Thursday, February 26, 2015

No Wonder Woman

The weather has been awful here lately, though it's certainly not as bad as how the Northeast has been snowed in. But I'll be glad when the ice and snow are gone.

I watched the Agent Carter finale and realized that I wasted 8 episodes on this show. I should never have watched it. Yes, it's more competently written than Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The writers clearly had a plan here and executed it; I just disagreed with almost everything in their plan.


I guess what I was expecting all along was an old school, action-adventure show like Wonder Woman with Lynda Carter. After all, the first season had been set during WWII with period costumes. I was hoping we'd get Peggy Carter being awesome in the 1940s, creating S.H.I.E.L.D. with Howard and maybe having a sidekick in Jarvis or Angie. If she had to do her work secretly I thought it would just be the usual superhero trope of having a secret identity, or just hiding military secrets from the public. I thought everyone who mattered would know that she was awesome and treat her with respect. On Wonder Woman, especially when the period shifted to the 1970s, everyone including villains all knew that Diana Prince was the best agent, and it got to the point where Steve Trevor stopped going on missions with her because she didn't need him.

Instead we got Peggy as a double agent because everyone in her legitimate job doesn't respect her or trust her. She could be charged with treason, and she's being ground down by sexism in all episodes except for the one with the Howling Commandos. And then she finds out that Howard Stark wasn't even honest with her, so it's like she's got no real allies at all! We never got a great triumphant victory for her in the end. I don't count being applauded by her peers only to have Thompson steal the credit moments later a victory. I don't count being given a posh apartment by Stark a victory. He was supposed to give her freaking S.H.I.E.L.D., according to the one-shot film. A whole new agency where she'd be appreciated and could protect the world awesomely, not some stupid apartment where he used to bang girlfriends. I did not want Peggy to end the season still in the S.S.R. I mean I loved lots of little "yay, feminism" moments in the show, but the ending where she says to Sousa, "I know my worth and no man's opinion matters" was supposed to be good or empowering? Having self-esteem is one thing, but letting a guy take credit for your work, and probably get promotions and pay raises that you earned, while you continue banging on the glass ceiling, is a hollow victory to me. It's depressing, not "yay, feminism."

This show was supposed to be fun, I thought. This was supposed to be awesome, escapist fantasy. Sure, Peggy as a character is awesome, and Jarvis is fun too, but the show itself was so depressing and convoluted. I hated that the show was so obsessed with Captain America, constantly name dropping him, having his vial of blood as a red herring, and making the last episode all about saying goodbye to him. It's like they didn't think Peggy could stand on her own; they had to emphasize Captain America's absence to evoke tear-jerking drama. And when I realized that the whole mystery about the stolen weapons, Battle of Finow, and Leviathan was merely window dressing for the redemption story of an alcoholic, womanizing, arrogant, incompetent weapons manufacturer (who becomes a terrible father to Tony Stark years later), I was angry. Really angry that this was all his damn fault, and I'm supposed to feel sorry for Howard Stark, who made his own problems. This was supposed to be Peggy's show, not yours, Howard. Not Captain America's either. I hated it.

And the worst part was tricking me into watching this show by casting Lyndsy Fonseca as Angie. Angie who was nothing but a perky waitress and normal, boring girl. Why? To show that Peggy can have a friend? To give more female characters, even when they have nothing at all to do? To show that women can be friends and support each other, instead of always fighting over men, jobs, etc? Then why not cast somebody else for such a dull part? Or even have Peggy become friends with Jarvis's wife, so she wouldn't be offscreen? The only time Angie did anything awesome was in the episode where her acting skills came in handy when she tricked the S.S.R. agents into leaving so she could help Peggy escape the hotel. Only that didn't work, because Peggy ran into Dottie and got knocked out and captured. Why would you do that? If Angie's purpose is to solely to show "Yay, sisterhood!" why would you immediately negate the one time she did anything signifcant and helpful for the hero? Why? It's such a waste.

So anyway, I didn't enjoy the show, though I see other viewers of the show (especially comic lovers) constantly raving about how awesome it was and how the season was perfect. Well, I guess that just means I still don't fit in with geeky women at all. I mean, I do agree that the show was better than S.H.I.E.L.D, (faint praise) and I'd rather that Agent Carter get renewed instead of S.H.I.E.L.D, but that's as far as I'll go. I can't take another season watching Peggy NOT be in charge and work twice as hard to be accepted by men, only to never be accepted. I don't have the stamina. What was wrong with writing a straightforward spy/superhero drama? I don't get why they couldn't give us that.

No comments: