Man Peggy Carter deserved better in Multiverse of Madness didn’t she? While that is a tenuous link, Peggy Carter had her own spinoff show released during the heyday of Agents of Shield: Agent Carter. While it may have only had 2 seasons, critics praised it for its tone, performances and story. Oh and also the fact there was clearly a third season planned which never happened and don’t worry I’m sure I’ll touch on that later….. Anyway, before I get into the list properly, here is some history about the show.
Agent Carter debuted on ABC and ran for 2 seasons, with 8 and 10 episodes in respective series. The show followed Peggy Carter, played superbly by Hayley Atwell, as she navigates a post war USA as a member of SSR or as it would later be known S.H.I.E.L.D. After Howard Stark is wanted for his frankly dangerous technology, Peggy becomes a double agent working for both the SSR and Stark. Agent Carter was praised for its performances, particularly Atwell, James D’Arcy (Jarvis) and Enver Gjokaj (Sousa). Whereas the first series focussed on Peggy adjusting to life as a double agent, Series 2 focussed on Peggy being sent to assist Sousa in California with a serial killer turned sci fi case. So without further ado here are the best episodes of Agent Carter.
10: A Sin to Err (S1, E6)
Kicking off the list of the best Agent Carter episodes is A Sin to Err. Now that makes this episode so good? Well, it reveals shockingly that lovely Dottie Underwood is secretly a Russian spy. Basically like a slightly knock off Black Widow… Also the scenes of Carter and Jarvis going around asking all the women Howard Stark has slept with about whether they are the spy. And this obviously leads to Jarvis getting slapped in the face a whole bunch because Howard Stark liked to have Jarvis break up with the women he slept with. So overall a pretty good episode.
9: The Iron Ceiling (S1, E5)
Forgot an Iron Curtain, Agent Carter clearly requires an Iron Ceiling. While that was a tenuous link this episode has two big things going for it. The first is the fact this is the episode which introduces Dottie Underwood to the series. And the episode does a very good job at showing how she is easily able to match Peggy in espionage. Now the other major thing this episode has going for it is the fact it shows Peggy in the field fighting alongside the Howling Commandos. And yes that’s probably popped quite a few Marvel fans…. But the fact we see Peggy getting to fight pretty well and save Agent Thompson’s life when he freezes as they are pinned down by Russian gunfire. Again this is another very solid episode…
8: SNAFU (S1, E7)
Now this episode sees Leviathan, basically HYDRA but Russian, cornering Peggy at the SSR. So what do Leviathan have planned? Well it involves definitely not evil doctor, Ivchenko, hypnotising SSR chief Dooley into stealing one of Howard Stark’s weapons for his plan. But that’s not even the worst part as Ivchenko forces Dooley to wear a heat bomb straitjacket with no disarming mechanism. This leads to a phenomenal moment of development for Dooley as he makes Peggy promise she’ll catch Leviathan before he jumps out a window to save the SSR.
7: The Lady in the Lake (S2, E1)
Now in terms of opening episodes, they don’t get much better than Series 2’s The Lady in the Lake. Why is this such a good episode? Well we see Dottie Underwood trying to rob a bank disguised as Peggy Carter. Until it’s revealed the whole thing was a sting operation for Peggy and the SSR. However, just when Peggy is about to make a breakthrough in interrogating Dottie she is called away to assist Sousa in California. This episode introduces us to a fascinating plot hook and further develops Sousa and Carter’s burgeoning relationship. But will they or won’t they is the question fans will be desperate to be answered.
6: Valediction (S1, E8)
While this may be one of the slower paced episodes, Valediction is still a terrific episode for a number of reasons. The first of these is the fact it’s the Series 1 finale. The second reason is the fact we see Howard Stark vulnerable with him confessing to the SSR and with Leviathan hunting him down. This leads to the world’s worst trap where Leviathan kidnaps and hypnotises Stark. Basically they want him to drop a rage virus all over New York on VE Day. What follows is an emotional climax with Peggy desperately trying to talk Howard down with Jarvis waiting in the wings to shoot him down. Oh and also there’s a great right between Dottie and Peggy that I’ve barely mentioned.
5: Life of the Party (S2, E6)
Honestly there’s a case to suggest that Dottie nearly steals Peggy’s thunder at points in the series and this is a prime example. Now when Jason’s containment chamber is damaged and Peggy is too injured to go after Whitney Frost, she decides the next most logical thing is to break Dottie out of the SSR. What follows is a wickedly well paced good cop/bad cop act between Jarvis and Dottie as she attempts to steal Zero Matter from Whitney. Again, the episode’s pacing allows for maximum tension and comedy without ever feeling like it’s dragging.
4: The Atomic Job (S2, E5)
Speaking of Jason and Zero Matter, this episode sees Peggy seemingly find a solution before Jason permanently disappears from reality. So when the idea of using the body of the Lady in the Lake comes up, Peggy leaps at the opportunity. Unfortunately, Whitney Frost is also after the body and absorbs the Zero Matter for her nefarious means. Overall, this episode is great as it’s nice to see Peggy try and save the world with a proper team who trust and respect her. And don’t worry there is still the usual amount of sassiness and sarcasm from the team which makes them even more of a joy to watch.
3: The Blitzkrieg Button (S1, E4)
When you think about it, most of Peggy’s problems seem to stem from Howard Stark’s doomsday devices? Basically this episode sees Howard convince Peggy she needs to steal a device which could knock out New York’s power. However, it turns out the device is far more personally connected to Peggy and Steve Rogers than she expected. Also, this episode starts to hint at the fact Dottie may not be as normal as she appears. Why do I say this? Well she snaps a guy’s neck with her legs like a more violent Black Widow knock off. Another very good episode here which advances multiple plotlines.
2: Monsters (S2, E7)
Narrowly missing out on the top spot is Monsters. Now what makes this episode so good? Well, to be frank Dottie nearly manages to steal the episode. This is because of a fantastic interrogation scene in which Dottie mocks her captors. That is until Whitney finally breaks her in a brutal and excellently acted scene. Despite the fact Dottie nearly murdered her several times Peggy launches a bold rescue attempt to get Dottie back. And obviously there’s an appearance from Howard Stark’s horrible weapons. This time it’s a mobile concussion blast which doubles as a bomb. Honestly, why does Howard keep inventing WMDs?
1: A Little Song and Dance (S2, E9)
And the best episode of Agent Carter is….. A Little Song and Dance. Now firstly this episode’s opening is probably one of the weirdest and surreal in the series. I say this because it’s a musical number in Peggy’s mind which features callbacks to events across the series. These include her love triangle with Sousa and Wilkes, her rivalries with Thompson and Dottie and her own insecurities about how people see her. Oh and the rest of the episode is pretty good as well. Examples of its excellence include Thompson trying to ruin everything. Oh and how the episode uses Whitney’s power to show that she’s a match for Peggy. Overall, a very solid and well executed episode.
What are your favourite Agent Carter episodes? Let me know in the comments!