S01xE06: “A Sin to Err”
Throughout this season of Agent Carter, fellow SSR agents have continuously err’d in their perceptions of Peggy Carter, which she has used to her advantage, until now. While she was previously acknowledged for her bravery and tactical skills during the op with the Commandoes in Russia, the SSR is beginning to discover they have underestimated Peggy Carter and what she is capable of. Her deception and “double agent” status started out as a necessary evil because of a clear refusal from her male coworkers to allow her to give her expertise to their investigations. Peggy’s femaleness has barred her from being treated as an equal member of the SSR staff and his underestimation has led to a break within the SSR that can only be fixed if those around her are able to reconcile Peggy’s abilities and intentions along with her femaleness. For Peggy, this may mean being treated as harshly as any traitor would, as her peers discover the secrets she’s been keeping from them.
spoilers ahead, sweetie…
Limited Choices Within the Feminine Sphere
As Peggy uncovers more about Leviathan and their plans for world domination via the female child, she also has created a discord between herself and the SSR based on her omission of information. The SSR’s mistaken assumptions about Howard Stark’s involvement in the stolen weapons plot place Peggy into the position of “double agent”. The misandry of her fellow agents–which includes accusing Peggy of having a sexual relationship with Captain America, belittling her skills as a translator and tactical operator, confining her to office work until able to exploit her connections with the Howling Commandoes– has forced Peggy to rebel in order to solve a case she is more than qualified to work. Peggy’s lack of options within the feminine sphere have limited her choices and ultimately placed her reputation and career in jeopardy.
According to Albert Camus’ absurdist existential text, The Rebel, “Rebellion is born of the spectacle of irrationality, confronted with an unjust and incomprehensible condition…It protests, it demands, it insists that the outrage be brought to an end, and that what has up to now been built upon shifting sands should henceforth be founded on rock.” For Peggy, rebellion is seated in her desire not only to save the country from the destruction of Stark’s stolen weapons, but to escape the feminine sphere her coworkers at the SSR have placed her in. The absurdity of rebellion lies in its justifiable nature and the rebel’s ability to simultaneously disregard societal laws while attempting to shift meaning to create a new standard. Peggy Carter has committed treason, and yet she is able to justify the act as necessary in order to accomplish her dual goals of a) saving the world and b) erradicating misogyny within the SSR. Peggy is as unable to escape her quest for justice as she is her femaleness and with the success or failure of one comes the success or failure of the other. If Peggy is able to convince her peers of the necessity of rebellion, her femaleness will also become valuable. The “unjust and incomprehensible” nature of the Leviathan plot (which includes Dottie the spy and the Russian scientist who is able to hypnotize SSR agents) as well as the gender stereotypes placed on Peggy can all be eradicated, but only if her persecutors at the SSR are able to accept the absurdity and dual nature of Peggy Carter.
Peggy Carter and the MCU
Peggy has figured out that Dottie is a Russian secret agent, but depending at her reception by the SSR, may be forced to keep that information to herself for the time being. Speaking of Dottie, can I give a great big round of applause to ABC, who broadcast a short and sweet Dottie/Peggy kiss on a network program set in the 40s, during prime time.
That kiss, by the way, led to Peggy’s subsequent arrest and capture by the SSR, who have dubbed her public enemy number one, and where Peggy has finally found a sort of equality in persecution when Dooley tells Sousa and Thompson not to “go easy on her just because she’s a girl.” Angie has finally found out that Peggy isn’t all she’s claimed to be, but still protects her friend by breaking into tears and helping Peggy evade the agents by making them really, really uncomfortable. Jarvis and Peggy were seen together, but it seems Jarvis escaped during Peggy’s arrest. While Peggy is sitting in holding at the SSR, Dottie is running around Brooklyn, plotting against America and foiling Peggy’s coworkers. Hopefully, Peggy will be able to convince Sousa, Thompson and Dooley of her legitimate investment in the case, because otherwise, the world is going to shit.
There are only two episodes left! We want to make sure this show gets renewed for a second season, so tune in and live tweet #AgentCarter with me @nerdwrldprblms Tuesdays at 8pm West Coast time.
Agent Carter is on ABC, Tuesdays at 8pm.