‘Agent Carter’ 1.04 Recap: “I Like Predictable”

Five seconds. That’s about how much of last week’s episode of ‘Agent Carter’ was of even the slightest interest. This show started in a position of weakness and has rapidly slid downhill in every successive episode.

Has there been some production turmoil behind-the-scenes at Marvel? Considering how much potential the premise and cast of this show have, I’m at a loss as to why everyone involved seems to have just given up so quickly. Honestly, this episode feels like nobody even tried.

The plot in ‘The Blitzkrieg Button’ finds Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) back in the States for a secret meeting with Peggy. Because the SSR believes that Stark is somehow responsible for the death of Agent Krzeminski, other agents are staking out all of Stark’s residences, even the ones he keeps off the books that nobody’s supposed to know about. As a result, he’s forced to stay with Peggy by sneaking into her women-only hotel. This is used as an excuse for a tremendous amount of dopey, awful, inane comedy about Stark’s womanizing behavior. The writing here is about on the level of a ‘Benny Hill Show’ skit. Cooper barely stops short of winking at the camera as he runs around seducing Peggy’s neighbors.

Stark asks Peggy to take inventory of how many of his inventions are in custody at the SSR. Cue more lame comedy about dipshit lab techies bumbling around and setting themselves on fire while Peggy takes photos with a camera pen Stark has given her. When she returns with the pictures, Stark then insists that she must steal a small metal orb, which he says is some sort of EMP weapon that can take out the power to an entire city. He doesn’t trust it in the hands of the government, and he’s the only man who can defuse it.

So, Peggy steals the orb, but rather than give it back to Stark, she opens it up against his instructions. Inside is a vial of blood. Peggy is super-pissed at Howard for lying to her. When she presses him to tell her what the vial is, he admits that it’s a sample of Steve Rogers’ blood with the super-soldier serum in it. Peggy slugs Howard smack in the jaw.

The villain of the week is a flamboyant gangster called Mr. Mink. He’s the type of baddie who likes to demonstrate how eeeeeeevil he is by shooting his own henchmen when they fail to carry out his orders. This seems like a terribly inefficient way to run a criminal organization. Who’s gonna go work for a guy that murders his own employees? Maybe he should just hire more competent henchmen and avoid these problems.

Mr. Mink’s weapon of choice is a very special pistol that can fire off lots of rounds like a machine gun. When he gets wind that Howard Stark (who has ripped him off) is hiding out at the Griffith Hotel, he tries to sneak in by posing as a flower delivery guy. Of course, the crotchety matron in charge of the hotel refuses to let him past the lobby. Next, Mink gets inside by crawling through an air duct. As he gets to Carter’s door and prepares to bust in, Dottie – Peggy’s wholesome new neighbor from Iowa – happens to step outside and see him.

This, then, is where those five seconds of interest happen. Dottie marvels at Mink’s fancy gun, says “I want that,” and does a crazy gymnastics move to leap on top of him and snap his neck. That’s the end of the fearsome Mr. Mink. Yes, Dottie is obviously a mole who’s staying at the hotel to spy on Peggy for nefarious purposes. Honestly, it’s not the most surprising of plot twists (why else would we waste so much time getting introduced to the character last episode?), but it’s something.

The episode has a few of other storylines where the SSR’s Chief Dooley goes to Germany to interrogate an imprisoned Nazi war criminal, Agent Thompson (Chad Michael Murray) is left in charge, and Agent Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) follows an unlikely lead by questioning a hobo. None of these really amount to much other than time-filler. Stan Lee also pops in for a brief cameo as a shoeshine customer, so whoop-de-doo for that.

I realize that I’ve been pretty negative on this series since it premiered, perhaps more so than other viewers, but this episode in particular is just so damned dull that I can’t imagine anyone got much entertainment out of it. How did this show go so wrong?

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