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Agent Carter, Ep. 1.08, “Valediction”: So long, farewell, VE Day, and goodbye!

The entirety of the Agent Carter finale feels like the writers’ room looked at their board of index cards cataloguing ongoing storylines and realized they’d bitten off more than they could wrap up effectively in eight quick episodes. In these last hours, ignored relationships fly back in (literally and figuratively) as quickly as they were scrapped half a season ago, the climax is kept decidedly small-scale and simple, and multiple shortcuts leave everything a bit un-factchecked and everyone a bit out of character for the sake of squeezing in the most important beats. The worst part about these shortcuts is that if some superfluous scenes had been removed, those wasted minutes could have been spent filling in details elsewhere. For example, the only true reason that the “6 months earlier” cut scene with Dottie and Howard Stark is important is because Bridget Regan looks gorgeous in that black evening gown. It doesn’t offer up any new information or insight into the characters; even Howard’s memory fails to get jogged about that earlier weekend once he’s in the hanger. Instead of inserting unnecessary tidbits such as that one, the finale would have been better off fleshing out more of the underserved specifics of the resolution.

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“Agent Carter”, Ep 1.06, “A Sin to Err”: The circle of danger widens

The farther Agent Carter moves past its initial stage of world building and character expansion, the more its confidence increases. These bravado storytelling shifts not only allow the show to expand Peggy’s world of espionage and danger, but make the characters around her more vivid. Last week, Agent Carter finally found the time to make Peggy’s coworkers interesting and even gave them a reason to care about her in return, prompting them to start viewing her as something more than a secretary. This week, everything is turned on its head as the SSR proves Peggy is the mystery woman they are after and takes action to detain her. The episode capitalizes on the agents’ only recently established compassion towards Peggy and flips it, with Sousa and Thompson far more betrayed by her presumed actions against the SSR than they would have been a few weeks ago (Thompson’s is a more drastic shift than Sousa’s, of course). Thompson allows himself to be caught off guard by Peggy’s fighting skills in the alley even though he’s heard what she is capable of, still underestimating her willingness to knock out a fellow agent. Sousa (foreseeably) falls prey to his feelings for Peggy and lets her run away. The fight in the diner between Peggy and the federal agents sent to detain her is as stylistically elegant as anything this season and a rollercoaster to watch. It is telling of how far the show has come from that her ability to evade capture is believable, instead of feeling like the other agents involved are incompetent and Sousa and Thompson only allow her to go for the sake of plot machinations.

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“Agent Carter”, Ep. 1.04, “The Blitzkrieg Button”: Emotions run hot between Peggy and Howard

After a week off due to the State of the Union Address, Agent Carter is back with an episode that unfortunately finds more in common with the most recent episode than the two-parter that kicked things off. The late-in-the-episode confrontation between Peggy and Howard offers some punch to the proceedings, mostly due to Dominic Cooper’s presence, but far too much of the run time is once again concerned with repetitive office politics and reiterations of Peggy’s current status as a woman in this world than anything related to the overarching mythology or missions. However, a few interesting developments point towards an exciting turn for Peggy, Jarvis, and company in the weeks to come.

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‘The Sweeney’ is overly derivative and unpleasantly simple-minded

The Sweeney Written by Nick Love and John Hodge Directed by Nick Love UK, 2012 Consisting of four series and two feature film spin-offs during the 1970s, police drama The Sweeney was significantly influential in British media, popularising elements of gritty realism and morally dubious protagonists that television hadn’t been quite so prone to including …

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