Agent Carter “Snafu” Spoilers Ahead
“Snafu” was an emotional and physical roller-coaster and I kindly ask that you bear with me as I attempt to articulately review the intense hour of TV’s greatest Marvel establishment so far.
Episode Summary: SSR agents attempt to learn the truth behind Peggy’s “betrayal” but Jarvis comes to the rescue with a forged document signed by Howard Stark. Dr. Ivchenko continues to hypnotize Chief Dooley then uses one of Stark’s inventions to murder him while he escapes with Dottie. Peggy Carter later comes forward with the truth allowing everyone to see where her loyalties have always been. And the episode ends with one of Stark’s inventions trigger what looked much like “the Spell of Shattered Sight” (sort of, but not really).
Review | Analysis: Imagining the loss in the world of television without this show after next week isn’t pleasant. Agent Carter’s “Snafu” without question a narrative genius – it isn’t easy to tell a story this innately excellent but Agent Carter writers, cast, and crew succeeded. Also, just six minutes in I paused because I couldn’t cooperate with how astounding Hayley Atwell’s performance was, and throughout the rest of the episode I was left with a form of speechlessness I’m still attempting to pull through from.
The first of many powerful scenes begins with Peggy Carter’s interrogation alternating between Sousa, Thompson, and Dooley in order to show viewers each of their different reactions. It’s no surprise that Daniel Sousa’s change in demeanor sticks out like a diamond in the rough because no one else is more betrayed by the turn of events. As he states: he had her back, and respected her while the other men looked at her as their secretary, thus the fact that she’s a double agent is unbelievable to him. Anger is the most natural reaction that can come from Daniel because of where his heart’s undoubtedly been. And as always, when spoken with anger, the things that are said aren’t meant – because if there’s one thing that really irked me about the entire interrogation scene is the fact that the men believed she was romantically involved with Howard Stark. Who in their right mind would go from a man as noble as Captain Steve Rogers to Howard Stark!? And this is coming from someone who genuinely feels Stark’s a good man behind the genius, billionaire Casanova exterior.
Thompson’s interrogation was interesting as well because it came from a place of honest perplexity. While his morals haven’t changed and he still believes women are far inferior to men, his respect for Peggy has indeed grown since their time in Russia. He knows what she’s capable of, and he knows that if she really were going to betray them, she wouldn’t have saved his life.
The most brilliant part of the Interrogation was Peggy Carter representing herself as the woman she is as opposed to the perceptions the men have created for her. Agent Carter can take care of herself and that’s always been what she’s wanted to prove. Hayley Atwell is a gift – truly, I’m dumbfounded by the lack of words in the English dictionary to describe her masterful performances. Peggy Carter shuns each of their discernments of her with a robust and eloquent stance painting a picture of who she really is outside of the visions they’ve created.
As a series, Agent Carter does a magnificent job of showcasing women as anything but damsels in distress, because even as she’s locked up and has nowhere else to go, she exemplifies the notion that there’s always a way. Yes, she’s fully capable of taking each of them down, but since she’s cuffed to the table, the best she can do is stun them with her words. Get back at each of them individually for pinning her as the vile villain when Dottie Underwood is on the loose.
Additionally, the series allows us to see that while Peggy Carter is fiercely independent and physically strong, she’s someone who often allows her heart to do the talking. She gives in to vulnerability. And once again Peggy corroborates that she’s a woman who will do anything in her power to earn the respect she knows she deserves.
James D’Arcy is a class act, truly one of the most easily brilliant actors I’ve ever seen on television, and with each passing episode, I love Edwin Jarvis more than I ever thought I would. When Peggy doesn’t show up to their meeting spot, he realizes something must’ve gone wrong and through panic forges a full-blown confession from Howard Stark and delivers it to SSR without even questioning what would become of him if the lie came out. And that is what the world would call a true friend, a partner in crime, and the most loyal butler known to man. It was nice of him to ask if Peggy had been harmed because although he knows she can take care of herself, he still cares for her safety. Note: anytime there’s mention of Captain America, the show’s aura crumbles forcing me into a heartbreaking sob fest. That said, Edwin Jarvis is the one character whose exquisitely riveting humor has the power to evoke real laughter.
Successfully smashing the glass wasn’t the splendid part of their scene in the interrogation room, but his panicked questions. D’Arcy is one of those performers whose spoken ways play a prodigious role in demonstrating an unquestionably and indescribably unique character – a flattering human being with a strong drive mixed with panic, and sometimes, lack of poise. The moral of the story, he’s an absolute delight to watch no matter what he’s saying or doing and there aren’t many characters with that type of presence.
I wish I could sit here and analyze this episode scene by scene, but surely no one wants to read what I imagine will amount to 20 pages. That said, we’re now skipping ahead to Peggy’s confession as it was the strongest, most fine moment on the show so far.
After watching Dr. Ivchenko communicate with someone outside of the balcony in morse code, Jarvis and Peggy realize that their time is limited. She starts off by telling the SSR agents that the reason the anonymous call was placed because she knew there was nothing she could do after discovering the rest of Stark’s inventions. Stating that since she knew Agent Sousa was working that day, at least he’d get the credit for bringing them in. And what Peggy says next is almost as heart-shattering as the reason why she kept Steve’s blood. When Daniel asks why she didn’t just go to one of them in the first place, she states that it’s because no one sees her. And while they most definitely see her because she’s the only female in their agency, they (excluding Sousa) truly don’t see beyond that.
As mentioned in the “Time and Tide” review, if these men put more trust in her, she’d feel safe enough to be more honest with them. She’d feel safe enough to conduct an investigation with them as opposed to behind their backs. After she states that she’s invisible to them, the camera instantly pans to Daniel and Jack – and their reactions are undoubtedly something worthy of analysis. While it’s evident that Jack understands that they have indeed treated her this way, it’s Daniel’s reactions throughout the entire thing that stand out most. There’s a tenderness in his expression that does a great job of telling us that he’s in a state of remorseful disbelief because he has certainly had her up on a pedestal, and she knows that.
Grief and fear are the two emotions that are only evocative when delivered with the right amount of emotions. Evidently, no two performers will have the same methods, but each actor must establish his/her own form in order for the audience to sincerely feel something in the pit of their stomachs. After all, if an actor’s performance doesn’t move you beyond words, then the job sadly hasn’t been done correctly.
Hayley Atwell’s performance in the very scene we’re about to discuss was nothing short of perfection – a true work of art. Atwell did an astounding job of revealing that whatever Peggy’s about to give up in order to earn their trust, is something of pivotal value – something that isn’t easy to part with. And for the audience, it’s simple to pinpoint the moment Peggy’s heart shatters because she’s about to give up the last thing she has remaining from Steve Rogers. As Peggy Carter states that the last sample of Captain Steve Rogers’ blood is inside the vial, Atwell is at her greatest, the sincere susceptibility she manifests is breathtaking. Expectedly, any mention of Steve Rogers on Agent Carter has the undeniable power to tug on the heartstrings more than anything. What’s even more heartbreaking than the fact that she’s giving it up is the detail where she states: “I suppose I just wanted a second chance at keeping him safe.”
Peggy’s adoration for Steve is the paradigm of unconditional – the tragic circumstances that have forced the two of them apart are something that’s still thought about. Maybe if he’d given his coordinates, they could’ve found him quicker. Maybe if they were together, there could’ve been another option. Maybe this, maybe that. Anyone in Peggy’s place would continuously be haunted by the agonizing idea of what if – the lingering conception that things could’ve turned out differently if they’d tried. Peggy has always loved the man behind the uniform, the kind, eager soul who believed in righteousness and earnestness. And for a man like that to be taken away as quickly as he was, it’s entirely fathomable that Peggy would do anything and everything to hold onto as much as she can – that she’d try to keep him safe because he deserved to be treasured.
Peggy Carter has never been more vulnerable in front of her fellow agents and baring her heart in this way required a great amount of admirable bravery. Atwell’s posture and expressiveness did a pristine job of transporting us all back to the place where she and Steve were together – conveying the moment they went from a place when they were both loved and equals to emptiness making its way into Peggy Carter’s life as Steve’s voice begun to fade from the speakers. A place where there is no alternative of going back, no light, and no more chances of the two of them dancing as one. Hayley Atwell illuminated Peggy Carter’s inconceivable pain so immaculately words aren’t enough to describe it.
Before delving into the “what the f*&x” ending, it’s compulsory to take a moment and discuss Daniel Sousa’s journey during the episode. Agent Carter’s “Snafu” gave Enver Gjokaj the opportunity to showcase his skills as an actor by layering Daniel Sousa further. And each scene was delivered with the right amount of emotions – illuminating the depth of frustration, anger, remorse, and genuine care gorgeously. Peggy’s answer about invisibility to his question followed by his emotional expression tells us that his anger and sadness at her betrayal is a result of his similar status at SSR. First, as stated above, “Snafu” debunked the conception that he’s nothing more but a nice guy. Personally speaking, there’s not a single thing wrong with that notion either way because that’s precisely what Steve Rogers was as well. And frankly, we could use more nice guys with kind eyes in this world.
That said, his anger allowed us to understand that he truly believes in the SSR’s promise. He believes in justice and if suspicions arise, he’ll trust his gut. Most importantly, the perceptual changes in his character showcased that his nobility is far more superior to his pride. While his frustration in the interrogation room was understandable so was his change of heart after she told the truth. Peggy’s “betrayal” is forgiven because her actions come from an honorable place and the sole fact that he knows how deeply she cares for Steve Rogers exhibits the fact that he actually listens to her. I loved that the episode chose to assertively pin him against her in the beginning only to later have his word somewhat reinstate Dooley’s trust.
There’s a profound connection between Daniel and Peggy because they’re both souls who’ve seen enough to turn their hearts cold, and yet they’ve remained the most compassionate. The unspoken appreciation between them plays a massive role in the level of comfort they’ve found in each other. It’s always been easier to communicate because there are no judgments. And it’s the primary reason why there was more pain and spite involved during his interrogation. All in all, Daniel Sousa is a character with an endearing amount of substance – he’s kind and noble, but he will not stand to be made a fool because he is anything but that. And no matter how many people see his disability as something that gets in the way of his work, he’ll fight to prove that he’s still capable of being a great agent.
Lastly, having Daniel fight off Dottie and survive? A+, badass move to use his crutch as a weapon, but it’s the fact that he survived the fight which tells me that he’s meant to stick around for the long haul.
I now feel awful for my lack of empathy towards Chief Dooley last week, because he did not deserve to die. What was great however is that his last words indicated that Peggy Carter’s trusted him. Dooley knows what she’s capable of, much like all the other men, and it’s about damn time he put it all in her hands. It’s merely unfortunate that he won’t be around to see her defeat Leviathan and everyone else involved in creating this entire mess. It’s unfortunate that he was finally willing to make things right with his wife and family, but instead, she’ll be notified of his death and his children will be left fatherless. R.I.P. Chief Roger Dooley.
There’s some debate over whether or not Daniel will show the team what was found in the dentist’s office, and my thoughts are yes or no, it doesn’t matter because Peggy Carter already knows she was Dottie’s target. It wouldn’t be something that comes as a shock to anyone, however, I feel that there may be more in the briefcase and that’ll be discussed once everyone’s pulled through from the fact that they’ve just lost their Chief.
In conclusion, what on earth was that last invention, Howard Stark? Seriously what on earth is this man on whilst inventing? It legitimately looked as though it was the spell of shattered sight but was less funny than the Once Upon A Time version. Next week’s face-off with Dottie and Peggy is going to be an epic one and I cannot wait to see this entire case wrap up. I’m almost confident –and super optimistic– that the series will be picked up for a second season.
What are your thoughts on Agent Carter’s “Snafu?”