The Blitzkrieg Button heralds the return of Howard Stark to Agent Carter and directly references Captain America.
AGENT CARTER EPISODE 1.4 “THE BLITZKRIEG BUTTON”
Director: Stephen Cragg
Writer: Brant Englestein
Original Air Date: Tuesday, January 27th, 2015
Starring: Hayley Atwell, James D’Arcy, Dominic Cooper
Previously on Agent Carter 1.3 “Time and Tide”: Peggy learns just how high the stakes are when a co-worker pays the ultimate price. Jarvis has a secret.
A LITTLE SLOW WHEN SECRETS ARE INVOLVED
The Blitzkrieg Button marks the halfway point in Agent Carter’s airing schedule and, unfortunately, much like the episode that preceded it, it’s not the strongest one in the bunch. The majority of the episode is wrapped up in the return of Howard Stark (played with great aplomb by Dominic Cooper), and the drama this inevitably drums up for Peggy (Hayley Atwell).
The episode opens with Jarvis (James D’Arcy), and Peggy engaging in an illicit deal of indeterminate nature. Jarvis handles himself pretty well throughout the transaction given that field work is rather beyond his foray and Peggy gets the chance to beat up some more nameless thugs, which is perhaps getting to be a bit predictable (and maybe a bit of a crutch for writers like Brant Englestein), it is nonetheless entertaining. The problem with this introduction to The Blitzkrieg Button is that we begin the trend of Jarvis has a crutch and the tell is so obvious (the fact that it is being played for the camera aside), it comes across as insulting that Peggy doesn’t notice it earlier.
The tell persists through a few uncomfortable scenes between Peggy and Jarvis in a move that feels like a misstep on behalf of Englestein. Previous episodes of Agent Carter have worked hard to establish a trust between these two characters and it feels like a cheap move to wrench it asunder for the sake of illustrating that Jarvis’ loyalty ultimately lie with Howard Stark.
Further to Mr. Stark, he enters the scene with the highest energy in the entire episode. The character’s treatment of women is not necessarily out of character – and not even inappropriate for the time period – but it does feel a touch out of place in an episode of a show whose theme is the capability of women. The title The Blitzkrieg Button is a reference to one of Howard Stark’s inventions that he needs Peggy to recover for him from the S.S.R. There is a pretty cool scene about halfway through the episode where Howard bequeaths a hand-held camera pen to Peggy for their mission and the scene is so reminiscent of a Q/James Bond scene that it is nearly impossible not to delight in it.
Unfortunately, Englestein also takes the opportunity to reveal the identity of the assassin from the episode previous and it’s a rather uninspired choice. I’m not going to spoil it for the sake of this review save to point out that the importance of the assassin role is given to a character who serves no greater purpose to the arc of Agent Carter as a series and is shaping up to have little to no impact on Peggy personally when their identity is ultimately revealed. That in mind, it’s not the worst choice ever, just a disappointingly uninspired one to grace the narrative of The Blitzkrieg Button.
The Blitzkrieg Button culminates in Howard’s betrayal of Peggy, but in a less obvious way than the rest of the narrative beats would have suggested. It does tie directly in Steve Rogers and in that way plays heavily on Peggy’s emotions and all but shatters her bond with Howard.
The most interesting thing about The Blitzkrieg Button is that it has been proven to Peggy that even the men she thought she could lean on are not to be trusted because none of them are evidently able to completely trust her. By the end of the episode she is alone, which does feel a bit like a step backward, but will put Agent Carter in an interesting position for its final set of episodes.
Oh, and this is the episode with the Stan Lee cameo!
THE BOTTOM LINE: A GOOD EPISODE
The Blitzkrieg Button is a good episode of Agent Carter, though is a bit of a letdown in the wake of some amazing ones. It has good scenes and good idea that will hopefully pay off in the latter half of the series.