When the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR) captured Peggy in last week’s Marvel’s Agent Carter, it seemed like an impossible situation. Peggy’s not willing to talk, and her co-workers aren’t likely to believe her anyway because they think she’s a traitor and hey, she’s still a woman. “Snafu,” the penultimate episode of season 1, didn’t present an easy way out. In an exceptionally well cut scene, we see how much heat they put on her as Sousa, Jack, and Dooley all use different interrogation techniques. She withstood all of it until learning the SSR was in danger.
Ivchenko continues to be an interesting villain and a disturbing one. He gets under my skin. His subversive approach is so much more insidious than someone waving a gun around. Ivchenko treated Dooley like a puppet, and it would have been hard to see anyway but Dooley becoming more likable over the recent episodes made it especially rough.
While Ivchenko did a fine job of manipulating Dooley, I’m glad his reach didn’t affect everyone in his presence. It was a little thing but having Jack, the up-and-comer who usually kisses Dooley’s rear, question why Ivchenko was observing interrogation was smart. That’s a moment Jack will undoubtedly revisit given Dooley’s fate.
And what a death scene. I didn’t think we’d make it out of the season without at least one death in the primary cast. Dooley’s sacrifice wasn’t about filling a quota or anything. It fit into the plot – particularly since we saw Ivchenko kill his victim last week – and the loss was meaningful. Shea Whigham’s brought Dooley a long way since the season premiere and delivered commanding performances consistently and he was on point in “Snafu.” He did a wonderful job showing how conflicted Dooley’s mind was.
After all of that, it’s still not crystal clear what Ivchenko and Dottie are up to. They used Howard Stark’s deadly gas, but did they choose the theater arbitrarily or was someone of importance there? Are they just trying to wreak havoc? I need to know what Leviathan’s endgame is, but I like how their plan still isn’t obvious with only one episode left to go. The stakes have remained high, but the series keeps changing and moving forward with an impressive amount of momentum.
Before we get to the national treasures that are Peggy Carter and Edwin Jarvis, let’s touch on Sousa and Jack. Both of them seem to care for and finally respect Peggy. Jack pulled the nice cop straw during interrogation, but I got the impression his words weren’t merely part of an act. And you could tell Sousa wanted to clap when he learned about what Peggy’s actually been up to. He didn’t want to believe she was a traitor. And how about the scene with Sousa and Jack in the elevator? I loved seeing Jack clarify his warning to Sousa about Dottie and making it clear he wasn’t saying it because of Sousa’s disability.
Sousa’s journey has been enjoyable to watch, but Jack’s has been fascinating. He’s the one who went from a chauvinist and naïve guy to learning about a world where some little girls are trained killers and discovering the female co-worker he dismissed is more talented than him and the entire office. I’m not saying his previous beliefs were right, but they were there and it’s been something else to watch him process events and come to terms with the world in a different way.
Jarvis has gone through a similar change, though perhaps not as drastic. This man is incredibly loyal to Howard Stark. He’s been on Stark’s side through everything and even handles Stark’s many girlfriends. But by working with Peggy he’s learned sticking to Stark like glue may not be for the best. He’s also come to value Peggy’s friendship. So, it was no small thing that he forged a confession from Howard – the man he has faithfully served for years. And sure, he panicked. It doesn’t make the gesture any less huge.
I find it quite admirable that Jarvis walked into the “phone company” to help his friend. He was a delight to watch throughout the episode, and the character continues to be a surprise. He knows Morse code but is very nervous about smashing a mirror. James D’Arcy has been so utterly charming in the role and that gets turned up to 11 when he shares scenes with Hayley Atwell. They are so much fun together and so natural – not everyone could make lighter interactions work in intense situations like them.
And yes, I have saved the best for last. Atwell continues to amaze me. Whether she’s dressing down her co-workers (and there was so much calling them out in this episode – it was glorious) or wearing her feelings for Steve on her sleeve, she’s tremendous. It’s hard to imagine Atwell and Peggy being a more perfect match.
I was confused by Peggy not trying to tell them her story sooner. She went the route of not talking until she saw Dr. Ivchenko sending a message to Dottie. Maybe she realized they weren’t likely to believe her – and I can’t believe Dooley almost didn’t given what he’s seen her do in the past few episodes – or thought there wasn’t much benefit in coming clean. But when she finally did… The scene where she explains why she kept Steve’s blood – so powerful. Atwell infused the moment with so much heartbreak. And her co-workers got it. They didn’t have the annoyed “Oh geesh, a girl is crying look” on their faces. They felt it too and respected Peggy’s feelings. That was something else.
Peggy spent a fair amount of the episode trying to warn her co-workers about Ivchenko and Dottie. They waited too long to listen, and now they must deal with the tragic aftermath. I can’t believe next week’s episode is the season finale. I’m not ready. I continue to be impressed with every aspect of this series from the tight pacing, the performances, the music (especially fantastic tonight), the costumes, and the characters.
It was hard to choose a favorite gif from “A Sin to Err,” but I had to go with this one of Jarvis:
Gif via Hiddlebatch
Did you enjoy “Snafu?” Head to the comments and tell us your thoughts.