Already seen Episode 6? Read on for spoilers.
Back on home turf after last week’s sojourn to Belarus, A Sin To Err gets the endgame of Agent Carter Season 1 back on track in a big, bad way. The story so far: Leviathan has framed Howard Stark as Public Enemy Number 1 for selling weapons to enemies of America and Peggy Carter is the only one in the SSR who can clear his name.
A mixture of exasperation and goodwill for her work in the field prompts Chief Dooley to send Peggy chasing a hunch about Stark’s old flings, leading her to reconnect with Jarvis in search of the deadly female operative who tricked his employer. But unbeknownst to the two of them, their quarry is living right next door to Peggy at the Griffith Hotel.
Meanwhile, Leviathan defector and star witness Dr. Ivchenko tells the chief all that he knows and Agent Sousa grows ever more suspicious. When the SSR finally get wind of a suspect hiding out in the halls of the Griffith, all hell breaks loose as they chase her down.
It’s here that the SSR finally spring into action, after their early dawdling in the wake of Peggy’s covert personal mission and the more character-driven drama of the last few weeks. Among the notable highlights, Dooley gets to channel Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive with an “every henhouse, farmhouse and outhouse” speech, as he galvanises his men, Sousa truly proves his mettle as an agent, and there’s a head-busting confrontation with their woman at the L&L Automat.
Although everything starts spiralling around the mid-point, the episode has plenty of levity early on. Part of that comes from Lyndsy Fonseca, whose sparky performance as Angie tends to brighten up every scene in which she appears. Some might consider her role as an aspiring actress to be a waste of the action chops she exhibited in Nikita, but she has a larger role this week and she rises to the occasion with gusto.
But our heroine’s main objective is to take Jarvis around all of Stark’s conquests, who mostly recognise the butler from his Pepper Potts-like capacity of clearing them out in the morning, or “prematurely evacuating” (says Peggy, in the best line of the week) and want to smack him for his trouble.
We’ve missed the dynamic between Hayley Atwell and James D’Arcy and it’s as strong as ever in an episode that’s always teeing up bigger things. There’s a fantastic scene where Jarvis is confronted with a little boy staring at him in a hallway – it’s fabulously awkward and utterly hilarious. The uneven but very British partnership between Peggy and Jarvis really is the heart of the show.
But while the Brits hit the fans (and the fans hit poor Jarvis back), sleeper agent Dottie Underwood is still on the move. There’s a very intense scene, as she sets up a sniper’s post in the window opposite the New York Bell and trains her sights on Ivchenko at the window of Dooley’s office. It’s a perfect example of how the show builds tension and then subverts expectations without losing momentum.
There’s a lot of that in the back end of the episode and it makes for the most exciting passage of the season since the opening double bill. The use of Peggy Lee’s It’s A Good Day in one pivotal action scene represents the finest Lee-Carter combo since Rush Hour, while the next big setpiece ramps up the tension rather than deliver crunching blows and fisticuffs.
A Sin To Err starts out innocuously enough, but winds up to a back half that makes some big changes. Allegiances shift as quickly as director Stephen Williams bounces between big action and big suspense. By the end, Peggy is in more jeopardy than ever and we’ll stay right here on the edge of our seats until we get to see how it’s all going to end.
Agent Carter Season 1 and 2 is available on Sky Box Sets. Don’t have Sky? You can also stream it on NOW TV, as part of a £7.99 Sky Entertainment Month Pass subscription – with a 14-day free trial. It is also available on Amazon Prime Video, as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription.
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Spoilers and further consideration
– Hopefully, we did a decent job of not spoiling that Peggy, not Dottie, is the suspect that the SSR tracks back to the Griffith, courtesy of Agent Sousa’s investigation from the beginning of the season. It’s ironic that he’s the one who puts Peggy in the crosshairs just when everybody else has come around to appreciating her, but he’s always seemed like the most reliable guy in the office so it figures that he’d do his job a little too well for our hero.
– Dr. Ivchenko reveals his hand in the terrific scene with the sniper post, although the charade of a gun-shaped signalling device seems more for the audience’s benefit than anybody else’s. Still, we forgive it because it was a nice bait-and-switch all the same. More importantly, it allows him to order Dottie to kill Peggy, right under Dooley’s nose.
– This week’s deaths: The lecherous dentist whose office is inconveniently placed opposite New York Bell gets one of the more grisly deaths of the season. That’s quickly topped by Ivchenko’s summary dispatch of Agent Yauch by hypnotising him to go and step in front of a speeding truck, but not before helping himself to a last meal. Yikes.
– On a lighter note, it’s now canon that the MCU’s Ginger Rogers slept with Howard Stark. It’s comparatively rare that Marvel drops a real name into their alt-history, but this week also gives us a nod to Laurence Olivier, in reference to Angie’s thespian hysteria.
– “Don’t go easy on her cos she’s a girl.” Having watched Peggy strive for equal treatment from her colleagues all season, the even greater irony of this chilling Chief Dooley line near the end of the episode hits pretty hard. Dottie may have inadvertently delivered her target to the SSR with her own knock-out lipstick, but we can’t see that keeping her away for long.
Photo: Adam Rose / American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.