‘Agent Carter’ Episode 4 review: ‘The Blitzkrieg Button’

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Things are difficult enough for Agent Peggy Carter – a single working woman in 1940s New York keeping her role as secret agent hidden from the world, not to mention keeping her real agenda hidden from the rest of the SSR.

So in hindsight it’s perhaps unfortunate that she’s added to her problems by moving to The Griffith.

The Griffith is something akin to a sorority house for working single ladies (I hasten to add that’s not a euphemism). It’s managed and firmly regulated by the ever-vigilant Miriam Fry (Meagen Fay) who has a 10pm curfew – hardly the sort of restriction conducive to a job which doesn’t always keep office hours (again that’s not a euphemism, I meant a job as a secret agent).

Miss Fry also operates a strict “no gentlemen above the first floor” policy which in the normal course of events would not be much of an issue to a Peggy Carter still mourning the loss of Captain America. Episode 4, however, begins with the return of Howard Stark, stylishly smuggled back into the country inside a luxuriously fitted-out railroad cart, a mere snip at $50,000 courtesy of criminal ‘Mr Mink’.

Consequently Peggy has to address the issue of how to get a man into her room without being spotted. There’s some good comic moments made out of Howard’s apparent inability to go straight to Peggy’s room, preferring always to go via the room of one of her fellow lodgers.

Howard’s return is prompted by last week’s discovery of the stash of stolen weapons. Perhaps significantly, he seems more concerned now that they are in the hands of the authorities than he ever was when they were in the possession of nefarious persons unknown and has come back to try and retrieve one weapon in particular. It’s cheerfully nicknamed ‘The Blitzkrieg Button’ and if activated would knock out all electrical power in the city of New York.

Or at least that’s what he tells Peggy. Just as with Episode 3, the theme of things not being quite what they appear runs through this episode. The ‘weapon’ in question is in fact a single vial of Captain America’s blood – it’s a lie too far for Peggy, who confronts Howard over it and is prompted to question everything he’s told her so far (not to mention punching him in the face).

Agent Carter Hayley Atwell

Howard’s honesty is also being questioned over at the SSR, although to be fair the guys there never believed in him in the first place.

Chief Dooley (ably played by Shea Whigham, and each week becoming more a smart, incisive detective and less a narrow-minded plod) visits the Nuremberg War Trials to question an alleged witness to the battle of Finow (or, as it turns out, a witness to the fact that there was no battle); and at the same time Agent Thompson (Chad Murray Michael) identifies Howard Stark as a passenger on a plane that arrived in Finow the day after the ‘battle’…

Also like last week, ‘The Blitzkrieg Button’ finishes with a totally unexpected twist – in this case quite literally. Believing that Stark should have paid rather more than $50,000 for his services, Mr Mink sneaks into The Griffith. Just outside Peggy’s room he is interrupted by her neighbour. Mink raises his gun, a death seems certain…

…and indeed it is: his. In a moment the young lady has broken Mr Mink’s neck, and in clear breach of her tenancy agreement smuggled his body into her room. Just who has planted her, who she’s working for, who she’s hunting, even who she is, is not clear (yet).

Quite how all these elements connect, from the vocally-challenged, supposedly-dead thief and assassin of episodes one and two, to the involvement of Howard in the myth of a battle they were supposedly killed in, I have no idea – and after this episode’s revelations it’s not even clear who we can and can’t trust.

About the only thing that seems apparent, as the ongoing story unfolds, is that Agent Carter is fast becoming a show to not miss – and the knowledge that a second season has already been commissioned is very welcome indeed.

Aired at 9pm on Sunday 2 August 2015 on Fox.

> Buy the first season of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on DVD on Amazon.

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