muccamukk: Peggy, with briefcase, entering a room, the light of the hall silhouetting her. (AC: Silhouette)
[personal profile] muccamukk
Welcome to our first post. Hope you enjoy the show.

Please comment in this post with reactions, impressions, meta, fic ideas or whatever else you think of. Anon commenting is on if you don't have a DW and don't want to fuss with OpenId. Comment totally anon, or sign with your user name, as you like. Don't worry if you're late watching, join in the comments anyway, whatever time you get to see the episode.

This post is a spoiler zone for the whole Agent Carter series, and the MCU generally. If you want to avoid spoilers, you can comment in this thread.

I'm sure everything will be pretty casual, so I'm not going to have rules or anything. Please don't be an asshole to other commenters.

I'm going to start watching around 8pm (PST). If anyone wants to live chat. I have a dal.net channel #ssr-rewatch. Kiwi browser client is an easy way to get on. Your log in should look like the one below, except with your username filled in.
Settings to log into irc on kiwi. Channel = #ssr-rewatch server = irc.dal.net
(click to embiggen.)

I think that's it. Have fun, everyone!

Date: 2017-03-04 10:09 am (UTC)
mific: (wordle-icon)
From: [personal profile] mific
my 3rd watch. Like it more each time. Love all her undercutting of the dicks in the office.

Date: 2017-03-04 07:55 pm (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
(Your icon!)

Date: 2017-03-04 01:22 pm (UTC)
selenak: (Peggy Carter by Misbegotten)
From: [personal profile] selenak
re: "child prodigy" - yes, I'm assuming that as soon as Howard started to make it big (and publically), he paid publicist to come up with this. It was far easier in those days, of course. Just think of the fake background created for many a film star in the 20s. (And earlier. Erich von Stroheim invented his entire background from scratch, including the "von" part, to fit with his image.) It also fits with what he tells Peggy a few eps later about getting used to lie all the time.

(Of course, given his son later actually was a child prodigy, you can make a case of Tony living the life Howard had invented for himself. Obvious contribution to father/son issues on both sides there is obvious.)

Also he's such a dick for asking that of Peggy, especially given that he's ALSO lying to her. Jeeze, Howard.

Yes and no. I mean:she did ask him to fly without any armed protection whatsoever into German territory back in the day, and he did it for her and Steve. (And because he could, presumably, and liked dares.) But still. He could have very easily been shot out of the sky, and it was strictly against orders back then. Of course, as the general later points out to Peggy, he can't punish Howard because Howard's a civilian contractor and the army needs his toys, and what Howard is asking Peggy to do in 1946 is far more dangerous to her (physical danger aside, speaking of what she's risking when discovered) than what she asked him to do was to him, but what I'm trying to get at is that we're talking about two people who not only shared the war experience (and the losing Steve experience) but who do have precedent for asking a lot from each other. (Also Howard has many faults, but he does come across as incredibly generous, not just with money, when you ask him for help. See also him helping Jarvis and Ana. Jason Wilkes makes a comment about this trait of Howard's in s2 as well.)

re: Angie's speech, and the American Dream thing - I'm also always struck by what Colleen says to Peggy earlier, because that ties it to specific historic situation for women. Having experienced not exactly liberation but definitely greater job opportunities during WWII, and then, when the men came back, being reduced to the housewife ideal. Of course, there is one big difference between Angie and Colleen on the one hand and Peggy on the other - Peggy's background, and I don't mean her nationality. By what we see later on, Peggy's parents are comfortably off; she could, presumably, live on her family's money. She chooses not to. That doesn't make her work place situation any easier for her, don't get me wrong, but it's a different kind of desperation than one where if you don't make it in the job, you starve. It's all very well to encourage Angie to follow her dreams, but what if that Broadway break literally never comes - how is Angie going to support herself for the rest of her life then?

(Am reminded of the French movie Cezanne et moi about Cezanne and Zola, and at one point where Cezanne accuses Zola of writing pot boilers for money and having sold out to the bourgouisie Zola points out that Cezanne is living from his parents' money, however grudgingly given, and with the expectation of inheriting the rest of said money when his father dies. "It's a different kind of poverty.")

Though on a Watsonian level: why DOES Peggy try to make it in the US, as opposed to going back to Britain (trying to make it there at MI5 or something like that)? Does she believe there's more flexibility/opportunity there? If so, that first year must have been severely disillusioning.

Peggie the stoic woobie: yes, I love this about her, too. Which is why upon first watching, Angie felt a bit intrusive to me, with her insistence that Peggie should open up and be her friend. Less so now, but I remember that was my first impression in the early episodes.

Date: 2017-03-04 06:14 pm (UTC)
selenak: (Peggy Carter by Misbegotten)
From: [personal profile] selenak
"Always dignity!" says Howard, talking abut Ye Early Years when he hung out with Joey Manfredi robbing the neighbourhood. :)

re: what Tony knew about Howard's actual background, mostly I go with "not much" to "nothing", but then again: in his old age, Howard probably fell back on the tried and true "I had to work for this, and you're wasting it!" which wouldn't have been understandable to the kid if he was just told the official story. (Also, it's my headcanon that Ana did, very rarely, talk Yiddish with Howard, but that's just my own fancy and has no back up in canon.) Last year when I rewatched Iron Man (I), I was struck by the fact that Tony in his post Afghanistan press conference (and how like either Stark to react to a life changing epiphany by holding a press conference!) says he's wondering about Howard now, whether his father was "the man we all remember from the newsreels", the enterprising hero, or whether he had doubts about what he was doing and that he wishes he could ask him. For all that fanfic loves to use Tony's daddy issues, I haven't seen anyone take note of that sentence which would indicate that Tony for all his anger did buy into Howard's public image and it only occurs to him that Howard might have been hiding issues of his own behind it after experiencing Afghanistan. But also that he truly wants to know.

in the space of about a year an a half.

You can also tell it from the way movie actresses either had to adjust their personae or got out of fashion. With a few glorious exceptions, read: Katherine Hepburn. Btw, the way the show dresses Peggy always reminds moe of Rosalind Russell and 30s/40s Hepburn.

Phillips getting Peggy the SSR job: no idea. It's been a loooong time since I've watched the first Captain America movie. If he did, though, it would explain Peggy going for it - she probably thought she'd continue to work as she'd done during the war, with a superior who respected her abilities.

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Date: 2017-03-04 08:39 pm (UTC)
kore: (Peggy Carter)
From: [personal profile] kore
(Is it canon or fanon that Col. (now Gen.) Phillips got her the SSR job? I can never remember. Presumably it looked on the surface better than whatever offers she was getting in London. Ouch.)

I remember reading an analysis of how her background is kind of fudged, but can't find it now -- I'll look for it maybe. First she's in the regular military, then she's at Bletchley Park, with the choice between Love and Career, and she goes into the Special Operations Executive (real organization, which is fascinating, even just its Wiki entry: "SOE was also far ahead of contemporary attitudes in its use of women in armed combat").

[And here I just spent 45 minutes reading about the SOE, your fault.]

According to the movie tie-in comic for TFA, Peggy rescues Erskine in 1940 (it's pretty awesome) and that's an SSR op, and apparently she was "loaned" to the SSR as an advisor or liaison (the prop department can't make up its typo-riddled mind) and she serves under Col Phillips, and then she's part of Project Rebirth in the States. She tells Hodges "I supervise all operations of this division," which Phillips says is "allied effort made up of the best minds in the free world." (Heh.) Then after Steve has to go off and do the Bonds Monkey Song and Dance routine, she and Howard and Phillips are in Europe. -- Post-movie, from the AoS Howlies ep she's still with the SSR in Europe after the war, and post-war all the various intelligence agencies try to eat each other and come out on top like in a video game and I have not had enough coffee for that.

I don't remember when her designation is at the beginning of the series, but I guess it's possible she might still be working as a liaison (they even joke about that) for SSR in NYC. The Office of Strategic Services was basically formed as a response to the SOE, and there was a lot of post-war scrabbling for money and resources, so she could have gotten in on the ground floor of the formation of /the CIA/ SHIELD. Altho I think most of the post-war US intelligence bases were in Virginia? There were women in the first days of the CIA (like Alice Sheldon).

TL;FREAKING DR I don't think Phillips is the one who gets her the job with the SSR during the war, because she's basically on loan to them from the SOE/MI5, altho maybe he put in a good word for her with SSR's NYC offices. But why didn't she just stay on with MI5? Interestingly, post-war is when MI5 gets infiltrated by the Cambridge Five and also starts doing shit like investigating Labour politicians and so on. I don't think they say in the series who "got" her the job but it seems possible she might've continued on in her role as liaison between the SSR and the AOE/MI5?

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Date: 2017-03-04 07:54 pm (UTC)
kore: (Peggy Carter - true north)
From: [personal profile] kore
There was discussion of Peggy constantly being motivated by the dead men in her life (Michael, then Steve), but it's not exactly a fridging, as Steve goes out doing something impossibly heroic. Still, I really like that the focus is on her feelings.

That was something I really liked in season one that was also emphasized in TWS -- the Steve/Peggy story is tragic, but Peggy's isn't tragic, she went on and had a full life after Steve, and she loved him deeply and always but that didn't mean she couldn't love other people truly too. That's pretty rare in American TV, especially for women. And in this particular story, if Steve struggles with being Cap in MCU, she's also gotten stuffed in the role of Cap's Girl.

Date: 2017-03-04 09:59 pm (UTC)
kore: (Peggy Carter)
From: [personal profile] kore
Yeah, I really can't see either of them settling down with a nice white picket fence....maybe that she would go on and form SHIELD and he would be an advisor? Or form it along with her and Howard? Altho I can't imagine Steve would have gone along with a lot of the early Cold War bullshit (and it's hard for me to imagine Peggy also doing that, frankly). They have such a wartime romance.

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Date: 2017-03-05 08:08 pm (UTC)
sholio: Peggy Carter (Avengers-Peggy in cafe)
From: [personal profile] sholio
Yeah, for me this has actually made it impossible to read "Peggy gets frozen/transported to the modern day" AUs, or even "Steve survives the war" ones, because what the show makes so clear is that Peggy had a full life, full of people she loved and other important relationships and meaningful work she enjoys, and whisking her out of that so she can basically be Steve's girlfriend in the modern day ... I get why people like it, especially people who never watched the AC show, but for me it's just too hard to take, because she'd lose so much. That underpinning of tragedy/nostalgia to the Steve/Peggy story is what makes the ship work best for me, and I love the moving-on element in AC far better than I enjoy any AU take on it that removes the tragedy.

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Date: 2017-03-05 10:15 pm (UTC)
kore: (Peggy Carter)
From: [personal profile] kore
That underpinning of tragedy/nostalgia to the Steve/Peggy story is what makes the ship work best for me

Yeah, I absolutely love it as a tragic WWII love story, and I think it's about a perfect example of the type, with the addition that BOTH partners get to go on and have full lives after they lose each other, which is pretty rare. I know there's the idea that Peggy could set up SHIELD in the US and Steve could basically co-found it with her, in an Everybody Lives scenario, but it seems so out of character for both of them, and removes all the dramatic tension in both their stories.

Realistically speaking, if they had gotten married and Peggy had had kids, would she have been allowed to direct SHIELD at all in that time? My impression was a lot of the time that if a working woman got married, that was it, finito, even before she got pregnant, just because she might. I do like the idea of Peggy having kids but it seems like a slight case of "She Can Have It All" syndrome. (And frankly Sharon as her adored niece makes more sense to me if Peggy doesn't have kids. But this is more a personal thing.)

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Date: 2017-03-05 03:56 pm (UTC)
kore: (Peggy Carter)
From: [personal profile] kore
ACTUAL THOUGHTS instead of lulziness:

(prepare for some truly epic tl;dr, sorry)

I had forgotten how much this show is like The First Avenger, not just in the way the end of that film actually introduces the beginning of the series but in the period look, humour, pulp aesthetic and plot elements, and even the (gorgeous) lighting and costuming, which were some of the best parts of TFA. Which isn't a surprise, because it was created by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who wrote all three Cap movies, and stayed on with the show after the first script. Hollywood credits are Byzantine, but Louis D'Esposito, who directed the Agent Carter one-shot which inspired the series, also helped produce it. The show even has the same composer who worked on TFA and the one-shot, so it's very much a period piece. But it's not just that: in MCU, Peggy's story isn't so much defined by Steve's as running along parallel to his. A big point in TWS is that she went on and had her own life after he died, but a central theme in the show is that she's determined his legacy won't be corrupted or wasted. Although the Carter one-shot film isn't necessarily where the show was intended to wind up literally, as Hayley Atwell said, having played Carter at the end of her life in TWS meant the show would essentially fill in episodes in Peggy's long life, so it was interstitial practically as well as thematically.

The show picks right up with what might be seen by casual outsiders as the defining tragedy of Peggy's life, the loss of Steve, and his death while she trades defiantly flippant banter with him to the end. It's a heartrending, beautifully shot sequence, and it's undercut immediately with the sound dissolving to a teakettle's shriek as Peggy begins the postwar morning routine of her new life: ironing instead of a firefight, watering a potted plant from a glass, exchanging greetings with a roommate she's hotracking with as if it were still wartime. Peggy is immediately situated in the transient, shifting post-war landscape: we learn later her name isn't on the lease, she's only known Colleen (we never learn her last name) a few months, she doesn't seem to know anyone else in New York, and indeed she might have just gotten there. Ten girls have been dismissed from Colleen's workplace because ten more GIs have been discharged, and the returning men take precedence over the women who remained. The deliberate undercutting and interplay of new home front and Peggy's wartime experience continues: it's "Peggy's orders" -- that her roommate stay in bed, she hides a revolver in what looks like a makeup case, and Colleen chides her "you work at the phone company, it ain't life and death" -- but it is, and not abstractly.

Peggy's walk to work, through a beautifully recreated Old New York, in which Atwell wordlessly conveys her bravado and vulnerability, is one of my favourite early bits in the show. It's obvious her sharp suit and smart hat, showcased as she walks upstream against a line of Men in Grey Flannel Suits, are her armour . There's a beautiful little beat where the contrasting red of her hat (which goes with her very red lipstick) deliberately echoes Steve's helmet and is even given the wings for a moment as she enters the SSR office and is framed against its logo. Peggy was paralleled with Steve in TFA when they connected through physical vulnerability and society's scorn ("I know a little of what that's like, to have every door shut in your face"), but the show emphasizes more of their shared bruiser spirit and determination to do what they know is right.

Because she's a woman, Peggy's wartime service with Howard and Steve works against her -- her personal knowledge of Howard in the field is dismissed, and Dooley throws the first of many insults about her only being a "liaison" because she was presumably sexually loose during wartime and now she should leave real work to the professionals -- i.e. the men. Her sexuality is simultaneously the only "real" reason she's there and also why she can be easily dismissed and ridiculed; nobody sees her as an equal, not even Daniel Sousa, who lost his leg during the war and stands up for her in old-fashioned chivalry: "You owe the lady an apology." He's surprised when she reproves him: she can fight her own battles, and, the unspoken criticism goes, he's underestimating her just as much as the men who insult her. This will be echoed again all the way at the end of the season when she tells him "I know my own worth, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks." This is very first-wave European feminism, and it's pure Peggy, a combination of US exceptionalism and British prideful reserve.

That ending line highlights one of the great strengths and weaknesses of the show, that it's Peggy's high valuation of her own intrinsic worth that matters, not any outside approval. Which puts all the emphasis on being an essentially unbreakable strong individual and not changing the status quo. One place I think the show really fell down is that the SOE, where Peggy liaised with the SSR from, had many female field agents who specialized in resistance and sabotage. Why not bring one of them in as a character? Or even just mention them? But this is the story of Peggy as an heroic individual, the same way Steve was meant to be the first of an army of supersoldiers but instead wound up being the only one.

I just want to note that not ten minutes into the show, she's knocked out Jarvis and shoots out Howard's tire after we get the visual cliche of a threatened woman frantically banging on a locked door.

The dialogue and blocking between Howard and Peggy are pure wisecracking 1940s romance -- selenak mentioned Hepburn, and Peggy is obviously modelled on the Hepburn of Philadelphia Story and Woman of the Year, even visually: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/08/Katharine_Hepburn_promo_pic.jpg (That picture of Hepburn was taken in 1941 when she was 33. MCU Peggy's birthdate is 1919 on her SHIELD file but 1921 on a Civil War prop, so she's the generation after Hepburn.) Howard is based partly on Howard Hughes, who was Hepburn's lover and helped her big comeback by buying the film rights to Philadelphia Story, but Peggy is always presented as the one woman this Howard can't charm. She repeats the theme of waiting for the right partner ("the trick is finding the right one") from TFA.

But the man who's arguably Peggy's real partner in the series is already partnered, and his domestic relationship takes precedence over spy shenanigans....at least to begin with. "What happens at nine?" "My wife and I go to bed" -- and even if the erotic undertone is immediately made into a joke with the punchline of an ironclad domestic routine, it's there. Jarvis is also feminized somewhat: he wears an apron, he's cooking his wife a souffle, his profession is limited to being a caretaker, although, because he's a man, he gets money and some prestige for it. Unlike everyone else, besides Howard, he knows what Peggy really did in the war and values it, and gives her emotional support and validation at her weakest point after Colleen's murder. When he and Peggy meet clandestinely, it's in the cozy female domain of the diner.

One of my favourite things about the show is how willing Peggy is to lie and use peoples' (men's) underestimations of her against them. The roomful of disgusted reactions when she says "Ladies'....things" is classic.

Peggy continues to show off her spy background in her femme fatale nightclub outfit of drapey silver dress and long platinum wig, which is a very Veronica Lake look. Mucca mentioned how it seems OOC of Peggy not to have the walkie-talkie volume turned down, and similarly it seems very odd she wouldn't disguise the very distinctive bullet scars she has on her shoulder, which Daniel later identifies her by. We get not only weaponized femininity, in her fake honeypot act and knockout lipstick (which is again right out of the pulps, as is the glowing bulbous bomb) but domestic items used as weapons when her watch's face transforms into a safecracking tool and she knocks out the nightclub security with a stapler off the boss's desk. This continues in the great sequence when she returns home and immediately finds the fancy-sounding chemical ingredients in her own everyday kitchen staples and disarms the bomb with feminine beauty tools: tweezers and an atomizer. And after Colleen's death the theme gets even more bravura: she fends off the Terminator-esque assassin with the refrigerator door, slams his hand down on the lit gas burner, and blocks his kitchen knife attack with the burner plate. Talk about everything but the kitchen sink....

The aftermath of this, when she cries over Colleen's body alone, is just heartbreaking. She can slip away easily from the funeral and consequences; she's not connected to Colleen in any way, and it's likely Colleen came to New York to seek her fortune just like Peggy and Angie did. Jarvis discounts Peggy's fear that she's a danger to her loved ones and friends, but this comes back in a big way (unfortunately) in season two. -- Atwell and D'Arcy do an amazing job in a scene where both of them are playing period reserved British types and can't even face each other during an emotional scene, and we don't get a single two-shot of them in the same frame, but they manage to connect nevertheless. It's a great little visual metaphor. The scene is also mirrored in the nice little bit with her and Sousa where he tries distracting her from her (quickly veiled) sadness over Steve with a joke about his war disability, which seals his position as a resource for her at work. Her gentle reproof -- "You're one of the lucky ones" -- is meant as much for herself as him ("I've been wallowing in it ever since the war, wondering why nobody would give Agent Peggy Carter a chance").

I honestly lost track of how many guys she knocked out during this ep. There was Jarvis, the nightclub owner, the nightclub security, the Terminator guy if we count her throwing him out the window, a security guard and the scientist at Roxxon, am I forgetting anyone....? Peggy's just as much of a feminist power fantasy as the original Cap who punched Hitler was, a beautiful brilliant dame with a killer right hook and wardrobe to match. It's great.

Despite his domestic ties, Jarvis is immediately her partner in crime in a delightfully pulpy sequence and I admit the whole Roxxon/Leviathan/whatever plot never made much sense to me, but I didn't pay terribly much attention to it the first few times I saw this. Peggy's threat "or else I'll blow us both to Hell" has a terrible rawness to it. It's fun and exhilarating to see Peggy be so competent and adventurous, and that spirit carries over into her final scene in this ep when she takes on the guy who's been harrassing Angie repeatedly. Peggy's worst kick to sexism is on another woman's behalf, hidden in public, with another domestic weapon, the man's own fork, and played for triumphant comedy. The small smirk she allows herself as she goes outside shows that the smaller home front battles can be just as satisfying emotionally as the big showdowns with explosions.

Which is why it's such a sharp letdown that not only is Jarvis in contact with Howard, but they're both using Peggy for something, and Jarvis talks about her the way the other men have been all episode: as a thing, something to be used, not a person. It's a plot point setup but also a jarring reminder that in the battle of the sexes they can't really be on the same side. Her trust has been misplaced from the start.

Date: 2017-03-05 05:24 pm (UTC)
kore: (Peggy Carter - true north)
From: [personal profile] kore
An addendum - one critic said Peggy's nightclub outfit and act reminded him of Lizabeth Scott in Dead Reckoning (1947), which I haven't seen. I was thinking of this Veronica Lake look. Lake also plays a femme fatale in The Blue Dahlia (1946), about a returned GI with PTSD and a head injury, written by Raymond Chandler. She was also in The Glass Key (1942) and This Gun for Hire (1942), although those were both based on pre-war novels. Audrey Totter (and to some degree Lauren Bacall) was another blonde femme fatale. Wynn Everett, as Whitney Frost in S2, greatly resembles this look.
Edited (because I am getting names wrong and should go to bed) Date: 2017-03-05 05:26 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-03-05 09:34 pm (UTC)
kore: (Peggy Carter)
From: [personal profile] kore
This is all a really good read.

Aw thanks! I got a little self-conscious right after I posted it, LOL, but as long as it's enjoyable....

Like the scene later in where she's pursing rolls, and then we see this massive community effort to rob the breakfast room blind, that she was completely unaware of because she cannot see herself as part of a woman's world and see herself as a competent person in a male profession.

That's a really good point. It's a little hard to tell whether it's baked into Peggy's character, because that was first wave feminism and a lot of it was about "being better than the men" and so on. (Altho now that I think on it this is probably erasing or fuzzing over a lot of suffrage-era activism, because a lot of those feminists had very close ties to socialism, and earlier activists were more radical too. But anyway, all that had been snowed under enough by the mid-1940s that it probably wasn't at the forefront of most peoples' minds.) It's about performing excellently within the existing structures, not tearing them down or even questioning them. So she's presented as exceptional, in the show, but exceptionalism was also probably the most socially "acceptable" way for women to try to have any kind of career.

Peggy is very much doing the '70s fantasy trope of the Woman Who Can Also Slay Dragons (and is implicitly or explicitly Not Like Other Girls).

Oh, yeah. That's what I meant about getting off on her as a kind of feminist power fantasy -- she's beautiful AND brilliant AND brave and has those clothes and that appearance and it's totally like Steve Rogers, blond blue-eyed immigrant superhero, punching the fuck out of Hitler. But that kind of power fantasy is also obviously limited.

Though this first half of the season also is the moment when she realises that she's NEVER going to be good enough to play with the guys, and starts trying to play them (again in an all male context of Howard and Jarvis, who are in fact as you say just playing her.)

Oh yeah, with that instantly famous "unless I have your coffee or your files I'm invisible" speech. BAM. That was immensely satisfying.

I still found it really frustraiting, because she doesn't seem to have any kind of plan in all this.

....heh, this is where I think she's like Steve a little bit, or more than a little. They're both very passionate and impulsive, they dive heart-first into everything. She's extremely smart, but I think her plans tend to consist of "throw self into action, see what happens next," altho I could be misremembering. -- It's interesting how the movie and show often both code her as an action hero, rather than a spy; Nat is the traditional spy who's emotionally manipulative and unsure of her own identity who can play whatever room she's in, but Peggy's personality is always blazing through. -- I just realized, she reminds me a lot of early Buffy. Hah.

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Date: 2017-03-05 08:20 pm (UTC)
sholio: Peggy Carter (Avengers-Peggy in cafe)
From: [personal profile] sholio
That ending line highlights one of the great strengths and weaknesses of the show, that it's Peggy's high valuation of her own intrinsic worth that matters, not any outside approval. Which puts all the emphasis on being an essentially unbreakable strong individual and not changing the status quo. One place I think the show really fell down is that the SOE, where Peggy liaised with the SSR from, had many female field agents who specialized in resistance and sabotage. Why not bring one of them in as a character? Or even just mention them? But this is the story of Peggy as an heroic individual, the same way Steve was meant to be the first of an army of supersoldiers but instead wound up being the only one.

Yeah; while I ADORED season two (I seem to be one of the few people in the fandom who really loved it wholeheartedly), this was one thing that threw me somewhat about it, because my between-seasons headcanon was that Peggy would use her new influence at the SSR to get other female agents hired, and in the end she doesn't do that at all. While the show does a nice job of avoiding pitting its female characters against each other, Peggy is very aggressively pursuing her own career, not looking out for other people's careers. She stands up for people as individuals (Rose, for example) but at least at this point in her life, she's not out to change things in a systemic way. It's possible this changes later on, once she's more secure in her career, but at this point in her life Peggy is focused on her own life primarily.

... but once I thought about it, I actually liked it, or at least I feel like it's fully in character for her, because I feel like a lot of the fandom treats Peggy as this paragon of modern-era feminism, and ... she's not, though? She's a fiercely ambitious person who is out to do (a certain kind of) good in the world. At this point in her life, she's mainly focused on her career -- not to the point of trampling other people, but she's also not everything to every person (on the show, anyway). She's not trying to systematically change things; SHE'S just trying to get ahead, personally.

I feel like the fandom making the show All About Feminism and Peggy All About Feminism are a) kinda missing the point, and b) being unfair to the show/characters, because it really is just a superhero show set in the 1940s, and Peggy as a male hero wouldn't have to carry all of that expectation. It's frustrating to me that female characters have to be all of these things and can't just be ambitious and flawed, in the way that Peggy is, without fandom having to paper over their flaws and project all of these expectations onto them.
Edited Date: 2017-03-05 08:21 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-03-05 08:35 pm (UTC)
sholio: sun on winter trees (Default)
From: [personal profile] sholio
I came back to clarify something, because I was thinking about this some more while I made a cup of tea. I guess what I was trying to say is, nobody expects that Steve should be a superhero AND a community organizer, but they DO expect that of Peggy. It's okay for Steve to be too busy because he's out there punching Nazis to ALSO be trying to, say, change things for poor kids in Brooklyn back home. But I caught myself falling into that trap with Peggy, feeling like she should be doing both. And then I realized what I was doing and that there was a double standard there.

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Date: 2017-03-05 09:44 pm (UTC)
kore: (Sharon Carter - badass)
From: [personal profile] kore
Yeah; while I ADORED season two (I seem to be one of the few people in the fandom who really loved it wholeheartedly)

I will be really interested to hear why! because I didn't like it at all but I'm going to try to be much more open-minded about it on this rewatch. I really did not expect the show to go to LA, I wanted more about Dottie, &c &c. But I know it was doing stuff I missed because I was sulking.

my between-seasons headcanon was that Peggy would use her new influence at the SSR to get other female agents hired, and in the end she doesn't do that at all.

NOT JUST YOU

Or I thought the show would be more about her putting SHIELD together. But I think actually it's more like the One-Shot film, where she goes off to start SHIELD presumably and that's the end of the story. I also read an interview that while Atwell at first was excited thinking they could do shows set in the forties, fifties, sixties, whatever, because of Peggy's long lifespan, the producers had to stick just to the post-war forties because they couldn't interfere with the Agents of Shield timeline. >:-(

I feel like a lot of the fandom treats Peggy as this paragon of modern-era feminism, and ... she's not, though? She's a fiercely ambitious person who is out to do (a certain kind of) good in the world. At this point in her life, she's mainly focused on her career -- not to the point of trampling other people, but she's also not everything to every person (on the show, anyway). She's not trying to systematically change things; SHE'S just trying to get ahead, personally.

I feel like the fandom making the show All About Feminism and Peggy All About Feminism are a) kinda missing the point, and b) being unfair to the show/characters, because it really is just a superhero show set in the 1940s, and Peggy as a male hero wouldn't have to carry all of that expectation.


That's a really interesting point, and part of what I meant when I said to Mucca that it's hard to tease out all these different intentions because Peggy is exceptional, and arguably the show's also very into the exceptionalist mindset, and yet at the same time that's a lot of what superhero stories are about, like you point out. (There's that great cartoon or something where Bruce is asking Alfred what he can do to help society, and Alfred starts listing off all these social programs and Bruce is like, "Bring me a cape.") Even the current Black Panther comic, which is all about nation-building and self-governance and independence movements, is focusing on, well, Black Panther and about a handful of other really interesting characters because that's how we tell stories. Peggy's serving as both inspiration and as an example here, in a very historical setting, and that can make for some weird tensions.

Date: 2017-03-05 09:47 pm (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
Not saying that everyone I knew liked it, but Jessica Jones for me was a really great example of a heroine who was flawed and fucked up a lot but also was genuinely heroic and overcame a lot, and there was a lot better interplay between her personal and social worlds. But that was a modern heroine, and she also wasn't ambitious the way Peggy was -- in MCU at least she starts off trying to superhero on her own and immediately gets hijacked. Which I guess is its own commentary. But with a historical character like Peggy, I think her bulletproof facade which includes the lipstick and how she's put together is a big part of her appeal, like the famous British nonchalance about bombing raids (which probably got played up into mythic status, but was actually there too).

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