Monday, 17 August 2015

TV recap: Agent Carter season one, episode six - A Sin to Err

Previously on Agent Carter, Peggy and Thompson headed to Belarus, where Peggy proved her chops and the two discovered a training facility for female assassins. At home, Sousa discovered Peggy is the woman from the club that he's been searching for, and Dottie continued to be shady.

"Women are often overlooked, taken for granted."

Russia, 1944, and Dottie is taking bags off the heads of a bunch of men tied to chairs. A male soldier (did I mention the soldiers are Nazis?) says the men have all been picked to join Leviathan. The men - among them is the psychologist, Dr Ivchenko, who Peggy and Thompson rescued from a cell in the last episode - don't look enthusiastic, and when one man tries to say he doesn't want to be part of Leviathan, Dottie stabs him efficiently in the neck and he dies, while the male soldier tells the others that the man's family will also be killed.

Dr Ivchenko is telling his story to Chief, Peggy and Thompson, and giving them as much information on Leviathan as possible. Peggy wants to know more about the training facility the gang found in Belarus, and the young girls seemingly being trained to become assassins. Thompson doesn't understand why you wouldn't just use men, and Dr Ivchenko points out that women are often underestimated. It's a not so subtle continuation of the main theme of Agent Carter - that of Peggy's struggle to get her colleagues to respect her. Women, says Dr Ivchenko, can slip easily through a man's defences, something Peggy has been doing all season.

When Peggy continues questioning Dr Ivchenko about the female assassins, Chief pulls her out of the meeting and basically tells her to butt out. While Peggy did good work in Belarus, the men still aren't willing to let her sit at their table, even when she puts forward the theory that one of those Russian female assassins could have killed Krzeminski. Peggy thinks a female operative conned Howard Stark and got access to his vault. Chief is incredulous, but tells Peggy to chase the theory. I think it's just because he wants to be rid of her, not because he has any faith.

"I have existed merely to perform tricks for you."

Angie is at work rehearsing an Ibsen play (A Doll's House), but heads over to Peggy to give her a new room key (remember Dottie stole Peggy's?). Jarvis comes into the diner - have he and Peggy finally made up? Peggy isn't quite ready to forgive, but she needs to work with Jarvis to track down Howard's exes. 

Dottie comes out of the subway, opposite the SSR's headquarters, and proceeds to head to a dentist's office in the area for an interview. The dentist seems like a creep, and Dottie locks the door behind her as she heads further in. I don't think she's there for an interview.

Meanwhile, Sousa is in jail. Just visiting, of course. He's come to see Sheldon, the milk truck driver Peggy beat up. Sousa shows Sheldon a picture of Peggy and sure enough, he positively IDs her. Sousa asks him twice if he's sure about Peggy - it seems he doesn't want to believe Peggy could have betrayed the SSR. She hasn't Sousa, don't worry!

"We call it the Stark special."

At a jewellery store Jarvis and Peggy get the addresses of every woman Howard has slept with in the last six months. It's an extensive list of women.

The creepy dentist is hitting on Dottie during the job interview and she proceeds to beat him up and then kill him. Dottie suffers no men who think it's their right to sexually assault women.

Peggy and a reluctant Jarvis (he's afraid since he's the one who had to break up with Howard's girlfriends they'll hate him. He's right) start their search for the Russian agent. What follows is a fun montage (I love a montage) where a lot of women rant about how awful Howard is, and Jarvis gets hit a lot.

At the SSR Chief has Dr Ivchenko looking at blueprints. Dr Ivchenko has clearly got Chief on side, the men are now drinking together, and Dr Ivchenko uses the time to act as Chief's psychiatrist - quickly coming to the realisation that Chief is having marital problems.

Turns out the dentist's office Dottie is in is right opposite the SSR, and she can see in to Chief's office through the viewfinder of the guns he's assembled. Is she after killing Chief? Or Dr Ivchneko, who has kindly offered himself as a target by stepping up to the window to admire the New York skyline? Dr Ivchenko is betraying Leviathan by giving information to the SSR, so it's only logical that they want to be rid of him. 

But is Dottie really after killing Dr Ivchenko? No, turns out not. Instead, she's using the light on her rifle to send a signal to Dr Ivchenko, and he seems to be sending signals back by tapping out a message on the windowsill of Chief's office. The message tells Dottie that Dr Ivchenko needs more time to get the item (what item?) and that Dottie's new task is to kill Peggy.

At another of Howard's former girlfriend's houses, Peggy finds a suspiciously empty flat with a bed containing scuff marks on the headboard - scuff marks like those left by handcuffs on wood. Peggy thinks she's found her killer.

"You feel that it was more than a betrayal."

Chief is spilling his guts to Dr Ivchenko, who's in full on psychiatrist mode. He tells Chief to focus on the time he and his wife were in love, all the time twirling his gold ring and trying to, I guess, hypnotise Chief. No, Chief, look away! Don't fall for this! Chief is saved by Sousa knocking on the door, probably to tell him what he's found out about Peggy.

We go from the seriousness and darkness of the SSR and Chief's office to the bright diner where Angie works, and where Peggy and Jarvis are reconvening, neither having managed to track down Howard's missing ex. Jarvis carries on talking, but something's put Peggy on edge, and when she looks round the entire diner is emptying of people. The SSR have come to take Peggy in to custody. She's not going down with out a fight, or 10. She punches her way through the agents in the diner while Jarvis  blocks the main entrance so she can escape through the back door.

Where she encounters Thompson who, we have already established, is very good at reading people and knows Peggy's plan. He points a gun at her and Thompson tells Peggy the evidence has built up against her. Peggy tries to protest her innocence, and when that doesn't work she knocks Thompson unconscious. Peggy needs to head to her flat to get one thing she can't leave behind - Steve's blood. *crying* She's stopped briefly by Sousa, who points a gun at her but doesn't shoot, letting her go. He may have compiled the case against her, but deep down Sousa knows he hasn't got the full story.

Chief orders a manhunt for Peggy, leaving Dr Ivchenko with a young agent. Bad, bad, bad idea. I can tell you that right now. 

"I suspected she was hiding something, but not this."

Peggy's managed to get back to The Griffith and into her room, with Thompson and Sousa close behind. Peggy grabs Steve's blood and when she heads voices coming from the corridor, escapes out of the window and makes her way to the next room over, which is where Angie lives. Just as Angie opens the window and discovers Peggy, Thompson knocks on her door. Angie acts the heck out of the scene, pretending she hasn't seen Peggy for a while. And then Angie starts crying, which immediately makes Sousa and Thompson uncomfortable enough that they leave.

Dr Ivchenko has managed to hypnotise the young agent, who is telling him how to get at Howard's weapons. But it gets worse. Dr Ivchenko instructs the agent to leave the building, go to a bar and have a drink, and then walk into traffic. It's horrendous, quite possibly one of the worst acts of violence on Agent Carter so far, and illustrates just how bad Dr Ivchenko is.

Angie's helped Peggy put together an escape plan so Peggy heads out, and encounters Dottie in the hallway. Run, Peggy, run! Dottie goes to hug Peggy, and ends up kissing her on the lips - wearing Peggy's special lipstick that knocks people out. And in the moments where she's passing out, Peggy realises Dottie is the assassin she's been searching for. As Dottie goes to knife an unconscious Peggy, Sousa and Thompson come round the corner, unknowingly saving Peggy's life by arresting her.

"I can explain everything, all of it."

Peggy's too out of it to do much but be dragged to the agents' car, and she's in no fit state to talk much, at least until she gets back to the SSR and faces down Chief, who does not look happy.

At The Griffith, Angie knocks on Dottie's door only to discover her flat completely abandoned. Will we see Dottie again? I'm guessing yes, since she still needs to complete her mission and kill Peggy.

Right now, she won't be able to get close, as Peggy is handcuffed to a table in the SSR's interrogation room, while Sousa lays out the picture of Peggy at the club, and the ball containing Steve's blood. And then, right at the end of the episode, for the first time all series, Chief treats Peggy like an equal, telling Sousa: "Don't go easy on her 'cause she's a girl."

Marvel Musings

-I love Angie and Peggy's friendship, and how it's grown and developed over the series. Even though Peggy is a secret agent and Angie is a wannabe actress working in a diner, Peggy's never treated Angie as anything less than an equal. The respect between them is wonderful, as is the close bond they've fostered. Yay for an on-screen female friendship that's devoid of competitiveness.

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