Marvel's Agent Carter (2015) season 1, episodes 3
"Time and Tide"
WRITER: ANDI BUSHELL
DIRECTOR: SCOTT WINANT
AIR DATE: January 13 2015
‘Time and Tide’ picks up where we left off for Agent Carter, as the dangling plotlines behind the outstanding charges against Howard Stark, the enigmatic organization Leviathan, and the destruction of the Roxxon facility continue to play out. Given that the series has a brief first season run (assuming there is a second season, which is fairly reasonable), it would seem we can view this first season as essentially a miniseries of sorts playing out the arc of a single story.
Peggy (Hayley Atwell) is settling in at new digs among new housemates, none of who know what she does for a living, and under a landlady who frankly is a moral Puritan who thinks she knows best (if she were Catholic, she’d fit in quite nicely with the Sisters of Little Or No Mercy). She’s also balancing two sides of her professional life, finding herself disrespected by most of her male colleagues at the SSR while working to uncover the truth about Howard’s status. This has her working once again with Jarvis (James D’Arcy), who has come under the suspicious eyes of her colleagues at the SSR. Just how loyal, they wonder, is Jarvis to his employer? Along the way a secret is revealed, to us and to Peggy, and it gives fresh depth to Jarvis.
Having the story set in the Forties remains a good idea - though we might wonder how much of the Marvel universe can be explored in a time set apart from the current day cinematic and television universe. The production crew and writers very much evoke the era, and in different ways. The rampant sexism of men of the era is off putting, but realistic. The notion of a gender assigned boarding house and that kind of Puritan thinking Peggy’s landlady has is also realistic of the time - such landladies prided themselves on keeping their homes with a good reputation, and could be thoroughly heartless in expelling anyone violating the rules (even rules we might find ridiculous). As with the first two episodes, the clothing, sets, and props all feel very much of their time. And I’m also enjoying the period music that turns up from time to time (what can I say, I’m a jazz fan).
What struck me in particular this episode is the idea of character moments. The comics version of Jarvis, the reliable butler who’s been with the Avengers from the beginning, really doesn’t have that much in his personal life sketched out before the Avengers. There are bits and pieces, but a lot missing. So getting to see a younger Jarvis, one who’s married, is a different touch. It’s possible we might never see his wife Ava, but she is the motivating factor behind a secret revealed about him. When we first hear the word treason mentioned by Peggy’s SSR colleagues, it’s a shock, but then when we learn the story behind it, it fits perfectly with the honourable man we’ve always taken Jarvis (certainly in the comics) to be.