UK TV Review: Agent Carter Season 1, Episode 2 (Bridge And Tunnel)
Mark Harrison | On 19, Jul 2015Reading time: 6 mins
Already seen Episode 2? Read on at the bottom for additional notes with spoilers.
“So, I’ve got two foreign agents with no voice-boxes, fighting over a milk truck full of experimental implosives.”
In terms of catch-up dialogue for the casual viewer, Peggy proves just as competent as in all other aspects of her work. Shaken but not stirred after last week’s events, she’s looking for leads on those pesky agents following the explosion at Roxxon Oil, while also looking for a new place to live. She’s on the trail of the missing milk truck, donning a disguise as a government health inspector early on in order to check out the local depot – but she’s not the only one.
Although Agent Carter’s colleagues at the SSR are still none-the-wiser about her covert personal mission, that may not be the case for too long if Chief Dooley and Agent Thompson are tracing the truck, interviewing Roxxon CEO Hugh Jones (Ray Wise) and then determining that the driver is Sheldon McFee (Devin Ratray).
Worse still, Agent Sousa has obtained some photo evidence of the disguised Peggy infiltrating the club where the trail previously went cool. Soon, Peggy finds herself racing against her colleagues to apprehend McFee, with the enemy agents, Leet Brannis and the anonymous green-suited man, close to intercepting both of them on the way.
Originally aired as the second half of a two-hour premiere in the States, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that Bridge and Tunnel feels like part of a pair with last week’s episode. It picks up and resolves most of the immediate dangling threads and continues to tease the adversaries behind all of this without giving too much away.
At the same time, it’s an immediate expansion of the set-up we got last week, complete with more humour, action and other espionage hi-jinks than we got in the pilot. But most importantly, it gives us the Captain America Adventure Program.
We’ve seen Steve Rogers used as a USO attraction and commemorated in trading cards and museum exhibits in the movies, but the dramatic radio serial that we hear in this episode makes sense as an extension of that and also makes for a hilarious recurring motif.
The in-universe adaptation of Cap’s exploits usually centre around him rescuing helpful nurse “Betty Carver” from Hitler and the Nazis, complete with over-dramatic announcer (played by radio host and podcaster Ralph Garman), a reprise of Alan Menken’s Star Spangled Man cue and some appropriate sound effects, created in the studio by a hammer and some grocery shopping.
As you can imagine, the serial’s tendency to marginalise its heroine drives Peggy up the wall whenever she hears it, so it makes for an ironic accompaniment to her own mission throughout the episode. Betty’s utter reliance on Cap in the serial contrasts brilliantly with Peggy’s very real reluctance to rely upon anyone else in case they get hurt, including Jarvis, who still isn’t allowed to open doors for her, and Angie, who keeps asking her to be her new neighbour. The contrast comes to a terrific crescendo in a late fight scene, at a point in the episode where the action is really ramping up, with a tremendous bit of inter-cutting by editor Troy Takaki.
Hayley Atwell continues to boss every fight scene she’s in, and there are some terrific beatdowns this week. In particular, witness the moment after a suspect in SSR’s investigation takes flight and her colleagues chase after him, in which Peggy calmly takes the stairs and gets a much more satisfactory result.
Despite continuing to push him away when the going gets tough, the second episode really builds upon the marvellous chemistry between Atwell and James D’Arcy as Jarvis. They’re ever so British and their pithy partnership is marvellous to behold- two episodes in, you could happily commit to watching 10 seasons with this duo.
Christopher Lennertz’s score really gets going this week too, lending a lush, John Barry-esque timbre to proceedings and making the show feel like a legitimate, old-timey spy movie. As you might expect, director Joe Russo (of the Russos who brought us The Winter Soldier) nails that style perfectly and gives us a more spectacular show than last week too.
Bridge And Tunnel principally feels like an underlining of everything that sold us on this show in the opener, which is unsurprising given how it was originally broadcast, but it ups its game right alongside the stakes. This is another adventure-packed hour with all of the excitement of its radio show-within-a-show and a great deal more dramatic heft too. For as long as it’s this good, we’ll tune in next week, same time, same channel, for as long as they please.
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 7-day free trial. It is also available on Amazon Prime Video, as part of a £5.99 monthly subscription.
Where can I buy or rent The Good Fight online in the UK?
Additional notes (contains spoilers)
– If the show has a “Oh no, Nazis, again!” trope to rival the perils of Betty so far, it would be giant nitramene implosions. Still, the fist-fight that leads up to it, with Peggy grappling atop the moving milk float, is a tremendous sequence and if they can top it this season, we’ll be very impressed.
– This week’s deaths: Brannis dies from gunshot wounds as Peggy tries to take him in, but the green-suited man gets his just desserts for killing Colleen by having his hand nailed to the doomed milk float with his own knife, right before it goes into the lake and explodes. Ouch!
– Through the green-suited man’s instant messaging typewriter, we learn that “Leviathan is impatient”. In Marvel Comics, Leviathan is the soviet answer to Hydra, the Nazi deep science and espionage division that menaces the heroes in the movie universe. With two of their agents out of the picture after Episode 2, they’ll surely be stamping their feet in episodes to come.
– The Griffith Hotel is an intriguing new location – ostensibly a boarding house for women, there has to be something more to Miriam (Meagen Fay) on the basis of that rigorous interview for Peggy. Plus, there’s no way she’s going to be home before 10 every night, is there?
– The sub-plot with the photo of Peggy in disguise at the club turns out to be a bit of an anti-climax, but she doesn’t get away clean. Agent Krzeminski finds Howard Stark’s charred licence plate in the rubble from the Roxxon plant in the closing moments of Episode 2, spelling more trouble for the framed industrialist down the road…
Photo: © 2014 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.