Agent Carter – S2 E02

We ended the previous episode with the revelation that Sousa is in a somewhat serious relationship which seems to put to bed all of our hopes and wishes for an eventual joining between Peggy and Sousa.  Really a pity as they would have made an excellent couple and while it seems that Sousa moved away from New York to get some distance – there was definitely an attraction between the two.  Season Two of Agent Carter continues at the same breakneck pace we’ve come to expect and this episode delivers in spades.  The episode never loses sight of the characters and spends a lot of time dealing with Peggy having trouble adjusting to life in L.A. as well as finding it difficult to accept that Sousa has found someone. Ultimately seeing how nice a person Violet is causes her to suck it up and be happy for Sousa rather than giving us a tired love triangle.

Continuing the trend of adding more women to the show, we’re also introduced to the very lovely Ana … Jarvis’ wife.  Ana walks in on what other shows might consider a compromising position but she isn’t phased by it at all. This shows how much she trusts her husband as well as Peggy’s platonic connection with him. The scene was pretty amusing but got a little cartoonish at some points.

Speaking of that connection, I loved seeing Reggie Austin, who plays Dr Jason Wilkes, and Hayley Atwell in this episode. I, for one, enjoyed their relationship in this episode, more than I’ve enjoyed the will-they-won’t-they nature of Peggy and Daniel’s friendship.  The whole person of colour angle too is one that suits this show and era and I think it’s treated quite well overall. One thing that works really well is how the episode tackles the issue of race in the 1940s. Jason’s loyalty to Isodyne makes sense on a character level as they allowed him to carry on with what he wanted to do without caring about the colour of his skin. The racial issues aren’t sensationalised in any way as the facts speak for themselves. I will say, though, that I liked seeing Sousa become upset after hearing Peggy was lost.

Whitney being the big bad though is probably the best part of this episode.  In the first episode, her involvement is alluded to although it seems her husband is the driving force.  However, we learn here that she’s got some significant brain power of her own & was the creator and inventor of many of Isodyne’s key projects. She’s someone that could possibly give Stark a run for his money as while he’s a paramount engineer, there are some questions about the ownership of his creations!  In addition to her brain power though is the way she’s portrayed as an aging actress in a Hollywood focused purely on beauty.  Sadly this is one of the things that hasn’t changed despite the time that has passed.

 

OK… this is the one that everybody is looking at.  You would expect that in the premiere episode for the two parter they would do an amazing job however can they keep the momentum going on and keep you interested and coming back for more? That’s the question everybody had in their head and I’m very glad to say that Peggy Carter manages to accomplish this task quite wonderfully!

While trying to makes sense of the symbol Leet Brannis showed her in “Bridge and Tunnel,” Peggy pulls her gun on a guy scaling the wall leading into her hotel room. It turns out that this was not an assassin as she first feared but rather a would be suitor to Peggy’s roommate Molly.  Molly unfortunately is discovered and as this is against the policies at the Griffith she is immediately ejected & we’re introduced to bubbly Dottie Underwood of Iowa.

This episode launches us straight back into it, pretty much right where we left off when they had discovered the license plate to Howard Stark’s his car in the wreckage of the Roxxon oil facility. When the SSR agents confront Jarvis about the situation he initially flobs them off but is forced to go “downtown” to be interrogated. As they threaten and cajole him with accusations of treason Jarvis feels increasingly under pressure and looks like he is going to crack under the strain.  Peggy seeing this finds a way of tipping Jarvis off and helping him get back to an even keel, but this not in any way ingratiate herself with Dooley.  Peggy is berated by Dooley and although he does this in his office with only Thompson present it is very obvious to all of the other agents what is happening and while she comes out of the office suitably chastened she is also visibly flustered and angry.

When she meets up with Jarvis later that evening she immediately confronts him about the treason accusation and he admits that he did make a mistake and explains it as a way of getting his wife out of the country he had to falsify some documents for the General that he worked for. When Stark found out about the fact that he had been cashiered he helped him get his wife out and at the same time also found him a job as his personal assistant / valet.

Now while the rationale for the accusation make sense I think American audiences could perhaps be concerned or question the speed at which the reveal happens (as this is typically something that could be dragged out for several episodes over the course of a season) however having some experience from the UK and television shows there that have a much smaller run of episodes – in this case Agent Carter only has 8 – I can understand why they had to go through it as quickly as they did. In fact I think we will see that over the course of the show the secrets are going to be coming hard and fast and as they simply do not have time to draw things out!  This is one area that Carter far surpasses Agents of Shield as while I love that show and its ensemble cast, it did drag things out at times with too many filler episodes – more so in Series One than so far in Series Two I have to agree but still something that I cannot discount.

When Peggy and Jarvis eventually manage to track down Stark’s stolen goods through some good old fashioned detective work … another climactic fight sequence ensues – matching my previous comments about a single fight per episode it seems.  In this case Peggy is very lucky to have Jarvis along as while she’s managing to hold her own its only when he distracts the thug that she is able to use one of Stark’s inventions to take him out.

The SSR team arrive after Jarvis’ call and Agent Krezminski (Kyle Bornheimer) is tasked to bring the thug back to headquarters. On that drive, the thug reveals to Krezminski that an “English broad” is responsible for his beating. While Krezminski is gradually putting things together (you can almost see the light bulb go off in his head) he is stopped by an unidentified hitman who kills both the thug and the Agent.

Peggy walks into the SSR HQ the following day to find it a much more sombre place and when she hears about what happened with Krezminski she echoes the mood of the rest of the agents.  Dooley of course blames it all on Stark so I guess he’s got a bit of a one track mind!

Review

Overall very very solid episode and one that I actually quite enjoyed I have to say. The interaction between Peggy and Jarvis continues to improve and get tighter and while Peggy’s reputation in the office is literally in the toilet at this time in can only improve!

The death of Krezminski I have to admit actually took me by surprise as it is not something I was at all expecting and while he is hardly a main character I thought that he would be in the show a little bit longer if for nothing else simply as a foil to show how bad men in the forties are.  However keeping in mind my earlier comments about this being a show that will have to move the story along simply because of its limited run, I can see why it had to happen.  I guess the question is who will miss Krezminski more – his wife or his girlfriend!

Dottie while she was kind of glossed over looks to be one of those characters that could amount to something … I might be watching too much TV but you can sometimes see the characters that are kind of just “slipped in” as ones that will grow.  Lets table this one for a bit, but I’d be interested to see what happens there.

I look forward to seeing where they take this show next as while it has dropped in its market share, it is simply getting better and better in terms of its reviews and reputation.Stay tuned for the next update coming shortly.

Well I guess it had to finally happen.  The little “filler” show in between seasons of Agents of Shield had to finally end and I’ll be honest I’m somewhat mixed up in my feelings.  While I’ll be really happy to have Agents of Shield back & more specifically of course, find out what the heck happened to Raina and Skye, I’m going to be quite sad to see Peggy go as I’ve gotten quite fond of her and the rest of the gang – Jarvis, Sousa in particular and even Thompson (although he’s still a bit of a snake also).  The cinematography and costumes that they utilized to bring that world to life … well, lets just say that its extremely lifelike and believable and while I realize they are somewhat restricted to the stories they can tell, I hope that Marvel finds a way to bring back Peggy in her own show again in some way or form.

Recap

Valediction picks up right after last weeks excellent episode – Snafu – with the SSR agents investigating the horrific scene from the movie theater.  If you don’t remember what happened, let me give you a quick reminder – Dottie placed a baby carriage in the theater  loaded with some sort of poisonous mind-control gas that transforms everyone in the theater into raging maniacs. They end up killing each other—all of them. Not a single person is alive when an unsuspecting theater attendant finds them. It’s gruesome and bold and when the credits roll, you’re left with the image of brutalized corpses littering the theater.  When Sousa inadvertently takes a wiff of this gas, he immediately tries to kill Thompson and knocks away Peggy with manic strength giving you a real insight into the potency of this gas.

Following the incident at the cinema, Howard Stark arrives at the SSR and we learn that the chemical in question is something called Midnight Oil and it was meant to give US soldiers the ability to stay awake forextended periods of time.

By the way (and this is an aside) … have you noticed that Howard is a bit of a nutjob with his inventions?  He definitely does not have Tony’s skills as it seems that his inventions more often than not, not only DO NOT WORK, but they tend to leave the user in something of a less than healthy state!  To paraphrase the comic book guy from the Simpsons“Worst-Inventor-Ever” … really makes you question where he got his incredible wealth from?!

Well it seems that the US Government in their infinite wisdom decided to “help” the Russians in their attack and it was this gas and its effects that actually caused all the horrible deaths and mutilations that we found out about during the course of this series.  Johann Fennhoff (Dr. Ivchenko’s real name) was the one of the only survivors of this massacre and he’s made it his life’s work to revenge himself on the inventor of Midnight Oil – Howard Stark (I’m not sure if you recall from my post last week, I did mention that he doesn’t seem all bad when he was helping the wounded soldier, however what he did to Dooley was just mean, but I guess to some extent this does explain his motivations).

In an attempt to trap Ivchenko and Dottie, Thompson and team agree to hold a press conference hoping that it will lure them back to town where they can trap them.  During the press conference where they basically exonerate Howard Stark for all wrong doing, shots go off and a shooter is seen in a window across the street.  While Peggy and Thompson rush to investigate, Jarvis hustles Stark to a waiting police car, but before he can jump into the passenger side it rushes off leaving Jarvis to stare in horror at the dead bodies of two police officers slumped on the ground nearby.

When Peggy and Thompson break into the room that the shots are coming from they find a gun has been rigged to automatically shoot, but its been rigged to miss!  Wondering why Dottie would do this, they come to the horrifying realization that they must want Stark alive for some nefarious and unknown purpose when Jarvis informs them of his kidnapping.

With Jarvis’ help they track them down to an airfield outside the city where Stark had squirreled away some planes and classic automobiles (turns out this is another vault he’d shown Dottie when she was seducing him), but unfortunately they are minutes too late as Ivchenko has managed to hypnotize Stark into flying a plane over New York city loaded with Midnight Oil.  As Jarvis takes off in another plane with the intent of shooting Stark down if necessary, Peggy, Thompson and Sousa enter the airfield hanger in an attempt to stop Ivchenko and Dottie.

Peggy tracks them down in the control room and battles Dottie while Ivchenko makes his escape but is stopped by Sousa and Thompson.  Peggy’s battle with Dottie while cool, unfortunately doesn’t match the epic May vs. May fight from Agents of Shield and to some extent is a bit of a cop out as Peggy shouldn’t have really won, but regardless, Peggy eventually manages to “de-hypnotize” Howard and gets him to bring his plane back to the airfield.

By the time it’s all over, Senator Walt Cooper personally congratulates Agent Thompson – who was put in charge of the New York SSR branch now that Dooley’s dead – and Thompson accepts the accolades despite the fact Peggy did all the work. Considering his unearned medal from WWII, clearly Thompson is used to accepting praise for things he didn’t do.  A now restrained Ivchenko appears in Prison with Dr. Zola (infamous from both Captain America movies off course) while Peggy destroys the last remaining vial of Captain America’s blood as she says a final, tearful goodbye to the man she loves.

Review

Well I think I’ve already mentioned it … I’m not really happy that Peggy is no longer on the screen as while some of the episodes have been weaker than others, the fact that it was in such a compressed period of time meant that they didn’t drag things out, and we weren’t forced to endure filler episodes which I personally abhor!

Most importantly, the opening of the season was stronger than the close. As exciting as the last two episodes were, they lacked the charm of the earlier segments. When Carter was more the sleuth, and she and Jarvis were out trying to unravel the mystery of Howard Stark’s lost inventions, the show was far and away at its strongest point.  Even when the SSR thought Peggy was working against them, it felt less like a personal struggle for Carter than what she faced in the earlier episodes. Carter as the odd-woman-out was more interesting than Carter-on-the-lamb.

I liked the little smile/conversation between Carter and Sousa at the end as it very much did imply that perhaps there is a future for both of them and Peggy won’t have to live her life as a war widow, but I personally didn’t think that Carter should have been able to defeat Dottie as I really believed a graduate of the infamous Black Widow program far superior to a regular US Agent – regardless of how talented he/she might be.  I was actually hoping/expecting that Sousa or even Thompson would have been required to help subdue Dottie and felt that this was somewhat rushed and in some ways they didn’t really give her the exit that she so richly deserved (I mean that in the best possible way!).

Conversely however, Dr. Zola’s surprise appearance was truly a surprise and a very welcome one.  While it obviously hints at the Winter Soldier and mind control it perhaps also implies a more involved future for Peggy and the agents at the SSR in the overall MCU.

Well it had to happen sometime I guess … I mean the good thing about the SSR & Agent Carter is that while they are always a couple of steps behind Peggy, they are still playing the same game unlike other shows where the only person that seems to be able to do anything at all is the title character.  This is a refreshing change as I’m sure you would agree!

OK to do a quick recap of the episode, Peggy has determined that the only way Howard Stark could have been robbed is if he was taken advantage of by a woman as he is such a womanizer & after what she saw last week with the Russian training facility she further determines that this woman must be in some way associated with Leviathan is also probably the killer of Kresminsky and quite possibly still maintains some of her patterns from that time – namely sleeping with a shackle/handcuff – and as such should have the scars to match.  Obtaining a list of Howard’s paramours, she sets out with Jarvis in tow to visit each of them & while Jarvis is quite reluctant (it seems Howard’s rejection of these women is through Jarvis) he eventually agrees to speak to them also, which unfortunately means he gets more than one slap from a woman truly scorned!

Simultaneously, as Peggy’s search is progressing Sousa has also been putting the pieces of everything together, and has determined that there is enough information to pull Peggy in as being in some way involved with everything –

  • He identified the marks on her back as matching those from the blonde lady at the club
  • He spoke to the driver of the milk truck that they had captured in episode 1 & verified from him that Peggy was the person that had disarmed/disabled him at the farm
  • He spoke to the homeless man two episodes ago who’d indicated that a lady and a well dressed man (Jarvis) had left the dock

Once he’s able to persuade Dooley of all of these facts a massive “woman”hunt for Carter ensues and they initially try to apprehend her at the Diner where she’s speaking to Jarvis.  Managing to disarm and escape from all of the agents sent in after her, Peggy escapes out the back door but is confronted by Thompson … however before he’s able to apprehend her, she knocks him out also.  When Sousa finally arrives, she persuades him not to shoot and makes her escape back to the boarding facility where she searches in her room for the Captains’ blood.

Prior to the grand hunt however we had Dottie apparently targeting Dooley or the escaped Psychologist but surprise, surprise … this man isn’t what he seems as he manages to speak to Dottie through morse code and tells her that she needs to kill Peggy.  First of all I got a little bored with the Soviet Scientist Ivchenko’s scenes towards the end of the episode. While they ended up building to a rather shocking climax they still felt kind of superfluous once we knew that he was still a Leviathan agent trying to infiltrate the SSR to find a mysterious item that was obviously one of Stark’s bad babies.

As the search continues for Peggy in the boarding hostel, both Thompson and Sousa are obviously frustrated at the fact that Peggy was able to trick them so soundly – Thompson perhaps for the camaraderie that they’d developed while in Europe and Sousa for the friendship he’d shown her since day one, but they’ve also both realized that the reason she was able to trick them is because they underestimated her so badly (pretty much a sign of the times as Agent Carter has taken pains to show to us throughout the series).  But without a doubt the best woman-besting-men moment (and there were quite a few in this episode) was when Angie burst into tears to prevent Agent Thompson from finding Peggy. While it was quite funny by itself, the fact that she did it without a second thought to help her friend well … that gives you a nice warm feeling and something else? … well, Thompson and Sousa had just realized they’d been tricked, but they completely fell for it once again!

Unfortunately before Peggy is able to make her escape though, Dottie is able to casually approach her and gives Peggy a kiss with the “special” knockout lipstick that Peggy had used herself in the 1st Episode and Peggy collapses to the floor.  Dottie pulls out her knife and is about to kill Peggy, but is stopped by the arrival of Thompson and Sousa who march Peggy away in handcuffs.

Review

OK, well things are definitely heating up and you can see that this show is coming to a climax.  Peggy now knows who the Leviathan lady is and while it is somewhat late, it is something that will come in useful and although she’s been captured, she’s not in any way out of the game.  I didn’t love Dr. Ivchenko as a character, but I have to admit that I was surprised with his being a spy – I hadn’t considered that, so kudo’s to you for tricking me! I guess the question though is the kiss … I mean girl on girl in a primetime Disney production?  Well all I can say is that it wasn’t sexual at all and it completely suited the needs of the story … I would say that as a Black Widow – Dottie is trained to use her sexuality as a weapon and she does so without regard for gender. That’s pretty cool.

Continuing on from our previous recap and review of the 1st half Agent Carter: Now is Not the End (click the link to see that review and get the detailed synopsis in case you missed it) this review will focus on what happens next and how Agent Carter continues to grow and develop.

One good thing that I probably didn’t mention or focus on in my previous review … Marvel and Disney have not seen the need to provide a whole backstory and history of Peggy Carter or Howard Stark.  Most TV shows spend the initial half of the season introducing the characters and why they are doing what they are doing.  Thankfully this is not the case in Agent Carter as I think they’ve rightly realized only people familiar with the characters and universe would be watching in the first place … they’ve provided some flashbacks off course, but it isn’t painful in any way and doesn’t feel forced.  For this I must say a heartfelt Thank You!

Now a really quick recap of what happened in the first half of this double-pilot episode if you don’t have time to read my previous post.

The war is over and the men who fought are back in the USA.  These men have the typical attitudes towards women of that era and many women are now relegated back to a “women’s role” v.s. the work they were previously doing.  Peggy while an agent at the SSR (Strategic Science Reserve). is also typecast by the men as nothing more than a glorified secretary and they further imply that the only reason she is in the position that she is in is due to the man (Captain America) that she had a relationship with.  When Howard Stark is wrongly accused of selling secrets to the enemy and is forced to flee the country, he requests Peggy’s help in clearing his name and in stopping the use and sale of his inventions.  Peggy investigates and finds that a nefarious group called Leviathan is behind the theft but before she can apprehend the villain he manages to escape destroying the Roxxon oil refinery in the process.

Episode 2 Recap

If you recall from the previous episode, there seem to be two people working for Leviathan – Leet Brannis who we heard speak at the Roxxon refinery and who destroyed it, and someone else … the man in the green suit that Peggy fought and who killed her roommate.  Well this episode starts with the man in the green suit getting instructions from Leviathan to track down Leet Brannis and do whatever is necessary to retrieve the merchandise.  As we already know, he’s no stranger to death and he quickly leaves a trail of bodies in his wake as he searches for Brannis.

Meanwhile, Peggy goes to the dairy plant that the truck (from the previous episode that Leet used to transport the nitramene) is from disguised as a health official and while she’s unable to find the truck, she does learn that one of the drivers has been sick for a couple of days and that he uses his truck to commute.

SSR also is continuing their investigation and while they may be behind Peggy, they are fortunately not complete dullards!  Chief Dooley, and Agents Thompson and Krzeminski check out the remains of the Roxxon factory – one giant ball of fused metal, wood, and concrete. Dooley thinks Howard Stark is behind the destruction, and takes Thompson with him to Roxxon while leaving behind Krzeminski to pick apart the remains of the factory for clues.

Back at the office, Peggy learns of the investigation and also that SSR has access to photos of the mysterious blonde from the nightclub – Peggy fearing that her secret will be known quickly tells Jarvis to ditch the car used in their escape from Roxxon as its been bathed in Vita-Rays which can be tracked down.  Called to the Roxxon factory she helps Chief Dooley and Thompson scan the employees for Vita-Rays also to see if anyone was involved in the explosion at the factory.  Realizing by testing herself that Vita-Rays can be washed off and will only stay on metal objects or clothing for a small amount of time, she identifies the scientist Miles Van Ert whom she saw previously helping Leet Brannis.  While he’s not initially implicated in the incident, Peggy “innocently” states that they should scan the employees’ clothes in the locker room vs the employees themselves.  Realizing that he is caught Van Ert tries to escape but is quickly caught (requisite comedy scene here, where the other agents chase Van Ert but the “smarter” Peggy simply walks down the stairs and knocks Van Ert down before he can escape the building).  At the SSR HQ, Thompson “interrogates” (lets be honest … brutally beats is more accurate) Van Ert and manages to get the name – Leet Brannis – from him.

Carter and Jarvis set off in the evening to find the sick driver (Sheldon McFee), but both the man in the green suit and the SSR team are hot on their tail also.  Carter sneaks into McFee’s house and while he tries to subdue her, she easily bests him and proceeds to tie him to a chair.  While she’s tying him up, she hears a car starting outside, and pulls a man out of McFee’s milk truck. It’s the same person from the factory, Leet Brannis. Peggy puts a gun to his head, and wants information out of him. Once she offers him protection, he tells her that Leviathan is his former employer, and they tasked him with stealing the Nitramene from Stark’s vault … Brannis however decided to double-cross Leviathan and sell Stark’s inventions to the highest bidder instead (hence the orders to the man in the green suit).  Carter takes Brannis and the truck full of Nitramene back to SSR, but before they get too far, the man in the green suit jumps onto the truck … he proceeds to shoot and incapacitate Brannis, but is in in turn disabled when Peggy nails his hand to the roof of the car with his knife.  As the truck careens out of control, Brannis and Jarvis jump to safety and the truck explodes (does the green suited man escape???) in the Atlantic as the dozens of Nitramene devices on board go off at once.

Brannis however is critically wounded and manages to draw a funny heart shaped symbol in the dirt before he dies.  Carter and Jarvis make their escape moments before the SSR agents arrive and find Brannis’ body as well as some other clues.  Back at the SSR HQ, Peggy sees the group going through the photo’s from the nightclub, but fortunately none of them portray her face and she feels safer … Krzeminski however finds the license plate to Stark’s car in the ruins of the Roxxon refinery.

Episode 2 Review

As mentioned in my previous review, Marvel and Disney definitely do not try to sugar coat the role of women and women’s rights in the 1940’s in the USA.  They are perhaps a bit heavy handed in their treatment, but to a large extent I’m sure that is how it was … a very male dominated society where a woman had to prove themselves at all times.  I guess the only thing I would say or disagree with is that Peggy has proven herself in the war.  Regardless of what some of these “agents” might think of her, you’d think there would be enough positive information and  resources available to prove that she is more than just another skirt.  That might be my logical left brain talking but I’ve always treated people by their actions and not just by their skin color or sex and you would think that logical minded individuals at that time would too.  I know that’s a very naive point of view but by portraying all of the men of that era (especially the ones she works with) as narrow minded misogynistic chauvinists, it takes away from the freedom and respect that Peggy properly received during WWII and makes her less brilliant than she really is.

Some of the key points of this episode however are that Jarvis too is marginalized – this time by Peggy herself.  When Peggy insists that Jarvis merely drive her there and then return home to safety, he disobeys!  This is quite a good and subtle twist and perhaps something that Peggy will herself realize & hopefully correct in future episodes?

For her part, Hayley Atwell’s performance is wonderful and the limited combat she gets to perform on screen – it seems each episode (so far anyways) will have her do some hand-to-hand combat, proving how much of a badass she is! – she executes with aplomb even when standing in high heels. On the personal side, she is forced to reach out to the waitress (Angela) as she searches for a new place to live after the death of her former roommate.

One bit of humor is the Captain America radio show.  It’s quite a nice way of bringing some of the back story to life and perhaps in some ways it goes to the way in which Peggy is perceived and treated by the men in her life, as the recording portrays the character of Peggy as nothing more than a damsel in distress.  However as the radio show plays during the penultimate scene on top of the truck as Peggy is fighting the man in the green suit, you can visualize her in the persona of Captain America, because Captain America is less about being Steve Rogers, skinny kid from Brooklyn with a chip the side of Alaska on his shoulder, and more about stepping up to do what is right – regardless of who you are!

Well that was unexpected!

This episode Agent Carter definitely has some very strange twists and turns to it, and some of them come completely out of left field (although I think I guessed some of it right) … but I guess before I get to that I should kind of explain how we got there in the first place.  If your call if you recall from last week’s episode Peggy has managed to further alienate the other agents within the office by acting like a complete bimbo when they were interrogating Jarvis with regards to the license plate found at the scene of the Roxxon Oil Refinery explosion.  We’d also seen her & Jarvis find Starks’ missing inventions and Krezminski get killed.

This week’s episode sees the return of Howard Stark as well as several new villains and as I previously mentioned a very unexpected twist.  The episode starts with Jarvis negotiating with some hoodlums for the release of a special package & when the initial negotiated amount of $50K is not sufficient, they attempt to shake him down for an additional $100K.  However Peggy is able to knock all of the baddies down and then Jarvis and her open the door of the rail car to find Howard Stark playing pool quite comfortably within!

Taking Howard back to his penthouse mansion Peggy realizes that she cannot let him go in as it is being monitored by agents of the SSR (by the way no one else has admitted or mentioned the similarity between this acronym (SSR) and the Waffen SS … I wonder if there is a hidden message somewhere?) therefore she has to smuggle him into her boarding house which as we already know from the last episode is monitored very closely by the dragon lady for any infractions – one of the most severe being having a male above the first floor!

However, Peggy manages to sneak Howard into her room by hiding him in the laundry shoot and although Howard acts the same as we’ve seen Tony act in the Iron Man movies (a real ladies man) she eventually manages to get him safely into her room.  In the room Howard gives Peggy a camera-pen which he has already invented and asks her to takes pictures of all of his inventions which have been captured by the SSR to make sure that they have everything.

Meanwhile at the HQ the chief and Thompson are having a conversation and it comes to light that they have identified both parties from Leviathan (I guess we can assume the man in the green suit was also killed and they found his body) as they didn’t really have any other way of knowing what he looked like I don’t think … considering the size of the explosion, that’s actually quite surprising!  Anyways, they’ve pieced together the fact that both of these men were supposed to have died in a specific battle during WWII. The chief determines that he will need to travel to Germany to a certain Colonel who was in that battle and find out from him if he has any details of what really happened.  He puts Thompson in charge and then sets out to Nuremberg.

Now while I don’t think it’s built into the show (I could be wrong), but when Thompson took charge of the team and the view of his face – the first thing that struck me was that this could be how HYDRA infiltrates SHIELD.  He’s a bit too blonde and blue eyed and it wouldn’t surprise me if there is some relation that we find out further down the pipe.

Eventually the Chief makes it to Nuremberg and interrogates the Colonel who informs him that while the Russians and Germans were there the Germans came later and had nothing to do with multitude of Russian dead.  It was something else that killed them.

Thompson meanwhile has taken a very different tack on the whole keeping things going and is very much taking charge with all of the other agents and is very strong minded with regards to what he wants them to do.   Sousa wants to go and fingerprint the phone that they received the tip off from and “persuades” Thompson that he should be allowed to do that.When he gets to the dock he finds two homeless people playing cards and after speaking to them for a little bit, realizes that one of them has some knowledge of what actually happened and takes him back to the station with him.

Carter meanwhile has been relegated to a secretarial role by Thompson and has been asked to get the lunch order for all of the “real agents” she uses this opportunity however to sneak into the lab where she is able to take photographs (using the camera pen) of all of the inventions which she then takes back to her room to show Stark. When the pictures are developed Stark informs her that there is one device that she needs steal back from the SSR as it is too dangerous to leave with them as they could inadvertently turn off all the lights in Manhattan and no one would be able to ever turn them back on again!

Interrogating the homeless man that Sousa brought back from the dock (and while there is a whole scene about the fact that he and the homeless man are actually the same even though they are dressed differently and have returned from war etc etc) he is unable to get any detailed information out of him and in reality it is Thompson in his normal douche bag way that basically bribes the man with food and alcohol to give up his secrets. It turns out the homeless man did see something – namely a well dressed man and a lady with dark hair at the docks just before the police showed up.

When Peggy breaks into SSR and steals the device, she opens it and discovers that it holds a vial of blood – not the machine that Stark told her about.  She immediately confronts Stark about the issue and blasts him for not being as honest with her as he should have been.  She asks him what the vial is and he admits that it is actually Captain America’s blood and that the government had 10 vials and he had one (he also alluded to the fact that the government has almost run out of their supply which leads us all question what have they been doing with it) and he wants to use his supply to find the secrets to a host of human ills.

I think you’re a man out for his own gain no matter who you’re charging. You are constantly finding holes to slither your way into in the hope of finding loose change, only to cry when you’re bitten by another snake. You’re a man who says “I love you” whilst looking over a woman’s shoulder into the mirror. Steve Rogers dedicated his mind, his body, his life to the SSR and to this country, not to your bank account. I made the same pledge, but I’m not as good as Steve was. I forgot my pledge running around for you like a corporate spy. So thank you, Howard, for reminding me who Steve was and what I aspire to be. For all I know, you did steal your inventions.

Now while all of this has been going on it turns out that the thugs that were initially trying to shake down Jarvis are employed by a Mr. Mink and he is very unhappy with their lack of performance and decides that they need to be punished with a mini-gatling gun … not before stating that he will take care of Stark though. He manages to track Stark and Peggy down to the boarding house and is about to break into her room but before he does so is confronted by Peggy’s new roommate Dottie (I was right!) who basically snaps his neck!  Bye, bye Mr. Mink – we won’t miss you!.

When Jarvis tries to apologize to Peggy on Stark’s behalf we get one last surprise for the episode … the always awesome Stan Lee in one of his trademark cameos.

Review

OK lets talk about the big bad villain of this episode … Mr. Mink …  he wasn’t really scary was he?  His little gun while somewhat cool was also a bit too silly and it wasn’t really possible to take it seriously. A Tommygun or something would have been much more effective.

It was quite funny to see Howard act just like his son and be a complete womanizer … I guess the apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree.  We had a couple of big surprises this week, Steve Rogers blood & the government using it for something – Peggy’s response to this was excellent … you could see that she actually felt some pain and her giving Howard a punch to the fact was oddly very satisfying.  We also got to see another new twist in Dottie … is she a precursor to the Black Widow project as has been speculated or is there something /someone else at work here?

Peggy is always solid and is able to make us believe in the world that she is inhabiting, but of course the coolest thing aside from Dottie is Stan Lee.  He’s never going to win an Oscar but its always great to see him making his cameo’s!