This felt like a bit of a slow-burn episode, but it ended with two major developments. First, the Stark tech has been recovered already. Second, a character died. Now, sure, it was only Krzeminski, a boor among boors, but his death still serves as a useful reminder that anything can happen in an eight episode mini-series.
The episode underscored what I still consider to be the show's weaknesses. First, the villains aren't very dynamic; this week we got a heavy guy in an undershirt, which is a step down even from a pair of mutes with tracheotomy scars, and they were pretty vanilla. Second, the fellas at the SSR remain pencil sketches compared to the show's vivacious heroes -- a category that I place Peggy, Jarvis, and the thus-far under-used Angie into.
Both problems might be accounted for if you consider SSR the true villain of the piece, which I kinda do, but I'm not sure I'm meant to. SSR is clearly an antagonist to Peggy, and the story has to end with its destruction, but they're so unsympathetic that I resent the screen time they take up, and even killing one of them off didn't make me like them more. Just hurry up and tear down the patriarchy already, Peggy.
The design on this show continues to impress. I think Peggy's apartment is meant to be modest, but I want it; it's beautiful. And Peggy's outfits are still a highlight. This week I was torn for favorite between her sewer-diving jumpsuit and her red-and-black nightgown.
And speaking of the look of the show; I've been trying to think of a delicate way to talk about Peggy's physique without diminishing her, or talking about a woman in a way that I wouldn't talk about a man. (Actually, that last isn't a problem; anyone who knows me knows I talk about men's physiques all day long. Yesterday I wrote a piece that was blatantly just an excuse to spend time on actor Steven R. McQueen's Instagram account.) But to the casual observer I might be seen to be perpetuating a sexist dynamic.
But I think Peggy's body is worth commenting on, because she clearly has a '40s bombshell figure -- enhanced by wardrobe choices and extra muscle. Peggy looks like she belongs in her time and not in ours, and her presentation says to me that her body belongs to her, and not to us, the viewers. That's a little bit revolutionary for a female hero on TV.
And the show actually does this "period physique" thing again this episode with the goon on the ship. He's clearly a big, heavy, imposing man, but he has the body of a circus strongman, not an underwear model. This is a show that cares about details like that, and I love it.
No analysis of this episode would be satisfactory without giving James D'Arcy's Jarvis his due. We get a little more insight into his character -- and his inspiring devotion to his wife Ana, who I'm sorry to say I don't think we're ever going to meet. D'Arcy also got to show off his acting chops in a couple of brilliant scenes, first when he role-plays an interrogation with Peggy, his face almost entirely in shadow (great direction), and then when he fakes an American accent to call in the tip, managing to perfectly convey that this was Jarvis, not D'Arcy, doing an American accent.
Also on the Jarvis front; I was relieved to have the mystery of his treason set up and resolved in the same episode. Not everything needs to be a multi-episode arc. Not looking at any other Marvel shows in particular, there.