Peggy Carter’s house of cards is beginning to crumble in this week’s Agent Carter. “A Sin to Err” is the final leg of what amounts to the show’s second act, with the events of the final two episodes promising to be huge and full of long-lasting implications. Our latest Agent Carter review takes a look at the episode that changes Peggy Carter for good.
Leviathan was only just revealed to actually be the Russian Black Widow program, and “A Sin to Err” plays off this fact several time. The opening scene, while predictable, gets across just how terrifying of a program it can actually be. A program that trains grown men to be assassins and, if you want out of it, things aren’t going to end well for your or family. What a terrifyingly effective program, right? Well now, wait a minute! That’s not what Black Widow/Leviathan is at all. As we learned last week (and anyone who has watched The Avengers already knows) Black Widow is about training young girls to grow up and assassinate specific targets.
Dr. Ivchenko and his made up story about being intimidated during his fictionalized Leviathan program serves as both an interesting plot twist and an effective way for the SSR agents to not trust Peggy Carter when she begins spouting off about what she knows about the Black Widow assassins and their potential involvement in killing Agent Krzeminski. Had the agents been given any reason to believe her, she may not have needed to go through all the subterfuge to try and prove her argument and end up in the position she’s in at the end of the episode.
How Peggy reacts to Ivchenko’s story – and how Dooley reacts to her – also reinforces her low-level place within the SSR and society in general. She obviously knows the truth, knows that the doctor is lying, and was even there to see it happen. But she’s a woman, this is the ’50s, and Dr. Ivchenko has a cool Russian accent. With all these factors in mind, naturally, everyone believes Ivchenko and the plot is set into motion.
From there on out, until everything hits the proverbial fan, the episode is her and Jarvis trouncing around New York trying to track down Stark’s old flames (of which there are lot) to see if any of them have any ties to Black Widow, and subsequently the killing of Agent Krzeminski. Anything that Agent Carter can do to get Jarvis and Peggy running around together is perfectly fine with me.
Hayley Atwell and James D’Arcy have such an amazing chemistry on screen together as Peggy and Jarvis, and not even in a romantic way. It’s refreshing just how close they can seem as a couple of people in a car or sitting in a restaurant together without sexual tension, just as if they are two great friends running around and doing what is right. Considering the amount of screen time they’ve had together, and the huge potential for a loving relationship to bud, it’d be weird to see them get together at this point.
If “A Sin to Err” has any kind of running theme, it’s to not underestimate anyone. This can mean to not underestimate Peggy Carter’s ability to take out seven of your best agents to avoid capture, or to not underestimate a doctor playing the victim so you he hypnotize you with magic music touchy finger ring. Unfortunately for the SSR, they do both and it leads to a lot more trouble than if they had just taken things more seriously. In the same vein, Peggy’s ultimate downfall in the episode comes from underestimating one of her roommates at The Griffith. Granted, she’s never seen Dottie psychotically chaining herself to her bed or murdering people over a desired item, but the ever careful Agent Carter still fails to be completely sure she is safe. Like the SSR assuming that they are safe just because they’re governmental agents surround by other governmental agents, Peggy makes the mistake of thinking she’s safe just because she’s in a safe house.
Solid theme and excellent Peggy/Jarvis frolicking aside, the episode gets a little weaker in the second half. Peggy escapes the long reach of the SSR agents thanks to some over-zealous monologues, and multiple agents not having the guts to just shoot her. Sousa not taking a shot makes sense, as he’s being set up to be Peggy’s ultimate love interest up until that point, and he knows he wouldn’t have been able to do much with only one good leg anyway. While the fight scene in the diner is properly fun and keeps up the shows great aesthetic with the jazzy music, the fact that none of the agents pulled a gun and just run at her like generic movie goons is a little disappointing. The only reason Peggy is even alive is thanks to Underwood taking her sweet time trying to kill her instead of just doing it. There is a lot of information the show is trying to get into the last 10 minutes and sort of muddies up the otherwise great episode a bit. Angie’s assistance in getting Carter away from the officers was great, though. “I knew you didn’t work for a telephone company!”
By the time we reach the end of the episode, the world is upside down for Agent Carter. She’s lost the trust of nearly everyone in her life, and those who are still on her side likely don’t fully trust her anymore. In the end, “A Sin to Err” is a bit of a bridge episode. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it filler, because it does do a lot to advance the plot, but everything that happens is for the sole purpose of leading into something more exciting coming down the road. Action scenes were good enough, but it feels like the episode we were teased with following last week’s didn’t happen, and we’re stuck waiting until next week to really see Agent Carter in action. Still, it’s hard to complain about seeing another Agent Carter filled with asskicking, a rollercoaster ride of emotions, and allegiances being pushed to the limit.
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