General Marvel

TV Review: Agent Carter S1E1 and S2E2 Now is Not the End and Bridge and Tunnel

Agent_CarterI got my first glimpse of Marvel‘s Agent Carter during ABC‘s upfronts, which featured footage from the series in a nice package that lasted a couple of minutes. After so much build up, the series is finally here in a special two-hour, back-to-back debut.

In the pilot episode entitled “Now is Not the End,” Agent Carter is contacted by old acquaintance Howard Stark when he is framed for unleashing his deadliest weapons and can trust no one else. To help Peggy clear Stark’s name, he insists his butler, Edwin Jarvis, be at her beck and call–whether she likes it or not. But the risk is great: If caught, Agent Carter could be targeted as a traitor and spend the rest of her days in prison…or worse.

The first episode is a pretty good start, with some uneven acting throwing me off. Agent Carter is a period piece, taking place in the 1940s, and while its fantastic that the writing highlights that, some of the acting puts that forward a bit too much, coming off as a bit campy. Interesting enough the first Captain America film did really well with that, but here, since some are playing it a bit more straight, it just feels uneven.

The look of the episode is excellent, with a great vibe to it all making it feel like a seamless extension of what’s come before in the Marvel cinematic universe.

In the second episode called “Bridge and Tunnel,” Howard Stark’s deadliest weapon has fallen into enemy hands, and only Agent Carter can recover it. But can she do so before her undercover mission is discovered by SSR Chief Dooley and Agent Thompson?

The second episode feels like a continuation of the first so much that other than the credits at the beginning, I’d have thought it was just one two-hour episode, and that’s a good thing. The acting here is a bit better than the first, and the story a lot of action and not much else.

What the show has going for it are two things. The first being its tie into the greater Marvel television and movie world. The first episode revolves around the rise of Leviathan, which is a reference comic fans and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. watchers will get.

The second is Hayley Atwell whose shoulders the show falls upon as she embodies Peggy Carter. In that, she shows strength and vulnerability. She’s obviously a kick-ass individual, something that only we the viewers know (other than Howard Stark and Jarvis). But, she’s also hurt by the loss of Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, and you can tell she’s frustrated by the rather sexist environment she’s surrounded by. She’s the highlight of the show.

The first two episodes are good, not great. How the show unfolds and ties into the Marvel mythos will be interesting, that’ll be a big draw for me and many viewers. Here’s hoping the show gets on a solid footing quicker than Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but so far, it’s good, not great.

Episode 1: Overall Score: 7.25
Episode 2: Overall Score: 7.5