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REVIEW: Agent Carter (S1E3:8): 'Time and Tide'


As storytelling goes, sometimes you get a rock and roll script that pounds the senses with action and bravado and sometimes it's a slow jam filled with hypnotizing melodies that expose some feelings before finishing with a flourish. 'Time and Tide' was certainly more of the latter after the rockin' two episodes that premiered last week. Agent Carter took the time to develop their heroes while chasing the bad guys this week.

So far, Peggy's been able to keep her covert investigations of the mysterious Leviathan organization hidden from her colleagues at the SSR, basically staying one step ahead of them with a certain amount of ease. This time the other agents showed they were more than fodder. Case in point, the license plate found at the Roxxon plant explosion places Howard Stark's car at the scene. And with Stark on the run that leaves Jarvis open to interrogation by the SSR.

Agent Johnson as it turns out doesn't have to beat the pulp out of suspects all the time and is actually quite effective. It's revealed that Jarvis was dishonorably discharged from the British military. Thompson threatens to make Jarvis' wife, Anna, aware of his tarnished service in exchange for the whereabouts of Stark. He doesn't give in but it was nice to see that the agents aren't just props or clueless foils for Agent Carter. 

Jarvis goes into more detail when telling Peggy that he forged his general's signature to help the Jewish woman that became his wife, Anna, and only missed a treason charge with Howard Stark's intervention. This explains Jarvis' loyalty to Stark and reveals more layers to the butler and Peggy's partner in crime. It also sheds some light on the marriage that Jarvis holds dear, yet we've only heard Anna's voice. If this endearing new information about their escape from Budapest continues to carry any weight, we're going to have to actually meet Mrs. Jarvis.

In three episodes the consequences of  World War II still loom large in the lives of the characters as it should and perfectly gives resonance to the setting. There's also an undercurrent of real danger that hangs in the air. 

Death and loss have been a reality for Peggy. Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, goes down in the Arctic sea, her roommate is killed and by the end of the episode Krzeminski is murdered. A loss that hits home and hits hard at the SSR. For all his faults, and he had many, Krzeminski was still an agent, a husband (with a girlfriend, Thompson reminds us) and trying to do his job, however poorly, for the sake of justice.

 Peggy is shocked and guilt-ridden. It was her advice to Jarvis to call in the tip to bring the SSR to the boat that was housing a cache of Stark's missing weapons that led, unbeknownst to her, Krzeminski to fall victim to an assassin. The fact that one of their own agents was murdered gives Peggy's mission more weight with higher stakes and more potential pitfalls. There are real consequences to her actions. It's no wonder Peggy pushes Angie away from getting too close to protect her from potential danger. 

This episode may have started intentionally slower with more exposition and character development, but when things get going it's like a freight train. While on the boat Peggy and Jarvis are discovered by this beefy brute that rushes at her and a brutal street fight ensues. One of the best elements of the show besides the production design and costumes has been the fight choreography. It's neither highly stylized or flamboyant. It's bare knuckle brawling with punches, kicking and with whatever you can get your hands on. This type of primal fighting tactics feel right for the time period. No kung-fu fighting or acrobatics. Just good old fashioned ass-whipping. 

The best part of it all is that Peggy doesn't flinch for a second despite the brute being bigger and stronger. She takes her share of shots, but continues to give them right back. It's not pretty and it's not suppose to be. Director Scott Winant staged it perfectly. 

'Time and Tide' may not have advanced the plot very much, but we did learn more about Jarvis, found some of Stark's weapons and encountered a formidable foe. Now they just need to put a face on it. When will we see the face of Leviathan? Or Anna for that matter. It's coming, I'm sure, but hopefully sooner rather than later. The show has the momentum going into episode four after it closed with some dramatic twists. Something a show with a limited run can do, whereas it took Agents of SHIELD most of a season, and a feature film's plotline, to achieve. 

The closing scene was artfully done, which was melancholy and humbling for Peggy as she reached out to Angie after learning of the death of Krzeminski. Peggy's character continues to show layers and growth. Hayley Atwell shines with a versatility and depth that carries the show week after week. Chemistry with James D'Arcy has been great. Just two Brits adventuring in New York's sewers. Who needs BBC America when we've got Agent Carter?


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