In the latest episode of ABC’s Agent Carter, Peggy (Hayley Atwell) once again tries to remain a step or two ahead of her colleagues in order to find out who stole Howard Stark’s inventions so she can clear his name. That’s easier said than done when the SSR team, led by Jack Thompson (Chad Michael Murray), traces the license plate pulled out of the ball of factory wreckage in the previous episode back to Stark. They show up at Stark’s house and question Jarvis (James D’Arcy) who claims he has reported the car stolen. As he won’t voluntarily let them search the premises (he’s hiding Peggy whom he was helping investigate the theft of Stark’s inventions), they haul him in for interrogation. The key moment of the episode is when they discover that Jarvis had been accused of treason and dishonorably discharged from the British military during the war. The charges were mysteriously dropped, but the discharge is enough for Thompson to threaten Jarvis and his wife with deportation. Chief Dooley (Shea Whigham) hides the stolen vehicle report in order to give them more time to put pressure on Jarvis.
Peggy, realizing what’s happening and that Jarvis probably doesn’t realize he’s being bluffed, “accidentally” reveals the file. Much to Dooley’s irritation, they have to let Jarvis go before he can talk. Dooley, believing she was just being incompetent, belittles her in front of all the men in the office. Essentially, she’s had to sacrifice all the integrity she’s been working so hard for in order to protect Jarvis.
Later, Peggy and Jarvis manage to track Stark’s stolen inventions from the hole in the floor of the room they were kept, along a storm sewer, to a boat moored at a pier near where a storm sewer empties into the bay. Jarvis had said the theft occurred on a stormy night and Peggy reasoned that tons of equipment could’ve been floated away on a raft in the rush of water that fills the sewers in every rain. he convinces her it would look suspicious if she turned up back at SSR with it all and that she should call it in as an anonymous tip. Once again, because she’s working covertly for Stark, she’s unable to take credit for her detective work and has to let the men in the office get the glory.
Jarvis: I remember you. Nasty little bugger.
Carter: What does he do?
Jarvis: The Constrictor causes involuntary catastrophic muscle contractions. Bones break I’m afraid. It was originally designed for back massage.
Among the other major events of the episode, Jarvis reveals that his treason charge was over some papers he forged in order to get his Jewish wife out of Hungary when war broke out and that Howard Stark intervened to stop him from being executed. This is a fairly significant character reveal and has caused some excitement, yet it doesn’t seem to have any ramifications beyond the scope of this one episode. Perhaps it will be further developed, but it doesn’t significantly alter my perceptions of Jarvis.
The other biggie was the murder of SSR man/chauvinist Ray Krzeminski (Kyle Bornheimer). When the SSR team showed up to the pier responding to the anonymous tip, Krzeminski was tasked with hauling away the guard for questioning. Unfortunately, he was ambushed on the way back to the office and shot to death along with the witness. I didn’t see this coming. From the first episode, Krzeminski was built up as being something of Peggy’s male nemesis. His manner of disposal was quick and grim and, at the end of the episode, a wrathful Dooley ominously blames Stark for the murder whether he pulled the trigger or not. This seems like a much bigger deal to me than Jarvis’ secret.
Though it was a decent episode and good enough to keep me watching, Agent Carter felt like it plateaued just a little bit in its third hour. Plenty happened, so maybe it’s just a natural lull after the excitement of something new last week. I liked the irony of Peggy having to conceal the very actions that could earn her the respect of her colleagues, but the rest of it felt a little over-oriented toward exposition, especially the business with Jarvis’ past. On the other hand, the stakes (as well as the urgency to capture Howard Stark) have been raised considerably even if Peggy doesn’t seem to be much closer to finding out the identity of the mysterious Leviathan. How much longer can she keep her secret from the SSR? If she succeeds at that, will she then be able to take on Leviathan all by herself? I guess I’ll have to tune in next week.
Check out my review of the first two episodes here.