Agent Carter Season Finale

Last night the eighth and final episode of Agent Carter aired on UK television. I had hoped to write a post about each episode but instead this end of season post will have to suffice.

The previous episode ended with the Russian assassin “Dottie” deploying a stolen canister of a Stark mystery weapon in a movie theatre. The gas that came out of the canister caused all the moviegoers to kill each other.

In this final episode Howard Stark, played by Dominic Cooper, returns and explains that Leviathan have stolen his invention which was called Midnight Oil. It had originally been intended to keep soldiers operating without sleep. There was an unfortunate side effect in that it caused intense psychosis and all those infected ended up killing each other with their bare hands. The weapon had been used on a Russian battlefield in World War Two and now Leviathan are looking for revenge.

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Eventually the Leviathan people kidnap Stark and hypnotise him with the intention that he will fly his own plane and deploy the gas over Manhattan.

Peggy pursues Leviathan to Stark’s airplane hanger and we finally get the long-awaited showdown between Dottie and Peggy. Their fight sequence in the hanger kind of reminded me a little of the fights in the Bourne movies in the sense that they were using anything that came to hand. Peggy finally gets the upper hand and Dottie is thrown from a window. But of course later her “body” is gone with only bloody footprints remaining.

And at this point I’m going to interject the observation that I can be quite thick at times. It was only after watching the episode that I read that Dottie, played by Bridget Regan, is in effect a first generation Black Widow assassin created in the prototype of the Red Room. It’s blindingly obvious in hindsight. I guess the fact that she wasn’t wearing a black leather catsuit was too subtle for me. Oh well, maybe in season two…

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But back to this episode. I did like how the episode ended up with Peggy forced to talk to a hypnotised Howard Stark on the radio as he flew towards Manhattan. Of course this was a reprise of the end of the first Captain America movie where Peggy was tearfully talking to Steve Rogers as he crashed his plane in the Arctic.

If memory serves that scene from the movie was used as a flashback earlier in the season. And not only that: the start of this episode also used it on the Captain America radio play where it’s “Betty Carver” who talks to Captain America on the radio. There the static after the crash is recreated by a sound effects guy rubbing two pieces of paper together next to a microphone.

So I did find it a fitting place for the episode and the season to end up. Also I liked how Howard Stark’s hypnotic suggestion was portrayed. He sees himself standing in the Arctic next to his plane and Peggy appears with Captains America’s shield and asks him to save Steve.

After Stark’s Midnight Oil weapon has been recovered Peggy is rightly applauded by her male colleges when she walks back into the SSR office. This is in stark contrast (pun intended) with how she was treated as a glorified secretary at the start of the series. Then again when the politicians show up she gets none of the credit.

I’m actually skipping over a lot of other good stuff. Sousa tricking Dr Ivchenko. The friendship that has developed between Peggy and Jarvis. Jarvis giving Peggy the vial of Steve’s blood which she later pours into the river. Sousa trying to ask Peggy out. The list goes on.

The episode had a nice little “sting” at the end. It was kind of a post-credits scene only it wasn’t actually after the credits. The Russian hypnotist Dr. Ivchenko (played by Ralph Brown) in full Hannibal Lector gear is being put into a cell. A familiar voice speaks from the shadows and it is of course Toby Jones as Doctor Zola from both Captain America movies. This is a lovely little connection as of course we discover in Winter Soldier that Zola becomes integral in the post-war spread of Hydra’s tentacles. I found that to be a very satisfying link and one assumes season two of Agent Carter might just be exploring that.

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A word on Hayley Atwell. She’s brilliant. Whoever cast the role back in the first Captain America movie should be given a bonus because Peggy has become integral to the origin story of the Marvel Universe and I can’t think of anyone else who could possibly play the roll.

And you know what else? Watching this season has made me want to watch both Cap movies again.

I believe the series is coming out to buy in the USA in September. I hope a UK release will follow soon after.

Agent Carter Season One Steelbook

You know, I had meant to write a weekly post about each new episode of Marvel’s Agent Carter as it aired on Fox in the UK. However real life intervened.

Which is a pity as last week’s episode was particularly good with Peggy re-teaming with the Howling Commandoes to investigate a Leviathan base.

Anyway, the point of this post is to mention the good news that Zavvi in the UK is apparently going to release some sort of steelbook set of season one, I assume on Blu Ray.

No word yet on the release date or what the cover art will be.

Personally I would be very surprised if the cover art doesn’t include at least one of the following two Hayley Atwell-centric promotional images in some shape or form. I think the silhouette one would work particularly well.

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Edit. 11 September 2015

Agent Carter Season 1 is now available to preorder on Amazon UK and Zavvi for release on Monday 30 November 2015.

As expected the Zavvi edition is a steelbook.

Below are the covers and they are the two covers I thought would appear. First is the ordinary version fans see on on Amazon UK. Second is the Zavvi steelbook exclusive, although it says artwork Not final.

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Agent Carter Episode 1 Now is Not the End review

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Last night I finally got to see Marvel’s Agent Carter when it arrived on UK TV screens courtesy of Fox. I had all but given up on the show arriving and I was left hoping for a DVD box set release.

So just in case you don’t know what it’s about, it is a follow up to the first Captain America movie and features Hayley Atwell’s British agent character Peggy Carter working for the secretive SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve) in the post-war world of 1946.

We get some clips from the Cap movie to remind us of her relationship with Steve Rogers.

Peggy goes to work in her New York secret office (apparently in the Bell telephone company building). Her secret way in through the switchboard room reminds me a bit of Jennifer Garner’s secret way to work to SD6 in Alias.

But while Peggy wants to continue the important work she did in the war she finds herself relegated to secondary duties because she is the only female agent in the office and she is always forced to stand her ground.

For example, she arrives at work and all the men are heading off to the briefing room. Her boss tells Peggy to cover the phones. Peggy lifts a phone and says “Rose, forward all calls to the briefing room.” She turns to the boss and says, “Covered.”

It turns out that Dominic Cooper’s Harold Stark character (also from the Cap movie and father of Tony) has gone missing. Apparently he’s making his high tech weaponry available to enemies of the USA. Peggy doubts this but her concerns are ignored by the men. Later Stark approaches her in secret and asks for her help to recover his “bad babies” that were stolen from his vault. He offers Peggy the assistance of his butler Jarvis as backup.

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Along the way we meet some seriously creepy assassin guys who have had their voice boxes removed. One of the assassin guys makes reference to something called Leviathan. Possibly a new villainous organisation?

There were a few reminders of Alias. I’ve mentioned the secret entrance to the office. Also Peggy goes undercover in blond wig disguise to a nightclub to steal back the Stark weapon design. Peggy slips into an American accent effortlessly. Also there’s the fact that Peggy is doing missions unknown to her employers.

The production design is wonderfully retro. The makers have gone to a lot of bother to source old cars and dress the sets and cast in 1940s fashion. At one point Peggy goes to look at an old file in the file room and it’s all pleasingly filled with boxes and paper files.

There’s also a 1940s diner Peggy uses to meet with Jarvis. I note that the the waitress there is played by Lyndsy Fonseca from Kick Ass and notably the TV show Nikita which also was heavily influenced by Alias.

The episode ends with the revelation that Jarvis and Stark apparently have some ulterior motive for getting Peggy involved in the shenanigans.

All good fun. I look forward to the next seven episodes.

Oh, by the way, fox have got Hayley Atwell to do these little q&a links during the advert breaks. They are also quite fun in their own right. For example when asked what Marvel character she would most like to team up with Hayley suggests Black Widow as they could both “kick arse”. Love it.