Some of you might be asking yourselves, just who or what is this Agent Carter show that’s taking up the Agents of SHIELD time slot, and why should I care?
In case you’ve been living in Antarctica for the last few months, the long awaited Agent Carter premieres with its two hour special TODAY! I’m so excited, I’m practically bouncing off the walls. Unfortunately my excitement isn’t really shared by my friends, most of whom responded with “Huh?” when I mentioned the show to them. So here’s three essential things you need to know about Agent Carter.
1) She’s Captain America’s tough as nails first love
To recap, we first met Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), where she was introduced as an agent of the Strategic Scientific Reserve who had to supervise recruits as they trained to become candidates for the Super Soldier programme.
From the first time she knocked out a loudmouthed recruit who made fun of her accent, Peggy Carter soon proved that she was that rarest of characters – a strong, tough as nails female character who took no prisoners. Even when a member of Hydra broke into the basement lab where Steve Rogers was given the Super Soldier serum, Peggy Carter was the only one who dared to shoot back. No wonder she caught his eye.
Peggy has been featured before in a one-shot that was included in the Iron Man 3 (2013) DVD, but it was all too short and left me wanting more. The next time she showed up on screen was in archival footage at a Captain America exhibit in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), before the scene cut to Steve Rogers visiting a wizened Peggy in a nursing home.
Fun fact from the comics (and possible spoiler) – Agent 13 a.k.a. Sharon Carter (Emily Van Camp), or Steve’s cute neighbour/SHIELD agent in Winter Soldier, is Peggy’s niece. And she eventually becomes Cap’s love interest. #BorderlineEwww
2) She’s one of the founding agents of SHIELD
If you’ve ever wondered what happened to Peggy after finding out that Steve Rogers went down in a plane, Agent Carter has all the answers. The seven-week series is set a year after the events of Captain America: The First Avenger, and Peggy has been relegated to a desk job while the male SSR agents get to go on field assignments.
However, her old friend Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) tasks her with finding out who has stolen his deadliest weapons and put them up for sale. Assisted by his butler Edwin Jarvis (James D’Arcy), Peggy goes undercover and does what she does best – kicking ass and taking names.
And if the SSR sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the forerunner of a certain agency called SHIELD. Peggy Carter has even made an appearance in Agents of SHIELD.
3) She’s a feminist icon – in every way
The prevailing sexist attitudes of the 1940s means that a woman like Peggy Carter would have met with a lot of obstacles, and the eloquent Atwell has much to say about the similarities between Peggy and herself:
“I think I probably mostly relate to her in that she’s a modern woman … culturally at the moment and certainly in my generation, there’s been this expectation that, because we’ve moved so far ahead from the 1940s about where women can be in the workplace, she’s having to find a way of having it all, and what I can relate to is that struggle between the personal life and the professional life. Now there’s a pressure for women to be good mothers and good wives but also to be heading businesses, and the toll that that takes, I think, personally on women is that they’re having to juggle all of those things.”
Agent Carter marks the first time Marvel has had a female-led TV series, and headed by two female showrunners (Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas) no less. While this is indeed a triumph, I’m still waiting for the first female-led big screen outing from them. (Where the hell is my Black Widow movie?!)
Agent Carter airs on ABC starting TODAY with a two-hour premiere. Check out the rest of our Agent Carter coverage here.
Are you as excited about Agent Carter as we are? Tell us!