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Before SHIELD: “Marvel’s Agent Carter”- Episode 4 “The Blitzkrieg Button”

Inspired by the films “Captain America: The First Avenger” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, “Marvel’s Agent Carter” is a series created for ABC based on beloved Agent Peggy Carter. Our writer, DeShawn Blankenship recaps the mini-series each week, updating you with the very latest in his series, Before SHIELD.

Picture Credit: ABC/Marvel Studios

Picture Credit: ABC/Marvel Studios

Welcome back, Agents! I was worried that the show would lose steam with a one–week break, but tonight’s episode “The Blitzkrieg Button” delivered on drama, deeper mysteries, and character development. Let’s dig in!

This episode opens on Jarvis bargaining with a few thugs to hand over a shipment. They try to shake him down for extra money while Peggy soundly defeats their backup. When the leader of the gang pulls a gun on Jarvis, he uses a booby–trapped briefcase to end the conflict. Of course, the “shipment” is none other than Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper), smuggled back into the country by a Mr. Mink. The trio head to one of Howard’s penthouses but Peggy points out that the S.S.R. is out for blood since Agent Krzeminski’s death; they’re having his properties watched. With nowhere else to go, Peggy sneaks Howard into the Griffin. She’s nearly caught but Howard shacks up with a few of the girls until “Cousin Peg” collects him.

The SSR has collected the Evil Typewriter, but it hasn’t moved since they brought it in. Chief Dooley gets a lead on Colonel Mueller, a Nazi who fought in the war against the Russians that supposedly died during the war before showing up in America. Agent Thompson is left in charge while he’s gone and Smiling Jack throws his weight around giving everyone special assignments. Peggy’s assignment? Lunch orders. Four episodes in, Thompson doesn’t have any redeeming qualities. He also makes fun of Souza, further cementing my belief that Souza will be in charge when all is said and done.

Mink kills the bumbling thugs with a miniaturized gun and decides to hunt Peggy and Jarvis himself.

Souza, in a smart bit of detective work, hunts for a witness from the docks on the night of Agent Krzeminski’s murder. He finds a homeless man who refuses to talk, and tries to bond with him over the shared stigma of being outcasts after the war. Enver Gjokaj plays Souza as a man struggling to save face among the able–bodied, even though it’s clear he’s smarter than almost everyone he works with, minus Peggy. When the high road fails, Smiling Jack steps in and plies the man with burgers and booze, getting him to admit that he saw a man in a suit and a dark–haired woman leaving the scene before the cops arrived. Later, Souza takes the picture of the blonde woman and starts darkening her hair.

Howard explains to Peggy that he wants her to steal one of his weapons from the SSR, the Blitzkrieg Button, feeding her a story on how it can fry an electrical grid and leave New York in total darkness for the next few decades. Peggy agrees to go after it even as Mink tails her and Jarvis. When Jarvis gets weird while answering questions about the device, Peggy opens it against Howard’s wishes and finds a vial of blood inside. This doesn’t look like a super–weapon but before she can ask Stark about it, she runs into a buzzed Smiling Jack. He asks Peggy why she’s an agent before explaining that she will never be equal to any man, no matter how hard she works. Rather than rage or fire back, Peggy thanks Agent Jerk for his honesty and leaves. Chad Michael Murray plays sexist jerk Thompson to the hilt. I’d like a bit more depth to the character, but Murray’s performance is solid.

Peggy confronts Howard about the vial of blood and Howard admits that it belongs to Captain America himself, making him this week’s recipient of Peggy’s Right Cross. Howard tries to defend himself by saying that Steve’s blood will help cure diseases and unlock human potential. Peggy’s not having it and she accuses Howard of using everyone around him for his personal gain. He admits that his tough life on the Lower East Side gave him “a few bad habits”, like lying. The similarities and differences between Tony and Howard are driven home with each episode.  Atwell and Cooper shine in this scene. Peggy makes it clear that the trust between them is broken and leaves to clear her head, ordering Howard gone by the time she gets back. Howard’s expression makes it clear that he knows he’s messed up big time.

Mink arrives at Peggy’s door but is distracted by Dottie from Iowa. The “What Just Happened Here?” award of the night goes to Dottie, who decides she likes Mink’s gun. She channels her inner Black Widow and kills him for it in the hallway with no trouble. Dottie spacy good–girl act is just that and we don’t know her endgame. I see a collision between Peggy and her neighbor in the cards over more than just a cup of sugar.

Jarvis, of course, knew what Howard was up to and Peggy comments that the men who don’t respect her are more honest with her than the ones that claim they do. Jarvis later tells Howard that he screwed up and that apologizing for him is getting old. Stan Lee also takes his newspaper, completing Howard’s fall toward rock bottom.

Dooley meets with Mueller and learns that the Nazis didn’t fight the Russians during the war, arriving to find dead enemies in their path. Dooley, having offered to help Mueller escape earlier on, gives the man a cyanide pill to help him escape his impending execution.

Tonight’s show ends with Dottie admiring her new gun, Peggy hiding Steve’s blood vial from prying eyes, and Dooley watching the Evil Typewriter tap out a message for the first time in a while. That last scene makes me think Dooley might actually be one of the bad guys, highly placed enough to make Peggy’s life difficult once she catches on to him.

This episode deepened the mysteries set out in the first two episodes and we are now halfway through the eight–episode season! Peggy’s relationship with Howard and Jarvis is strained. She’s surrounded by enemies and she’s not sure whom she can trust anymore. Little by little, her lives are starting to collide and, when they do, Peggy might not survive the fallout.

Meet back here next week as Peggy reunites the Howling Commandos in her quest to save the world…before SHIELD.

What did you think of tonight’s episode? Do you think Howard and Peggy will mends fences? Do you think Chief Dooley is a double agent? Let us know in the comments below!

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