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Mega Marvel Rewatch: Agent Carter

I devoured the first five episodes yesterday. They were even better the second time through, and I'm excited to get to the rest. (Although it occurs to me that it was maybe a mistake to schedule this project at the same time that Daredevil is coming out.)

I realized today that I never did write any Agent Carter posts after my initial reaction shot, so I'll start with some general thoughts first.

So, this show is really great. Peggy Carter was already one of my favorite characters and this show has just cemented her onto my all-time list. Jarvis is wonderful, I love their dynamic. I adore Angie, and the way her relationship with Peggy helps ground Peggy into the real world, outside the pressure cooker of the SSR. I appreciate Sousa -- it's nice for Peggy to have a colleague who's a little better than the others, someone we can see as a future possibly ally and friend (and love interest? Although so far the show has been framing Angie as the most likely candidate for that role, which is fantastic), but he has decided flaws, of the sort that make him more interesting and well-rounded as a character. I even find myself liking Dooley and Thompson a little bit more this time through. I wouldn't say that I like either of them, but I like how their characters grow, the bits of backstory we get, and how they start seeing Peggy for the skilled agent she is -- although you get the sense that they're thinking her as an exception to the rule, not developing a new-found respect for the abilities of women. Basically, what I'm saying is that there are very few one-note characters here, and I really like that.

Rewatch thoughts:

I wonder if Dottie, or someone else in Leviathan, arranged to have Peggy's former neighbor kicked out of the building. Awfully convenient that the room opened up when and where it did. I have a hard time believing it's a coincidence, although you'd think that someone would have dropped more hints about it.

Here's something that's always bothered me in the MCU, at least since The First Avenger: the presumed close friendship between Steve Rogers and Howard Stark. Tony talks about his father's admiration for Cap for sure in the Avengers, and he might even mention it in Iron Man 2 (I'll have to check on that when I get there), but Steve and Howard barely interact on screen in TFA, and nothing about those interactions suggests anything more than acquaintanceship -- until we see Howard searching for the wreckage of the Valkyrie, face drawn, refusing to give up even when the trail goes cold. It's a pretty big jump from that to "I know how much he meant to you, because I know how much he meant to me". As Ira mentioned in this excellent Agent Carter post for [community profile] ladybusiness, it's almost as though the MCU has just taken Steve and Howard's deep friendship as read, and retconned it into the series as a historical fact. I guess that's fine, but how hard would it have been to have added one quick scene to the newsreel montage where Howard and Steve are seen talking, joking, working together? For me, anyway, something that small and simple would be enough.

Peggy's mission with the Howling Commandos was everything I could have hoped for, except for the absence of all the original cast except for Dugan (this Tumblr post sums up my feelings). And I like how, in a sense, it proves Jarvis wrong. I get where he's coming from with his whole "they will never respect you" spiel, but it's so discouraging, not at all what Peggy needed to hear right then. What she needed was Dugan's unquestioning respect and support, a welcome relief after all the shenanigans in the New York SSR offices and Howard lying to her about recovering the vial of Steve's blood. She knows that she can get the respect of men for doing good work because she's experienced it. It was a progression that I thought worked quite nicely.

The lack of well-rounded characters of color is definitely a problem. We get a handful of non-white SSR agents, and the one woman in the parade of Howard's rejected lovers, but that's not nearly enough. Particularly when Marvel already did better in this respect with The First Avenger, by integrating the Howling Commandos (at a time when, in our world's history, the US Army was still racially segregated). There's no reason not to have SSR agents of color, and I hope they do better on this in future seasons. (Let's just work on the assumption that there will be future seasons, okay? Much less depressing that way.)

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