Sunday, December 28, 2014

Allan in Kansas City

I noticed that Lyndsy Fonseca has a recurring role on Agent Carter, so I will try the show for her sake. But if it's just as godawful as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., then I'm bailing on it, because I'm so over Marvel.

After all, I already have a fun series about a female agent solving period cases--The Pinkertons. They've recently started rerunning the show from the beginning, so now I have seen Allan Pinkerton introduce Kate Warne to his son William. Allan describes her as his "best man" and initially brings her to replace Will on a case in Kansas City, Missouri. It began as a series of bank robberies, but soon escalates into train robbery, murder, kidnapping, and attempts to restart the Civil War by some Southern "bushwhackers." There's even mention of "coal torpedos"--bombs which are disguised as lumps of coal so that when you toss it into a furnace or boiler, there's a huge explosion. Rumor had it that a coal torpedo sank the Sultana steamboat (which was in an episode of History Detectives).

So because the case is so complex and twisty, Will and Kate investigate it together, and Allen helps in the final shootout. One of the criminals even turns out to be a young Jesse James, and he escapes, perhaps to come back in a later episode? Allan feels that his son William could continue to learn a lot from Kate, so he orders them both to stay in town until further notice. They complain, because they'd rather leave for Chicago, but they are stuck. Allan is renting a local farmhouse for Kate Warne, while William remains in the Dubois hotel. There's also a caretaker/handyman on the farm, an African American named John Bell who occasionally appears and helps in later episodes.

Anyway, I've now seen a handful of episodes in which Allan Pinkerton returns to Kansas City to help Kate and William with other cases. I'm glad that he's not falsely made into some kind of heroic saint just because he's the founder of the agency. Allan is a cantankerous old Scotsman constantly disappointed in his son William. (No mention is made of the other son Robert so far.) Allan is also a pragmatist and hypocrite, saying not to interfere in politics even though he took the Union side in the Civil War and helped runaway slaves escape to Canada. Allan is also chummy with a mayor and jokes cynically with him about buying votes and trading in political patronage. He's often overbearing to Will, though sometimes he brings his son presents from his mother. Will is slightly jealous that Kate seems to be friends with Allan (even calling him by his first name), but Kate is fair to Will, sometimes trying to mediate between father and son when they argue.

There is no suggestion that Kate is having an affair with Allan. He treats her like she is his favorite agent and sometimes sends her presents like guns, but so far the show is not implying a romantic connection. I'm glad for it, because I really would rather see Kate work and Will not to discover any guilty secret; it would turn this into a soap opera instead of a fun action adventure. I wonder if any other female Pinkerton agents will drop in too? I'm very much enjoying the show.

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