Not exactly a rock ’em sock ’em hour for Agent Carter in the third episode “Time and Tide”, which is a shame considering the season/series is only slated for eight episodes in total. That’s not a lot of time to gather a head of steam, and while Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. took a solid fifteen episodes before really breaking interesting ground Agent Carter has no such luxury. It’s fortunate, then, that Hayley Atwell and James D’Arcy remain so watchable in this otherwise droll episode.
Following the death of the mysterious Brannis at the end of “Bridge and Tunnel”, Peggy is left with a partial symbol and a whole host of questions regarding the theft of Howard Stark’s inventions. The symbol kind of looks like a heart, and so Peggy goes digging. She consults the Book of Symbols on her bedside (sigh) and makes a shocking discov — oh, no, sorry. This doesn’t seem to lead anywhere. Okay. Move along.
At the precinct, Jarvis is dragged in for obstructing justice by refusing to divulge the whereabouts of Stark. Chad Michael Murray’s bust-your-chops cooking-with-gas hi-de-ho Combover Cop puts the squeeze on Jarvis, see, figuring him for a crummy fuddy-duddy, but Jarvis gives him bupkis. The shit really hits the fan when a massive — sorry. Nothing actually happens here either. Next scene.
Our review of “Bridge and Tunnel” touched on the pitfalls of the increasingly interconnected Marvel Cinematic Universe, not an unpopular subject these days, and we still hold out hope that Agent Carter does more than just fill the allotted space in that universe. Frankly, as “Time and Tide” slogs along, considering that interconnectedness in a positive light instead actually does the show a benefit. Take Jarvis, for example, as this episode followed suit from the previous episode in focusing on his character quite a bit. A noble attempt is made here to complicate Jarvis by bringing up his past, and though that attempt undoubtedly overstretches it still forces consideration of the larger picture. We know from Iron Man that Tony Stark names his A.I. system after his father’s butler, and so there’s room for Jarvis (the real one) to expand a lot more.
“I am always honest”, Jarvis says. That’s probably also true for J.A.R.V.I.S., being as truthful as a computerized voice can be — but the Jarvis name may be soiled in Avengers: Age of Ultron if Tony Stark has as much to do with the creation of Ultron as we suspect. For that matter, it also may be redeemed again if J.A.R.V.I.S. is reworked into Vision, taking into account that Paul Bettany voices the former and will be portraying the latter. Names are important in the MCU, and they can either be dropped clumsily in an effort to connect everything or they can connect naturally through a series of stories. We’re hoping the Jarvis name receives the latter treatment, and including the butler at the beginning of it all in Agent Carter was a smart move.
So we’ll look forward to episode four with that positivity in mind, I suppose. The “lonely spy” themes could tie nicely with the birth of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Peggy’s role in that — “If you want to clear Mr. Stark’s name you’ll have to do so from the shadows” — will hopefully be a big part of the upcoming episodes. If it retains the snappy dialogue — “Mr. Stark would trust a shark not to bite him if it was wearing a short enough skirt” — and focuses more on the plot, the back half of the season could amount to more than just part of the whole.