‘Time and Tide’ Plot:
Following the final clue provided by Leet Brannis (James Frain), Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) investigates how Brannis stole Howard Stark’s (Dominic Cooper) technology. Her investigation is stalled however when the S.S.R. pulls Edwin Jarvis (James D’Arcy) in for questioning.
As of right now, Agent Carter is nothing more than a limited series. We’re only going to get eight episodes detailing Peggy Carter’s adventures until Marvel says otherwise. With that in mind, it’s easy to imagine the pressure the crew felt in creating this fun new show. Eight episodes honestly isn’t a lot of time and what we’re watching has some huge ramifications. So I can totally understand moving the story along quickly in order to hit the necessary beats before the show comes to an end. However, as we saw with “Time and Tide,” this requires us to take some pretty big liberties with the overall story. Fortunately there was enough excellent character focus to keep this episode in good graces.
Since last week’s premiere was actually two episodes back to back, I have to remind myself that this is episode three and we’re one away from the halfway point. It makes perfect sense that this is the time to discover where Stark’s stolen technology went. Now we have plenty of time to deal with the ramifications of that and exactly how Carter can clear his name. What I don’t like is how unbelievably easy it was. Do you really expect me to believe that Howard Stark, one of the smartest men in the entire world, wouldn’t think to just walk down the sewer underneath his house? His stolen technology was right outside on a boat in the bay. This seriously is something he could have wrapped up in, what, a day? Even if he couldn’t get the stuff back himself, this feels like an investigation he could have done quickly and then put Carter on the case to find out who took it. Carter finding it because she had the brilliant idea to go down the vault hole is just too simple for this show. Again, I know they need to move the story forward, but it has to be done in a better manner.
Thankfully, there is a lot that “Time and Tide” did right, so this is okay. A big element that I loved about this episode was its focus on Edwin Jarvis. As we all know, Jarvis is a major part of Stark history. Tony himself even names his entire operating system J.A.R.V.I.S. Yet we actually barely know anything about the man. That has now changed. Throughout this hour, we see a new side to this very dapper butler and get some excellent insight into what brought him to Stark during the war. The interrogation between Agent Jack Thompson (Chad Michael Murray) and Jarvis was a definite highlight. Watching Jarvis withstand repeated accusations was awesome, as was John D’Arcy’s facial expressions as we slowly watched this calm man break down when his wife is threatened. Jarvis’s fierce loyalty is clearly a great strength of his, but it’s also a weakness. He dedicates himself to his wife Anna to the point of losing his perfect composure when the idea of her harm is brought up. Being dishonorably discharged from the armed forces is okay with him simply because Anna was saved. There’s still plenty more to learn, but we definitely know a lot more about Jarvis now, and I love that.
There was also the continued focus on Carter’s womanhood and how it’s a double-edged sword. Wielding the obvious lack of respect her co-workers have, Carter is able to feign a misplaced report to save Jarvis. Chief Roger Dooley (Shea Whigham) believes it obviously. In his mind, Carter is inferior, so surely she of all people would lose a report. Watching them make Carter apologize to Thompson was painful but clearly it’s the cost she was willing to endure. In the end, it was still a victory because Jarvis was free. Yet later on when Carter finds Stark’s stolen goods and she wants to call it in, Jarvis advises against it. Not only can finding the technology implicate her as an ally to the Stark hating S.S.R., her own personal standing with her co-workers basically means that they would never make her the hero. So this forces Carter to continue her mission in the shadows, a concept that both makes the show more interesting and actually gives the S.S.R. something beneficial to do. Hey, at least Agent Daniel Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) is getting some of the credit now!
Speaking of the S.S.R., things took a dark turn tonight near the end of episode. Unfortunately, we still have no idea who is behind the Stark theft, or how a former strongman named Jerome Zandow (Rob Mars) was involved, but that won’t stop these mysterious forces from acting. The surprise deaths of both Agent Ray Krzeminski (Kyle Bornheimer) and Zandow are two excellent examples. Carter may be doing everything she can to finish her mission but now we see the actual downside to her involvement. To be honest, I’m not sad that Krzeminski died. He was terrible to our heroine, cheated on his wife, and we barely knew him. What is sad is how heavily it weighs on Carter. He’s dead because she is the one who got Jarvis to (hilariously) phone in the tip. He was an innocent casualty in her legally treasonous quest to clear Stark’s name. A tough pill to swallow, and also a wise use of a character who, as the viewer is concerned, totally sucked.
“Time and Tide” used this to end on an emotional note between Carter and Angie (Lyndsy Fonseca) as well. Angie continues to be a supporting character in Carter’s life and definitely doesn’t get as much screentime as the other characters, but we saw even more how important she is to the story. Angie is that one person Carter can go to when things go to hell. She can’t mourn Krzeminski’s death to Jarvis or Miriam (Meagen Fay). That’s where this trusty Automat waitress/neighbor comes in. I have no doubt that eventually Angie will become swept into Carter’s life of espionage, but right now I’m really enjoying her as that fringe. You can’t always mix business with pleasure/
Overall, “Time and Tide” was another solid hour for Marvel’s newest show. It kept the story moving forward, gave the S.S.R. more to do, and shed a ton of light on Jarvis. The fight between Carter/Jarvis and Zandow was cool too. Yet in order to get where we are, we had to take a sizable liberty, which isn’t something I’m okay with. At the very least, the next episode in two weeks is bringing Stark back into the picture, and I look forward to seeing what that changes on the show.
Marvel’s Agent Carter airs every Tuesday night on ABC.
Luke Kalamar is Pop-Break.com’s television and every Saturday afternoon you can read his retro video game column, Remembering the Classics. He covers Game of Thrones, Saturday Night Live and The Walking Dead (amongst others) every week. As for as his career and literary standing goes — take the best parts of Spider-man, Captain America and Luke Skywalker and you will fully understand his origin story.