06 “A Sin to Err” (Agent Carter season 1) [SPOILERS]


agent carter

There’s something bothering me about Agent Carter. I think it’s the accents.

The story, the acting, even the soundtrack has — so far — been everything that I’d want from a Marvel series set in the 1940s. But the accents are winding me up something awful.

Two of the lead characters are British, and are played by British actors. And yet somehow their accents still feel like forced Hollywood stereotypes. It’s an established fact that as far as the Yanks are concerned the only British accents are posh and cockney, which is one reason both why Game of Thrones so revolutionary and why I dearly hope that Constantine is saved from oblivion.

Hayley Atwell and James Darcy do both seem to be forcing the posh-factor a little, and it has been suggested to me that it’s period-related rather than being Brits in a US show — a suggestion which would mean that regional accents only came into existence around the 1960s. Which, as a northern lad, I find condescending.

It’s a minor niggle, I guess, but it’s like watching it with the audio out of sync. I’ll try to review the show, rather than the accents…

With Ivchenko, the Russian psychiatrist rescued from Leviathan by Peggy and the Howling Commandos last episode, the SSR finally have a potential lead. It’s just a shame that he’s a double agent for Leviathan, working with Peggy’s neighbour and ninja assassin Dotty — who is now out kill Peggy, whilst Ivchenko wrings the SSR for information. But Peggy has bigger worries, as Agent Sousa has figured out that she has been working against them, and she is forced to go on the run from her own side.

So, the biggest question was what Sousa was going to do with his discovery of Peggy’s working with Howard. I had wondered if he’d sit on it for a bit, given that he’s patently in love with her. Once again, though, Agent Carter is in a hurry. After he verifies with the driver of the nitramine truck — remember him? — that it was indeed Peggy who beat him up, he goes to Dooley and has all the forces of the SSR sent after her.

Luckily for Peggy, they’re pretty useless. The scene where she takes them out in the diner is beautifully choreographed, and she even gets to deck Agent Thompson in the alleyway. It does, though, interrupt her tracking down whichever Leviathan agent almost certainly seduced Howard Stark to get information on his vault — which almost certainly will turn out to be Dotty. She’s home clear, though, until she decides to go and fetch the vial of Steve Rogers’ blood.

Despite a valiant effort by down-on-her-luck aspiring actress Angie to distract the SSR men, Peggy bumps into Dotty, who uses her own knockout lipstick on her. Fortunately, just as the eponymous heroine is about to be filetted, Thompson and Sousa arrive to take her into custody. Which is lucky. Or not, as Chief Dooley makes it clear that the boys aren’t to go easy on her on account of her reproductive organs being on the inside (Trademark Captain Samantha Carter? -Ed).

So we finish up with Peggy in the awkward position of having to explain everything to her colleagues, and try and get her to believe them. Meanwhile there’s an assassin running around New York, a mole inside the SSR trying to get Stark’s inventions and Howard Stark still prime suspect. Not, you might say, a dazzling success.

But this was some brilliantly good storytelling, getting the tension across in every beat. And at the same time it’s very noticeable and human that all of the characters make mistakes here: Peggy goes back for Steve’s blood; Thompson thinks he can take Carter alone; Sousa lets his feelings for Carter stop him from apprehending her; and Dotty chooses the most unbelievably inefficient way of killing her target.

Addictive stuff, even with the accent issue. Roll on the next episode.

  • I’m trying not to see Angie as the Joey Tribiani of Agent Carter. At least until we learn her policies on sharing food.
  • Any excuse for a bit of girl-on-girl action, eh Marvel?
  • The build up to the Dotty and Ivchenko morse code conversation is quite cool, looking for all the world like she’s about to assassinate him before he can blab. Making the morse code machine look like a gun seems a bit silly though. Any number of people could have seen her.
  • Has Peggy always been short for Margaret? Did everybody else know that?
  • Peggy has actually committed treason, right? Whether or not she was right about Stark being innocent, her actual actions were treasonous?
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