Agent Carter 'A Sin to Err' Review
The secret to the success of Marvel's Agent Carter, or at least the reason why I enjoy it so much, is its ability to blend old fashioned sitcom wisecracks with a darker, more ominous story arc. Hayley Atwell's Peggy Carter is key to this, switching multiple times between her comedy duet with James D'Arcy's Edwin Jarvis and hunting down an evil force that could threaten the entire planet, this is a rare breed of protagonist who is able to single-handedly bring balance to the show. This week's episode, 'A Sin to Err', tested the limits of this show's remarkable balancing act by perhaps adding more elements than its 45 minute runtime could handle. Despite this, and thanks in no small part to a dramatic ending, A Sin to Err still emerged with flying colors and I simply cannot wait to see what the season's last two episodes have in store for Peggy, Jarvis and the S.S.R.
After 5 episodes of build-up, A Sin to Err finally saw Agent Carter being forced to go on the run from her S.S.R colleagues. Having brought back the mysterious Dr. Ivchenko from Russia, Peggy and her S.S.R colleagues look to extract as much information as possible regarding Leviathan and the female assassins being unleashed upon America. Unfortunately, this Ivchenko's part of the story almost undermines everything the show has worked so hard to put together. After Peggy is sent off to try and find the mysterious assassin, Dr. Ivchenko all too rapidly transforms from a naive refugee to a mystic with hypnotic powers. The scenes in which Ivchenko puts Dooley and Yauch into a subtle trance were so cheesy it was almost painful, and the incredibly unsubtle end to Yauch's story failed to instil its intended sense of foreboding. But it was the brief exchange between Ivchenko and the increasingly dangerous Dottie Underwood that really irked me. After swapping coded messages from between two skyscrapers, we see Dottie inexplicably opt to write down Ivchenko's orders to kill Peggy in a move that offered nothing but to crudely spell out the situation for the viewer. Having a highly trained operative writing down a kill order on a piece of paper wasn't just unbelievable, it also made no sense and showed very little faith in Agent Carter's audience.
Now I have my minor gripes out of the way, there are a number of positives to discuss. Most notably, this episode continued the show's trend of finding new ways to breathe life into the humble fight scene. As the S.S.R close in on Peggy as a suspect in the Howard Stark case, she and Jarvis find herself cornered by agents in the diner and what ensues is one of the show's wackiest and most enjoyable fight scenes to date. With Peggy Lee's 'It's a Good Day' serving as their soundtrack, Peggy and Jarvis dispatch their highly trained trappers with ease, and there's a brilliant moment when the ever-cocky Agent Thompson is served some sweet justice after thinking he's got Peggy bang to rights. With just Sousa left to deal with, Peggy once again revealed why she's such a formidable force. Simply walking past Sousa, knowing he wouldn't shoot her....that took some serious brass and the look on Peggy's face as she pulled the move off seemed to show that she wasn't aware she had it in her.
On the run from her S.S.R colleagues, Peggy rushes to her apartment in the Griffith to retrieve Captain America's blood. But with agents hot on her tail, Peggy finds herself having to involve Angie, which is bad for her, but great for us because we finally get to see Lyndsey Fonseca's character really influencing the show. Fonseca was brilliant in this episode and Angie is rapidly turning into one of my favorite characters with her broken dreams of appearing on Broadway and unwavering desire to help out her pal, Peggy. Angie puts on the performance of a lifetime as she successfully manages to lead Agents Thompson and Sousa away from the trail of Peggy, but the theatrics were, unfortunately, not enough to keep our hero safe.....
Dottie Underwood continues to fascinate, despite the cat being out of the bag that she's a Russian assassin. Her torturing of an unsuspecting dentist seemed somewhat unnecessary, but it only served to show what this woman is capable of doing in her quest to carry out orders. We're yet to see a true showdown between Dottie and Peggy, but I'm sure that when it happens it will be pretty spectacular. For now, though, Dottie got one over on her prey by giving Peggy a taste of her own medicine and knocking her out with her own Sweet Dreams lipstick.
Next week will see Peggy in her toughest situation yet, having to convince her colleagues that she's not the source of evil they're looking for while struggling with the fact that an assassin was literally living down the hall from her all this time. It's all making for a thrilling climax to what has been a thoroughly enjoyable show. We've been promised by Agent Carter's showrunners that links to the MCU will be evident right up until the very last episode, and with just 2 weeks left in its run, it could be that there are some big twists on their way.
Finally, any review of this episode would be remiss not to mention that little montage in which Peggy and Jarvis go on a field trip to visit all of Stark's ex-flames. Let's just leave it at this: Jarvis took repeated palms to the face in a manner that would make Barney Stinson proud!
Agent Carter returns next Tuesday at 9/8c on ABC.