Rounding Up the Suspects with Agent Carter

This post originally appeared on Panels, which is now Book Riot Comics

Last week, I wrote about the two-episode premiere of Marvel’s Agent Carter, and the opportunity it gives Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter to shine. With episode 3 (“Time and Tide,” written by Andi Bushell and directed by Scott Winant) it’s time to look at the supporting cast that surrounds her. Who are they, and what might they be hiding?

Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter

The Ladies of the Griffith Hotel:

At the end of the premiere, Peggy moved into a residential hotel for ladies. As this episode starts, she is minding her own business, looking through a Big Book of Secret Symbols (as you do?) trying to decipher the clues to Howard Stark’s missing MacGuffins. A sinister figure climbs up the wall and tries to enter her room. We’re ready for a fight, but it turns out he’s looking for his girlfriend — Peggy’ next door neighbor. Agent Carter sends him on his way.

The next morning, all the girls find out about the midnight caller, and they think it’s fun and games. But Mrs. Fry, the landlady, is not amused, and after ranting about Harry Houdini and Fort Knox, proceeds to evict the rulebreaker for having a man upstairs. Later, we meet the new neighbor, Dottie Underwood (Bridget Regan, who starred in Legend of the Seeker, and has no seeming plot reason for getting such an extensive introduction.) I have a hunch she’ll be back.

Then there’s Angie, the sassy waitress who convinced Peggy to come to the Griffith in the first place. The friends have their first tiff in this episode, when Peggy doesn’t want to talk to Angie about her day and Angie takes offense. Is Peggy holding back because, as we learned last week, she is afraid of hurting her friends? Is Angie pushing past Peggy’s perfectly reasonable boundaries because: a) Angie is employed by some outside player to keep an eye on Peggy; b) Their love is so pure; c) All of the above? The episode ends with Peggy asking Angie to have a drink with her as “Someone To Watch Over Me” plays and, let’s face it, that could support any and all theorie.

Possibly hiding something – Dottie Underwood: Why else is she there? Mrs. Fry: Does she have an agenda besides protecting the morals of her girls? Angie: Is she a little too insistent on knowing about Peggy’s life?

Mr. and Mrs. Jarvis

Peggy and Jarvis’s relationship continues to have a delightful give and take. She gets on his case for letting Howard’s MacGuffins get stolen; he points out security is not his job. She helps him track down the missing inventions; he mock-interrogates her to prove that, if she turns them in to her office, she’ll be punished for conducting an independent investigation. He tries to call in an anonymous tip; she reminds him to disguise his voice. There are fake accents. They subdue a goon together. Good times.

As Peggy and Jarvis are trying to have their adventures, a subplot emerges when Peggy’s SSR co-workers arrest him for involvement in last week’s shenanigans. Peggy gets him out of this scrape, but not before it comes out that he has a treason accusation and a dishonorable discharge in his past. When Peggy pushes for more information, he tells her about his history.

Jarvis’s beloved wife Anna is a Jewish woman from Hungary. In order to obtain her safe passage out of Nazi-occupied Europe, Jarvis stole some “letters of transit” from his commanding officer. Howard used his influence to get the Jarvises out of trouble and bring them to America, which may begin to explain the butler’s devotion. Favorite detail here: letters of transit are not a real thing, but a plot device that was invented for the movie Casablanca. This might seem like a gaffe, but I suspect it’s a deliberate attempt to align the show with the fictional universe of World War II-era melodramas.

Possibly hiding something – Jarvis: We already know he’s reporting back to Howard about Peggy. What else is he not telling her? Anna Jarvis: We haven’t seen her face yet. Is there some kind of revelation in the making? Could someone be using secrets from her past to pressure her into working at cross-purposes from her husband?

SSR agents Sousa, Thompson, Dooley, and Carter

The Men of the Strategic Scientific Reserve (and Rose)

To review the main players: Dooley (Shea Whigham) is there to be the tyrannical boss, Sousa (Enver Gkokaj) is there to maybe have a crush on Peggy or maybe have a secret sinister agenda, and Thompson (Chad Michael Murray) is there for . . .eye candy? Last week, I wasn’t sure what Krzeminski was there for but this week, we find out his role is to almost figure out what Peggy is up to, and then be assassinated by an unknown outsider and motivate the SSR to be that much angrier at Stark. The death of a protagonist’s colleague isn’t an unusual plot device, but maybe because of the unusual pacing of an 8-episode mini, the timing is unexpected enough to be surprising.

And I can’t fail to mention Rose, the switchboard operator who complimented Peggy’s hat in the first episode, and informed her of Krzeminski’s death this time around. Once again, a supporting character has a part that’s just a little larger than you might expect, which makes it seem like she might do something important.

Possibly hiding something: Everyone. Except Krzeminski. Moment of silence for the big lug.

Howard Stark

Howard Stark standing in a boatHoward wasn’t in this week’s episode, but he’s still one of its most interesting characters. We learn more about his history of using his influence to look out for the underdog. At the same time, Peggy makes several remarks to indicate she doesn’t fully trust him. And what about his MacGuffins? When a man creates things he knows are dangerous and leaves them where they can get stolen, he’s at least guilty of hubris, maybe something more.

Agent Carter will be back in two weeks. Until then, we have time to ponder all the possible secrets. What are your favorite theories?

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