Agent Carter 1.03: Time and Tide

About Agent Carter 1.03: Time and Tide

The third episode of Agent Carter picks up shortly after the end of the previous episode where Leet Brannis (James Frain) died.  As a double agent, Peggy has tread carefully and protect herself against two very smart and dangerous opponents. One side is Leviathan, the mysterious organization that is tied to the theft of Howard Stark’s inventions, and on the other side is the Strategic Scientific Reserve…Peggy’s work. She has to deceive her colleagues at the S.S.R. as she races to uncover the mysteries of Leviathan, and clear Howard Stark’s name. “Time and Tide” doesn’t have the explosive pace of the first two episodes, but it is nice to have a small amount of breathing room to further develop the characters and situations. The growing tension between Peggy and the men she works for makes for some really nice acting from Hayley Atwell and intensifies the pressure that Peggy is under as the workplace becomes more hostile.

Peggy is investigating the mysterious symbol Brannis drew in the dirt before his death while her colleagues at the SSR are right behind her. Chief Dooley has learned about Branis, and it is revealed that he (Brannis) was a Russian solider whose entire squadron was killed in 1994, which makes the agents question how he could have still been alive. The agents have the bumper from one of Howard Stark’s cars, which leads them to bring in Jarvis for questioning.

At the station, the agents try to rattle Jarvis into revealing his part in the explosion at the factory and it is revealed that Jarvis was convicted of treason during the war. He was dishonorably discharged and didn’t serve any prison time thanks to Howard Stark. The agents realize that the only weak spot that Jarvis has is his wife, and they threaten to deport her unless he tells them what they want to know. Just as he is about to break, Peggy slips the stolen car report back to Dooley, which sets Jarvis free. This results in Peggy getting a very intense dressing down from Dooley in front of her rival Jack, and Peggy has no choice but to take it. Atwell really shines in the scene as pain, humiliation, anger, and embarrassment  radiate across her face, and you can sense she wants nothing more to explain that she isn’t an idiot, but she has no recourse but to look like a fool in front of her male colleagues. It’s already so hard for Peggy to make a positive impression at the S.S.R. because of her gender that it was easy to feel the weight of what it meant to have Dooley, Thompson and everyone else so mad at her and feel she was so incompetent.

Peggy can no longer trust Jarvis, so she demands that he tell her the story. Jarvis explains that he forged his general’s signature in order to save his Jewish love Anna from the Nazi forces occupying Budapest. It’s too bad that the audience hasn’t seen Anna on screen, as this scene would have been more powerful with a human face to relate to. Jarvis story reminds the audience of how big the aftershocks of WWII shook the world and are still being felt. Both Peggy and Jarvis found love in the midst of the tragedy of war, but Agent Johnson was a soldier fighting in the Pacific, which explains his serious demeanor.

The investigation into Leviathan leads Peggy and Jarvis to a boat in the harbor, and they discover all of Stark’s stolen inventions, including the personal massager gone bad. Jarvis humorously points out that it’s a great weapon, but a bad massager since it contracts muscles so tightly that it breaks bones. Peggy desperately wants to call in the find to the S.S.R. and clear her name, but can’t since she isn’t assigned to the case. Jarvis calls it in anonymously and humorously has to disguise his accent. While Jarvis is calling into the S.S.R., Peggy is attacked by a henchman. She tells him that she won’t make it easy on him, and she is true to her word as she uses fists, kicks, and pipes to hold him off. Just as it seems like Peggy is going to lose, Jarvis returns and together, along with the personal massager, knock the thug out. The S.S.R. arrive on the scene and Krzeminski begins to take the thug back to HQ when they are ambushed and both are killed.

Peggy Carter is smart, sassy, and tough, but she isn’t invulnerable. When she learns that Krzeminski died as a result of she and Jarvis calling in the tip, the weight and consequences of her current mission weight heavily on her. The somber office again reminds the audience of the time period where many of these men have recently returned from combat and death. Peggy’s reaction to death says a lot about her character. She weeps for her murdered roommate, but the death of a sexist colleague is softer and more internal. When she arrives at Angie’s diner, her face conveys sadness, guilt, and fear. Lyndsy Fonseca who plays Angie continues to have a great chemistry with Haley Attwell, and I hope she and Peggy got that schnapps and rhubarb pie.

The closing image of a melancholy Peggy sitting at the diner counter while “Someone To Watch Over Me” plays in the background is a subtle and brilliant demonstration of her emotional state. She can open up about the death of a colleague at work to Angie, but she can’t reveal the full truth. This leaves Peggy a little less burdened, but she must deal with the details on her one. She could use the type of person the song suggests, but she can’t rely on anyone to save her. Captain America is dead, Jarvis is helpful, but she is going to have to summon all of her inner strength to become her own hero and accomplish the mission.

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