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S01.E04: The Blitzkrieg Button 2015.01.27

I don't find it slow at all. I'd call it well measured. And certainly more interested in developing actual characters than Marvel's other attempt at a weekly TV show.

 

It also benefits from not having a character that immediately makes me want to switch off as soon as they appear. On the contrary, Peggy makes me want to watch, regardless of what's going on in the story of the week.

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Carter gets upset at so many small things. Well of course they would keep Capt America's blood. He was the product of an *experiment."

I think Peggy's objection wasn't to the SSR keeping experimental samples of Steve's blood so much as Howard keeping it himself and possibly profiteering off a last remnant of their mutual friend. She expected him to be more respectful based on the personal relationship he had with Steve. And lying to her about it certainly played a part.

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Captain America was the result of an experiment, of course; but Peggy loved Steve as a person. I don't find her horror at his being made into a commodity all that surprising, especially if Howard's interest is as much mercenary as scientific. The fact that Steve consented to being part of the experiment doesn't make his being treated as a commodity moral.

 

ETA: Yeah, what Bruinsfan said.

Edited by Sandman.
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In defense of AOS, it was a new medium for Marvel, and needed to tie very directly into a future movie.

 

This is why I like the deliberate pacing of a short season/single case show like Agent Carter more than a procedural case-of-the-week show like AOS when it started out. Peggy's relationships to Rogers and Stark are clear - we've gotten time to know who these people are. It's not so much an 8 episode season as a 6 hour film, which leaves a lot more room for character development than a 44 minute episode, or even 22 of them because every moment has to be crammed with plot in order to complete the story on time. This episode didn't move the case forward at all, but revealed the problematic relationship Peggy has with Howard - yes, he's the guy who respects her abilities, but to some extent he's using her, and it's about her Captain America connection, and it kind of sucks. She's a lot more vulnerable than he is, and he's pretty cavalier about risking her job, and her housing situation, not to mention her life, for his own gain.

 

AOS is also a show with a strong Captain America connection but they couldn't say anything about it for months so they went with a case of the week approach which didn't work. It should have been a shorter, half season show that started in February and still did the Hydra reveal when Winter Soldier came out. The way it played out repeated the mistakes of the slow introduction of Dollhouse, where even with a short season they had six pointless case of the week episodes before the plot started. I believe the production teams from both Agent Carter and AOS contain a number of Dollhouse veterans, it looks like with Agent Carter they finally figured out what they were doing wrong.

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With Dollhouse, it was network interference that made them re-shoot the pilot and insert unnecessary stand-alone episodes. I still love the show, even despite its flaws, but it was something completely unsuited for case of the week style. AoS was something that could easily pull it off, however - the fact that it couldn't speaks to the weakness of its writers. I still enjoy the show, but even in the middle of s2, it's quite shallow. Agent Carter did more with its characters in a few episodes than AoS did in a whole season.

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Aos had something to write around but that wasn't the problem with the show imo. Better writers and better characters could easily have worked around it.

I love the pacing on agent carter. It has much richer characterization and I am genuinely enjoying it. I like things to be slow played as long as I'm enjoying the journey. Case of the week can easily work if you do a good job of it and have through lines both emotional and plot related. With this show, we had very good development of Carter's office mates, and of the ladies she lives with and she and Howard's relationship. That's plenty for me.

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With this show, we had very good development of Carter's office mates, and of the ladies she lives with and she and Howard's relationship. That's plenty for me

 

 

Hmmm. Somehow I am missing this. Because every episode has consistedly basically of:

  • Showing us how her colleagues treat Peggy as less capable than the men
  • Showing us how Peggy gets the job done working around said colleagues, sometimes using their own ignorance against them
  • Stark appearing and cajoling Peggy into doing something for him (and he is a womanizer, that cad)
  • One coworker who is nicer to Peggy (Souza) but who is himself treated as less capable than he is (due to an injury) by thes ame colleagues
  • A house mom who has strict rules and who enforces them
  • Various neighbors of Peggy's who mostly fall into the "less capable" line of thinking, with a notable exception (Dottie)
  • A mysterious and somewhat reluctant butler who helps Peggy, sort of

 

This was all established either in the pilot, or immediately after we met a later character. Nothing has changed since. Oh, we may have seen the house mom actually throw someone out after she broke the rules. But that doesn't add much to our initial understanding of the character.

 

In the meantime, it is hard to tell what, if any, progress is being made vs. the bad guys. I don't even know for sure if the stuff that Peggy and team have found (like the glowing explosive) is now no longer a threat, or if there is more that escaped.

 

And while I can understand Peggy feeling like Stark shouldn't have Steve's blood, there is no getting around the fact that Steve was part of an experiment, and his blood (and others samples) may have been taken. She should *assume* that all sorts of Steve stuff is lying around. Stark may have lied, or at least omitted truth, but they are flippin' intelligence agents/arms makers, for Pete's sake. Why should she feel everyone around her has to be completely honest and tell her everything? Does she, with her male colleagues? That would be a no.

 

I'm not suggesting characters be cartoons (though in a way, the current show is, in some cases). I'm simply suggesting that the bullet points above evolve at faster than a glacial pace.

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Traits are established through repetition. If the characters were doing completely different things for different reasons every week, then nothing would make sense. I feel I know them all better now than I did in the pilot episode, and that's far more important to me than a super cool plot macguffin.

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And while I can understand Peggy feeling like Stark shouldn't have Steve's blood, there is no getting around the fact that Steve was part of an experiment, and his blood (and others samples) may have been taken. She should *assume* that all sorts of Steve stuff is lying around. Stark may have lied, or at least omitted truth, but they are flippin' intelligence agents/arms makers, for Pete's sake. Why should she feel everyone around her has to be completely honest and tell her everything? Does she, with her male colleagues? That would be a no.

I thought she was angry mainly because he lied to her about it. Regardless, she does seem to have a chip on her shoulder the size of Texas, but the show has given us reason for that--not excuses, just reasons (Cap. Amer. dead and lack of gender equality).

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Not only did he lie to her about Steve, what he asked her to do put her job and freedom in jeopardy. Her anger was totally justified!

Edited by Shanna.
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Agreed.  He was asking her to take significant risks, and she deserved to be an equal partner in the undertaking.  Jarvis knew, so Peggy should have been told.

 

 

Howard was (I think?) in his thirties during the war, and the fire took place in 1911. They tended to hire unmarried young women, though, so it seems unlikely. There were a lot of sweat shops on the lower east side.

Victims at the Triangle factory included girls in their teens and women in their forties, with mothers and their daughters working together.

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Victims at the Triangle factory included girls in their teens and women in their forties, with mothers and their daughters working together.

Almost all the dead were under 25, and more than half under 20, and a scant handful listed as Mrs. So, yes, possible, but improbable, JMO.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/primary-resources/triangle-death-list/

Completely agree that Howard was totally out of line, and I think the fact that Howard, who thinks women are disposable, felt the need to apologize and justify himself shows that he knew it too.

Edited by Julia.
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Howard was (I think?) in his thirties during the war, and the fire took place in 1911. They tended to hire unmarried young women, though, so it seems unlikely. There were a lot of sweat shops on the lower east side.

 

Per the MCU Wiki, Howard was born in 1917. That makes him a year older than Steve and two years older than Peggy.

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Per the MCU Wiki, Howard was born in 1917. That makes him a year older than Steve and two years older than Peggy.

Wow, really? So the Howard in the first movie was at most in his mid twenties.

It's really interesting seeing Howard as something other than Tony's dad.

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...Victims at the Triangle factory included girls in their teens and women in their forties, with mothers and their daughters working together.

Per the MCU Wiki, Howard was born in 1917. That makes him a year older than Steve and two years older than Peggy.

So Howard's mother could have been working alongside her mother, who could have died in the fire. I don't think they'll ever say that's where she worked. It could be offensive to descendants of real victims and suvivors.
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Howard just said that his mother worked in a shirtwaist factory, and there were a lot of them in the pre-WWI years, although the style was going out of fashion by the time of the Triangle fire.

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It could be offensive to descendants of real victims and suvivors.

I know what you're saying but I think that descendants of real victims and survivors are always going to be happy that future generations still remember the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire and would welcome positive representations of Triangle workers.

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 I don't think Dottie's Natasha I wouldn't be surprised if she's Yelena though.   

 

As for Natasha we may have seen her in the promo, in the Marvel comics universe Natasha's only about 15 years younger than Steve, be interesting to see if they go there for the MCU (I may be remembering wrong but people were saying Scarlet's too young to have been an active member of the KGB this would fix that)

Other way around. That IS Natasha, and Scarlet Johanssen's character is Yelena, though that's yet to be revealed.

Reason #1: Yelena spent some time impersonating Natasha, getting plastic surgery and dying her blonde hair red in the comics. She starts out as her own character, but later becomes the faux Natasha. This would explain why ScarJo is referred to as "Natasha" even though that's not true. 

Reason #2: ScarJo's "Natasha" gets chewed out by Cap in Winter Soldier for nearly compromising the Batroc mission. Similarly, Natasha has scolded Yelena for treating espionage like a game. ScarJo's character is far more gender-stereotyped and inexperienced compared to what audiences would think of regarding an ex-Soviet super spy, while Bridget Regan's character is extremely convincing by comparison, playing the part of "Dottie Underwood" very well while pulling off a more convincing assassin persona in private. I never saw ScarJo as a convincing Widow, but I'd accept it if she was really Yelena.

Yelena also had past ties to Hydra.

Reason #3: Mink's automatic revolver seems as though it would become the basis for Natasha's trademark gauntlets. Natasha was the first Black Widow, being the top of her class at the Red Room, and Yelena was the second, so while there were many girls in the program, there is no evidence of other Widows. This would reason that Natasha was not given her trademark gauntlets in the MCU for graduating the Red Room program but instead developed them later as a personalized weapon. Yelena's could be considered "hand-me-downs" or based on those of her predecessor, which seems likely. Otherwise there is no reason for her to have similar gauntlets just because she also has the title of Black Widow. IIRC Yelena was also an understudy of sorts to Natasha so this would make sense if that were the case.

Reason #4: Cap's blood will probably be used to develop the serum Natasha uses to stunt her aging and remain at the pique of her physical capabilities more than half a century later. This could also be used to eventually kill off the ScarJo Yelena (who also dies in the comics), prompting the return of Bridget Regan as Natasha in the modern era to take back both her name and mantle. This is an easy way to swap out actresses without pulling a "Terrance Howard to Don Cheadle" type of recasting, and would be consistent with the lore. It would also be a logical thing for producers to do, considering that ScarJo's "Natasha" garnered criticism for her frivolity in Cap 2 being too out of character for a seasoned super-spy and former assassin. Considering a major theme of this show is female empowerment in the face of sexism, methinks it's what producers may be sewing the seeds for.

Reason #5: The training of Yelena to become the new Black Widow and a stand-in for Natasha could be the story of a Black Widow movie, as well as the circumstances of their rivalry, especially considering that the Ant-Man movie has a similar premise, starring the second Ant-Man while referencing the original. http://img4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20070407162912/marveldatabase/images/0/08/Black_Widow_Vol_1_3_Textless.jpg Alternatively, this may be covered in a Winter Soldier movie.

Reason #6: Probably my #1 reason, actually, aside from "ScarJo acts out of character for a seasoned professional killer".

THIS IS YELENA BELOVA FROM THE COMICS: https://31.media.tumblr.com/464c0c9cafa31becbb8382116bbe8540/tumblr_inline_ndpwzseF2S1rzkse5.gif http://data2.whicdn.com/images/63460750/original.jpg 

THIS IS SCARLET JOHANSSEN AS A BLONDE FROM "LUCY": https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/72/77/00/7277003691588d56a955276ad9551eab.jpg

THIS IS NATASHA FROM THE COMICS: https://dailypop.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/black-widow-jg-jones.jpg

THIS IS BRIDGET REGAN AS A REDHEAD: http://i.imgur.com/RjoSGSl.png

Tell me ScarJo doesn't look like Yelena, or that Regan doesn't resemble Natasha. Try it.

Now, aside from the more obvious likenesses, I'd like to point out that Yelena's gear (pouches, straps and that belt) more closely resemble ScarJo's outfits in the MCU, compared to Natasha's, which is more of a sleek catsuit and the gold discs on the belt also function as shurikens. Yelena has worn a variety of outfits but usually they were more tactical/front-line soldier-esque. She has also used dark-colored wrist gauntlets, as opposed to Natasha's brighter golden ones, which would be similar in tone to the Mink's automatic revolver. Methinks we will see a more iconic Widow out of Regan and that will be the REAL Natasha.

 

Edited by David Kaye.
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