Agent Carter Full Season Review: Not Quite Marvelous

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Marvel’s second TV outing was certainly different from everything it’s done in live-action so far, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it was among the best.

If this is the only season the show ends up having, Agent Carter will have little impact on the universe as a whole. The stakes only got high in the last two episodes, and even then, the show didn’t seem all that interested in building tension.

What the show did best was create an aesthetic that made it feel like a product of the era it was set. The dialogue, lighting, and scenery never failed to make it feel like the 1940s. Aside from Peggy, its characters took too long to get out of that era’s sexist ways for them to be likable.

Peggy’s SSR colleagues only became interesting in the second half of the season. Once they started believing in Peggy, the series picked up. Thompson became especially likable once he offered Peggy a bourbon at the end of of “The Iron Ceiling.” But it was too little too late.

The season’s villains were pretty uneven as well. Once Dottie was revealed to be a precursor to the Black Widow program, she suddenly became a visual treat, as she was one of the few connections to the larger MCU we’ve seen in the films. But then there was Johaan Fennhoff, a.k.a. Doctor Faustus, a corny Russian hypnotist that offered little to the series. His goofiness didn’t help build the already lacking tension.

I suppose the biggest problem with Agent Carter is that it never felt like it was trying to do more than coast by. Its one saving grace was Hayley Atwell’s return as Peggy Carter. This standout character from the first Captain America movie was enough to carry this series without letting it get bad. Her relationship with Jarvis, Howard Stark’s butler, was the emotional draw of the series.

But consistent mediocrity is hardly something to praise. Sure, some episodes stood out, namely “The Iron Ceiling” and “Snafu,” but most were forgettable. For that reason, the full season grade is going to be lower than the grades I gave any episode of the season. Agent Carter lost points for not trying. So despite Atwell’s talents, there was too little here to keep us watching, let alone rooting for a second season. Let’s just hope Daredevil can provide more passionate thrills. Grade: C+

By Matt Dougherty

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