On the 16th of November, followers of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe (namely, its serial television shows) were blessed with the release date of ‘Agent Carter’, season 2. The hugely popular television show, renewed for a second season in May 12015, will begin season 2 on the 5th of January 2016, almost a year since the premiere of the first episode. Despite mentioning ‘Agent Carter’ in several articles regarding Marvel, I’ve never directly written about the show itself- and following the release of this news it seems apt to discuss the first season, offer a review, and ponder about what is to come.
Our protagonist, Agent Peggy Carter, originates from the Marvel Cinematic Universe- specifically the 2011 film, ‘Captain America: The First Avenger.’ She appears as Steve Roger’s (later Captain America) ally, a member of MI6, helping the SSR in their ‘super soldier’ program, along with Howard Stark. If that name sounds familiar, that’s because the man is father of billionaire, genius, playboy, philanthropist Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man. Like his son, Stark is a robotics genius, his talents often offering help for Peggy every time she finds herself in a scrape. The story begins after WW2, following the mysterious disappearance, and apparent death of Captain America. Although Peggy feels the loss of her love interest, she’s determined to make sure his sacrifice was not in vain, and help the SSR ‘clear up’ Nazi and Hydra war criminals alike. However, Peggy runs into roadblocks quicker than you would expect. Howard Stark’s weapons of mass destruction appear to have been stolen, and are turning up on the black market. The SSR, noting Stark’s sleazy dealings of the past, accuse the man of faking a burglary, and selling the weapons himself, motivating Howard to quickly go into hiding. In dire need of assistance, he turns to Peggy, the only person who still trusts him, and begs her to clear his name by discovering the true culprit. With the help of Stark’s right hand man, Edwin Jarvis, Agent Peggy Carter stands against the evils of the world, in order to save her friend.
Despite having no official ‘special ability’, Hayley Atwell, who portrays Peggy, has proudly stated ‘Her superpower is the fact that other people underestimate her.’ The setting of the show; mid-to-late 1940s, was a time in which women were expected to stay in the home, despite the steadily growing number of women in the workforce. The script makes no effort to cover this up- some characters display blatant misogyny towards Peggy, others treat her with respect. Unlike some television shows (cough, ‘Supergirl’, cough), there is no incredulity that there is, shock horror, a female superhero. Peggy provided with a full character, meaning that both the audience, and her friends, give her the respect she deserves.
In short, this announcement acts as a reminder for the release of ‘Agent Carter’’s second season. The first Marvel project with a female lead, ‘Agent Carter’ has not only set a precedent for following Marvel projects (‘Jessica Jones’, ‘Captain Marvel’), but for the Superhero genre. Hopefully further programs will follow suit, and we’ll be provided with many more well-rounded, and well-written, female leads.