Let’s Talk About: “Lady in the Lake” and “A View in the Dark”
In which Sarah Tompkins and Annie Meagle place bets on wading birds and aspire to concuss people with bags of gold.
Annie: Agent Tompkins!
S: This does feel like I am sending some sort of code to you. Very covert.
A: Fun fact: My computer is not really a computer, but in fact an old typewriter connected to a weird battery thing with an antenna. I am a Russian spy. Though I probably shouldn’t have told you that.
S: Maybe not the best place to start on the whole spy thing. But then, maybe this is all a part of your carefully crafted plan. I see through you.
A: [gives you a Dottie look of approval]
S: That actually seems like a great place to start: What the hell is happening with Dottie? She real quickly pulled a Single White Female.
A: I have absolutely no idea but I am on board. That opening fight scene was a masterpiece, actual GOLD if you will. Heh. But seriously, I have no idea who she is working for or what her angle is, but I love it. Her interactions with Peggy are so incredibly strong, there is an almost weird mutual respect there…a respect of what they know the other is capable of.
S: Totally. There’s a mutual admiration that I think is borne of being strong women – underestimated based on appearance, gender. I love it. I have to wonder if this impersonating of Peggy is some crazy psychological product of being handcuffed to a bed for the better part of her youth…or a larger scheme?
A: I can see that. It would play, especially as she was raised by that no-nonsense Russian women who forced the girls to fight to the death. There is probably some weird mother-type issues there, and Peggy, being a strong lady, earns her respect and therefore she is drawn to trying to emulate her. It’s rather sad. Even if she is as crazy as it comes.
S: But eff Agent Chad Michael Murray. Dude deserved a table to the esophagus.
A: Legit cheered when Dottie did that. I am actually quite happy to see Agent CMM returning to his old tricks and his inferiority complex for Peggy rearing its lovely head. It should add some nice undercurrents for the season. I am very intrigued by the whole death knell of the SSR that FBI Red Foreman was hinting at, though we know it’s going to happen as at some point – S.H.E.I.L.D must be born.
S: I was just going to ask: Do we know when in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) SSR becomes S.H.E.I.L.D?
A: As far as I know, as most things in the MCU, it’s foggy. I think it’s merely just noted as post-WWII.
S: Well, that makes it easy for the writers. You know what major SSR moves I am okay with? CHIEF DANIEL SOUSA.
A: ALL HAIL THE CHIEF. I could have squealed with delight to see such a worthy character get his very deserved spotlight. Sousa was one of the first members of Team Carter, a steadfast ally and friend when the rest of the world was against her. But he also had the integrity to take her down when all of the evidence pointed to her guilt in the Howard Stark case in season one, and integrity is something that Peggy admires above a lot of things.
S: Sousa’s character is the perfect foil to Agent CMM. He’s not a pushover, he’s not clueless or (adorably) bumbling in the way His Most Britishness Jarvis is. He’s this really solid, lovely, quiet character in a whole sea of, well, assholes. He always wants to assume the best in people – think about the drunk he questioned in the first season – but, as you mentioned, isn’t blinded by that proclivity to see goodness. Just. More Sousa please. More Sousa hanging out with Jarvis, too.
A: Which brings us to our main man, one Mr. Edwin Jarvis. Was their reunion everything you could have hoped for?
S: And more. There was a flamingo.
A: A flamingo named Bernard.
S: The pink devil. Honestly. It was such a silly piece of plot, but just like so many things in the MCU, it was absolutely delightful. I cackled every. time. It had a great lightness to it. Also delightful? The unveiling of Ana Jarvis.
A: Ok, let me talk about Ana Jarvis for just one second, okay? Not only was she cute as a flipping button (a redhead to boot, I could not approve more), she’s sharp and quick and FUNNY. And she is normal. So totally, wonderfully normal. Grounded. Comfortable in her own skin. Comfortable in her own relationship. I cannot express how much I loved that she immediately welcomed Peggy with open, unthreatened arms. Not that I was truly worried on a show as stellar as this, but so often that same old overused trope of pitting the women in a man’s life against each other…it makes me want to claw my eyes out. But I adored Ana and Peggy’s easy banter, her heart eyes at Jarvis, and just her general presence. She is a solid addition.
S: Agreed one hundred percent. The minute she appeared on screen and purposefully (goodnaturedly) embarrassed Jarvis, I thought: Oh. Oh I totally see why he committed treason for this woman. And to add to the point about the Woman v. Woman Trope (which should be burned with fire), I felt the same with Violet – Daniel’s girlfriend. Of course Daniel would be involved with a lovely, kind woman. Of course Peggy would treat her with the same kindness she has treated any character who hasn’t held a gun to her head/kissed her with her own toxic lipstick. Peggy isn’t the person to take out her feelings of disappointment on someone beloved by, well, her beloved. It made me ache. All of the angst, please.
A: ALL OF IT. Though I must admit…I’m not sure I entirely trust Violet.
S: Oh hell no. I ain’t trusting no one. I didn’t even trust poor, belated Zero Matter Doctor until he died. Even then, I’m not sure. Thanks, television, I blame you for my trust issues.
S: So. Zero Matter. What’s the deal?
A: I am clueless! Other than it reminds me a lot of the Obelisk/portal that’s happening over on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (AOS) right now. I have a feeling it doesn’t destroy, it merely transports. This brilliant hypothesis is mainly because I know that the dude who plays Wilkes is a regular this season and well, we have eight more episodes to go. I know, however, you don’t watch AOS, so what was your take?
S: I should probably do my due diligence and catch up on AOS…but I’m pretty clueless as to what it does as well. I had similar thoughts regarding transportation just based on the whole Whedonicity of everything – also all of the Tesseract stuff from Thor, The Avengers. But then it seemed that it was trapped inside Ms. Frost…so I am back to square one. I do, however, love the very post-WWII atomic bomb fears, pre-Cold War terror that seems laced into this storyline. It reads sci-fi/comic-y, while also having a great historical feel.
A: Completely. Now let’s discuss these new villains: The Council of Evil Rich White Men and the Senator and the Actress.
The Council makes sense, most of the evil in the world tends to look…similar. But, and I’m not sure how familiar you are with Hollywood history and I could be way off, the Senator (well hopeful, I should add) and his wife? I got ALL the shades of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, which of course, sent me into fits.
S: Oh definitely. They are playing with some major Hollywood fodder there. The murder had hints of Black Dahlia, too, which would have been right around that time. I’m excited to see a bigger villain, a bigger conspiracy. Last season was very Stark-centric (with Leviathan thrown in), but you have to wonder if there are connections here to that as well – I mean, Dottie is still here. We have so many more players in the mix – I just hope it doesn’t end up all soupy and convoluted.
A: Agreed. Though if there is a show I trust, it’s this one. The writers seems to have a clear sense of self when it comes to the direction they embark upon. Not to mention, the shorter amount of episodes doesn’t afford much luxury for filler episodes, which is one of the leading ingredients to soupy mess. I am curious how Howard Stark will weasel his way back in. I am loving how he is still very much present whilst being absent. The car, Sarah. The car.
S: No, I have not called Volkswagen to see if I can get my dash fitted for a champagne button, that would be ridiculous.
But the writers do very lovingly weave the Stark legend into this pre-Tony Stark world. The Howard Hughes Vibe is done so, so well that it wouldn’t surprise me if we learned that ole Hughes himself had contact with aliens ages ago. What do we think Stark’s relationship is – if any – with Isodyne? That has Stark written all over it.
A: It does, especially with all that mysterious defense contract talk. All the old Hollywood nods are really making my history nerd cup runneth over, I cannot wait to see what else they have up their sleeve. And you are spot on about the Howard Hughes/Stark Vibe, if I see Howard start washing his hands a lot, I will snort into my large glass of wine. Speaking of Old Hollywood, let’s talk about Agent Carter taking on its rampant sexism right out of the gate.
S: I was going to say: Now that we’ve gotten all of that out of the way, let’s talk about Her Goddess of Perfect Lipstick and the Right Hook Agent Peggy Carter.
Honestly, what you said about the writers on this show having a clear voice is seen best, probably, in how brilliant they are with Peggy. She’s just as strong as ever, she’s still not overly concerned with what men – or anyone else – think of her…What’s that perfect quote from last season?
A: “I know my value. Anyone else’s opinion doesn’t really matter.” JUST TATTOO IT ON MY SOUL. Or maybe even my body, who knows. It’s worthy of that sort of permanency.
S: Yes! Yes. Maybe it’s finally time for that face tattoo. But then, there are still these tiny peeks into her uncertainties, into the places in her life that hurt – love, loneliness, the way that fighting to be viewed as equal is still a fight no matter how willing she is to engage. She’s tough as hell, but also so damn lovely.
A: Absolutely. It’s a wonderfully honest and accurate portrayal of strong womanhood, and a gentle reminder that strength is not devoid of vulnerability, nor are the things that are considered “female” inherently weak. Her quip about the heels. Ana and Peggy cooing over the proper clothes for a spy mission. Peggy wearing a tiny gun holster garter belt while brawling her way through Los Angeles. It’s just so GREAT.
S: It’s everything I love about, well, fiction. It’s a very strong start to a season – we already have the return of things we love (Peggy, Sousa’s puppy face, Jarvis’s civility and resentment of palm trees), as well as things to look forward to (mysteries abound! sunny (dry heat) weather! an impending engagement?!) – so much for two episodes.
S: Ok. Three things you would like to see this season: go.
- Agent Chad Michael Murray to get what’s coming to him. I need that slimy little noodle of a man to finally get his paw chopped off for stealing other people’s honey.
- Peggy to continue to build solid female friendships and to finally get comfortable leaning a bit on the support network that she has unwittingly built. She’s there with Jarvis, but I am greedy and want more. Plus this would mean I get more Rose and Ana.
- You know me, I am a Garbage Pail Kid so I am desperate to watch the simmering tension between Peggy and Sousa play out. Fingers crossed it boils over in the best way.
S: Oh, I am right there in the the Garbage Place with you, Garbage Friend. I know that Peggy is her own woman, I know she is complicated and strong, and therefore: she deserves love, and goddamnit the way that Sousa looked at her when he saw that she was alive following the Zero Matter implosion? BURY ME HERE WITH MY LAPTOP AND GLASS OF WINE.
I’d also like to see more about Peggy’s background: how did she become an SSR agent? We know she has a brother, thanks to an impressive move against Jarvis, and we know that she made the daring, and frankly wise, choice to go back for the Headmaster’s booze. ALWAYS GO BACK FOR THE WHISKY. But, I want to see her past.
And I’d like to see more of Jarvis, Peggy, and Sousa as a team. If I can add another BroT3 to my growing list, I would be so, so grateful. They have potential of epic proportions.
S: One final question: Jarvis v. Bernard. Who wins?
A: Bernard, hands down. I’m sorry, Jarvis old boy, but I’m putting all my chips on pink.