Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Marvel's Agent Carter: Smoke & Mirrors

"You can be whatever you want."

At last we have an episode which is directly, rather than implicitly, about the misogyny and glass ceilings present in 1947 and, let us not be complacent, today. It does this by means of a structural parallel between young Peggy (Margaret Elizabeth Carter!) and young Whitney Frost (Aggie) as they grow up as girls and young women in a man's world.

Peggy never was "ladylike" as a girl but learns to confirm, turning down the chance of a really cool job with the SOE to marry a dull bloke, be a housewife, be boring. It's her brother (Edward Seymour from The Tudors) who convinces her otherwise, albeit in large part by getting shot, and she never looks back.

Aggie grew up in much more humble circumstances, her genius-level intellect irrelevant as her mother shagged a creepy bloke ("Uncle Bud") in order to keep above watt. The harsh lesson she learns is that no one cares about women's' brains, just their looks, and she exploits this to become a Hollywood star.

Meanwhile, Sousa, Peggy and Jarvis discover that the whole conspiracy extends deep into the establishment, deep enough to (officially) stymie their investigation. Now it's just the three of them, although Sousa is justly annoyed at not being included from the start.

The attraction between Peggy and Wilkes continues to grow ("Still, it must be very... frustrating!") as the script acknowledges, without explaining, the mystery of how he can survive without food. He feel tired, drawn to give up and be taken to... where? Meanwhile, Whitney reveals to Calvin exactly what has happened to her. This season just gets better and better.

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