REVIEW: AGENT CARTER – SEASON 2

 

CAST

Hayley Atwell (Cinderella)
James D’Arcy (Master and Commander)
Chad Michael Murray (Freaky Friday)
Enver Gjokaj (Dollhouse)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Bridget Regan (Beauty and The Beast)
Wynn Everett (The Heist)
Reggie Austin (Desperate Housewives)
Currie Graham (Weeds)
Lotte Verbeek (Outlander)
Kurtwood Smith (That 70sm Show)
Ken Marino (Veronica Mars)
Ray Wise (Swamp Thing)
Dominic Cooper (Dracula Untold)
Lyndsy Fonseca (Kick-Ass)

Image result for AGENT CARTER THE LADY IN THE LAKEAgent Carter season 2 would be it’s last. As Agents of SHIELD delves into more and more straight up superhero storylines  and the Netflix/Marvel series bring the MCU into some much darker corners than any other content they create, Agent Carter once more provided a very different source of entertainment. From its period setting, to its focus on heroes without any sort of superpowers, to its tone, Agent Carter continued to bring something different and appreciated to the Marvel TV landscape and the MCU in general.

Image result for AGENT CARTER A VIEW IN THE DARKHayley Atwell once more was as captivating and excellent as ever as Peggy Carter, a character she’s come to completely embody over the years. Peggy came into Season 2 with some of the burdens she had in Season 1 off her shoulders – she’d moved past her initial grief over losing Steve Rogers and didn’t have to deal with quite as much oppressive sexism at the SSR. But soon enough she found herself dealing with a formidable opponent in Whitney Frost – one whose Darkforce (or “Zero Matter”) supplied powers turned her into a true supervillain.

Image result for AGENT CARTER BETTER ANGELSWynn Everett was terrific as Whitney, someone who felt compelled to hide and underplay her incredible intelligence thanks to the era she lived in. The episode “Smoke & Mirrors” evocatively showed us moments that defined both Peggy and Whitney as they grew up, forging them into the very different, but equally strong-willed women they were in 1947.Image result for AGENT CARTER BETTER ANGELSAnother great addition was Lotte Verbeek as Ana Jarvis, Edwin Jarvis’ oft-mentioned, never-seen wife in Season 1. I was wary of them introducing Ana at all after the way she was an off-camera presence last year, but she was so likeable and open – and Verbeek did such a great job showing her kindness and spunk – she easily became an endearing part of the show. Jarvis himself was an interesting element in Season 2. Peggy and Jarvis’ partnership was wonderfully depicted in Season 1 and understandably became a fan favorite element. Season 2 continued that in a big way, and Atwell and James D’Arcy were as amazingly charismatic together as ever.Image result for AGENT CARTER SMOKE & MIRRORSAna being shot resulted in some very strong moments for Ana herself, Jarvis and the two together – and one hell of a scene for Jarvis and Peggy as well, as the two had a pretty brutal argument, with the two close friends each getting in some cruel jabs in the heat of the moment. D’Arcy rose to the occasion showing “Dark Jarvis,” and I was glad to see some more nuance and layers added to the character.Image result for agent carter the atomic jobReggie Austin was likable as Dr. Jason Wilkes and he and Atwell had a nice rapport as the two enjoyed some early flirtation, though ultimately, the character felt a bit bland – even as he had his own struggle with Dark Matter and his battle to stay corporeal. His would-be romance with Peggy really went nowhere, though the two had a nice scene in the season finale, with a melancholy “what could have been” beat included.Image result for agent carter life of the partyEnver Gjokaj was still easy to root for as Daniel Sousa, and tough I feel bad for his poor fiancé-for-a-second, Violet (a charming Sarah Bolger), it was hard not to be happy for Sousa and Peggy finally getting together in the finale.Chad Michael Murray continued to bring the appropriate smarm as Thompson and while it was frustrating to see him revert so much to not trusting Peggy’s instincts early on – and at times it felt murky whether he was just a straight up villain now or not – the final episodes managed to really pull together an intriguing look at a guy who was such an opportunist and so often hard to like, but ultimately did have noble intentions, albeit often coupled with horrible tactics.Image result for agent carter the edge of mysteryCurrie Graham (as Whitney’s in over his head politician husband, Chadwick), Kurtwood Smith (as Thompson’s nasty mentor, Vernon), Ken Marino (as gangster Joseph Manfredi) and the returning Ray Wise (as Roxxon Oil head Hugh Jones) all added to the proceedings as characters who came into Peggy’s orbit, while Dominic Cooper was as fun and entertaining as ever in his two appearances as Howard Stark. And a special nod has to go to Bridget Regan, who was oh-so dynamic and engaging as the badass – and Peggy-obsessed — Dottie, Season 1’s surprise Black Widow, who ended up being reluctantly recruited by an injured Peggy.Image result for agent carter hollywood endingAgent Carter: Season 2 was tightly-constructed as was Season 1 and had a great tone to it. It was another fun season filled with compelling characters – including a strong villain – and 1940s, Marvel-flavored spy heroics, which benefitted from the new visuals the Los Angeles setting gave it. And most of all, it still boasted Peggy Carter herself, who was as awesome as ever. With this being the last season hopefully we will see her show up in other Marvel Projects

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REVIEW: AGENT CARTER – SEASON 1

MAIN CAST
Hayley Atwell (Cinderella)
James D’Arcy (Hitchcock)
Chad Michael Murray (House of Wax)
Enver Gjokaj (Dollhouse)
Shea Whigham (American Hustle)
RECURRING AND NOTABLE GUEST CAST
Dominic Cooper (Dracula Untold)
Lyndsy Fonseca (Kick-Ass)
James Frain (Gotham)
James Landry Hebert (Looper)
Meagen Fay (Species 4)
Ray Wise (Robocop)
Ralph Garman (Ted)
Bridget Regan (Beauty and the Beast 2012)
Jack Conley (Angel)
Neal McDonough (Arrow)
Leonard Roberts (Heroes)
Rick Peters (Veronica Mars)
Ralph Brown (Alien 3)
Toby Jones (The Hunger Games)
Considering it was a 1940s period piece starring an already-established, likable character and was created by the guys who wrote Captain America: The Winter Soldier, you’d think people would have been more excited going into Marvel’s Agent Carter. Not that I didn’t see plenty of excitement as well, mind you, but I also saw a lot of cynicism – stuff about how it was a “prequel” and thus “wouldn’t matter” and also about how because Peggy and the other characters didn’t have superpowers, “Who cares?”But Agent Carter didn’t need to succeed by setting up something to pay off in another film it just needed to be an entertaining, involving show. And boy, was it.
Yes, it only got better as it went along, but Agent Carter — which came from executive producers/showrunners Michele Fazekas & Tara Butters — was a lot of fun from the start. Hayley Atwell had already established how great she is as the character and easily slid into the lead role, and pairing her with Edwin Jarvis (James D’Arcy) was an inspired move. Atwell and D’Arcy had terrific, non-romantic, chemistry together, playing Peggy and Jarvis as an instantly lovable, quirky duo and making the scenes where Jarvis accompanied Peggy on missions really pop – even before Peggy got to beat up bad guys.
With only eight episodes, Agent Carter moved quickly, in a satisfying manner. Bridget Regan was introduced as Peggy’s neighbor, Dottie, and just a week later – with fans already speculating on what her character could really be – she’s killing a guy, leading into a really awesome reveal that Agent Carter was introducing the Black Widow program into the mix.

Agent Carter wasn’t tied into the modern Marvel movies in a direct way, but there were a ton of cool connections throughout, beyond Peggy’s important history with Captain America. Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper), while only appearing in three episodes, was crucial to the story, and we got an intriguing look into his psyche in the season finale.
Dum Dum Dugan and the Howling Commandos showed up, we got to see more than one Black Widow at work and then there was Dr. Ivchenko, AKA Fr. Fennhoff – who is also known as the Marvel villain Dr. Faustus and who turned out to be tied into the Winter Soldier by the end, via a cool Marvel-movie type final scene.
In general, all the characters were really clicked. It was surprising to see Lyndsy Fonseca play a non-action role here, but she made Angie incredibly likable and charismatic and the scenes between her and Peggy were very sweet, showing Peggy making a far more normal connection than her life usually allows. Early on, I was concerned by the portrayal of the men at the SSR. Except for Enver Gjokaj’s sympathetic Daniel Sousa, they all felt pretty one note. Yes, it was important and fitting, given the era the show was set in, to show just how dismissive the guys in the office, in general, were of Peggy, unable to see just how skilled she was and the contributions she could bring. But the first couple of episodes had Thompson (Chad Michael Murray), Dooley (Shea Wigwam) and Krzeminski (Kyle Bornheimer) all feeling pretty similar and one-note, in a way that could have quickly become grating. Fortunately, the most annoying of this bunch, Krzeminski, was soon dead and Dooley and Thompson became much more nuanced as the season continued.
Dooley doing his own investigating and seeing that things didn’t ad up as  Howard Stark being the culprit was a great touch, letting us see why this guy was in charge in the first place. And the mission in Russia in “The Iron Ceiling”(a standout episode) gave us a ton of insight into Thompson and who he really was versus the image he projected. The season culminated in a very satisfying manner, with Dooley’s noble sacrifice, the reason behind Fennhoff’s anger at Howard revealed and a big cathartic release for Peggy, who got to beat Dottie in combat and finally really and truly put Steve Rogers to rest. This latter part was especially handled well and reinforced something that had been occurring to me all season – that it was especially silly to dismiss Agent Carter as “a prequel” when, if anything, it worked as a pretty direct sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger, simply following what happened next for Peggy (and, to a lesser extent, Howard) after that film’s events, instead of Steve.

REVIEW: BEAUTY & THE BEAST – SEASON 1-3

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MAIN CAST

Kristin Kreuk (Smallville)
Jay Ryan (Young Hercules)
Austin Basis (J.Edgar)
Nina Lisandrello (The Devil Wears Prada)
Nicole Gale Anmderson (Mean Girls 2)
Sendhil Ramamurthy (Heroes)
Brian White (The Cabin In The Woods)
Max Brown (The Tudors)
Amber Skye Noyes (One Life To Live)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST STARS

Yannick Bisson (Murdoch Mysteries)
Britt Irvin (V)
Khaira Ledeyo (Just Cause)
Peter Outerbridge (ReGenesis)
Rob Stewart (Painkiller Jane)
Elizabeth Blackmore (The Vampire Diaries)
Luke Macfarlane (Kinsey)
Lara Jean Chorostecki (Hannibal)
David Richmond-Peck (Sanctuary)
Kelly Overton (True Blood)
Mike Dopud (Stargate Universe)
Rachel Skarsten (Reign)
Bianca Lawson (Buffy)
Rena Sofer (Heroes)
Bridget Regan (Agent Carter)
Luke Roberts (Black Sails)
Brendan Hines (Lie To Me)
William deVry (Stargate SG.1)
Ty Olsson (Battlestar Galactica)
Edi Gathegi (X-Men: First Class)
Shantel VanSanten (The Flash)
Steve Blund (Bitten)
Ted Whittall (Smallville)
Brian Tee (Jurassic World)
David de Latour (Power Rangers Jungle Fury)
Annie Ilonzeh (Arrow)
Riley Smith (Eight Legged Freaks)
Haley Webb (The Final Destination)
Elisabeth Rohm (Joy)
Paul Johansso (Highlander: The Raven)
Michael Filipowich (Earth: Final Conflict)
Tom Everett Scott (Scream: The Series)
Brennan Brown (The Man In The High Castle)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Steve Valentine (Mike & Molly)
Danielle Bisutti (Curse of Chucky)
Anthony Ruivivar (Starship Troopers)
Charlotte Arnold (Patriot)
Zach Appelman (Sleepy Hollow)
Natasha Henstridge (Species)
Alan Van Sprang (Reign)
Stephen McHattie (300)
Lochlyn Munro (Little Man)
Jason Gedrick (Iron Eagle)

This season revolves around Catherine and Vincent trying to pursue a relationship together, whilst being hunted down by a top-secret government organization named Muirfield who want Vincent dead. Muirfield are revealed to have conducted a high-profile secret experiment on soldiers fighting in Afghanistan. These experiments resulted in every soldier becoming physically stronger and faster, hoping this would win the war quicker. But, something went wrong, as the entire force went out of control with their new abilities. The government gave orders to kill them all, but Vincent escaped and has been in hiding ever since. Muirfield make several attempts to capture Vincent during this season, and even enlist the help of Cat and those close to her to capture him.Catherine’s family history is delved into in this first season, as her mother’s unsolved murder has preyed on her mind for nine years. Catherine witnessed her mother shot and killed by two hitmen who were then killed by Vincent. Catherine refused to believe the official police report that her mother’s death was that of carjacking gone wrong since the men who killed her mother suddenly appeared and began shooting without saying a word, as well as that the two dead killers identities were never found in any police record, leading Catherine to believe that her mother’s killing was that of a government conspiracy. It was later revealed that Catherine’s mother worked for Muirfield, conducting the experiments, and ultimately helped turn Vincent into a beast. Catherine must deal with conflicted feelings of her mother’s memory across this season, having been determined to solve her case for all this time. When Catherine watches her father get run over in the season finale, she then learns that, biologically, he was not her real father after all.

Vincent’s DNA mutates as the season progresses, as he becomes more beast-like. He begins experiencing black-outs, which J.T. associates with Catherine’s interference. Cat and Vincent will stop at nothing to see each other, however. Assistant District Attorney Gabriel Lowen visits Cat’s precinct to investigate the beast-like attack in the city and over time he reveals that not only does he know about Muirfield but that he shares the same ability as Vincent. At first an enemy, Gabriel goes on to become an ally to Vincent by the end of the first season and suggests he has found a cure to the virus inflicted on them by Muirfield. Vincent ultimately wonders if he wants to be cured or not.

Vincent is captured in the season finale as a helicopter drops a net on him and flies him away, leaving Catherine heartbroken. With Vincent captured, a gun is then aimed at Catherine’s head. But, someone orders them not to shoot; Agent Bob Reynolds –Catherine’s biological father.

A modern day take on the story which has Kristen Kreuk as ‘the Beauty’ & Jay Ryan as ‘the Beast’. A great series, plenty of ‘edge of your seat’ drama with a gentle love story woven through the plot.

Vincent was captured by Muirfield, an underground government organization that has been hunting him, in the previous season finale. Cat, the woman who he has fallen in love with and who accepts what he has been changed by Muirfield, will do anything to find him. This season, their love faces more challenges than ever before.  During the season, Vincent and Cat briefly break up with each other, due to Vincent having changed so much because of Muirfield wiping his memory. Cat starts a relationship with Gabe, a previous beast, now turned ally, while Vincent starts to date Tori, a wealthy socialite who has discovered that she is also a Beast. Eventually, after regaining his memories and Tori’s death during the season, Vincent realizes that he is still in love with Cat and tries to win her back, but she rejects his advances. However, slowly she starts to realize that she still loves him and they both get back together near the end of the season.

However, Gabe does not take the break up very well and starts to become obsessed with hunting down Vincent, by framing him for murder. He tries to hide his jealousy by claiming Vincent is dangerous, and he is only trying to protect Cat, while at the same time trying to win her back. However, he becomes more dangerous, as he suspends both Cat and Tess from the police force, becomes more ruthless and even goes so far as to kidnapping Cat’s sister Heather, who then later learns Vincent’s secret. However things become much worse after Gabe becomes a Beast again and starts killing those closest to Cat and Vincent. A final showdown will come between them finally ending the feud once and for all which could possibly end Vincent’s life.

The sizzling, on-screen chemistry between the two leads is not bettered by any paring on TV, anywhere. It’s what keeps the extensive, loyal fanbase watching this show. This Season exploring more and more the mythology the show add greater scope to the story.

Beauty and the Beast started off with a clear cut mission – save Vincent (Jay Ryan) from his unpredictable beast-infused self. As the narrative evolved and Vincent became both hero and victim in a multitude of ways, the writers took fans on a roundabout journey guided by Catherine’s (Kristin Kreuk) romantic entanglement with his character and her convenient position as a police detective. Although his beast side is still in tact after a series of near misses with potential antidotes, the writers have essentially given him a full pardon and put him squarely on the side of the do-gooders as he reenters the realm of living a “normal life.” No longer does Cat have to concern herself with the ramifications of his violent outbursts, for the most part, now they have other concerns. With Muirfield out of the picture, who has stepped in to fill their vast secret government agency shoes? This leads us to the overarching premise of season three.

With Vincent’s origin story largely revealed, the writers have veered away from some of the old storylines and brought in what appears to be a new antagonist, Liam who has links to the the past.


There were also some notable differences in the aesthetics of the latest beast. In the season three premiere of Beauty and the Beast, you’ll notice that there are almost no physical signs besides the increase in strength and agility, and glazed over eyes. This is unlike Vincent or any of the other past beasts who undergo a noticeable transition each time they beast out. One of the most interesting aspects of season three is clearly watching Cat and Vincent reconcile what it means to be a couple. It’s not a new concept for the show, entirely, but at the same time the writers have never had the opportunity to explore it without the constraints of Vincent’s under-the-radar lifestyle, which for the most part has been expunged along with his unflattering record. At the end of the season three opener, Vincent proposes to Cat. This proposal has been building over time.

At the core of Beauty and the Beast is Vincent and Cat’s relationship, and its ups and downs give the show a depth that balances out some of the more unrealistic events in the storyline. Despite the beast elements, there is a sense of relatability within their romantic struggles that fans find attractive.

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The return of Nicole Gale Anderson’s character, Heather, was an excellent choice for the season. Her relationship with her sister, Cat, offers fans a break from the monotony of the catching-bad-guys motif that streamlines its way through the show. Both sisters now being engaged also adds a lighthearted element to the proceedings. Heather is often times one of the most refreshing parts of BATB. Her limited knowledge previously made her a bit of a buzz kill at times, but overwhelmingly her avid perkiness acted as its own character on the show. Heather also represents the light at the end of the tunnel for Cat, in a way. After all of the tragedy that has enveloped her character in the last two seasons, somehow her relationship with her sister is stronger and more open than ever.


The third season breathed new light into the show, having a decent villain play out through the season was a good choice, hopefully season 4 will continue making this a show a great series.