‘Agent Carter’ 1.03 Recap: “Shut Up, English, You Talk Too Much”

Hey, did you like all that fightin’ and shootin’ and car chases and explosions and spy intrigue in last week’s premiere of Marvel’s new ‘Agent Carter’ series? Well, I hope those episodes were enough to give you your fill of that sort of thing, because apparently that was the last of it.

Based on the comments to my last recap, I gather that some (perhaps most?) of our readers enjoyed the premiere of ‘Agent Carter’ more than I did. So let me ask you: Are you still feeling that way after this week’s super-boring and generally pointless episode?

I mean, I personally felt that the pacing was off in the premiere and that both episodes plodded along from plot-point to plot-point, but at least something happened. The episodes had plot worth talking about. The third episode, ‘Time and Tide’, though… Whoa, what a stinker. If you liked this one, you’re really going to have to explain to me what I’m missing.

Honestly, writing a recap for this episode is difficult. How much is there to recap?

Uhh, let me see… One of the girls in Peggy’s new women-only apartment building gets evicted for having a gentleman caller after visiting hours. She’s later replaced by a yokel from Iowa who wants to be a ballet dancer. Yes, this actually takes up a not inconsiderable amount of screen-time in the episode!

A couple of other SSR agents interrogate Jarvis about the fender to Howard Stark’s car found in the wreckage of the oil refinery that was destroyed. They threaten him with deportation. Peggy contrives to accidentally legitimize his alibi to get him off the hook, and gets chewed out by her boss for it.

Later, Peggy and Jarvis investigate the break-in at Stark’s vault. Clues lead them to a tugboat loaded with crates containing all (or at least some) of Stark’s stolen tech, including a wacky device called the “Constrictor” that can cause a person’s muscles to contract involuntarily. Gee, I wonder if that will come in handy soon?

Because Peggy wouldn’t be able to explain how she found the boat without admitting that she’s working with Stark, Jarvis goes to a payphone to anonymously tip off the SSR. While he’s doing that, in the episode’s sole bit of action, a burly thug attacks Carter. How will she ever get out of this predicament? Yup, you guessed it. Out comes that Constrictor doohickey so subtly foreshadowed just a minute earlier.

As the SSR agents haul away Stark’s crates, obnoxious agent Krzeminski has to drive the thug to SSR headquarters for interrogation. He gets bumped by another car at a railroad crossing and, dolt that he is, doesn’t find anything suspicious about that at all. A mysterious figure whacks both the thug and Krzeminski. Even though Carter didn’t like the guy, she feels very sad about his death.

That’s it. That’s the entirety of the episode, as far as I can recall. None of this plotting seems terribly essential. The bits in between are filled with yap-yap-yapping, none of it interesting in the slightest, and all stretched out with extremely tedious pacing. You could easily skip this episode and get the gist of what happened from the inevitable 30-second recap clip at the start of the next one.

I still like the premise and I still like Hayley Atwell in the role, but geez, the show sure isn’t giving her anything to work with.

On top of that, ABC isn’t even running a new episode next week. After just two weeks of a short eight-episode season, the show is already taking a break. Yeah, I know that the State of the Union address is happening that night, but after leaving off like this, ‘Agent Carter’ is going to have a hard time convincing anyone to come back.

That’s just my opinion, of course. Feel free to disagree.


  1. It didn’t bother me as much as it did you, and if it were a typical 30 minute episode of a full season it wouldn’t bother me at all, but since these are so long and we’re getting so few I have to admit that this was a bit of a waste. There are so many things they could be doing in this time-period (set-up Hank Pym & Janet Van Dyne prior to Ant-Man, fight off super-villains of the era that may not get a shot in the movies like Baron Zemo, etc) that it’s pretty frustrating that “clear Howard Stark’s name” seems to be the arc of the whole mini-series. That’s the worst kind of prequel trap, we know what happens to Howard Stark, that has zero stakes. It’s made worse by the fact that the Agent Carter one-shot wrapped up all of this, introduced Zodiac (villain group from the comics certainly more prominent than Leviathan) and led to the formation of S.H.I.E.L.D. in a few minutes. Really don’t understand why they didn’t just pick up there. All that said I still enjoy it, it’s just frustrating thinking of what it could be, which is pretty much the same thing everyone thought about AOS in the first season.

    • Josh Zyber

      Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was fortunate enough to see a turnaround after the Winter Soldier tie-in in the back half of the first season, and has mostly continued to improve through its second season. Unfortunately, Agent Carter is being positioned as a short miniseries event and will not have much time to develop or improve. If it doesn’t do so quickly, it won’t be picked up for a second season.

      • My thoughts exactly. All the more reason to introduce something here that would invest us in it and if Stark’s reputation is the best they’ve got that’s pretty flaccid. If they want to tie in to the movies like AOS did with Winter Soldier then they should be introducing Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne at this point, give the original Ant-Man and the Wasp a chance to shine and start setting up the early prototype of Ultron, boom! Synergy for the next two films. Unfortunately given the time this is set in that would make Michael Douglas very very old.

  2. T.J. Kats

    Yeah I enjoyed the first episode pretty well but this one was weak. I’ll finish it out because of the short run but will not be expecting much.

  3. Bill

    As I’ve already said, its just a filler until Agents resumes. The network probably isn’t taking it seriously as a continuing project.

  4. PaulB

    Yup, both me and my partner enjoyed this a lot, mainly due to the lead and her character. Sorry you don’t find the same enjoyment with it.

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