Agent Carter: 103 “Time and Tide” Review
Reviewed by Phil Boothman.
So after the barnstormer of an opening double bill last week, it is interesting to see whether or not Agent Carter will do interesting things with the limited time it has on our screens, or rest on its laurels and coast on the success of those first two episodes.
Based on “Time and Tide”, it’s a little bit tough to tell: Peggy is still a great character, a rich emotional core wrapped in a nice thick layer of badassery, and the ongoing story is still intriguing, but there’s a feeling of very little actually happening this week in comparison to the last two episodes.
Satisfyingly, we find out a little more about Jarvis, as Peggy decides the best way for her to work out where Stark’s inventions have gone is to take a look at the vault they were taken from. However, before they get a chance, the SSR show up at Stark’s mansion and arrest Jarvis on account of the number plate Krzemenski found in the Roxxon wreckage at the end of the last episode. While in the interrogation room, Agent Thompson drip-feeds us information, particularly that Jarvis was previously charged with treason but Howard Stark likely made it all go away with a copious amount of money: however, the most interesting tidbit is that Jarvis loses some of his British cool when his wife is mentioned, something which isn’t really delved into until later in the episode.
The interrogation scene also comes with a moment which shows in an instant the situation Peggy finds herself in as part of the show: in order to save Jarvis and her investigation, she has to feign incompetence, mentioning a key piece of evidence in front of Jarvis that Thompson and Dooley were concealing from him. It means that Jarvis is let go, but also that Peggy’s superiors at the SSR now think she’s incompetent as well as a weak and ineffectual woman: it shows not only Peggy’s personal dilemma, but also throws the backwards attitudes towards women during that time into stark contrast.
Anyway, with Jarvis free he and Peggy are able to investigate the vault, and follow the big hole in the floor down into the sewer, begging the big question of the episode: why had nobody else tried this? It seems like a fairly elementary part of the initial investigation, but clearly the disdain people of authority seem to have for Howard Stark must have made them all incompetent for a short period of time.
But, while down in the sewers Peggy interrogates Jarvis further about the treason charge, and he reveals some secrets about himself: while he was in the army, he fell in love with a Jewish girl named Anna in Budapest, and while his commanding officer had the necessary papers to get her out of the country and save her, he refused to sign them. So Jarvis forged his signature, but he was caught and dishonourably discharged: fortunately Howard Stark didn’t particularly like the commanding officer and he did like Jarvis, so he brought both Jarvis and Anna over to America and made the treason charges go away with a copious amount of money. Good detective work, Agent Thompson!
With her thirst for knowledge quenched for now, Peggy and Jarvis continue through the sewer and reach a harbour that the sewer drains out into: in this harbour, there is a boat which bears the symbol of a heart with a snake running through it, which looks an awful lot like the symbol Leet Brannis drew in the dirt last episode. So they board the boat, find the cache of Stark’s stolen inventions and a big angry man guarding them: with the help of a Stark invention called ‘the Constrictor’ which causes muscle spasms so severe they can break bones and a big metal pipe, they manage to incapacitate the man and recover the technology.
However, as Jarvis points out, Peggy can’t exactly deliver them to the SSR personally, as it would cause a number of uncomfortable questions to be asked. So she gets Jarvis to call the SSR with an anonymous tip, which he does with a relatively convincing American accent but wholly unconvincing American phrasing and colloquialisms, and Sousa and Krzemenski show up to take the credit for the find. Sousa is suspicious that the call they received came straight to them rather than going to the police, and finds the whole situation too convenient; however, the boorish Krzemenski sees it as a blessing and decides to take all the credit for himself. To that end, he is charged with escorting the henchman to the SSR, and on the way the henchman starts talking about the woman who knocked him out, and is just about to reveal to Krzemenski that Peggy is the mystery woman.
However, this only being the third episode, this is clearly not on, and both men are swiftly and brutally assassinated by a mysterious figure in a dark coat. It’s an undignified end for a largely undignified character: Krzemenski was by no means a particularly likable character, an unfaithful misogynist slob who had a seemingly permanent mustard-stain on his shirt, but he had some entertaining moments and probably didn’t fully deserve to die this early in proceedings.
His death affects everyone in the SSR, from the ladies manning the phones that act as the organisation’s front to Dooley, who basically does everything but saying ‘now it’s personal’, and even affects Peggy, who realises that it is basically her fault that he is now dead: a realisation which is somewhat harsh, but also pretty fair really.
There’s also a subplot in which we see a little more of the hotel Peggy now calls home: a young woman is kicked out because her boyfriend snuck in and apparently there’s a ‘no men above the first floor’ rule in the hotel. Angie tries to bond with Peggy after this happens, but is brushed off as Peggy has work to do investigating the sewers, and we are introduced to Peggy’s new neighbour in a scene which is brief enough to be largely forgettable, but the fact that any focus is given to this moment suggests there is something more to this relationship. It is also intriguing that focus is given to her being a ballerina, possibly in the same way that Natasha ‘Black Widow’ Romanoff was a ballerina…?
A slight drop off from last week’s opening double, but “Time and Tide” was still an enjoyable hour of television sowing some intriguing seeds for future episodes of Agent Carter.
Oh, and RIP Krzemenski, I guess…