A Sin to Err – Peggy’s triple life finally catches up with her when Sousa and the SSR team figure out she’s been the mysterious meddling female in their investigation from the start which forces her on the run. As Peggy gets closer to Leviathan and her unknown sleeper agent/friendly neighbour Dotti, the SSR finds the Russian organisation is closer to home than they thought.
The most fun thing about Carter’s shortened series run is just how quickly everything is suddenly moving. After just 6 weeks we have here what must be considered an answers episode (Lost fans, this when a series actually explains things) as many simmering plotlines come to the boil. The biggest of course is Peggy getting rumbled. It ties in nicely to the increased praise and respect she earned from her normally chauvinistic fellows last week to make their subsequent reactions to the news of her deception all the more meaningful. The episode even permits individual focus on several characters confronting Peggy once our doll’s jig is up. We see Jack professional and to the point but far dismissing Peggy’s claims of innocence; encouraging her to come quietly back to the department and explain her story. This is good building on the enjoyable humanising of Jack’s character last week and creates convincing grounds for him to ultimately believe her if required. Then, by contrast, Sousa’s exchange is purely emotional. No attempt is made to reason with a man she knows has enough feelings for her not to pull the trigger. Overcoming both opponents one after the other is great example of her well rounded character. Embracing her masculine side to overpower Jack before utilising her femininity to disarm Sousa; showing that she is a more capable agent for being a woman rather than the reverse everyone would have her believe...... and of course, she kicks some serious arse! Her attempted arrest in the diner is most the impressive fight/action sequence the series has produced yet and enough to make you wonder one of Peggy’s subsequent son would be named Jason Bourne taking heavily after her mother. It’s an amazing sequence as she trades blows with the 3 agents while still keeping her head in the game to improvise weaponry and help Jarvis block the door for reinforcements.
The faces of Leviathan also put on an impressive show for us this week. Dotti danced into our hearts as a lovable slice of clinically controlled sadism and here we get to enjoy her going more directly to work now we’re fully aware she’s a trained from childhood assassin. Bridget Regan is utterly fantastic is she snap switches from the charming small town girl to the vicious killer in an instant. Her seen with the dentist is both brutally brilliant and even extremely fun as the pervert kinda deserved to be lady served even if the drill use was a squirm worthy moment. This also sets up the episodes best storytelling sequence as we’re fully suckered in to Dotti making a sniper assassination only to see her sending Morse code with the riffle’s sight lenses to her new inside contact..... a moment of absolute genius! Which brings us nicely to Dotti’s work husband and newly revealed Leviathan inside man (it’s quite early so minimal spoilers), the previously rescued hostage Dr Ivchenko. So now we know the whole setup/trap of last week’s “From Russia with war buddies” mission was to get the doc within SSR walls; apparently after the Stark tech they’re still holding (presumably the Steve Rogers blood sample). His slow psychological manipulation and exploitation of various agents while alone with them is so fun to watch. How he instantly spots his target’s weakness such as the Chief’s marriage problems by how accommodating and homely his office is; only to gentlely kneed and nature it into a point of suggestive control with a creepy focus on his ring. It’s so powerful that in the finest River Tam style he can literally kill you with his brain. It also makes you wonder if the doc has further MCU implications in fields such as brainwashing. Would he have been involved with the kind of mental programming work used on Bucky Barnes to make him The Winter Solider? The only thing dissatisfying here is that it doesn’t quite answer enough regarding this Russian nemesis organisation leaving us with (presumably) a lot of ground to cover in the final two episodes. Dr Ivchenko may well be their leader but we still really don’t know what they’re trying to do or how the battle/massacre of Finow fits into their creation. A bit more progression this week feels like it would make the remaining dosses easier to swallow.
In keeping with the balanced feel of the series the episode still offers some great lighter and comedic scenes. The best of which is definitely the Jarvis slap montage as he’s unwillingly reunited the last 6 months worth of notches on Howard’s Stark’s bed for which he was frequently the transitional facilitator of their undignified departure. You can trust picture a British accented period equivalent of Jarvis recreating the Pepper Pots “taking out the trash” scene from Iron Man. Some of the ladies reactions to seeing him are just wonderful; not to mention Peggy deliberately making him go through it all partly for her amusement. Then this episode also sees the welcome return of Angie in a significant part as she goes all Team America to save the day with her (over) acting. As our favourite future Oscar winning waitress is effectively in on Peggy’s secret life hopefully we’ll see this enjoyable character fully joining Team Cater which looks exactly where these events heading. We know the series will show the origins of Shield as a splinter/breakaway faction from the SSR. So it feels like we’ll see a few faces abandoning the SSR to help Peggy stop Leviathan and staying together to form the organisation’s inaugural class. Jack and Sousa seem likely candidates as for one reason or another they’re both poised to believe her. The really interesting part will be if one of the gang is revealed to be the beginning of the Hydra conspiracy within its ranks (the original severed head from which all others rose).
A Sin to Err is a terrific change up episode, altering the entire dynamic of the show while being highly entertaining and delivering satisfying payoffs on prior build ups. They’re still tantalisingly teasing us over the unavoidable Peggy Vs Dotti femme fatal death match but their more gentle encounter this week sets it up nicely as both sides become mutually aware. As great as things are now there’s nagging concern that Agent Carter has left itself too far to travel on its final leg and it’s been such an enjoyable short run that many will be watching wishing it could be a more extended series (fingers crossed we’ll see some crossover/continuation flashbacks in remaining Agents of Shield episodes). Yet the quality level to date has earned our trust and faith that things will all climax nicely. For now we eagerly await her interrogation next week with only the sin of impatience.