It’s time to finally review the Agent Carter show. I have to admit that I got off on the wrong foot with this shoe right from the get go since the first episode was pretty bad. While the show mostly never got quite that bad again, it did suffer from a fairly unlikable cast and a rather boring plot. Not much of note ends up happening in this series and while you can argue that this is the point of a spinoff, I would counter with a Scientific Railgun. I do think this show beats Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. but the latter is certainly more exciting. All right, lets dig into this review!
The show takes place before Peggy helped found SHIELD. While you may have thought that the point of the show was getting to see her form the team, that never happens so you should try to forget about that. She works with the SSR, but they don’t respect her because she is a lady. This also means that most of the guys don’t know how to do their jobs so Peggy has to help them all constantly. There are only 18 episodes between the two seasons so the show is fairly short, but each season has a plot. The first one involves villains stealing a lot of Stark tech and now Peggy has to get it all back. The second involves a corrupt politician and a lady who learns how to use dark matter. Peggy may not have any fancy super powers or anything like that, but she has a can do attitude and a lot of “witty” comebacks. The villains will have to tread carefully.
In case you can’t tell, I didn’t like Peggy Carter at all. She does a very terrible job of holding up the show and usually just helps to bring it down. I could go on a long rant about Peg, but lets just stick to the basics. For starters, she’s the tough female lead. That’s her character trope and she doesn’t get much personality beyond that. That’s fine, we’ve had many good characters like that such as Wonder Woman, Medaka Kurokami, Bra, (From Dragon Ball Multiverse anyway) and Dorothy from MAR. The issue with Peggy is that it feels very artificial. Medaka is an exaggerated version of the trope, but the series has fun with it and hey, Medaka actually is pretty tough. She could easily destroy planets by the end of the series. Wonder Woman is self explanatory as she’s a very strong character, but also has a winning personality. Dorothy’s nice and vicious and isn’t afraid to brutally murder someone if she feels like it. Bra just beats up everyone and then insults them afterwards. For Peggy, the writers seemed to think that people wouldn’t take her seriously so they really overplayed their hand by underplaying it.
In the very first episode, Peggy has to use her feminine wiles to solve the case. Naturally, she spits after going through with the plan to show us all that she’s tough and that doing this wasn’t personal. Sure…doesn’t change the fact that her skills as an agent were not enough and this is only the first episode. James Bond does this as well, but he’s one of the worst characters in cinema history (Lets not go extreme folks. Just main characters) and I’d put him in the tr-sh tier. Peggy’s not quite that awful. I just don’t get the logic from the writer’s point of view. This was literally the very first episode of the series, how are we supposed to take her seriously after that? She spends the rest of the series knocking guys out and getting a lot of verbal burns in. To help show that she’s the tough one of the group, her partner is Jarvis. A very frail, weak man who can’t fight for beans and is always very nervous. Ah, I see what the writers are doing here. The contrast will make her appear to be even tougher eh? Very slick guys!
Maybe….mayyyyybe this could have worked….but then the romance sets in. If you thought Carter was unbearably annoying in the first season, she gets worse in the second. A random joe shows up and they basically fall in love at first sight. Remember the guy from season 1? Forget about him, Carter’s ready for a new fellow this time around. Unfortunately, the guy turns out to be someone who lets others step on him and joins the villains. He quickly joins up with the heroes again on his dying breath and that’s that. Carter gets over it, but these romances aren’t really helping her toughness angle. Carter is also used for fanservice on more than one occasion which doesn’t help either. The worst part though is the fact that Peggy just isn’t a likable character. There was never a moment where I thought…”Here’s a good character”. None of her scenes really gave me that impression.
No worries, her supporting cast is just as bad. Lets start with Howard. You’ll remember him as Tony Stark’s father? Well, he has all of Tony’s bad qualities without possessing any of his good ones. He’s just another guy who flirts with everyone and it’s supposed to be endearing and funny. It’s funny in a “Ah man, when’s this guy gonna leave the screeeeen” *cue fake polite smile* way. He is supposed to be smart, but since the villains are always getting the best of him and his stuff keep getting stolen, I’m going to go on a limb here and say that he’s not very smart. Luckily, he doesn’t appear all that often.
We’ve got Jarvis at the ready and I guess he’s the best character. He’s portrayed as incredibly inept at just about everything and it’s handled well. I typically tend to like that kind of character, but they can be handled badly. He’s fun to have around and the only annoying part was his spat with Carter towards the end of the series where he decided to go in a full rage mode. I was actually on his side as opposed to Carter’s (Okay…I guess that’s not a surprise) but he really made his side look terrible by being held hostage. Now that was just embarrassing. He may never get to be all that tough, but at least we finally got to see him in the Cinematic Universe.
Next up is Jack. He’s the “tough” male lead. Oh boy…this isn’t going to end well for him is it? If that’s what you’re thinking, then you’re absolutely right! He starts off as a fairly intimidating character of course and he’s actually decently good at his job. This goes downhill fast though as he gets to see some real action in a gun fight. This traumatizes him and he freezes up so Carter has to come to the rescue. She promises not to tell anyone though. Jack’s never the same after that and then he’s naive enough to trust the villains and allow bribery to slow him down until one of the very last episodes. Ultimately, he does break away and decides to blow up a building, even though an innocent man is still inside. Hey…at least he’s hardcore right? Jack never seems to do all that well against the villains, but he is good at taking the credit. He’s the kind of character that you want to like, but just isn’t actually good enough to be likable. If he’d win a little more, then that would definitely help quite a lot.
Uh oh, we’ve got another “tough” character. Daniel is quite easily one of the worst characters in the show and that’s saying something. Here’s the problem, Daniel has crutches because one of his legs is basically broken, but the show still wants to paint him as one of the best agents in the business. This resorts in completely unbelievable battle scenes where he beat someone even though he can’t actually stand upright. He’s essentially beating them up while holding on to his crutch. I don’t care how little battle experience these thugs have, I just could not believe it. The show didn’t do a good job of convincing me of it at all. It gets a little worse for Daniel when he becomes Daniel the rebound guy. Basically, Peggy wouldn’t go out with him so he just finds someone else and then they get into a super
“serious” relationship. Daniel immediately breaks it off when Peggy’s other boyfriend dies off since he now has a chance and she’s eager for the rebound. It makes both of the characters look so shallow and petty the entire time. They are basically just using everyone else until the situation is just right for them to get together.
Dooley was a fairly good SSR boss to have. He was also rather naive though and talking to one of the big villains in his office with the door closed was not a smart move. I don’t put any stock into the whole hypnotism thing so that was just embarrassing for him to fall for. He got a dramatic end though as he broke into a pretty intense sprint with the most high budget explosion of the series. Everyone finally started to get their act together after that moment.
Dottie was one of the main villains of the series. She’s pretty tough and acts as Peggy’s main rival. She’s also involved for most of the series violence. Carter’s typically not that violent although Dottie getting tortured was pretty high up there and the implied death to the crazy dentist. I don’t recall much more than that and it’s a lot more tame than Agents of SHIELD. Dottie’s a fairly good character and she certainly has a very twisted personality. I think it’s safe to say that she’s the best villain of the series. Her boss was more of a generic evil scientist so he didn’t steal the show quite as effectively.
Whitney was the big boss for season 2. She may not have had Dottie’s experience, but she got alien abilities where she could zap people with black energy and destroy them pretty easily. She just needs to grab an opponent to defeat them so she was fairly overpowered. There wasn’t much that the heroes could do to stop her so they utilized the powers of plot hax. It’s economical and effective. She wasn’t bad, but she did use her powers to destroy a lot of mice so that definitely hurt quite a bit. She was also maybe a little too eager to have some help from Jason with the experiments since I don’t see how he could have offered much help at all. She got most of the last laughs though and I can safely say that Jason did not have a pleasant time.
Jason was the annoying love interest from season 2 that I mentioned earlier. He doesn’t last that long though and his character circle from “likable” supporting character to villain to heroic death dude was very rushed. I never really got to like the guy. His plan wasn’t great though and getting strapped down and tortured by the villains should have been an inevitability that he saw coming given how he really couldn’t trust any of those guys for beans.
Aloysius is a scientist who showed up in season 2. I had to bring him up because he’s pretty crazy. His romance is probably the worst in the entire show and he just acts like a jerk to everyone for no real reason. That’s when he’s at his best of course. The romance just ruins him though and there wasn’t much of a point to his character. He had his funny moments, but they were few and far between. Still, I guess it’s good to have a disgruntled employee into the main cast mix once in a while to spice things up. Other minor characters that I didn’t get to discuss include Jarvis’ wife. She’s a likable character who definitely has a lot of spirit. We’ve got the corrupt politician who’s just annoying. There’s a gangster boss who helps Whitney out in season 2. He was all right, but never really got past the “generic gangster” bit.
This show just suffers from the ripple effect. You know how people say that a really good character can make everyone around him good and improve the show as a whole? Well, the reverse must logically be true as well. Since I didn’t care for Peggy or the show as a whole, it makes sense that the rest of it would appear to be negative as well. I feel like they all helped to bring each other down and that’s why they all seemed pretty unlikable to me by the end. I also just don’t really have any fond memories of this show. It’s not as if it’s rotten to the core, but I don’t see any real reason to recommend it either.
Of course, I don’t expect many live action shows to get a positive rating as it is. It’s why I don’t watch very many of them. At the moment, the only live action show I’m even watching is Agents of Shield. Live action television has never really been able to do all that well and I think it’s because cartoons are just able to perform any plot a lot better. Live action is always limited by its budget and ditto for the action scenes since actors/actresses can only perform so well. An animated character doesn’t have to worry about choreography and can just launch into any battle. As a result, they’re typically a lot more fun. That’s not even getting into the soundtrack differences.
Overall, I wouldn’t recommend Agent Carter. There are certainly better things to do with your time than watch this title. It doesn’t really add just about anything to the mythos and you certainly won’t be missing any important tidbits of information if you skip the series. I’d sooner recommend watching a recent action movie like Avengers Confidential where the action scenes are incredibly good and the Punisher gets his best portrayal of all time. If Peggy ever gets a film, hopefully it takes place when she is actually a SHIELD Agent so there can be some more stakes or she can time travel and help the heroes on an alien planet or something. Adding in some sci-fi elements never hurt.