This was the best episode of Agent Carter to date. I loved the focus on Dottie. Her eerie training in Russia’s Black Widow program—yes, the same program that produced the Avengers’ Black Widow, yay—was spot on, and we got a fire hose of Dottie as a character in the opening sequences. The visceral action of her handcuffing herself to the bed showed how ingrained her training is and proved unsettling.
Even better was that Carter got out from behind the desk in earnest, while the men around her in the SSR soften their chauvinist stance. We got a hint that maybe Thompson picks on Peggy for the same reason schoolboys tug on schoolgirls hair, and that works, but I didn’t completely buy the SSR director’s decision to send Carter to Russia. The series has painted the SSR as such pigs that it’d take more than a couple of agents dying for him to send Carter in someone else’s stead. You can’t have an agency that’s so over the top sexist and then expect us to believe that they’ll spin 180 degrees and give Carter a chance. Still, I’m glad they did. But Carter got a little help from her friends.
The guest stars injected some much needed energy: Dum Dum Dugan and Peggy have a sweet rapport. In fact, the great chemistry between these two actors undercut what should have been a stronger scene between Thompson and Peggy, when Thompson revealed to Peggy that he had killed innocents.
Hopefully this episode was a sign of things to come.
Verdict: Just the momentum swing Agent Carter needed for its story’s second half.
This week’s episode focused somewhat on personal relationships. It led to a couple of touching moments between Barry and his father that ran the risk of being a bit hokey, but actually worked well for me. Caitlin and Barry’s night out was a little bit on-the-nose, and drunk Caitlin wasn’t always easy to take, but it felt like believable character development. As with most things with this week’s villain, the story felt a little underdeveloped. I think that may have been the product of needing to split time with last week’s villain to further the FIRESTORM subplot.
Speaking of last week’s villain and the FIRESTORM subplot, I think Cisco really shined this week. For those of you who don’t read the comics, this will be a bit of a spoiler, but if they do decide to let Cisco become Vibe on this show, his exchange with Pied Piper gave us a nice little preview. Cisco showed us just enough to let us know he can handle himself better than we probably expected, but not so well that it’s unbelievable without some explanation.
On its own, this episode was another solid entry. Some of the secondary plotlines took small steps forward, and it was entertaining as ever, but the real standout this week was, for me, the tag with Grodd making his first appearance on the show. We still haven’t seen him talk, and we don’t know if he can yet at this point, but I really applaud the show for taking a chance on a character who is going to be difficult to portray in any sort of satisfying way. It will be a huge challenge, but I’m excited to see it happen.
Jim and I agree. Peek-a-boo may have been the rogue of the week, but Cisco took center stage. Not only did he handle himself better than we thought he would, he stepped out of the goofy sidekick role and added some substance. It doesn’t hurt that Cisco and Pied Piper play well off each other, too. In fact, Pied Piper is such a better developed character that you forgot about the villain of the week.
I was disappointed with how The Flash portrayed Peek-a-boo. If you read the comic, she has a heart-breaking backstory, one where you might root for her. Here, she’s just a clichéd girl in love with a bad boy. Yuck.
And with Cisco carrying a heavy load, this week’s yucks came from Caitlin. Barry and Caitlin’s wild night felt forced. It did complement the weight of Cisco’s side story and illustrated Caitlin’s inability to move on from Ronnie, but with Ronnie/Firestorm set to return, it’s like Jim said, it’s too “on-the-nose.” You knew nothing could come of Caitlin stepping out because Ronnie waited in the wings. Still, we got introduced to Linda Park (more on her in our secrets page), and that’s not a bad thing.
It was also nice to see Barry’s bio-dad Henry, too, but this episode had a lot more marking time than usual. It wasn’t as bad as Arrow—Arrow’s been running in place for most of the season—but this episode was little more than a bus stop for the impending Firestorm, Rogues, and Reverse-Flash episodes.
Phew. Tack on an Atom crossover and we have a lot to look forward to in the future, but sorry, Jim. Grodd remains a tease. I can’t wait to see how they handle him, too and perhaps we’ll see him in episode 14 just before the return of The Rogues, but next episode is “The Nuclear Man.” Bring on Firestorm.
Verdict: A solid episode but more could’ve been done with the rogue of the week.
This week’s Arrow brought the conflict in the Glades, and Brick’s campaign to an end. I can’t say the resolution to the problem was satisfying. A guy who is meant to be invincible was ultimately defeated when he was simply hit harder. That felt too much like an anti-climax, and there were some other unfortunate areas where disbelief needed to be suspended a little too much. Specifically, character motivations were unclear, if not completely unbelievable. The Glades are burning, but Ted decides to throw in and help in the fight because Laurel asked him? The show’s reasoning behind an Ollie/Malcolm teamup is fundamentally flawed. If “Only the student has hope of defeating the master,” Ollie would need to train under Ra’s, not Malcolm.
There was some really rough dialogue. Much of it was delivered in flashbacks by child actors portraying Ollie and Tommy as children, so I would normally be forgiving, but anyone who says, “Mummy,” and isn’t referring to an undead monster needs to be stricken with something heavy.
Speaking of Ollie, he came to town in this episode, but the homecoming came at the tail end, and I can’t help but feel the conflict with Felicity that blunted the reunion was manufactured.
It wasn’t a terrible episode, but I’m afraid it’s really just another entry in a season that hasn’t lived up to last. The promise of a rematch with Ra’s could breathe life into season 3, and give the writers an angle to work in the long-term. I think that’s where the hope is here.
Arrow proved that it has little if any direction with this episode. Brick’s story arc ended like all bad anime filler arcs end: little fanfare for the “main” villain and few–if no–repercussions for the main characters. It’s like the writers decided they’d slum it with a few Brick episodes, while the source material gave them ammunition for the “real” story.
But unlike an anime getting too far ahead of a manga’s creator, Arrow has decades of source material. There’s no excuse for this. Pick an antagonist/story/thread or threads/protagonist and run with it.
Are they building up to an epic battle with Ra’s? Maybe. And if so, who’s fighting Ra’s? “Only the student has hope of defeating the master” could mean that Merlyn plans to fight Ra’s, but we know that Merlyn’s a selfish SOB—I don’t care what the flashbacks this week say, he brainwashed his daughter into killing someone—so it’s unlikely Merlyn throws down with the Demon’s Head.
Putting that on the backburner, you have to ask yourself, is a battle with Ra’s the final goal? I don’t know. Maseo has name-dropped Waller in the last three or four flashbacks, so ARGUS could factor into the finale and/or future—but ARGUS hasn’t done anything. I’d like to see Slade/Deathstroke and/or The Suicide Squad again. But has anything lead to justifying his/their return?
Then we have to discuss another character that didn’t make an appearance in this episode: The Atom. In the comics, Starling City is Star City, so Atom converting Starling into Star has him literally pushing Arrow out of his own city. Once Atom completes the transformation from Starling City to Star City, is the Arrow still relevant?
I hope he is, and I hope the show remains relevant while introducing new heroes, anti-heroes, and villains.
Verdict: While not the worst episode this season, this episode does little to nothing in stopping Arrow’s tailspin.