Peggy’s latest escapade on “Agent Carter” was a more personal outing with a bit less action and more character development. But that’s not a bad thing.
Peggy and Jarvis continue their investigation of the Stark Industries robbery while struggling to stay under the SSR’s radar—unfortunately, they use a dark secret from Jarvis’ past to try to force him to talk.
This episode was much more character-focused. The ongoing mystery of who, among others, “Green Suit”—yes, that’s the character’s name on IMDB—was working for when he stole Howard Stark’s tech was developed only a little in favor of giving insights into the heroes. Jarvis, who’s interrogated by the SSR, was revealed to have been charged with treason during World War Two because he forged a general’s signature to keep his Jewish wife safe from the Nazis. However, this isn’t explained until after the interrogation, allowing for the ambiguous accusations to make the scene to be tenser and letting the audience think Peggy’s best ally has a dangerous past.
But most surprising is that the series subverted its own expectations. One of Peggy’s sexist co-workers—who has both a wife and a girlfriend—was murdered by a hitman (or hitwoman?) by the end of the episode. In many shows, this would’ve been inconsequential. He’d learned from a goon that Peggy was on ship housing Stark tech, so this could’ve just been a way to keep the other characters from discovering that Peggy was operating in the shadows. Instead, despite his being a jerk, everyone in the SSR office mourns his death—including Peggy. “He was rude and a brute,” she said. “But he was good at his job.” She felt somewhat responsible since he was unknowingly tracking her. To make matters worse, the SSR was more determined than ever to find the anonymous tipster (who was actually Jarvis doing a hilariously bad American accent) and punish him for getting one of their own killed. It reinforced the theme of Peggy’s self-imposed isolation, her unwillingness to let anyone get close to her for fear they may die. This added potency to the emotional cliffhanger when she opens up to Angie the waitress (Lyndsy Fonseca), though without confessing she’s a spy.
Peggy’s ongoing conflict with sexism/misogyny was dialed back in this episode, though it remained a subtheme. Ironically, other than most of her co-workers continuing to underestimate her, the most potent example of this came from another woman: the owner of the women-only hotel where Peggy resided. Her stringent rules—such as no men above the first floor—were presented as stifling, outdated and arguably cruel. Thankfully, that was limited to one scene and served as Peggy’s inspiration for investigating the vault from which the Stark tech was stolen.
Some have remarked that the men on the show are presented as buffoons. That’s not the case. The SSR agents are, as Peggy said of her late co-worker, good at their jobs. How else could they stay only one step behind Peggy? Jarvis always treats Peggy with respect and even gives her some—for lack of a better term—tough love when she said she wanted to get credit for finding the Stark tech so her co-workers would respect her. He reminded her that would put her at danger for associating with accused traitors. Yes, he sometimes seems incompetent, but that’s because he’s been sucked into the world of espionage, which he’s (apparently) unfamiliar with. So accusations of making Peggy look better by surrounding her with idiotic men falls flat.
In the grand scheme, this was a filler episode, a bridge to the next more exciting chapter. Unfortunately, fans will have to wait two weeks to see it. But their patience will be rewarded.