Monday, March 28, 2016

Recap: Agent Carter "Time and Tide"

Time and tide wait for no man. Peggy Carter, on the other hand, they're actively running away from in fear.

And appropriately enough, this episode shares its title with a feminist magazine from 1920's UK. Fun fact.
The episode opens up with a quick recap of the first two episodes before truly beginning outside Peggy's place at night. Some guy is watching the building from the shadows while Peggy herself goes through her nightly routine, pausing only to take another look at a drawing she made of the symbol Leet Brannis drew in the sand. The strange man approaches the building as Peggy opens up a book of symbols, disguised as a big ol' Shakespeare volume. As if there were any other kind of Shakespeare volume.

Amusingly enough, the symbols she's looking at aren't even real. They were designed for The Mortal Instruments.

You may begin your crossover fanfics... now.
As she reads, the man climbs the building using the water spout. Slowly, but surely, this 7-decades-early Spider-Man makes his way to Peggy's window, only to find a gun pointed right in his face.

Peggy: "Clearly, you don't know the rules of the house."

Yeah, climbing up the side of the building is only allowed on weekends.

Man: "Is this not apartment 3-F?"
Peggy: "Who are you?"
Man: "Jimmy. My girlfriend Molly, she lives here, I swear. 5'5"? Blonde? Works at Bonwit Teller?"
Peggy: "Next one over."

She shuts the window on him as he asks if he could simply come in through her window and use the door.  Elsewhere, Chief Dooley and Agent Ray Krzeminski are busy following up their lead on that key they found in what seems to be the seedier part of town that no upstanding citizen would frequent.

Hooker: "Hey, Ray. How you doing?"

Obvious joke is obvious.

Once the building super lets them inside the apartment the key belongs to, they get to work checking all the usual places that people like to hide things. First time's the charm, and Krzeminski quickly finds cash and fake passports in a chair cushion. "Alfred Lean," "Orson Hawkes," and "Frederico Rossellini."

Chief Dooley: "We got a film buff on our hands."

For those of you born after the 1920's, those are famous directors' names assembled into aliases. Like if someone today was using the alias "Quentin Spielberg."

Dooley also finds the disguised radio receiver that plugs into a familiar-looking typewriter. We then cut to breakfast time for Peggy Carter and her fellow women. Today's meal is powdered eggs, which (again, for those of you who aren't pushing a hundred) is the old-timey equivalent of Egg Beaters. Just add water.

Angie: "Still better than the Blitz, right, English?"
Peggy: "Oh, just barely."

"It's a toss-up between these 'eggs' and the time people started growing gas masks on their faces. That was weird."
Molly comes down in a good mood, what with that late-night visit from Jimmy. The conversation quickly turns to men, and Peggy is asked if she has a guy in her life.

Peggy: "I'm afraid I'm married to my work at the moment."
Angie: "What about Mr. Fancy?"
Peggy: "Who's that?"
Angie: "You know, the guy I see around the Automat."

Hmm. It's almost as if this is actually the least subtle way to hold a meeting.
Peggy deflects the question and prepares to leave, but Miriam has an announcement for all the girls.

Miriam: "In 1925, the Great Harry Houdini performed at this very building."
Angie: "Oh, Houdini. That's never good...."
Miriam: "Woman stood spellbound and watched as he escaped from handcuffs, straitjackets, steamer trunks. But the one trick he could not pull off was... ascending the stairs."

Does it really matter? It looks to be easy as pie to climb up the side of the buidling.

Miriam: "It's a simple rule. Ladies. No men. Above. The first floor."

And with that, she proceeds to call out Molly by name and kick her out of the building, slut-shaming her for the whole room to see.

Miriam: "This institution is not unlike Fort Knox, or Alcatraz."

Of course, both of those examples don't have a 100% record. Two men escaped from Alcatraz in 1962, and let's not forget about that time that Goldfinger guy snuck a dirty bomb into Fort Knox.

Miriam: "Whether by force or by trickery, this building is impenetrable."

Not really. I mean, sure, Miriam's kicking Molly out, but the building was most definitely penetrated when Jimmy climbed in her window. And, presumably, penetration of a different sort followed. Impregnable is still possible, though. We'll have to wait and see if Molly ends up with a bun in the oven.

And if you keep in mind Angie's primer from last episode, Sarah has apparently managed to stay underneath Miriam's radar this whole time. Even Peggy can't believe Miriam's spiel. Luckily, she has the sense to wait until Miriam leaves before she rebuts.

Peggy: "No building is impenetrable."

At the offices of the SSR, Thompson leads the briefing for Chief Dooley on the body they found, Leet Brannis. The coroner says his fillings were definitely made out of a Russian amalgam, and the scar is from having his voice box removed. The tattoo on his shoulder indicates that he served with Russia's 478th during World War II. The weird thing, though, is that serving with the 478th is supposedly how Leet Brannis died two years ago. The whole 478th was wiped out in the Battle of Finow.

Chief Dooley: "Dead don't walk. Least, not in my experience."

Oh man, sick TV-show-based-on-a-comic-book burn.

"And while we're at it, arrows are less effective than modern firearms and super-speed is lame."
"What are you talking about, chief?"
"...I don't know."
Krzeminski's briefing on Mustachio is less conclusive. They got some prints off the corpse, along with the radio-typewriter and the passports, but not much else. Dooley tells Thompson to run Mustachio's picture by Thompson's contact in the Russian embassy.

Agent Krzeminski: "Hey, Passport Guy's mine."
Chief Dooley: "You got any friends in Moscow?"
Agent Thompson: "Or anywhere else?"
Chief Dooley: "Don't be that guy."

But being 'that guy' is Thompson's whole character, Dooley.

Sousa enters with a report on that license plate they pulled from the Roxxon wreckage, linking it to a car belonging to Howard Stark. Sousa brings up the fact that Howard Stark is a bit busy being a fugitive from justice. Why would he sabotage Roxxon in his own car while the heat was on? But Dooley doesn't care who was driving the car, he just wants the driver found.

We cut to the driver at home as his wife, Ana, tells him she can take care of the dishes. Peggy arrives outside and signals for Jarvis, causing him to suddenly decide that it's a nice day and the garden is just begging to be walked in.

Peggy: "My landlady gave me an idea."

All that talk about penetrating naturally made her think of Howard.

Jarvis: "Oh, splendid! Why, now, if we can get an opinion from your butcher...."

Peggy wants to tackle the case from a new angle. If she can figure out how Stark's "impenetrable" vault was penetrated, then maybe she can find a trail of some kind.

Jarvis: "You're not really dressed for it, I'm afraid."

Jarvis explains that the thief didn't exactly use the front door, and that the power was out, thanks to the gigantic thunderstorm that night for a couple hours. Either way, he wouldn't have heard anything. Rain and candlelight makes him sleepy. And before he can explain why Peggy isn't dressed to see the vault, he gets a chance to demonstrate his security failures right away. The SSR has arrived at the door, demanding to be let in.

Agent Sousa: "Unbelievable. A known fugitive isn't answering his door."
Agent Thompson: "Knock harder."
Agent Sousa: "Sure, can I borrow your forehead?"

Jarvis answers the door as Peggy hides around the corner. He says that Mr. Stark is nowhere to be found. But they're more interested to know if Jarvis "misplaced" anything recently. Like maybe a car bumper. 

Jarvis: "Just the bumper? I wish you'd found the entire car; I'd reported it stolen several days ago."

Jarvis tries to bid them good day, but Thompson gives the butler his options. Since the car was found at a crime scene, Thompson can go through the rigamarole of getting a warrant, or Jarvis can get a ride downtown to answer a few questions. Jarvis chooses the latter.

Jarvis: "Well, this will be novel. I haven't been in the back of a car in years."

A milk truck, on the other hand....

Back at base, Krzeminski is trying to get somebody to cover his shift so he can take his lady to a movie. Someone suggests asking Agent Carter, but he refuses. Not only because sexism, but because running off on her secret mission is making it look like she can barely come in for her own shift on time.

Agent Krzeminski: "Workday starts at 9 AM, honey."
Agent Carter: "Tell me, Agent Krzeminski, who're you brining to the show, your wife or your girlfriend?"

"Joke's on you, Carter. I'm taking my favorite hooker."
Thompson takes Jarvis into the interrogation room, but without the carrot or the stick this time. As Peggy, Dooley, and Sousa watch from the other side of the glass, Thompson explains that this so-called "missing car report" might take a while to get from the NYPD. Peggy asks if they think Jarvis is behind the Roxxon incident, and Dooley explains that Jarvis is certainly capable of driving a car.

Agent Thompson: "It's funny. A lot of stuff gets stolen from Howard Stark. Cars, bombs, death rays."
Jarvis: "Actually, the death ray's accounted for. It's in Nevada, I believe."

Sarcastic reference to Howard's work on the Manhattan Project, or does Howard Stark have a death ray at Area 51? You decide!

Thompson shows Jarvis pictures of Leet and Mustachio and explains that these men might have been found with some of Stark's property.

Jarvis: "Sounds like you found our thieves."
Agent Thompson: "Unless, of course, they were working for your boss."

Sousa remarks that Thompson is using an odd amount of restraint, considering that Jarvis still has all his teeth. Dooley explains that they're treading softly, since they don't want Jarvis coming back with a team of lawyers.

"That green chick at Goodman, Kurtzberg, and Holliway had it out for me ever since I tried to have her strip-searched."
In fact, the only underhanded thing they're doing is telling Jarvis they don't have the missing car report, when Dooley has it on the table in front of him. To make matters worse, Thompson starts getting uncomfortably close to the truth, when he remarks that if his bumper fell off while he was committing a crime, he'd file a stolen car report.

"And then I'd buy a new car. Hey, did Howard end up making a flying car that works before he betrayed the country? Wouldn't mind one of those."
But Jarvis is unflappable, so Thompson whips out his secret weapon in an attempt to flap him for good. Thompson reveals that he knows that Jarvis was tried for treason. Sure, all the details were swept under a rug, but the fact remains: Even if Howard Stark isn't a traitor, Jarvis is. Jarvis was discharged dishonorably, which looks bad no matter what. And if somebody were to bring this up to the Office of Immigration....

Agent Thompson: "That'll be a fun conversation to have with the wife."

Jarvis has finally been flapped.

Jarvis: "You leave my wife out of this."
Agent Thompson: "You dragged her into it when you broke the law with your boss."

Dooley is quite eager to see Jarvis crack. Carter, on the other hand, has a plan. She gets back to work and sets down a file for Dooley to sign. He questions the timing, but does, allowing Carter to "accidentally" grab the stolen car report as she leaves. Thompson leaves the interrogation to meet with Dooley for the next stage of cracking Jarvis like an egg.

Thompson re-enters the room with Dooley, allowing Carter to return and give back that car report she "accidentally" swiped. Right in front of the perp, meaning that Jarvis knows they really have no right to keep him there.

Jarvis: "Unless you're going to arrest and charge me, I'll be on my way."

Peggy Carter gets the chewing-out of her life in Dooley's office, as she is made to apologize for ruining Thompson's hard work like a third grader.

That night, as Peggy prepares to go out, Angie arrives at the door to rant about the 50 cents in tips she earned during her eight-hour shift. Once Angie's done with that, she asks Peggy to help her pioneer the modern-day girls' night in.

Angie: "I got a bottle of schnapps and half a rhubarb pie. Let's see which one makes us sick first."

But Peggy is "really tired," and would just like some sleep, which Angie recognizes as a brush-off. Peggy follows Angie out into the hall to try and apologize, but runs into Miriam. Miriam takes this opportunity to introduce Peggy and Angie to the woman taking slut-shamed Molly's room, Dorothy "Dottie" Underwood (Bridget Regan).

Dottie: "This place is pretty swell, huh?"

Hmmm... The only other person I can think of who uses "swell" is Clark Kent, when he's trying to make people think he isn't Superman.

She's excited to meet someone from England, since, as Miriam explains, she's from Iowa.

Miriam: "And is pursuing a ballet career."

Yeah, the later "reveal" is kind of obvious if you know what to look for. I'll discuss it in detail when we get to it.

After I pretend to be shocked.
Anyway, Peggy arrives at the Stark residence, in proper attire this time, and confronts Jarvis. He doesn't want to talk about earlier, so they get down to business. Howard's vault was broken into from below, so they decide to go spelunking. Jarvis sets the ropes up like an expert, and he reveals that he got his experience in the Himalayas during the war. Peggy babbles for a bit, telling Jarvis that he has the right to keep his mouth shut regarding his life... but she still won't shut up about how a "treason" label isn't necessarily indicative of what actually happened. So she's still a little obsessed.

When they reach the sewer, Jarvis explains that they found an open manhole cover five blocks away, which is how Leet Brannis presumably got out.

Peggy: "Carrying hundreds of pounds of equipment? Seems unlikely."

She also notes that it was raining that night.

Peggy: "New York is one of the last cities to still use its sewers to run off storm water. When the tunnels are full, the tide gate opens and the water runs into the river. All Mr. Brannis would have needed is a raft and a forecast. He could have floated his stolen treasure all the way to the sea."

Back at SSR HQ, Thompson returns with a match for Mustachio. Apparently, his real name is Sasha Demidov. And as with Brannis, he also "died" in the battle of Finow. With that, Thompson takes off for the night, leaving Kzeminski and Sousa to take the night shift, thanks to Peggy ignoring Krzeminski's offer.

Krzeminski asks Sousa if he... you know. Like-likes her.

Agent Sousa: "Don't you have enough women in your life to worry about?"
Agent Krzeminski: "All right, I'm gonna give you a nickel's worth of free advice, pal."

Is that a real saying? I always thought it was just a Strickland-ism.

Agent Krzeminski: "Give it up."

Which also just happens to be the advice Principal Strickland gave Marty McFly. Why does the phrase "a nickel's worth of free advice" always seem to preface somebody telling someone else to stop trying?

Agent Krzeminski: "No girl's gonna trade in a red, white, and blue shield for an aluminum crutch."

I think she was more interested in the abs.
 Still, that's no reason for Sousa to feel bad.

Even gods dream of being Captain America.
Over with Peggy, Jarvis is complimenting her knowledge of waste management.

Peggy: "I spent a week down here in the Winter of '42."

She doesn't explain why, since "we all have secrets," before blurting out that she lied and still really wants to know what the heck Jarvis did. After all, she needs to be able to trust Jarvis.

Jarvis: "Mr. Stark deemed me worthy of his trust. I had hoped that would suffice."
Peggy: "Mr. Stark would trust a shark to not bite him if it was wearing a short enough skirt."

Jarvis explains that he served under a general before the war. They traveled around for a bit. Jarvis met a nice young woman named Ana in Budapest.

"If only we could all be so lucky in Budapest."
Then the war happened, and things got rough.

Peggy: "She was Jewish."
Jarvis: "Still is, I'm happy to say."

The general had some letters of transit he could use to save her, but he refused to do so. So Jarvis forged his signature to get Ana to safety. The whole thing went south, so Jarvis's buddy Howard Stark came in to spread around some money and save the day. Jarvis's loyalty to Howard comes from that, which Ana understands, even though she has no idea what her husband is doing for Stark at the moment.

Our heroes come across the flood gate and open it up. Out in the harbor, Peggy spots a ship with Brannis's symbol on it, so they head back to the mansion, grab a car, and drive over to investigate the Heartbreak, an old ship that has seen better days.

Jarvis asks for a gun, since he wants to come along to help, but Peggy only has the one. They get onto the boat and have a look around until they come across a heap of stolen Stark inventions. Peggy opens up a crate to make sure the inventions are still inside, and she whips out something that bears a striking resemblance to early electrical sex toys.

Also, don't Google for early electrical sex toys.
Even though Howard Stark would totally invent something like that, that's not what this is. Jarvis recognizes it as "the Constrictor," a device that causes muscle contractions so powerful that the victim breaks his own bones through muscle contractions alone.

Jarvis: "It was originally designed for back massage."

Man, I'd hate to see what kind of WMD Howard would end up with if he actually did try to make a sex toy.  Peggy is eager to call this in to the SSR, but Jarvis stops her by saying that she can't exactly just show up with the stolen goods.

Peggy: "I can't bloody well leave them here for someone else to find."Jarvis: "I'm not suggesting...."
Peggy: "And I'm certainly not turning them over to you to be stolen the next time you feel sleepy."

But Jarvis isn't taking that burn lying down and gives her a sample of the grilling she'd receive.

Jarvis: "Agent Carter, how did you come to discover the stolen items?"
Peggy: "...Leet Brannis, uh, told me where they were."
Jarvis: "And how did you come into contact with Mr. Brannis?"
Peggy: "I have been conducting my own private investigation with Howard Stark."
Jarvis: "What is your relationship with Howard Stark? Have you been in contact with him since his disappearance? Are you collaborating with Stark, a known traitor and fugitive from justice?"

Yeah, the mere presence of the stolen items means nothing. Stark's name still has to be cleared.

Peggy: "I will call them in and they will respect me."
Jarvis: "But they won't."

Jarvis has a point. From what we've seen, the most Peggy can hope for is being told "not bad, for a girl" before they shoo her away to give the real work to Agent Thompson.

Jarvis: "If you wish to clear Mr. Stark's name, you must do so from the shadows."

Standard butler advice.

"I must become a bat."
Peggy gives in and tells Jarvis to call the SSR from a nearby phone booth. She specifies to talk to Sousa, not Krzeminski.

Peggy: "I can just about stomach him getting the credit."

Because they know his voice, Jarvis calls it in with the thickest NOO YOAK accent he can muster, and Sousa and Krzeminski get going as the musclebound guy the villains hired to look after the ship comes across Peggy. Before the fight begins, the mook gives some suspicious dialogue.

Mook: "Brannis told me one of you would be coming."
Peggy: "One of me?"
Mook: "And I'm not afraid to kill a woman."

Hmmm. If those sentences are related, then it sounds like Brannis was expecting a woman to be sent after them. But as we all know....


Peggy ends up beating the mook up, using the Constrictor when the mook overpowers her and Jarvis.


With no time to carry the mook elsewhere before the SSR arrives, Peggy and Jarvis flee the scene. Krzeminski and Sousa find the boat, the inventions, and the mook. Krzeminski is content to pat himself on the back for doing nothing but showing up, while Sousa is suspicious that this was simply handed to them.

The crime scene gets treated as one might expect. Roped off, evidence taken into custody, and an investigation on the hired muscle, Jerome Zandow, started. Krzeminski gets the job of driving Jerome to the SSR, and he does so while talking about his buddy Thompson and how good he is at getting people to spill their guts.

Krzeminski: "That's not an expression, we gotta use a mop."

"And that's just with the stick. You should see what happens when he uses the carrot. It ain't pretty."
Jerome is preoccupied with his mutilated arm from the device "that dame" used.

Jerome: "English broad. Solid right hook."

But before Krzeminski can get more out of him, he gets rear ended at a train crossing. When he gets out to yell at the other driver, he gets shot a few times in the chest before Jerome gets the same treatment.

And nothing of value was lost.
The next day, as Peggy enters the building, the operators are all crying. And inside, all the menfolk are sitting in silence because their hard-boiled, 1940's attitudes can just barely hold the tears back.

Agent Sousa: "Really puts you back there, doesn't it? Somebody buys it, you realize... could happen any time, any day."

All they know is that a professional hitman took out Krzeminski and their only witness.

Agent Sousa: "I knew there was something fishy about that anonymous tip. Now, who does that?"

"If you wanna fight crime anonymously, you put on a goddamn mask and costume like everybody else."
Dooley comes out to tell his agents to remember that Krzeminski would still be alive if it weren't for Howard Stark. So he wants them all to redouble their efforts. He's not losing anyone else.

Chief Dooley: "Now I gotta go call Krzeminski's wife."
Agent Thompson: "I'll call his girlfriend."

Later that night, Peggy arrives at the automat to find Angie, still upset over the snub from earlier. She sits down and offers to tell Angie about her day.

Angie: "Yeah, that'd be a nice change; I got plenty a' time on my hands."

Yeah, I mean, it's not like you have a job to do at this restaurant, or anything.

Peggy explains that one of her coworkers died on the job, and Angie says she knows how it feels.

Angie: "Blindsided. Like when my cousin Ralphie got hit by a bus. Granted, he did just knock off a newsstand, but still, big shock."

Now that's instant karma.

Peggy doesn't know why she feels so bad over the guy's death.

Peggy: "We weren't close. He was a brute, a cheat, he was disrespectful, rude... but he was good at his job."

No, he wasn't. He barely knew basic science and they kept giving him easy assignments.

Speaking of science, Peggy and Angie prepare to conduct that experiment regarding schnapps and pie as they reconcile. And with that, the episode ends. Let's review.

5 comments:

  1. I wonder what color walls Dottie has in her room? Maybe a crimson-ish sort of hue?

    (A reference the right people will get.)

    - That One Anon

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  2. "Ladies do not start fights" ...Are sure we're talking about agent Carter? Shoots to men to test their shields, threatens them with forks? When soldier mocked her accent she punched in face? Just saying, if that's a lady, then Drax the Destroyer is a gentleman.

    Also, fun fact: In comics Constrictor wasn't a device, but a obscure super villain.

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    Replies
    1. Ah, but you see, that's exactly it. If other people want to be jerks in a restaurant, or make fun of her accent, or threaten her in a boat, Peggy's perfectly willing to end whatever they're starting. By force if need be, which was the general point I was trying to make. And I think Miss Carter would be the first one to point out that she isn't very "ladylike."

      Also, you are correct about the Constrictor, though I'm not quite sure the reference was intentional.

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    2. Hmm, good point. I guess that something about phrasing in gif made me think more of "throw first punch/throw last punch" then "provoke fight/give reason to stop".

      Sure it is, everyone know about Constrictor! He...was in Avengers: EMH...and in that facebook game...and he was part of Classic Figurine Collection...Look, if anything he deserves recognition, seeing how he was THE wrist whip guy in Marvel before he was copied by Omega Red and then Black Widow in 3th season of AA.

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    3. Truly, the Constrictor is one of Marvel's most iconic villains, along with Big Wheel and Battle Ax.

      But yeah, I think he's probably the most interesting member of the Serpent Society. At least he's actually used by himself sometimes, and not always as part of a team.

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