Show: Marvel’s Agent Carter
Featured Characters: Peggy Carter and Edwin Jarvis
Agent Carter was a remarkably special series. And while Peggy Carter’s presence alone was enough to keep viewers constantly engaged, I always found myself completely enamored with the friendships the series explored.
Peggy Carter is an agent unlike any other, but even the toughest souls need someone to lean on. And Peggy knows a few great souls: the ridiculous genius Howard Stark, the kind and loving Daniel Sousa, the incredible ray of sunshine Angie Martinelli, the sweet Ana Jarvis, and the noble Jason Wilkes. Bottom line is that Peggy would never be alone.
However, it was her partnership with the one-of-a-kind Edwin Jarvis that continuously managed to resort me into an emotional wreck. From the very beginning, the two understood one another. And because of that very understanding, they effortlessly inspired a kind of growth in each other they would’ve otherwise not been able to find.
Edwin Jarvis is perhaps one of the kindest souls to ever walk the earth, and when someone is as selflessly hardworking as Peggy Carter, she’d need someone who’d find the best ways to slow her down. And such prodigiously profound moments happen so early with the two, it strengthens their partnership beautifully from the start.
Slow, Steady, and Secure
After a mission leaves Peggy in need of stitches, Jarvis chooses to remind her of the fact that no one is capable of handling everything on their own.
“There is not a man or woman, no matter how fit he or she may be, who is capable of carrying the entire world on their shoulders. . .From what Mr. Stark has told me, Captain Rodgers relied heavily on you. For courage, strategy, and moral guidance. You were his support. Your desire to help others is noble, but I doubt you’ll find much success unless you allow others to help you.”Agent Carter 1×02
Edwin Jarvis taught Peggy Carter the most important lesson that could ever be learned in life. So often we’re prone to believe that we could do it all on our own. We don’t need to disrupt anyone. We don’t want to be a burden to anyone. We don’t want to feel vulnerable enough to need people because society perceives such things as weaknesses.
But Jarvis’ choice to remind Peggy that it’s humanly impossible to achieve that level of heroism was perfect. Jarvis wasn’t afraid of being vulnerable, lowering his voice and bearing his heart to help this woman see that though she believes Steve Rogers can handle it all, even he needed her.
What both Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter have had difficult times comprehending is the fact that unknowingly the two have ceaselessly been the other’s backbone. As much as Peggy believed in the fact that Steve could do it all, he too was under the impression that it was her he’d be lost without. And thereby, Jarvis’ choice to remind Peggy of the fact that she served the most pivotal role in Captain Rogers’ life was everything she needed and more.
From that moment, it was clear that Jarvis would be the most suited to stand beside Peggy as her partner. He may not have been able to fight the fight, but emotionally and morally, he was her armor. He was the best friend she could’ve found in trying times and together, they fought through the hardest obstacles in their lives.
I might never be over what Hayley Atwell said during the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con panel, so we’ll bring it back again: “There’s this wonderful scene that I love where Jarvis is talking to her and saying you can’t run away from people who are trying to help you and you realize in that moment that he sees her vulnerability and that in putting up this wall from having lost Steve, she’s scared of letting other people in and Jarvis is that person who’s kind of like a kindred spirit who taps her on the should and tells her she’s not alone.”
The Unwavering Loyalty and Challenging Each Other
The friend that often comes into our lives at a time we least expect them to tends to be the one we learn most from. The friend who hears us in our silence is the one who’ll often understand us best. And the growth that’s experienced from their perpetual presence is so often life-changing.
Edwin Jarvis’ presence was indeed life-changing. His loyalty was everything.
In a wonderfully spontaneous way, Peggy played a vast role in helping Jarvis as well. She gave him an adventure—the opportunity to fill longings that he has never spoken aloud or ever imagined possible. And sometimes, that’s precisely what a person needs to go through exceptional growth.
At the rate Jarvis was going, he might have just been a butler for the rest of his life—unaware of the adventures the real world holds. And Peggy’s presence in his life opened up a part of him that he needed for a number of reasons. In what are seemingly effortless ways, I’ve always felt that embarking on these dangerous adventures gave Jarvis more love.
A part of that love was revealed tremendously when Ana’s life was in danger. And it’s in that moment where I’ve always felt that Jarvis not only understood Peggy a little more, but he understood and loved his wife even more than possible.
Watching her go through the heartache of learning she’ll never have children and seeing the positivity she radiated, not only filled him with endless amounts of adoration but courage. Because he has such strong, female figures in life, they’ve made Jarvis braver. Ana’s ardent adoration and support in the midst of their quest to make the world a better place gave Jarvis an immeasurable amount of strength.
And having a friend like Peggy in his life gave him the support he’s always shown to others. One of my favorite scenes between the two which showcased Peggy’s profound presence in his life took place in an episode called “Monsters”. And I had said it then in my review as well, but the smallest of gestures that come from the heart will always speak the loudest.
“There’s healing in every touch, but something inexpressibly powerful happens when we hold another’s hand. No matter the stage a person is in, at a time where words cannot heal, togetherness can. Peggy’s choice to hold onto Jarvis’ hand was perhaps one of the most poignantly beautiful scenes in the entire series.
This friendship isn’t just about wonderful adventures and ridiculous conversations, it’s about carrying each other through the most difficult moments in life and this is undoubtedly the darkest in Jarvis’ life. As both episodes revealed, Ana is the most important person to him—she is his rock, the one person he’d be drastically lost without. And while in the past he may have had to go through something like this alone, right now he has Peggy.
He has a friend, truer than all, who’ll be his strength in every way he needs her to be. This dark moment simply required reassurance, and there’s no better way to promise that everything will be okay than the joining of hands to offer warmth and comfort.”
(See, now I’m just sad again that Agent Carter is over because I just remembered how much I adored talking about Ana Jarvis and her incomparably welcoming spirit towards Peggy. Heck, I’m bitter about everything because no TV series has been more fun to write about than Agent Carter.)
Peggy and Jarvis came into each other’s lives at the time they needed one another most, and while they’ve shared a number of beautifully moving moments, their ridiculous banter has never once not been thrilling.
Who doesn’t want a partner like Edwin Jarvis who’ll dramatically act out things!? Who doesn’t want a best friend that’ll make decisions to save you while panicking and coming up with a plan that’s unlikely to work?! It’s the thought that counts, right!? Who doesn’t want the friend who’ll have the dad talk with you when you can’t see your allure?! Who doesn’t want the friend that’ll remind us to choose love?!
Essentially, the intentions to help one another were always pure with Peggy and Jarvis. Plus, great people will always find one another, and in a lot of ways, their friendship with Howard is what made him a lot better than he would’ve been.
The best friendships are the ones that have endured the ugliest—we are our truest selves around those we trust and love the most. They can fight and challenge each other while learning how to apologize and understand.
It was these two, along with the rest of what Team Peggy had endured that made Agent Carter one of the greatest series to exist, and these friendships some of the most beautiful. Peggy lost her brother when she was young, but through Edwin Jarvis she found a family to lean on again, and I’ll never be over that particular detail. He was at times a father, at times a brother, and she was, in a myriad of ways, part of the reason his life had more meaning. She brought light into both his and Ana’s life even amidst the danger. (He would have absolutely walked her down the aisle if we ever got to see that.)
They could not be more different from one another, but that never changed the fact that their partnership was full of challenges that made them better together than apart.