Agent Carter: Snafu

Originally published on Bloody Disgusting

“Snafu” has me ever more concerned for the future of Agent Carter. I’m here for female-fronted shows, especially when it relates to my first love (comics), and this is winding up to be too damn good to just fade into obscurity. How can next week be a finale?! We’re nowhere near resolution!

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This episode wastes no time on the (albeit enjoyable) fluffy scenes of the past. Any character that we’re meant to care about has already been developed, and much of that work was accomplished in the previous two episodes, so the writers are not spending any of their valuable remaining time on anything more than pure, unadulterated, raw plot. An observant viewer, in fact, may have noticed that Dooley’s character is the only one who remains relatively undeveloped, and a paranoid viewer might even notice that when the action does halt, briefly, to develop his character, that development must be a harbinger of doom. It’s nearly eerie the way in which this episode seemed to answer my (the paranoid viewer’s) internal monologue; as soon as I realized that Dooley was unlikable and not sympathetic, with no attempts to humanize him, he becomes a multidimensional character. As soon as I became suspicious of his humanizing features, his fate became clear: Dooley must die.

Putting that aside for the moment, though, this episode showcases most of our favorite characters (where’s Angie?!) at the peak of their archetypal cores. Sousa is, once again, loyal and sympathetic but righteous.  Agent Chad Michael Murray is brusk, somewhat meatheaded, occasionally wrong-minded, but with an eye for the greater good, and wanting to believe that the people in whom he has placed his loyalty will not abuse that. Peggy is smarter than most of the people in the room, only slightly bitter that she’s been historically considered most valuable to the SSR as a bringer of coffees, and she’s ready to kick ass on the side of moral right no matter what authority figure is in the way. Jarvis is mostly along for the ride, trying to split his loyalties between actual righteousness and Howard Stark, and deeply conflicted by the ways in which those two never seem to meet in the middle. And best of all, Dottie’s lipstick is flawless (and is it the lipstick she stole from Agent Carter a couple episodes ago?), her damsel in distress act is on call at whim, and she’s now demonstrated her ability to literally defy gravity in the face of several flights of stairs in a SSR getaway op.

With complex and consistently developed characters like this, it hardly matters what’s happening in the plot– except when it does. In this episode. the Dr. Vladimir Mindbendoyevsky continues to wreak psychic havoc in the form of very mystical hypnosis business, The Gang explores the abandoned Stark inventions that have been mostly collecting dust in the lab (also, why is there practically security on the laboratory), Sousa stumble across Dr. McPervdentist’s body, Peggy has a hold-your-breath moment in which she first notices and then decodes Dr. Mindbendoyevsky’s morse code, Dooley dreams of a beautiful life with his family as the good Dr. Vlad straps him into an unstable Stark prototype, and the action moves at a mile a minute.

With episodes this engaging, it’s extremely troubling that there is no official word on the future of this series beyond next episode. A finale is all well and good, but if there’s no resolution, all the work this series has done to create multidimensional characters and an engaging story will have been completely wasted on a flash in the pan. Plus, I’m enjoying my own stupid nicknames for the characters, and it would be a shame to only have one more opportunity to use them.

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