Agent Carter: S02E08&09 – The Edge of Mystery & A Little Song and Dance
Agent Carter is a show you should be watching. Mark will be reviewing the entire second season week to week. Follow along with him as he explores one of Marvel’s best shows.
If you had told me at the beginning of this season that we’d see more conveniences and contrivances from Agent Carter than in any show I can remember in recent history, I wouldn’t have believed you. In truth, I might have believed you and just been disappointed. However, if you had told me that episode nine would contain a musical song and dance number inside a dream sequence that felt as forced and dull as that Dancing show on ABC, I would have been surprised if I didn’t pull a Peggy Carter and punch you in the face.
Yes, folks, to my complete shock and surprise this show nearly jumped the shark. I say nearly, because mercifully it was only part of an episode and not the whole darn thing. Which I have no doubt that some producer head argued for such a thing in pre-production. And if you think the musical number still would have existed if this show aired on some other network than the one making millions off of Dancing with the “Stars” then quite simply, you’re wrong.
Two paragraphs into this review, I will now digress, but unfortunately I must continue to dwell on the negative. The differences between season one and two are now quite expansive. The first played right into its contrivances and earned the resolutions, consequences, and character development. The second, does the exact opposite of all that. Case in point: Thompson. What is his motivation? With one episode remaining you should be able to form some idea of what they are. And everything else is just so easy and convenient. The list of all the examples lengthy.
Thankfully we have bright points to rest on. Jarvis is finally not the archetype “butler” inserted into the story for comic relief. Even though his plunge into revenge is very atypical of his character, it’s nice to see him doing something that has meaning for once this season. And of course, the bright point of it all is our hero. Carter, even in her brief focus points this season, is the crowning achievement for the show. If we get another season next year, I pray we get the spotlight cast far more directly on her. One of this season’s better moments comes in the form of these two friends being honest with one another.
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” –Proverbs 27:17
I’m sure we’ve all heard this verse tons of times. It’s one that seems to hover in the subconscious. A celebrity verse, if you will. But I would say it’s one we quite often forget the significance of. Too often we think of clashing friendships as a bad thing. Oh you argued with someone and got into a heated debate? You must be a bad Christian! Nope. Here’s a news flash- we’re all human. And the beauty of the gospel is it sets us free to be human, and furthermore understands that our humanity can often be the very thing that allows to grow closer to each other and closer to God. After all, the actual process of iron sharpening iron is messy and dangerous. But it produces greater results.
Peggy and Jarvis are each pretty hard wrought iron. Neither of them relent to anything very easily. Their clash in the desert allows them each to reveal some truths while they each expose weaknesses. It’s a simple, perfect picture of what good friendship should be at times, as we see after the fact they end up needing and helping each other in a difficult situation.
Truthfully, while it’s an essential message for us in examining our humanity, it’s not a very difficult one to pull out of the show. The show is missing complexity something fierce. Much of the rest of this two hour block this week is just plot lines being played out and unearned twists and turns being tossed about. It’s a shame because the show has complex characters they could really examine, as they did last season. Instead, it just moves them about on the chess board for dramatic effect.
As we approach the finish line and the show exposes more weaknesses, I still hold out hope for some real truths and earned results. If it is the end for good, let’s remember the impact that Agent Peggy Carter has had on the current state of our entertainment. This well balanced, hard-nosed, female character stood up against very real stereotypes and clichés amidst the candy coated world of comic book stories. It’s something we need much much more of. Iron clad entertainment sharpening our cultural landscape.
Next Week on Agent Carter: When the announcer says the finale will keep you guessing until the last moments, I believe him, as that’s what they’ve had us doing all season. And not in a good way. Maybe, just maybe, the finale will capture that season one urgency and send us off on a good note. I really hope it does, as this may be Agent Carter’s final note for good.