Growing the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Does Agent Carter Fit?

Last week I discussed how Peggy Carter merits being a hero of her own standing, and today I’ll look at the world in which she inhabits as this hero.

Marvel’s Agent Carter is interesting because it exists within two universes — its own time period and that of the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It’s the first production by Marvel Studios that does not adhere to the chronological order of the movies; in fact, it predates all but one of the films.

What this means is that Agent Carter has to figure out a balance between standing on its own and seamlessly fitting into the MCU. As it is, the show thus far has done a wonderful job of establishing the limited world of post-war America. It has a plucky tone and a comic book aesthetic, where you can fully expect to hear characters say things like “Hi, sugar” and “pennies from heaven.” It’s also had several scenes, especially in this week’s episode, that show an awareness for the historical context of the show being set post-World War II.

How, then, does the show also translate this world into the MCU? The show cannot rely too heavily on the MCU, but it also cannot stand completely apart from it. Other than a multitude of references to Captain America in the first two episodes and the fact that we have two characters from Captain America: The First Avenger in the show, it hasn’t done a lot to find its overall place yet within that universe.

This week, we learned more about Jarvis (James D’Arcy) including that he was dishonorably discharged from the army and charged with treason (for an honorable reason, don’t worry). What does this mean for the SSR’s hunt for Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper), given that they now know his butler is also a so-called criminal?

Clearly, the past can come back to haunt you, and events have lasting consequences. This is what Captain America: The Winter Soldier was all about and what this show should use to help tie itself into the MCU. Audiences will know that eventually S.H.I.E.L.D. becomes completely infiltrated by HYDRA, but these characters don’t.

So far there hasn’t been anything from HYDRA but it hasn’t stopped fans from speculating which character could eventually switch sides, or even who may be a villain already. Plenty of people are already calling out newest character Dottie (Bridget Regan) as working for Leviathan.

Most likely, HYDRA is still building itself back up after its defeat during the war, but I’d be surprised if we didn’t get anything from it in this show. After all, we know that right now, during this show, HYDRA is creating the Winter Soldier himself and is still active. Could we see him in this show, perhaps his run-in with Stark? I doubt it, but a girl can dream.

Leviathan may be our big bad but it would be largely dissatisfying if, after the success and impact of Captain America: The Winter Soldier on the larger MCU, there were no hints to the growth of HYDRA within S.H.I.E.L.D.

The characters in this show, a lot of them veterans, thought they had put death (and HYDRA) behind them with the end of the war, but with the death of one of their own this week, it’s clear they haven’t. We know things are only going to get worse, and this show should place itself within the context of the MCU by building upon that base.

The show returns in two weeks, and with it Howard Stark. I imagine we’ll see more of an emphasis on the MCU then and we can better judge how this show is doing with its balancing act.

How are you enjoying the show so far? Is there anything you’d like to see from it? Let us know in the comments!



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