On A Tangent

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Marvel Monday: The Many Faces of Margaret Carter

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Welcome back from our mini-hiatus. Due to an unprecedented bout of bad weather where I live, coupled with that lovely portion of college life I like to call midterms, my schedule has been a bit off. But, we are now back in full swing! This week we’ll be discussing the episodes for the past two weeks, A Sin to Err and Snafu, which I actually find fit rather well in a review together. So, without further ado:

When we last left our intrepid heroine, her secret had just been discovered by Agent Sousa.  But Sousa, not wanting to believe what he knows and also demonstrating the skills of competent agent, decides to confirm his findings before ratting Peggy out to the SSR. Unfortunately for Peggy, and for him, we all know that his conclusions are correct. Suddenly, Peggy Carter is on the run from the organization that was finally beginning to put some trust in her.

These two episodes together are all about appearances. Peggy is not the woman her coworkers think her to be. Dottie is not the woman she portrays herself as. Angie engages in a hilarious bit of acting to keep the SSR agents off Peggy’s trail. (I will admit, that whole scene had me in stitches. CMM’s “Gam-Gam” was priceless.)  All of these women engage in some form of deception — willful or unintentional — that informs their characters to the men around them.

The result in Peggy’s case is disastrous.  The deception is partially her own doing — keeping her involvement with Howard Stark a secret dissolves the trust of the few people that did have faith in her — but it’s also self-deception on the part of her co-workers.  There’s a thoroughly wonderful moment in the interrogation room when Peggy hits the nail on the head:

Peggy: “To you, I’m a stray kitten, left on your doorstep to be protected.  The secretary turned damsel-in-distress. The girl on the pedestal, transformed into some daft whore.”

Agent Carter

An extremely well-framed shot. These scenes more than anything demonstrate the relationship between the two – Jarvis and Peggy are equals.

These caricatures of Peggy lead to the major miscommunications of the show. Rather than acknowledging her as a multi-faceted and flawed person, her coworkers either condemn or idealize her, to the detriment of the entire organization.  Even Howard Stark, who places a considerable amount of trust in Peggy, sees her as a tool to be used to his own ends. Arguably, the only male co-worker who really sees Peggy is Edwin Jarvis.  He never shies away from calling out her faults, but also will go to ridiculous lengths to ensure her safety.  (Every scene between Peggy and Jarvis in this episode was thoroughly giggle-worthy. As tumblr user ashantiofmurderine so aptly put it, “Jarvis is like a puppy who’s owner was 15 minutes late so he panicked and ate her shoes.”)  I think it is important that we see this relationship between Peggy and Jarvis — it provides us with the template for what her relationships with her co-workers need to be: built on mutual trust and respect, but also cognizant of one another’s shortcomings.  And perhaps that was what we were working towards by the end of the episode.

What are your thoughts as we approach this week’s season finale? (Yes, I’m still eagerly awaiting the official confirmation of the show’s renewal.) Will Leviathan triumph? Will Peggy and Jarvis save the day? Will any of the SSR agents other than Peggy actually make it through this season alive? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

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