This week’s episode of Marvel’s Agent Carter finds Peggy facing the heat from the SSR inside their interrogation room. They want all the details on her involvement with Howard Stark, the Russians, Leviathan, and the murder of Agent Krasminski. Of course what they get are more questions than answers – it’ll take more than a few harsh words from Sousa and Thompson to crack this Howling Commando. What the SSR doesn’t realize that is that Dr. Ivchenko is the pulling the strings with Captain Dooley and his ‘Black Widow’ operative Dottie, and is about the burn the SSR house down from the inside out!
This is the episode we’ve all been waiting for, nerds. Peggy has been caught, but more in spite of the SSR. She’s forced to come clean with how she’s managed to conduct parallel investigations and always staying one step ahead of her colleagues. It felt really good to hear her say how she could run circles around them:
The only time you were paying attention to me is when I was carrying your coffee, or fetching your lunch orders.
The tension is so thick you could slice it with a knife! It also masks what is the real threat; Ivchenko and Dottie, who make a push to steal Item 17 from the Stark cache. Of course this episode wouldn’t be called “SNAFU” if things didn’t really go south, after all the term was coined by the military during WWII to be as sarcastic as one could imagine, “situation normal – all fouled up!”
We learn very quickly that Peggy doesn’t suffer interrogation alone, that her ally Mr. Edwin Jarvis tries to intervene with a faux confession from Howard Stark. The two of them shine on-screen, which is one part chemistry between Atwell and D’Arcy, but also one part outsider perhaps due to nationality. They’re both British, and have moments of Britishness which are really a delight to watch unfold on-screen. One can’t help but feel the presence of Rupert Giles (Buffy) when D’Arcy goes on about his motives for trying to free Peggy. They are kindred spirits and he doesn’t want her to suffer.
Carter and Jarvis have endeared themselves to the SSR with a true confession where they spell out the entire plot thus far, including the parts about Starks inventions and the vial of Captain America’s blood. It feels good to see the ‘team’ come together to then face the internal threat of Ivchenko and Dottie, even if this alliance with Carter and Jarvis is contingent on their guilt. It’s unfortunate that the Russians seem to be two steps ahead of the SSR at every turn, especially with our man Captain Roger Dooley.
In a surprising turn we get to spend a lot of time with Captain Dooley, and watch his struggle with his marriage unfold by means of Dr. Ivchenko’s power of suggestion to do evil stuff for evil reasons. Dooley (played by the awesome Boardwalk Empire alum Shea Whigham) is manipulated quite effectively by Ivchenko via his struggle to repair his marriage. Throughout the miniseries thus far we’ve gotten the sense that Dooley, while just as misogynist as the rest of the guys, has a vantage point as a leader that could help him see Agent Carter’s consistent attempts to dodge hegemonic femininity. But every time he has a chance to change, he sort of just falls flat on his face. SNAFU is Dooley’s swan song, and in the end he charges Peggy with the responsibility of catching the bad guys, simultaneously acknowledging his failings as a Captain and mentor – then, boom. SNAFU is this show’s Empire Strikes Back, cause the bad guys are winning and it’s fun to watch.
Towards the end of the episode we see Ivchenko and Dottie test out Item 17 on a theater full of movie-goers; an aerosol canister full of evil febreeze inside a baby carriage. When Dottie releases the substance and the locks the patrons in the theater, they go batshit and beat each other to death – even the nice old lady. Could it be related to the Hulk’s serum in aerosol form? Perhaps Terrogen mists that can turn people into Inhumans, but normal people crazy? People, we may not even find out – Marvel is shady like that!
Tune in next week for Agent Carter’s season finale! All will be revealed, or rather just enough will be revealed so they can get a second season! Tuesday, February 24th at 9/8 PM Central on ABC!