TV Review: “Agent Carter” – Brilliant and Witty

Written by Caitlin Cooper February 25, 2015

agent carter

One of the most interesting relationships from “Captain America: The First Avenger” is that between Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell). While we got the chance to find out what happened to our favourite all-American hero, we didn’t get to see what happened to Peggy following the events of the battle against the Red Skull and Hydra. It would’ve been a shame to leave Peggy’s story untold since she’s such an interesting and complex character. Besides, who doesn’t love it when bullies are put in their place and an underestimated character saves the day?


“Agent Carter” follows Peggy Carter in 1946 as she struggles with all she lost in the war, and struggles against the sexist restraints placed upon her once the war is over. She is relegated to being a secretary at the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR), and her presence isn’t valued unless she’s bringing coffee to her male co-workers. Bored and frustrated with life after the war, Peggy misses making a difference in the world. So when her friend Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) is accused of selling his inventions to enemy countries and organizations, Peggy is secretly tasked with clearing his name. Together with Howard’s butler, Edwin Jarvis (James D’Arcy), Peggy must act quickly to defeat those who intend to use the inventions for bad, and to save her friend from execution.

“I seem to have a habit of losing people close to me.”

“Agent Carter” looks at how women have been treated throughout history and deals with issues such as life after the war. Peggy is the only current female SSR agent, and her co-workers – all of whom are male – treat her as though she’s a silly child who knows nothing about anything. I think it’s really powerful to have an action character face day-to-day social issues and not just villains as it gives the story a lot of depth. Perhaps the only agent who does respect Peggy as an equal is Daniel Sousa (Enver Gjokaj). Also, it was nice to see in episode five, called “The Iron Ceiling”, that one of the sexist agents, Jack Thompson (Chad Michael Murray), gets some back-story, and learns to trust and rely upon Peggy while on a mission. Peggy wants to prove herself to her boss and fellow agents. Though she does in the season finale, she realizes that she doesn’t need anyone’s approval; in the finale she says, “I know my value, and what others think of me doesn’t matter”. While Peggy’s friend Angie (Lyndsy Fonseca) is at first only a minor character, her story is fascinating and she helps Peggy even though she knows she has big secrets. It’s nice to see female solidarity while many shows like to have girls be mean to each other. The addition of Russian assassin Dottie (Bridget Regan) adds another kick-ass female character to the show. The female characters are distinct and unique.

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The last four episodes of “Agent Carter” are the strongest in the whole season. There’s a lot of action sequences, intrigue, emotional struggles, and more. It’s clear to me that the writers really hit their stride by the time they wrote the second half of the season because the episodes are well-rounded and complex. While the characters were always interesting, they finally get the chance to become more fleshed out. Though Howard, for example, isn’t much of a physical presence in the show, he gets his moment to show how much he cared for Steve Rogers and how much he regrets some of his inventions. Peggy is finally able to once again play a part in protecting people. She’s also finally able to begin to let go of Steve a little.

“I conducted my own investigation because no one listens to me. I got away with it because no one looks at me. Because unless I have your reports, your coffee, or your lunch, I am invisible.”

The cast of “Agent Carter” is wonderfully talented. Atwell really shines as she seems to really become Peggy on screen. She portrays vulnerability, emotional pain, wit, sophistication, and of course bad-ass fighting skills in every episode. Atwell makes the character and the show truly memorable. D’Arcy as Jarvis brings both comedy and interest to “Agent Carter” as he learns to trust Peggy and to realize that he doesn’t answer to Howard for everything. Murray, whom I haven’t seen in anything since “One Tree Hill”, is a nice addition to the show; he’s talented and we get to see that when we learn more about Agent Thompson other than how much of a jerk he can be.

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Overall, “Agent Carter” is a wonderful show with a complex story about a female struggling to have a voice in a society full of condescending men. It’s about the emotional scars the war leaves people with, and it’s about inventions intended to help people being used to harm people, too. The show has its issues – like some cheesy lines and the more serious issue of the noticeable absence of people of colour which should be remedied if the show is renewed -, but I sincerely hope there will be more of “Agent Carter”.

My Rating: 8.5/10

agent carter

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About Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin is an avid watcher of movies and television shows so she decided to use her passion to write about them. She has a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a Minor in Creative Writing.

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