actions of men who don't respect me more than those who do." A little later she says, "I think you are a man out for his own gain no matter who you are charging. You are constantly finding holes to slither your way into in the hope of finding loose change, only to cry when you are bitten by another snake."

I wouldn't worry too much about them. They've got to kiss and make up eventually, since Peggy and Howard co-founded S.H.I.E.L.D. (along with Colonel Chester Phillips). 

• As Mr. Mink creeps around Peggy's apartment door, he's interrupted by her neighbor Dottie. She spies his cool high-tech-for-the-1940s automatic revolver and says, "I want that!" and casually breaks his neck to get it.

A couple weeks ago I totally called the idea that Dottie was likely some sort of secret agent. I 
was wrong about what kind of agent though, as I figured she worked for either HYDRA or Leviathan. The producers have confirmed that she's part of the Russian Black Widow Program, which, not surprisingly, gave us the Black Widow of the Avengers.

• Stan Lee pops up in yet another Marvel cameo. They really wanted to make sure we noticed him, as the camera lingered a little too long on him. 

I do enjoy his cameos though. It's going to be a sad, sad day when he dies.

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