I Believe in Peggy Carter. Agent Carter: “A Sin to Err”

No time for introspection, you guys. Peggy’s on the run in “A Sin to Err”! And Jarvis is on the case. And Leviathan is pulling the stakes out of the SSR’s tent. Agent Carter continues to be more fun than a depiction of a woman who is disrespected by her co-workers and whose boyfriend is buried under ice ought to be.

Here is a list of people who will help Peggy Carter no matter what:

  • Jarvis
  • Angie

Short fuggin’ list, ain’t it? It also doubles as a character count for the number of people in Peggy’s post-war neon green scene who consider Peggy on her merits first and not on her gender, marital status, or job. It also also doubles as a count for the people who read Peggy’s intentions the most intuitively. Everyone else relies on the results of her actions after the fact. If the world had more Jarvises and Angies in it, Peggy wouldn’t be on the run in the first place.

Although you can’t just blame “society” for the mess that Peggy has found herself in, as Leviathan has been doing an awful lot of instigating lately. We get to spend a lot of time with the Russian psychiatrist that Howling Commandos rescued last episode and he is a welcome presence for the majority of “A Sin to Err.” Especially to a beleagured Agent Dooley, who’s been finding betrayal just everywhere lately; especially in the two places—home and work—that he goes to for sanctuary. This lack of support really wears on Dooley and it turns out that the Russian psychiatrist is still a surprisingly comforting presence even after explaining how terrifying Leviathan is. The two have an impromptu therapy session and your own tension decreases along with Chief Dooley’s. All we needed was someone to pay attention to us, you know? To bother to ask how we’re doing. Because we’re not doing so well these days, you guys. Not well at all.

Then the eyebrows come out.

Agent Carter: A Sin to Err

We are really disappointed in you, Dr. Eyebrows. We thought we were springing you from gulag, we thought that we could help each other out. But it turns out that you work for Leviathan. Actually, it turns out that you might be someone really important in Leviathan, judging by how you’re giving orders to Dottie from across an avenue.

Agent Carter: A Sin to Err

Dooley manages to escape the deadly ring-hand of Dr. Eyebrows, but only because Sousa has cracked the Case of the Traitorous Peggy. So the Leviathan mastermind focuses on Li’l Agent Yowch, who somehow becomes the only person standing in the way between Leviathan and all the Stark tech they want to steal back from the SSR.

Yauch is a glum chum. Inside he imagines himself as equal or even superior to Reigning Jack Thompson but he doesn’t act that way. He’s biding his time, or maybe just in over his head, and waiting for an opportunity to prove himself capable of making a big score in the field of secret agenting. Dr. Eyebrows sees Yauch for what he really is: the SSR’s newest punching bag. And despite the huge leaps in capability that the organization has made through this investigation alone, there’s one lesson that it has repeatedly neglected to learn: You’re only as strong as your weakest link.

Agent Carter: A Sin to Err

The psychiatrist makes short work of the SSR’s newest punching bag. Gosh you’re useless, he says, why don’t you kill yourself?

Agent Carter: A Sin to Err

Yauch’s death is…weird. Was I supposed to laugh? If not, then maybe the director shouldn’t have framed the suicide like it was a comedy bit… It feels especially weird when considering how seriously the show has treated death previously. Krzeminski, the show’s first SSR schlub, had a death that hit like a hammer. Carter herself only just escaped her own status as the person everyone punched down on and it’s not like that’s helping her now. Yauch’s death just feels empty in comparison. An expected casualty.

This might be due to the heightened pace of the overall story. All the apple carts are getting upended in “A Sin to Err” and at the center of the madness is Dottie herself. This time she says hello to the viewers by applying for a job with a total pervert of a dentist, then poking his eye out with a f*$%&ng dentist drill, as if we all didn’t have enough problems going to the dentist.

Agent Carter: A Sin to Err

Dottie used to be amusing, now she’s just flat out terrifying. She’s coldly efficient, final, and always where you least expect her. It’s hard to imagine Leviathan actually failing unless the SSR or Peggy manages to take her down. Dottie even steps in to halt the events of the episode itself, doing what the SSR couldn’t and bringing their chase of Traitor Peggy to a dramatic end.

Agent Carter: A Sin to Err

And all of this after Angie steps in to save the day! Peggy’s neighbor/waitress/distant paramour would almost certainly die to have witnessed that kiss between Dottie and Peggy, especially after acting her heart out (in a…crocheted top?) to ward off Peggy’s SSR peers. It’s a tremendous spotlight for Angie, and it’s even more remarkable for inserting some humor without sacrificing the tension of the chase. “Gram-Gram.” Heh.

Agent Carter: A Sin to Err

I also love how it pays off Angie and Peggy’s friendship without, very much without, having Angie get killed. I’ve been really worried that Peggy would lose her friend as part of a grander gesture about Peggy’s own place in the world, but I’m very glad to see the show subvert that. (Still, when Angie knocked on Dottie’s door after that I got worried all over again.) Angie’s death is one that would have rattled me as a viewer.

Maybe that’s why Yauch matters so little in this episode. With everything now so up in the air, the only thing left to ground us are the people who trust Peggy implicitly. Namely, Jarvis and Angie. Before, when it was just an investigation, a death in the SSR seemed too far. Now, with Peggy’s world having fallen apart, a death in the SSR seems like just the beginning. Perhaps the real losses are yet to come.

 

Thoughts:

  • Oh god Jarvis’ face after their whirlwind tour of Stark’s flings.

Agent Carter: A Sin to Err

  • “You think Ginger Rogers is a Russian assassin?”
  • I thought it was a nice touch that the Empire State Building is actually behind the psychiatrist when he looks out the window.
  • Everyone on this show has the shortest ties. (The Chief’s key-patterned tie wins this episode, though. Stylin’.)
  • Look how suave Suave Jack Thompson looks here. You almost feel bad for getting his lights punched out. Almost.

Agent Carter: A Sin to Err

  • “She was a perfect New York neighbor, no one saw or spoke to her.”
  • “I could no more stop her than I could stop Lawrence of Olivier.”
  • “What’s YOUR grandmother’s name?”

Chris Lough is your irascibly scheduled Agent Carter recapper.

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