Anyone that has been a fan of televisions series such as Alias and Lost know very well that wrapping up a story is infinitely more complicated than building a compelling mystery. While finding a satisfying way to stick the landing of an intricate plot is no easy task, many would argue that holding the audience’s interest during the points in between is the most precarious feat of all. Agent Carter’s third episode Time and Tide proves itself integral to the narrative pacing of the show by informing the audience whether the series can actually sustain its forward momentum from the first two loaded episodes or instead choose to flutter around aimlessly until the series starts wrapping up. Fortunately, episode 3 followed the successful template that the series established in episodes 1 and 2, despite a few poorly executed moments that left me scratching my head.
Time and Tide centers on the SSR agents/stooges following the recently recovered trail of evidence to Howard Stark’s (Dominic Cooper) literal doorstep. The always cordial Jarvis (James D’Arcy) obliges the SSR agents by taking a trip downtown which derails Peggy (Hayley Atwell) and Jarvis’s plan to look for clues about the thief by examining how he/she managed to break into Howard Stark’s treasured vault. When the SSR agents use accusations of treason in Jarvis’s past to threaten him and his wife, the unflappable Jarvis began showing signs of losing his cool and Peggy had to think quickly to break things up. In a moment of desperation, Peggy lowered herself to a blatant act of incompetence in order to let Jarvis know that SSR didn’t have anything solid on him.
One of my main issues with the show is the cartoonish depictions of the SSR agent’s chauvinism towards the highly competent Ms. Carter. Peggy Carter is the SSR’s most competent agent, a highly trained fighter and bad-ass enough to fight evil alongside Captain America himself yet the SSR agents insist on treating her like a lackey. Peggy making a mistake clumsy enough to force the SSR to let Jarvis go should have been suspicious in and of itself, but the way in which they reprimanded Peggy seemed like the agency doling out just one in a long line of stern talking-tos. Instead, shouldn’t the clearly inferior agents have enjoyed the rare opportunity to rub a well earned mistake in Peggy’s face, thus adding fuel to their belief that she is a lesser agent?
Time and Tide’s handling of Jarvis’s big secret was also disappointing. A secret like being guilty of treason could easily have been drawn out over the course of the series, letting Peggy question Jarvis’s loyalties would have added another level of drama and intrigue into the unlikely duo’s fledgling relationship. Instead, having the secret revealed so quickly seemed like a wasted opportunity and felt anti-climactic. Creating a series that only runs for 8-episodes is a double-edged sword. A short series benefits from rapidly moving the plot forward and not wasting time on story threads that go nowhere, but it also loses the intrigue that comes with the emotional investment of following a story for several months.
Peggy’s over-zealousness to call in the SSR after tracking down Stark’s stolen tech seemed out of character. Peggy’s colleagues would have taken her down for siding with Howard Stark even before she received a reprimand for her perceived ineptitude. It did not make sense that Jarvis had to thoroughly explain this to Peggy who is normally sharp as a whip. I do like how the conversation ended with Peggy informing Jarvis that when calling in to report the recovered tech that he should be weary of the agents recognizing his voice. This exchange exemplifies the back and forth dynamic between these two characters and emphasizes how they each take turns being the smarted person in the room.
Although there were too many instances of characters behaving in ways that were out of sorts with their personality, Time and Tide was a solid overall episode. Krzeminski’s (Kyle Bornheimer) death galvanized what previously came across as an oafish and misogynist SSR team into a vengeful and determined force and raised the stakes in their cat and mouse hunt for Stark and Peggy. Time and Tied relied on Agent Carter’s measured balance of humor, action and intrigue to create another fun hour of television.
As a secret agent in the 1940’s we know that Peggy is not going to fit in with the guys which makes it so much more depressing that she looked just as out of her element sitting at the breakfast table for some girl talk.
Something tells me that Dorothy “Dottie” Underwood (Bridget Regan) from Iowa isn’t just a dancer
When they arrived at the dock, Jarvis asked Peggy if she had a gun for him. Shouldn’t the ultra resourceful Mr. Jarvis be forward thinking enough to pack some heat on these adventures by now?
So far we have seen Jarvis not crack under interrogation and calmly stitch up a bullet wound yet he became extremely flummoxed when phoning in an anonymous tip to the SSR.
Who took Krzeminski’s death harder, his wife or his girlfriend?
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