Season 2 of Marvel’s Agent Carter is less than two weeks away. To get ready for the new episodes, let’s refresh our memories of Agent Carter season 1.
Marvel’s Agent Carter was a hit when it debuted last year, filling in the mid-season gap in Agents of SHIELD and showing fans the continuing adventures of Peggy Carter. The season brought back fan-favorite Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark, introduced us to the real Jarvis and showed Peggy start to move on from Steve Rogers, aka Captain America. To get ready for season 2 (or in case you missed season 1), let’s run through the stuff we all need to know.
One of the big things that Agent Carter did in season 1 was to establish Peggy’s supporting characters. Fans are already familiar with Peggy, of course, since she has not only appeared in the Captain America movies and the Agent Carter Marvel One-Shot but also reprised the character in a flashback in Agents of SHIELD. Howard Stark is also a familiar face, having appeared in a recording in Iron Man 2 (though played by a different actor) and in his full glory in Captain America: The First Avenger.
The Howling Commandos from The First Avenger also made an appearance in season 1, with Dum Dum Dugan and the others helping to investigate a school that was once used to train sleeper agents in Russia. The Commandos even suffer a fatality during the episode, which was a bit shocking to see even though it’s reasonable to assume that the character who dies wouldn’t have many opportunities to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe going forward anyway.
New characters introduced included Edwin Jarvis (James D’Arcy), Howard Stark’s tough butler that Stark puts at Peggy’s disposal, SSR agents such as the sexist Jack Thompson (Chad Michael Murray) and friendly Daniel Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) and SSR chief Roger Dooley (Shea Whigham). Other key characters are sleeper agent Dottie Underwood (Bridget Regan), comics villain Johann Fennhoff, aka Doctor Faustus (appearing first using the name Dr. Ivchenko and portrayed by Ralph Brown), and an appearance by Armin Zola in the finale (with Toby Jones reprising his role from the Captain America movies).
In Agent Carter season 1, we get a bit of a better look at the workings of the SSR, but the major organization that we’re introduced to is Leviathan. Similar to Hydra in the modern portions of the MCU, Leviathan is a shadowy organization with a vendetta against Howard Stark. Though Fennhoff/Ivchenko and Dottie are the organization’s main operatives during the season, between the series and the Agent Carter One-Shot it is suggested that Leviathan is a far-reaching organization.
The “Bad Babies”
At the beginning of season 1, it was revealed that several weapons were stolen from Howard Stark’s vault. Stark himself referred to them as his “Bad Babies,” weapons that were too potentially destructive to ever let them out into the wild. After the theft, Stark is framed by Leviathan to make it appear that he sold the weapons, and he has to go on the run. He leaves Peggy and Jarvis to try and track down the weapons and stop them from being used or sold.
It seemed at first as though the series would take on the predictable format of having each season follow some of the Bad Babies, but the season played out a bit differently than expected. While it’s possible that the Bad Babies could return in some form in season 2, it’s worth noting that Howard Stark was going to destroy the weapons at the end of the season 1 finale.
Of the Bad Babies, only one really saw active use during the season. A mind-control gas made by Stark was used on Agent Sousa was planned to be released in Times Square on VE Day. Carter and Jarvis managed to stop the Leviathan plot to use the gas, however, so it’s unlikely that we’ll see the gas show up again as a major plot point in season 2.
The Plot (aka Peggy on the Run)
Getting in to the full Agent Carter season 1 recap, let’s look at what actually happened during the season. Peggy is working for the SSR in New York, but she’s been marginalized with administrative tasks and was assumed to only have the position because of her link to Captain America. This changed when the SSR started looking for Howard Stark because they believed that he’d been selling weapons. Stark contacted Peggy, offered her the services of his butler Jarvis and began sending her on covert missions to recover the stolen weapons and clear his name.
The first few missions she undertakes for Stark result in her being wounded and a fellow SSR agent being killed. Peggy finally starts to open up to a friend, Angie, but is hesitant to let her get too close. More weapons are recovered, and Peggy helps Stark to go into hiding at the hotel she’s living at. At this point she’s tasked with retrieving one of the weapons that the SSR has already confiscated, only to find out that it was a decoy… and instead of being a weapon, it’s actually a vial of Captain America’s blood.
We soon find out about the Leviathan boarding school and learn that Dottie was raised there; though she becomes friendly with Peggy, she is actively working as a member of Leviathan against the SSR. During a raid, Dr. Ivchenko is recovered because Peggy and the Howling Commandos thought that he was a prisoner in the facility. He orders Dottie to kill Peggy, even as the SSR begins to realize that Peggy’s been working with Stark the whole time. Dottie manages to drug Peggy with an unexpected kiss, just before the SSR arrests the fugitive agent.
The Big Finale
Captured by the SSR, Peggy reveals that Dottie is a member of Leviathan even though no one believes her. She also makes the connection between Dottie and Ivchenko, managing to convince Thompson and Sousa that her story is true. Unfortunately, Dooley isn’t convinced and is soon compromised by Ivchenko.
This is the point where things really start moving toward the big finish. Peggy and Jarvis escape from the room that Dooley locked them in, only to find that Ivchenko has locked Dooley in an experimental armor that is known to overheat and explode. Dooley tasks Peggy with stopping Ivchenko, then leaps out the window and shoots himself before the explosion occurs. Fearing that Ivchenko stole the sample of Captain America’s blood, it’s soon discovered that he has something far worse… the mind-control gas that induces uncontrollable rage.
Ivchenko briefly controls Stark, though Peggy manages to snap him out of it. She leads the SSR to stop Dottie and Ivchenko, fitting the latter with a device that prevents him from speaking so he can’t hypnotize anyone else. The season ends with Ivchenko being placed in a cell with Zola, who passes him some paper so that they can collaborate.