Jeph Loeb and the rest of the Marvel TV crew have definitely learned the lessons from the launch of Agents of SHIELD last year. Rather than kicking off with what appeared like almost tenuous connections to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (bar the character of Coulson), this opening episode of Agent Carter starts with footage from the first Captain America film, and although there is no new material featuring Chris Evans within the episode, his character feels ever-present.
It’s quite definitely a show that isn’t going to waste any of its short time. With only eight episodes in this season, it has to make an impact right from the beginning, and that it quite definitely does. Hayley Atwell is given a great deal to do – from mourning the death of more than one friend to action sequences to verbal sparring with Edwin Jarvis – and shows that she is more than capable of holding the lead in this series. Dominic Cooper’s Howard Stark makes his mark early on, but the show is definitely focusing on Peggy, and the surreptitious activities that she needs to indulge in, in order to assist Stark to clear his name.
The series has to set out its stall, but the “most men are pigs” routine could get old very quickly, and it’s good to see that there are some nuances within the male agents. The problem of course is that we’ve seen the end of this story in the Marvel One-Shot that acted as a pilot for the show, and most of her colleagues are still unreconstructed then!
Unlike some shows recently, Agent Carter didn’t actually need run two episodes at the start – this opening hour is strong enough on its own, giving us some new bad guys, new allies, and some references to elements of the Marvel universe.
Verdict: Starting much stronger than SHIELD, Agent Carter is going to be a fun ride for the next couple of months. 8/10