Thursday, February 19, 2015

Marvel's Agent Carter Season 1, Episode 7: SNAFU

This week on Agent Carter Peggy and Jarvis are accused of treason, we learn Dr. Ivchenko's secret identity and the SSR agents go from cardboard cutouts to fleshed-out characters.

There's only one more episode to go in this mini-season. Will there be more? I certainly hope so. I've enjoyed this series a lot more than I thought I would, and I'd like to see Agent Carter return. Maybe they could wedge more of these mini-seasons between Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s year-end breaks.


The Plot:
We begin with another flashback this week, as we see Dr. Ivchenko in Russian during WWII. He's very conspicuously reading a copy of The Tragical History Of The Life And Death Of Doctor Faustus, so everyone who had "Dr. Ivchenko is really Captain America supervillain Dr. Faustus" in the pool, come forward and collect your winnings.

In the "present," otherwise known as 1946, Peggy's being interrogated by her fellow SSR agents. She's definitely in a spot of bother here, as she's accused of treason, not to mention working for Leviathan. Just then Jarvis bursts in with a signed confession from Howard Stark. His plan falls apart when Chief Dooley demands Stark turn himself in, and Jarvis admits he wrote the confession himself.

Peggy then notices Dr. Ivchenko is using Morse Code to signal someone across the street— most likely Dottie Underwood. She knows the SSR Agents won't believe her, so she spills her guts and tells them everything, recapping the first six episodes of the series and warning them that something Leviantan-y is about to happen.

Amazingly they believe her, and Agents Thompson and Sousa check out the building across the street. They find Dottie there, who effortlessly mops the floor with them and escapes. 

Meanwhile Ivchenko hypnotizes Chief Dooley and gets him to open the SSR's super secret science vault so he can steal Item #17, another of Howard Stark's dangerous inventions. Ivchenko makes off with the item and he and Dottie roar off in a getaway car.

Ivchenko left one last gift for the SSR— he strapped Chief Dooley into a Stark experimental thermal armor vest. It's meant to keep troops warm in hostile environments, but it's unstable and tends to explode. When the SSR can't figure out how to disable it, Dooley says to tell his wife he loves her, tells Peggy to make Ivchenko pay, and jumps out the window right before he explodes.

Dottie then pushes a baby stroller into a movie theater and leaves, which doesn't seem the least bit suspicious. Gas begins escaping from the stroller, which of course contains Item #17, and causes the moviegoers to lose their minds and kill one another.

• Peggy's interrogation scene was very well done, as it cut back and forth between Dooley, Thompson and Sousa all questioning her in their own individual styles. Well done, Agent Carter!

• When Leviathan was first mentioned in the beginning of the series, it sounded like something huge and mysterious (to me, at least). I have to say I was a little disappointed to find out it's just another run of the mill spy ring, like HYDRA. I don't know exactly what I was expecting, but I was hoping for something a little... different.

• I just realized that Dr. Ivchenko looks a lot like the late Peter Boyle.

• Peggy and Jarvis contemplate their fate at the hands of the SSR. 

Peggy: "Have you ever been hanged, Mr. Jarvis?" 

Jarvis: "No, I can't say that I have." 

Peggy: It's quite unpleasant."

OK, I get what she's trying to say here, but it's worded very awkwardly and makes it sound like she's saying she's been hanged before.

• Last week when Ivchenko was signaling Dottie, I wondered why the hell she'd write down the message she received on a notepad. 

Well, now we know why. It was cheap plot trickery so the SSR agents could find the pad and discover Leviathan's plans. 

• Looks like the SSR has redshirts too. When Peggy finally convinces Dooley that Dottie is in the building next door, he sends Thompson, Sousa and several agents we've never seen before to check it out. Guess which ones won't be coming back?

• Agents Thompson and Sousa search the building for Dottie. Thompson reminds Sousa how dangerous these Black Widow agents are, and tells him to shoot her on sight.

Of course when they encounter her, both men hesitate and Dottie hands their asses to them.

• Did you get a load of Dottie's outfit in this episode? She wears a black dress with white "web" lines on the collars, and a spot of red in the center— just like her Black Widow namesake.

• Ivchenko uses his powers to hypnotize Chief Dooley. He makes Dooley lock Peggy and Jarvis inside the interrogation room and then lead him to the science lab and Item #17.

I'm wondering Ivchenko didn't compel Dooley to just kill Peggy and Jarvis. After all, his message to Dottie last week said, "Kill Peggy Carter." Maybe he did tell him to do so, but Dooley's decent nature bubbled through the hypnosis long enough to make him spare them?

• This episode went a long way in finally humanizing the male SSR agents, and making them realize Peggy's more than just a secretary. We especially got to know a lot more about Chief Dooley, even meeting his family (well, a vision of them anyway).

Unfortunately the writers took a tip from The Walking Dead here, as we get all kinds of info about Dooley's personal life, right before they kill him off.

• So Howard Stark invents heated armor that can inadvertently explode (!). Seems a bit overkill, doesn't it? Hasn't he ever heard of down lining?

• Ivchenko tests Item #17 by placing it in a baby carriage that Dottie pushes into a movie theater. A couple things here.

First of all, when one of the patrons sees her pushing the carriage down the aisle, he says, "Oh great, now we get to hear a screaming baby all through the picture." HAW! Apparently people have always been inconsiderate jerks in movie theaters!

Secondly, Stark Item #17 releases a gas that causes the movie goers to lose their minds and violently kill one another. This sounds a lot like what happened to the Russian army at the oft-mentioned Battle Of Finow. 

• Wondering what the title of this episode means? "SNAFU" is Army lingo that stands for "Situation Normal All Fouled Up." You may have heard your grandpa use another word in place of "fouled" though.

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