A major shake-up hits SSR on this installment of Agent Carter as Peggy and Jarvis work to establish a bond based on trust, stay one step ahead of the SSR, and continue in their ongoing work to clear Howard Stark’s name.
The episode begins at the Griffith Hotel. As some of the gals return, Peggy sets to work trying to figure out the meaning of the heart symbol by looking through her Book of Symbols. As she does, a man scales the walls of the hotel. Peggy senses something is off. The man enters and finds himself staring down the barrel of Peggy’s gun. This man is Jimmy, played by Tim James, who is actually looking for his girlfriend, Molly, who lives in apartment 3F. Honest mistake, really.
Dooley and Krzeminski talk to the apartment manager about the tenant who lived in the room, as his keys were all that they found at the crime scene. They’re taken to room 424 and begin tearing it apart. Easy find. They discover cash, along with British, American and Italian passports.
Next morning, Molly, played by Laura Coover, pops down for breakfast, as fresh as a daisy. Luckily, Jimmy is very persuasive. Miriam shares a tale with the ladies. In 1925, the great Harry Houdini himself performed in this very hotel, with feats such as escaping handcuffs. However, there was one trick he could not perform: ascending the stairs. You know, like all the other men aren’t supposed to do.
In short, Molly’s getting the boot, even though Jimmy technically didn’t use the stairs, but I’m not the headmaster. Miriam lays down the law. This establishment is like Fort Knox- it’s impenetrable. Peggy doesn’t believe that any building is impenetrable.
At SSR, the agents examine the photos of Leet Brannis. Thompson explains to Dooley that Brannis had his voice box cut out. He also served in the Russian division, but Brannis also died…two years ago. Thompson has a friend from basic training that now works at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. He asked him to do some digging and it turns out that some records have been wiped clean.
As far as Krzeminski goes, he’s still working on what’s being pulled from the truck wreckage, but he was able to lift some prints from the passport. Sousa enters with an update on the license plate that Krzeminski found: the car once belonged to one Howard Stark. The problem is that Stark was on the lam when Roxxon went down, so it wouldn’t make sense that he’d risk his freedom to blow it up.
Miriam’s comment on impenetrable buildings gives Peggy an idea that she shoots to Jarvis: if she can figure out how someone broke into Howard Stark’s vault, perhaps she can figure out where they went and how to locate Howard’s technology. Jarvis, unfortunately, didn’t hear anything on the night of the break-in. A thunderstorm knocked out the power, including the alarms, for almost two hours. What was Jarvis doing? Sleeping. The cutting-edge of butlers, but hey, security probably wasn’t what he signed up for.
Agents Sousa and Thompson show up expecting to speak with Stark, but they get Jarvis instead. That’s perfectly fine. When asked about the car, Jarvis tells the agents that he reported it stolen. However, the bumper was found at a major crime scene. Now, the agents can get a warrant, but they’d rather not, so Jarvis gets to take a ride downtown.
Jarvis is brought into interrogation, while Peggy watches and hides any connection between the two. Thompson sets to work. A lot of stuff gets stolen from Howard Stark, except for the death ray, as Jarvis points out. That’s in Nevada. Good to know. I mean it. If the car was actually stolen, SSR has nothing on him, but Dooley is sure they have something to rattle Jarvis.
Thompson plays his trump card: Jarvis was once charged with treason. Not much in the file, so it’s possible that Stark helped sweep Jarvis’ mess under the rug. Thompson figures that after dodging the treason charge, he couldn’t escape the dishonorable discharge. This would look bad to everyone, especially the folks at immigration. Thompson begins to get under Jarvis’ skin at the mention of his wife.
Peggy leaves the room, grabs a stack of folders from her desk and returns to request Dooley’s signature. She gets it, but does so while stacking the folders on top of the folder containing the stolen car report.
Just when Dooley and Thompson head in to speak with Jarvis, Peggy informs Dooley that she mistakenly took the stolen car report. Well, Jarvis uses that as his opportunity to leave. Though Jarvis gets to walk out, Dooley reams Peggy out for her incompetence and she gets the cold shoulder from the rest of the agents as well.
But Peggy’s not out of the woods yet. Back at the Griffith, Angie comes in to vent about her day and the lousy 50 cents in tip she received, but Peggy isn’t really in the listening mood because she has other plans. Angie takes this as being brushed off and leaves, but she doesn’t get too far before she and Peggy are introduced to a new tenant: Ms. Dorothy Dottie Underwood, played by Bridget Regan, from Iowa.
So Jarvis shows Peggy the hole someone dug to break into Stark’s vault. The two rappel down and Peggy returns to the talk of treason. After all, on the surface level, what she’s doing with Jarvis and Stark could easily be seen as treason. As such, there’s no reason for her to know the details of Jarvis’ past. Jarvis agrees and appreciates that. Investigators found an open manhole cover five blocks away where the thief could have escaped.
When she brings up the storm on that night, Peggy mentions that New York is one of the last cities to use its sewers to run off storm water. Once the tunnels fill, the tide gate opens and the water flows into the river, so all Brannis would have needed was a raft.
Thompson heads out, but not before delivering a gift in the form of a name on those passports: Sasha Demidov. Krzeminski still couldn’t find someone to cover his shift, not even Carter. Sousa suggests being kind to her, but Krzeminski gives Sousa some advice: no woman would date a cripple like him.
Peggy now needs to know about Jarvis’ past. After all, if they’re going to work together, she needs to be able to trust him. His honor apparently isn’t enough and neither is Howard Stark’s trust. The treason charge was dropped almost immediately. Before the war, Jarvis served under a general. The two traveled and ended up in Budapest, where Jarvis met Ana. Then the war broke out and things became difficult. Ana is, not was, Jewish.
The general had letters of transit in his safe that would have ensured Ana’s safety, but he refused to sign. Hence, Jarvis forged the signature and was soon arrested that following Tuesday. Filing the papers is what landed Jarvis with the dishonorable discharge. Both Jarvis and Ana escaped fate through Howard Stark’s influence. Ana still doesn’t know what Jarvis does for Howard Stark. He may not always be truthful, but he’s at least honest- something both Peggy and Jarvis know a lot about.
Finally, the two reach the end of the tunnel and spot a boat, named The Heartbreak, with Brannis’ symbol. As they get closer, they find that the boat is connected to the electrics, meaning someone is still using it.
Inside, they find boxes and boxes of Stark technology. Inside one box is a glowing green device called The Constrictor. And what does this nifty little device do? Upon contact, it causes involuntary muscle contractions. It used to be used for back massage.
Peggy wants to call this in, but Jarvis doesn’t think they should reveal that they found this technology. He gives her a mock interrogation: how did she find the stolen technology? If Leet Brannis told her, how did she first come into contact with him? What is her relationship with Howard Stark? Is she collaborating with a known traitor? Publicly revealing these items will just place suspicion on Peggy, not clean Howard’s name.
Calling this in won’t win Peggy any respect. She’ll just be torn down. If she wants to clear Howard’s name, she must do so from the shadows. With that, Jarvis must call it in, but as the agents know his voice, he puts on his worse American accent and reports the boat to Sousa.
Someone gets to Peggy before Jarvis does. A fight breaks out with the man managing to get the better of Peggy until Jarvis enters the battle. But then Jarvis loses the upper hand, so Peggy makes good use of the Constrictor. Nice to know that even more of Howard Stark’s technology still works.
Krzeminski and Sousa arrive to find the man knocked out. Krzeminski is ecstatic about finding the Stark tech, but Sousa has his suspicions. Why were they just handed this tip?
Other agents arrive to help move the technology and we learn the name of the attacker: Jerome Zandow, played by Rob Mars, who had an act at Coney Island and was probably just the muscle. Chief Dooley is curious- why would a man just sit on a bunch of Stark’s technology?
En route to the station, Zandow asks Krzeminski if the English dame who attacked him is working with SSR. Before Krzeminski can receive some clarification and piece this together, he comes to a stop at a train crossing. A car bumps into him from behind. Krzeminski goes out to confront the driver, but both he and Zandow are shot and killed by a man whose face we don’t see.
Next day, Peggy shows up for work and finds everyone in a somber mood. Up at SSR, she learns of Krzeminski’s death. Sousa still thinks the whole situation fishy. An anonymous tipster would call the police, but this person called SSR directly. Why?
A solemn Chief Dooley reminds everyone that Krzeminski would still be alive, if not for Howard Stark, regardless of whether he pulled the trigger. Stay vigilant, as Dooley vows never to lose anyone else. With that, he heads back to call Krzeminski’s wife. Thompson will call his Krzeminski’s girlfriend. Okay, that’s funny.
So now it’s Peggy’s turn to tell Angie about her day. Sure, Krzeminski may have been a brute, but he was good at his job. The two bond as the episode comes to a close.
This episode was not as action heavy as the previous one, and that’s fine because it devoted more time to fleshing out not just Jarvis and Peggy, but the SSR Agents as well.
Jarvis is a man of his word and will do what he can to help those he cares for, whether that’s Howard Stark or Ana. However, he also knows that doing so in public will attract suspicion. He prefers to work from behind the scenes so no one can point fingers at him. He’s also an international man of mystery because he’s so much more than your typical butler. Even if he’s not out there on the battlefield, guns a-blazing and fighting for the glory, he knows that his approach is the safe one. He prefers to work from the shadows.
But not Peggy. Both Peggy and Jarvis have had to make sacrifices, but one of the most obvious differences between the two is gender politics. Jarvis doesn’t have to prove himself in a male dominated world. Neither does Peggy because she’s not interested in fame or glory. At least, except for a split second. Peggy considers calling into SSR about finding the Stark technology because she hopes that she’ll get some validation from her male peers.
It’s brief, but Carter displays a bit of selfishness. At that moment, she’s more interested in earning some respect than clearing Howard Stark’s name. Yet, as Jarvis points out, her actions would do more harm than good and just create more doubt about her ability.
After all, Peggy already had to sacrifice some of her professionalism when she feigned incompetence in order to get Jarvis out of interrogation. It’s an admirable move and she does it for a greater good, but this comes at the price of destroying some of the credibility she had gained from the other agents.
The scene where Dooley and Thompson chew her out was tense and you could read on Carter’s face that she did not enjoy having to dirty her reputation, even if it did free Jarvis. Peggy isn’t looking to be liked, but respected. As she stated to Sousa in the pilot, she’s more than capable of handling rude comment thrown her way. Now, because of her ‘blunder,’ she may have lost any respect the men had for her.
The SSR Agents, some of them, aren’t looking to make Peggy an adversary. They’re just repeating the accepted mantra of the time that women aren’t as competent as men. Sure, Peggy is always one step ahead of them, but this doesn’t mean the SSR Agents themselves are incompetent. In fact, as we see in this episode, they’re quite efficient at learning the mystery behind Brannis. And bringing up Jarvis’ treason, while not the most agreeable method, did come close in accomplishing their task in getting Jarvis to talk. At least Thompson didn’t have to bring out another stick.
A big recurring theme of this episode was trust, whether it was Peggy and Jarvis being able to trust each other, Miriam being able to trust the ladies to abide by the rules, or Sousa now not fully trusting this concerned citizen after finding the anonymous tip suspicious. Trust doesn’t just come automatically. It’s a two way street and must develop over time. In Peggy’s case, she still doesn’t fully trust Jarvis yet.
This conflicts me a bit because Jarvis has yet to give Peggy a reason to distrust him. From what we know of him so far, he’s not crooked or two-faced. His word may not be enough to Peggy, but Jarvis has proven that he’s willing to do anything to help her in clearing Howard Stark’s name. My point is that Peggy shouldn’t be so hesitant to be trust Jarvis considering both keep their fair share of secrets from their friends.
And this double life is what strains her friendship with Angie, who is one of not just Peggy’s friends, but also one of her few, good female friends. As much as I hate drawing attention to gender, the only women that Peggy sees at work handle the calls. She’s already lost Colleen. Having someone else be there for her would give Peggy someone to talk to since they’re so similar. They aren’t huge fans of their jobs and deal with sexism on a regular basis.
I’m not saying the two are going to be best buddies and bond over wine, but Angie has the best of intentions, so Peggy should try and make this friendship last. Luckily, by episode’s end, the two have mended their bond and it was nice for Peggy to now be the one needing a sympathetic ear after her lousy day.
Actually, if I can talk about Krzeminski’s murder for a second, this felt like a big shake-up to the SSR Department. I wouldn’t say that big a shake-up for the show itself since we’ve already lost Peggy’s first roommate. Sure, as Peggy pointed out, Krzeminski was rude and a brute, but he was still a cop who was good at his job. After all, he’s the one who managed to find Stark’s license plate after going through all of the Roxxon rubble.
His death also showed the reality that these agents live in. They’re dealing with dangerous people capable of snuffing one of them out. I really liked Shea Whigham’s performance at the end with Dooley’s speech where he promised not to lose any other agents. He still believes Stark is guilty, and we don’t know the full story yet, but I liked his call to action. Someone died on his watch and he doesn’t want that to happen again. It was one of the few moments where the SSR really came together and put aside their differences.
Although, I did like the follow-up with Dooley heading off to call Krzeminski’s wife, with Thompson then saying “I’ll call his girlfriend.” A lot of the humor worked for me in this episode. James D’Arcy had one of the standout lines of the episode where he told Thompson that the death ray was in Nevada, never missing a beat.
And I did like her dry reaction to Jimmy ending up at her window.
“Time and Tide” was a good installment for Agent Carter. It fleshed out Jarvis’ character and gave Peggy a chance to open up, but still allowed the two of them to kick ass…eventually, if not for Mr. Stark’s invention. Krzeminski’s death brought SSR together for a moment and made the ever present threats against their lives feel more real now that the agents are down one person. Maybe Jarvis and Peggy need to make a road trip up to Nevada to get that death ray.