Tuesday, January 19, 2016

TV REVIEW: AGENT CARTER (SEASON TWO PREMIER)

TV REVIEW

AGENT CARTER

SEASON TWO PREMIER
I reviewed the entire first season of "Agent Carter" last year, it gave me something to do on Tuesday evenings as I was waiting around for "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." to come back. I thought the first season was overall strong, but didn't live up to "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." I thought that out of all the comic book shows, Marvel or DC, it was at the very bottom for me last year. Well, I take that back, I enjoyed this much more than "Gotham." It felt very long for a short season, story arcs drew out past the point of stagnation. I figured it really took its time to get going, and on a shorter schedule, that can hurt the show rather than help it. But I liked Hayley Atwell and I liked lots of the energy of the show. I am glad to be seeing this new season.

Tonight's two hour premier certainly started with a bang. We see a woman walk into a bank with a familiar red hat, we think its Peggy Carter. But its not, its Dottie Underwood (Bridget Regan), Peggy's arch-nemesis who got away at the end of last season. She is holding up a bank, but this was a Soviet spy, is there more to this stick up? The thing is, the SSR has beat them to the punch and waiting for Dottie in the bank's vault is Peggy Carter, and a mano-ah-mano cat fight ensues. Its all well-staged work and it was a great way to open an episode. Peggy brings Dottie back to the SSR for interrogation. Peggy finds a mysterious pin with a somewhat familiar looking symbol on it. Its apparently the only thing Dottie wanted, but what does it mean?

Of course we won't get into that on the first episode. Peggy is asked by Chief Jack Thompson (Chad Michael Murray) to go to Los Angeles to assist West Coast SSR Chief Sosa (Enver Gjokaj) in a mysterious case. Yes, Sosa was the half-crippled agent who may have had a thing for Peggy last season, and they certainly play up those sparks this time. Not a lot though, a lake in LA has frozen in the middle of summer, and there is a body in a block of ice right next to the frozen lake. What is causing this? Carter's investigation leads to Dr. Jason Wilkes (Reggie Austin) who works for Isodyne Energy, run by the eccentric Calvin Chadwick (Currie Graham). As you might have guessed Isodyne is fooling around with something they don't quite understand and yep, Chadwick is dirty. Dr. Wilkes maybe dirty too, I can't really tell. But its pretty clear that Wilkes and Carter may share a romance this season. The moments when Wilkes flirts with Carter feels natural and quirky and completely realistic and they share some good moments together. 

We learn that Isodyne is working on what is called zero energy, an endless absorbing substance which makes anything in its orbit vanish without a trace. We may know as zero energy right now the darkforce, a substance that powered many people in the Marvel comic books. It has been confirmed that this season will connect with November's "Doctor Strange" and they weren't kidding. It will be amazing how its gets done. It has already been absorbed by Chadwick's mistress Whitney Frost (Wynn Everett) and if you know comics, you know who that is already. So it will be interesting how they use it for this season of the show.

Meanwhile, Dottie is handed over to the FBI and Thompson is visited by an old friend in the bureau named Vernon. Vernon is played by Kurtwood Smith and I find that to be as awesome as awesome could get. I have a feeling that the SSR will become SHIELD by the end of the season. The conversation between Thompson and Vernon feels that way, how SSR is no longer relevant in a post-WWII world. I think its pretty clear what they will be setting up here, and according to me, its about damn time. After this first season, the SSR is pretty pointless so it makes sense for it to become SHIELD now. I am also guessing that Dottie is ripe to escape, and that Dottie will become the Grant Ward of this show, that famous yet annoying villain who will never die or go away. I don't know if that is a curse or blessing yet, we will have to wait and see.

The first two hours of season two were quite exciting. I think it fired up faster than last season which is good. It certainly has me excited for some big stories this season. Hayley Atwell looks great and her chemistry with James D'Arcy is once again splendid. Edwin Jarvis has a wife now, and she is a great character unto herself. I can't wait to see that dynamic play out more. Overall, off to better start than last time.

What did everyone else think?

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