A Recap, by definition, WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS! Proceed at your own risk!
Marvel’s Agent Carter returned tonight after an excruciating, but fast two-week hiatus. Boy, was it worth the wait. Agent Carter, starring Hayley Atwell is one of television’s brightest and most entertaining programs that must not be missed for the hardcore or casual fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Heck, it shouldn’t be missed if you own a television or computer. Yes, Agent Carter is that good and tonight’s episode was further proof that ABC and Marvel are onto something quite special with this character.
“The Blitzkrieg Button” opens with Edwin Jarvis engaging in a shady transaction with two stereotypical and, most likely, disposable goons. He’s attempting to obtain something that Mr. Mink has smuggled into the country. As they negotiate a price, one that Jarvis leaves at $50,000, some of the men hear a sound in the distance. A few of them head off to investigate and one by one they are taken out. The shadowy, almost Batman like (yes, a DC reference for Marvel) figure is revealed to be Agent Carter. She’s been knocking out Mr. Mink’s men one by one and then makes her way to listen in on Jarvis. The negotiating turns sour and he knocks out one of the men with gas that emits from the briefcase supposedly containing the bargaining money. Carter then swoops in a knocks out the last thug before Jarvis can react. Within the opening ten minutes, Agent Carter has had more action than the openings of both Captain America movies. It’s also established for anyone that may be watching for the first time that Carter is one tough cookie and that she is very much an action hero on the same level with any of the Avengers. We also learn that she could do 107 one-armed push ups, but that comes later!
We find out that Howard Stark is what Jarvis and Carter are after. Mr. Mink smuggled him back into the country and while Stark isn’t “gallivanting”, he needs to learn of everything the SSR has obtained from his personal belongings so he could figure out how much tech still needs to be recovered. Jarvis drives Carter and Stark back to The Griffith and, in a very Tony-ish way, it’s revealed that he’s quite familiar with the women only apartment complex. Carter hides him before one of the headmaster’s finds out that a man is in the building. She’s almost caught, but Stark is revealed to be hiding in one of her neighbor’s rooms. Carter finds him only to see his face covered in lipstick. We see where Tony gets it from. Inside her apartment, Howard shows Carter one of his latest gadgets – a camera hidden inside a pen. It’s a fun scene that fans are sure to walk away from feeling that Howard and Peggy were the first in the MCU to take a selfie!
Back at the SSR, Dooley leaves for Germany to further investigate the Russian spies (the two involved with Leviathan from the first three episodes.) While away, Thompson takes over and proves to be just as gruff, if not more than Dooley. While Sousza and Carter mull over Thompson’s leadership capabilities, she quips that her assignment will probably be to take lunch orders. And what does Thompson request of Peggy? “Hey Marge, start taking lunch orders.” What a jerk, but hey, that’s how it was back then! Sousza heads off to the waterfront to canvas the area and see if anyone saw anything the night of the anonymous phone call from the last episode. While dusting for fingerprints off of the public pay phone, he finds two men drinking and gambling. One proves to be uncooperative so Sousza handcuffs the drunkard and brings him back to HQ.
Elsewhere, we finally meet Mr. Mink. He’s a blonde haired man with an extreme hair cut and has a flair of villainy that feels right out of Captain America: The First Avenger. The two remaining goons from the beginning are informing him of what went down that night. They tell him about Jarvis and a woman named Peggy. He pulls out an automatic gun that works like a miniature gatling gun and kills both men. Mr. Mink is definitely not to be trifled with. But we needn’t worry, he won’t hurt our hero, Peggy.
At the SSR, Sousza tells the drunkard that they are “both people no one cares about” while he relays a story of when he returned from the war with his leg injury. The man doesn’t respond or give up any information which leads to Thompson feeling that Sousza is wasting his time. Sousza insists that the man saw something and that if he didn’t he would have said it already. While they are with the witness, Carter learns of “The Blitzkrieg Button.” This piece of Stark tech has the potential to plunge New York into the dark ages for years and is currently being housed at the SSR. Peggy then leaves Stark while promising to obtain it. But while she heads out anonymously with Jarvis, Mr. Mink is watching them. Oh yes, before Stark tells Carter of this, we find him in the apartment of a different neighbor. What a cad.
Thompson interrupts the interrogation with a burger and a bottle. He promises the man if he tells them of who and what he saw the night on the docks that he’ll give him his food and drink. The may then immediately tells Sousza and Thompson that he saw a woman with a man. They ask if it’s the blonde haired woman from the photograph they obtained back in the pilot episode. He says no as the woman he saw had dark hair. While the SSR makes advances in the investigation in New York City, Dooley arrives in Germany. He meets with Col. Ernst Mueller, the German with connections to Leet Branis and the other Russian spy. Before Mueller is executed for war crimes, Dooley offers him a way to escape execution by way of taking a cyanide pill. In exchange, Mueller tells him that despite having committed many atrocities during the war, that in a particular battle, they found numerous bodies piled high and ripped apart. This was during said battle which never took place and also the said battle that Branis was supposedly killed. Satisfied, Dooley leaves and while being escorted out he offers a guard a breath mint. It becomes evident that Dooley really just offered Mueller a breath mint and not a cyanide pill. So the Nazi will suffer when hung after all.
Back in New York City, Peggy finds The Blitzkrieg Button and opens the device to find a blood vile stored inside. She then comes across a seemingly drunken Thompson who asks why she is really working for the SSR. He then goes on to tell her that despite how said it may be, “no man will ever consider [her]an equal.” Peggy, acting unfazed, is obviously hurt by his statement and leaves. More upsetting is that she feels that she can’t trust Howard nor Jarvis. Carter confronts Jarvis back at the Griffith and asks “what’s in the vile?” to which he responds after a few attempts to lie “Steve Rogers’ blood.” Peggy then punches him. Cut to commercial.
Mr. Mink, having followed Peggy, walks into her apartment building pretending to be her suitor. He brings her flowers and leaves them at the front desk. When the woman goes to take his name he disappears. Back inside Carter’s apartment, Stark reveals that after Project: Rebirth, 11 viles of Steve Rogers’ blood went to the government while he kept one for himself. Learning that the government had gone through the blood samples quickly, he decided to store one as he felt it could be a cure-all and unlock hidden potential for the masses. Peggy is appalled at Stark and criticizes him for just wanting to make money off of all the good Steve did. She proudly admits that Steve “Captain America” Rogers dedicated his life, his mind, and his body to the greater good of the SSR. In turn, that inspired her to be a better person. Stark admits that he has lied, but defends himself by saying that he had to lie and that’s integral to him getting to where he is today. Peggy leaves demanding that when she returns that Howard is to be gone. Mr. Mink then crawls his way into the hallway through a vent and is confronted by Dorothy (Bridget Reagan). He pulls the gun from earlier on her and she asks “Is that an automatic? I want that.” Dorothy then immediately does a very Black Widow-esque move and knocks out Mink before he could react. Yep, we knew Dorothy wasn’t all that she seemed. But the question remains as to who her allegiance is pledged to.
Before the closing of “The Blitzkrieg Button”, Jarvis meets Howard at a shoe shine and they discuss Peggy. After Jarvis leaves, a familiar face pops up and asks to see the sports section. Highlight for the spoiler* It’s Stan Lee
“The Blitzkrieg Button” did not miss a beat when it came to the pacing, acting, and storytelling. Marvel’s Agent Carter has set a high standard for not just Marvel programming, but comic book based programming in general. Gotham could take note. While we have four more episodes left, the series has started to delve deeper into the mystery by having Sousza color in the hair of the mystery woman. Will he learn that Peggy is really a super spy and significantly more competent than the male-dominated SSR? Who is Dorothy working for? Leviathan? Hydra? Is she one of The Inhumans? (We’re guessing not so much.) But the point is that the cast and crew have developed an amazingly entertaining and intriguing mini-series that reminds us of how well Marvel has constructed their cinematic universe. It’s a fun place to play in and we’re glad Hayley Atwell is a part of it. She’s a mighty addition to the major female players in the MCU, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, and soon to be seen in Ant-Man, Evangeline Lilly. Once again, we have to point out that Atwell holds her own and is a true star in her own right. Her acting performance alone was reason enough for Agent Carter to be further developed and she is certainly believable as the super spy she portrays. Whether or not you like Captain America, or even what Marvel has been offering, I’d find it very hard to find a reason not to like Marvel’s Agent Carter. Especially with Hayley Atwell as the lead.
Marvel’s Agent Carter (as always) gets five out of five stars. You could catch this miniseries on Tuesday nights at 9 pm on ABC. Check your local listings.