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Marvels Agent Carter S1.07 "Snafu" review

So, there’s a vacancy at the top of the SSR now. Could Peggy be in for the most meteoric promotion in US employment history?

Blimey, that was intense but, after last week’s cliffhanger, not a surprise. The script ekes out a decent amount of tension, which was no easy task since “Snafu” was – structurally – the show’s most predictable episode yet. Partly because of its place in the season (penultimate episode), partly because of the interrogation scenario, it was always going to have to be a case of “Peggy refuses to talk until halfway through when she’s forced to open up when the villains show their true colours”. There were surprises – we thought Sousa was being set up to die until Dooley strapped on his death jacket, and Jarvis faking Stark’s confession was a peach – but mostly the episode was an exercise in delivering the expected in style.

Which it did with consummate ease.

Hayley Atwell was superb throughout as Peggy kept cool in the face of her accusers. It was interesting to see, though, how Sousa and Thompson were almost grasping at straws at times, trying to find reasons not to think of Peggy purely as a traitor. When she finally comes clean, she’s even more impressive to watch; even under arrest she can motivate the men into action. Plus, there were plenty of great Jarvis/Peggy dialogues. Honestly, if this show gets a second season, and Peggy is sent off on a mission to Russia, the Moon, Slough, or wherever, the writers need to find some reason why he should tag along no matter how tenuous.

Title Tattle

Snafu was a World War II US military term, originally an acronym for “Situation Normal: All F**cked Up”.

Dooley’s death was given more impact by the way the episode built snippets of his personal life and his own insecurities into the plot. It also made Ivchenko feel even more callously evil. If he’d just held a gun to Dooley’s head and forced him to put on the death jacket, he would have been just another Soviet heavy. Having him mess with Dooley’s mind feels substantially crueller and cold. We could even take him seriously if Ralph Brown’s accent weren’t so appalling.

Also interesting is the way that, more and more, Stark is being painted as a villain of the piece. Sure, he’s not traitor, but his womanising and unethical experimenting is now continually being called into question. Let’s hope he doesn’t just turn up next week, smile charmingly and win everybody over.

Once again, the evocation of ’40s New York was beautifully achieved. In some ways “Snafu” was almost a bottle episode, with most of the action taking place in one location and a lot of talking, but when it did get out of the SSR HQ, the production design and costumes were as sumptuous as ever. Even the public information film at the cinema – wonderfully warning parents that their children will be thrown out if they misbehave just before the riot breaks out – was a lovely period touch.

It’s a shame there weren’t a few more surprises, as breaking with convention and doing something unexpected has become an Agent Carter trademark. Hopefully the producers are saving the really big twists for next week. Otherwise, another solidly entertaining episode in a show that’s managing to maintain its high quality threshold.

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Best Line

Peggy: “I conducted my own investigation because nobody listens to me. I got away with it because no one looks at me. Because unless I have your reports, or coffee, or your lunch, I’m invisible.”

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Best Peggy/Jarvis Moment

Peggy: “I just thought of something.” Jarvis: “We’re still attached to the table.” Peggy: “We’re still attached to the table.”

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Easter Egg

Dr Ivchenko is seen reading Faustus. In Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD, Hydra uses “The Faustus Method” to brainwash people. Presumably Ivchenko developed the method. Dr Faustus was also a villain in the Captain America comics, who at one point was Cap’s psychiatrist, but presumably Ivchenko is not supposed to be the same character (even though he had Hydra connections) as his real name was Johan Fennhoff, an Austrian.

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The Limitation Game

Jarvis might read the Morse Code message as “Prepare for evacuation” but Peggy actually only writes down “evacuation”. Also, why are Ivchenko and Dottie communicating in English, not Russian?

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Most Emotional Moment

Poor old Dooley. His sacrifice is upstaged by one simple, heartfelt line from Peggy: “I suppose I just wanted a second chance at keeping him safe,” she says, referring to Captain America’s blood.

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Best Action Moment

Once again, Dooley’s explosive death is upstaged, this time by Dottie’s brilliant way of getting downstairs fast.

Marvel's Agent Carter is broadcast in the US on ABC on Tuesday nights.

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