Peggy Carter is settling in her new life in the SSR, while trying to clear Howard Stark’s name with the help of his butler. Little does she know that it will involve hurting her own standing on the force, and learning something about Jarvis. She does make progress, but at an unexpected cost.
This week’s episode starts with a summary of Peggy’s mission so far, which is likely to start each episode through this season. The story starts with Peggy pondering that heart symbol Brannis left last week. As she looks the symbol up in her book of Shakespeare, she finds that someone is trying to climb up the drain pipe of her boarding house, the Griffith Hotel. It turns out to be the boyfriend of a neighbor. Too bad he, and the neighbor, will be caught by the headmistress, Miriam Fry (Meagan Fay). Miss Fry doesn’t fool around when it comes to girls trying to sneak in a man above the lobby. She claims her hotel is impenetrable, but Peggy says nothing is impenetrable. It gets her thinking about how someone could break into Howard Stark’s vault of “Bad Babies”.
Dooley (Shea Whigham) and Krzeminski (Kyle Bornheimer) of the SSR, though, find Green Suit’s hotel room and his transmitting typewriter. They suspect he was a Russian spy. They also traced the license plate from the big ball of Roxxon rubble to Howard Stark. The SSR thinks he’s guilty of something, since he’s still on the run.
Meanwhile, Anna (off-camera) tells her husband Jarvis (James D’arcy) she’ll take care of the dishes, which is OK since Peggy wants him to go to Stark’s house and investigate how Leviathan broke into his vault. All Jarvis remembers if there was a huge thunderstorm that knocked out the power and alarms. Suddenly, Thompson and Souza are at the house, and decide to take Jarvis in for questioning. Peggy, of course, has to hide.
She gets back to the office, seeing Jarvis being questioned. Thompson suspects Brannis and Green Suit may have been working for Stark, and also reveals Jarvis was charged with treason and was dishonorably discharged. It takes some quick thinking, and a big risk for Carter, to get Jarvis out of there. She admits she accidentally took the report of Stark’s car being stolen that Thopmson had said was “lost in the system,” which gives Jarvis the opportunity to excuse himself from questioninig. For Peggy it means being chewed out by Thompson, and getting even less respect. Jarvis owes her big.
Angie (Lyndsy Fonseca) really wants to talk with Peggy about her day and even offers to share a bottle a schnapps, but Peggy has other plans. After meeting a new neighbor named Dottie (Bridget Regan) who is an aspiring ballerina from Iowa (Or is she? Some fans are already suspicious of her), Peggy meets Jarvis and almost asks him about that treason charge. Instead, they go down to the vault, which is a long way down. She figures out Brannis used a raft to move the “Bad Babies” through the sewers and to a nearby boat.
Thompson identifies Green Suit as Sasha Demidov. Apparently he and Brannis were Russian soldiers declared dead in a battle two years before, but stayed in the shadows thanks to Leviathan. Sousa and Krzeminski get left behind to work the night shift. Krzeminski thinks Sousa’s got a crush on Peggy, but he says Sousa doesn’t have a chance. Peggy Carter, he says, wouldn’t trade a red, white and blue shield for an aluminum crutch. If that’s not a hint Sousa winds up marrying her, what is?
Peggy really wants to know about how Jarvis was accused of treason. He admits it’s because of his wife, Anna. They met in Budapest, and he tried to get her out when the war broke out. It was difficult because she is Jewish. He forged his general’s name on a letter of transit and was arrested, but Stark helped him escape the noose. Peggy admits that’s quite a story, and is more sympathetic with Jarvis’ predicament since it’s also her own.
They discover Stark’s stolen weapons in a tugboat called the Heartbreak, complete with the logo Brannis drew. Among the “bad babies” is a something called a “constrictor” that constricts muscles so intensely it breaks bones. It was supposed to be a back massager.
So, they call it in, right? Nope. Jarvis tells Peggy she can’t tell the SSR she found Stark’s missing weapons because they’ll wind up thinking she was involved. They’ve already convicted Stark in their minds, and may do the same to her. She reluctantly agrees, remembering how Thompson blamed her for ruining the interrogation. Jarvis does call Souza at the SSR with the best Bronx accent a British butler can imitate.
Back at the boat, Peggy is confronted by a henchman named Zandow (Rob Mars). He says he has no problems killing her, and she has no problem stopping him. The battle’s even until Zandow nearly chokes her, Jarvis stops him for a moment, but they have more luck stopping him with the constrictor. Peggy and Jarvis get away before the cops and SSR arrive.
At this point, the story could have ended with the SSR securing Stark’s weapons, and wondering who called them to the scene. It doesn’t.
Zandow tells Krzeminski about the British dame who attacked him. Does this mean Krzeminski will figure out it was Peggy?
He’ll never get the chance, because a mysterious assassin who was watching near the boat kills Zandow and Krzeminski. Her secret is still safe, but at a shocking cost.
Peggy arrives for work the next day, and is shocked by the news. Dooley tells his crew that Krzeminski shouldn’t be forgotten, but he thinks that it’s Howard Stark’s fault even if he didn’t pull the trigger himself. Peggy wonders if Howard Stark will still be considered guilty, even if his name is cleared. She also learns that people in her life are in danger, whether they’re close friends or not.
Still, she recalls what Jarvis said last week, that she can’t shoulder her burden alone. She will need friends in her life, and that includes Angie. At the automat, she tells Angie about what happened, and admitted that while Krzeminski was a cheat and a brute, but he was good at his job. She also wonders if she still has that bottle of schnapps. Angie says she does.
So far, the series shows the real cost of having a double life, even for the right reasons. Peggy Carter learns that her job is truly dangerous, and it will lead to people getting killed, even those who are not close to her. So, she might as well have friends to help her cope. She should also give some respect towards her fellow SSR agents, even if they don’t always respect her.
She may also wonder if Jarvis should have called the cops, not the SSR, after finding Stark’s weapons, Then, Krzeminski would still be alive. On the other hand, a cop would have been killed by the assassin along with Zandow. Peggy Carter is in a different kind of war, and people will still get killed.
For some reason, some fans on the internet are suspicious of Dottie and Angie, thinking they may have deep dark secrets, or may be spies. Either these people think no ordinary girl can really be friends with Peggy, or these girls are spies. Jarvis is keeping his double life away from Anna, and she seems to be ordinary.
The show takes next week off for the State of the Union address, so in two weeks, Howard Stark returns to warn Peggy about another dangerous weapon, but she’s also angry at him. There’s also a cameo by someone very familiar
By the way, co-showrunner Michelle Fazekas talks to io9 on what to expect in the series, and why the one-shot story that inspired the show is actually the last episode.
Also, ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee explains why he’s happy with the ratings for the show in this Entertainment Weekly article. He was in town for the TV Critics Association media event.
Agent Carter airs on Tuesday at 9/8c on ABC.