Agent Carter: 201 “The Lady in the Lake” Review
Reviewed by Ollie Gregory.
It’s been a whole year since Agent Carter first graced our screens, and since then a lot has changed in the MCU. With Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D being a consistently great show for some of Marvel’s younger fans, Daredevil being an action packed superhero show for the more adult viewers, and Jessica Jones offering us a strong ass-kicking female lead, you’d be forgiven for wondering whether we really needed a second season of Agent Carter.
Despite this, the show does have a very distinct feel to it, ensuring that despite Marvel producing more and more of these superhero themed properties, there is never a sense of oversaturation. The classy and nostalgic tone, coupled with the fun and excitement we get from almost everything made by Marvel, is a fantastic combination, giving Mr or Mrs TeeVee (I presume that’s the name of the person who decides what shows are renewed and broadcast on Television) a good reason to keep the show on air.
As soon as The Lady in the Lake begins you realise you’re in for a treat. Opening with the robbery of a bank and culminating with Peggy Carter knocking a criminal out with a bag of coins across the back of the head, the very first scene gets you more than ready for what is to follow.
As you would expect, Hayley Atwell is exceptional as Peggy Carter. Confident but not obnoxious, Peggy is as likeable as ever. The very first time we see her she’s pointing the barrel of a shotgun at the audience, and from there she somehow gets even cooler and cooler. The show doesn’t feel the need to congratulate itself on having a strong female lead either, with Carter being a great character regardless of her gender. I’m fairly certain Atwell has gotten to the point where she can literally do this thing in her sleep. Fortunately, she has decided not to do that, as it would be rather odd.
James D’Arcy is fantastic as Edwin Jarvis, although I did find it a little weird at first as the last thing I saw him in was Broadchurch where his character was… different, to say the least! Here, he’s back as the slightly pretentious butler, although not in a dislikeable way, and he’s absolutely fantastic at it. D’Arcy and Atwell’s chemistry is terrific, as they really make the most of the scenes involving just the two of them.
While Dominic Cooper’s Howard Stark is a no show (He’s probably too busy preaching the word of God), Enver Gjokaj returns as Daniel Sousa (Pegleg). He however, doesn’t seem to really do much, other than look incredibly attractive and talk about how he blanked all Peggy’s calls and texts. (It’s Hayley Atwell man! What’s wrong with you?) Bridget Regan makes her return as the rather eccentric Dottie Underwood, while Chad Michael Murray returns as Jack Thompson, who although doesn’t do a lot this episode, will probably grow in importance as the season progresses.
In terms of new characters, Reggie Austin’s Jason Wilkes was probably the most noteworthy. Although his character’s introduction is a little odd, and feels a bit forced, the character is instantly likeable. The reveal at the end of the episode that he’s working with the Darkforce was an interesting one, suggesting there may be more to this character than we originally suspected. Currie Graham appeared as Calvin Chadwick, although again, only in a small role, giving us a brief glimpse at the character before he becomes a bigger part of the programme.
Although Agent Carter doesn’t feature the adult themes we get from out Netflix shows, it still feels grown-up. It seems to treat its audience with respect, and you never feel like you’re being force-fed. The only time when it slips up is when it gets a little bit too cheesy. There’s a certain amount of cheese that always comes with a show with a setting like this, and nine times out of ten they get the perfect amount of cheese, but on the odd occasion there’s a tiny bit too much cheese, raising our cholesterol by an uncomfortable amount, and making us cringe.
Other than this, however, the dialogue is very good. Interactions between characters feel organic and have a nice flow and pacing, making the sections between the action scenes interesting. There’s quite a lot of humour thrown in as well, but it never feels like it’s trying too hard to be funny. All the humour feels natural, and is used to develop character, rather than being a hindrance to the plot progression.
The episode itself is fairly brisk, finding the right mixture of exposition and excitement. Both the twist that Detective Andrew Henry was the murderer and the twist that the police officer who murdered him was working for Chadwick were executed well and although weren’t earth-shattering, I doubt the majority of people saw either coming.
The season two premier is nothing too amazing, but it’s an entertaining episode which successfully reintroduces our female super spy to the audience. It sets up a number of different plot threads for us to follow over the course of the seasons and proves Agent Carter still has a lot to offer us. It’s a lot of fun and certainly leaves the audience wanting more.