Having variously punched, shoved and concussed what seems like every law-enforcement man in New York, Agent Carter is ironically brought down by a woman at the end of this sixth episode.
I say ironically, because it is the very woman that Peggy has spent much of the episode looking for.
Following on from last week’s visit to a secret Russian training school for young female spies (!) this week begins with the realisation that, if any information about his secret vault of secret weapons had been wheedled out of Howard Stark, it would have been a beautiful woman that did the wheedling.
There’s a lovely moment early on when Peggy wants to pursue this line of investigation and is all fired up to rail against having her theories ignored and her skills dismissed simply because she’s a woman—only to have the wind completely taken out of her sails by Chief Dooley giving her the go-ahead to follow the lead. “Would you look at that,” he says into the stunned silence. “You really can keep your mouth shut when you try.”
Sadly this new era of equality and camaraderie is short-lived because just as the net is starting to close around the conspiracy against Stark, so too the net is starting to close around Agent Carter herself. Sousa is now certain that she is the mysterious woman from the Nightclub in Episode 1, and the boat in Episode 3…
Consequently it’s an episode of two very distinct halves. The first half is mainly comic, as Peggy tries to track down the Russian femme fatale. She ropes in Mr Jarvis by asking him for a list of all the women Howard has ‘entertained’ in the past six months (her initial request for the past year is greeted with a wry, “I’m not sure there’s enough ink in the whole of New York”).
Luckily, if not a little disturbingly, Howard always gives a farewell gift of a bracelet to his female ‘acquaintances’ – and his jeweller keeps excellent records. Thus armed with a (long) list of possibles they set off to visit each and every one. Following from her observations in Russia last week, Peggy is looking to identify their girl by handcuff marks on the wrist… and fortunately this is the 1940s which means that the only possible reason for a woman being handcuffed to a bedpost is that she is a deep-undercover brainwashed Russian agent. “Are you suggesting she’s still doing it?” asks a rather shocked Mr Jarvis, to be countered with a cool, “It must be a very hard habit to break.”
Indeed it is – not only does Peggy find handcuff marks on the bedpost of her suspect’s abandoned-apartment, but the audience has already seen the woman in question (Dot from Idaho, now relocated as Peggy’s neighbour at The Griffith) ‘cuff herself before going to sleep last week.
The line of enquiry is cut short, as Sousa’s investigations into Carter lead to a warrant for her arrest and the despatching of every available agent to bring her in…. which is pretty much the point at which the punching, shoving and concussing that I mentioned earlier occurs. It’s also at this point that the episode changes direction, from Carter on the Case to Carter on the Run.
Alas, Peggy returns to The Griffith to retrieve Episode 4’s vial of Captain America blood hidden in her apartment. A cool nerve, a dangerous walk across a third floor window ledge, and some sterling acting work from friend and neighbour Angie (who employs her two secret weapons against the male agents, namely crying and invoking a sick Grandmother) almost secure Peggy’s escape…
…until she bumps into Dot. Quite possibly like Howard Stark before her, one kiss from Dot and down she goes. And just to add insult to injury, Dot lays her low by using the same knockout lipstick Peggy used in the first episode.
Meaning, in short, that the SSR have got their woman. The episode ends with her dragged into HQ for interrogation – so if you’re a latecomer to this excellent show, I suspect we may be treated to a spot of ‘the story so far’ next week.
Aired at 9pm on Sunday 16 August 2015 on Fox.
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