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Fridge / Agent Carter

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     Season 1 

  • Many superhero stories involve the hero's love interest dying while the hero soldiers on. Agent Carter flips that narrative firmly on its ass, because the love interest in those stories is invariably a Neutral Female. Two of them are Trope Namers, in fact: I Let Gwen Stacy Die and Stuffed into the Fridge. Peggy was already a hero in her own right before inspiring and enabling Steve to truly become Captain America and not just a mascot. So, great, this knocks her out of Neutral Female territory— and straight into The Obi-Wan. And she still doesn't get killed off to further Steve's narrative. Steve was basically fridged to further his own story, while Peggy lived a long and happy life... which the writers later revisited, with the effect on this series (as expressed in Peggy's opening narration) that Steve's "death" is being used to further Peggy's story. Instead of the love interest or the mentor being killed off to make the hero cry, the hero was already incapacitated and Peggy as a secondary hero becomes the hero of her own narrative.
    • Plus, Steve gets frozen in Arctic ice, which is a fairly literal interpretation of being "stuffed into the fridge".
  • A minor reference from the original One Shot pilot: while infiltrating the Zodiac hideout, Peggy gives off her place of origin as Brooklyn - the same place as Steve.
  • The Tear Jerker confrontation between Peggy and Howard (where Peggy criticizes Howard's quite-underhanded way of dealing with life and his corporate career) forces the latter to bring up that his family has had less-affluent origins that forced him to be the trickster and liar he is now. Then you remember that Steve has had a worse situation (orphaned and sickly) and yet still managed to be The Cape makes you think this probably rankles Howard himself as well. Most significantly, this confrontation (where a Stark's pragmatism and deployment of his resources is unfavorably compared to Captain America's convictions) is almost a point-by-point reference to Steve and Tony's tense standoff in The Avengers.
    • It would also explain that why Tony Stark and his father never got along considering how similar Howard was to him when he was young. Howard grew up in poverty on the Lower East Side and had to work hard and struggle to make it where he is. He probably had no patience for his son's frivolous attitude because unlike Howard he grew up in comfort and had everything handed to him.
  • Thompson's telling Peggy she will never be seen by the other agents as more than a woman at first seems like him being a Jerkass but when he reveals his Dark Secret it becomes clear that he is talking out of personal experience. He sees parallels between his situation and Peggy's where it doesn't matter about the truth regarding their accomplishments as people around them only care about their personal bias and in his own way is telling Peggy not to bother probably out of concern that she will do what he has done. The same happens earlier in the episode, in his "not everyone wants a hug" speech to Sousa: again, he's actually seeing parallels between the witness and himself (also, that's what causes him to be a bit nicer toward Sousa later). Notice that, when talking with Peggy, he's drinking from a bottle like the one he offered to the witness.
  • Sousa's crack that Thompson "got his personality shot off at Iwo Jima" turns out to be a lot closer to the truth than he could have possibly known...
  • Black Widow:
    • When Peggy runs into Jerome Zandow in the Heartbreak he says: "They told me one of you might be coming. (beat) And I'm not afraid of killing a woman." At the time it looked like they were two separate phrases, the second one being a generic threat. But once the involvement of proto-Black Widows in the plot to steal Stark's tech is confirmed Zandow's dialogue takes another meaning. He had been told by Brannis that a female assassin might show up looking for the stuff. Zandow likely thought that Peggy was Dottie.
    • Similarly, the SSR picks up on Peggy's off-the-books operations right after discovering the Black Widow program that trains girls as covert agents because women are often beneath suspicion. With their realization that Peggy is more competent than they thought and that she's been working against them, it's not a stretch to think they put two and two together and suspect her of being the Black Widow.
    • Dottie, master spy and assassin, losing a fight to Peggy and being given a run for her money by a man on crutches makes some sense when you consider, as a Black Widow, her specialty is in infiltration and assassinations — she's supposed to quickly take out targets who don't consider her a threat. While she's able to fight if necessary, facing an alert opponent who knows about her is her worst case scenario and one she's not used to operating in. She has trouble in those fights because she's off balance.
  • Hypnosis:
    • Dr. Ivchenko's hypnosis of Agent Yauch, though naturally exaggerated for a comic book show, displays a fundamental rule of hypnosis: you can't (easily) get a subject to do something that would be out of character for them. The hypnotist first gets in Yauch's head by having him concentrate on his desire for Chief Dooley to recognize his efforts. Since Yauch's mind is narrowed down to that trait, it's why he refuses to take Ivchenko to the vault with Stark's weapons, because it would involve disobeying a direct order from Dooley. Then, when the hypnotist orders Yauch to kill himself, he's very careful to avoid wording it that way and tells him to buy himself the finest bourbon first. It's likely he wanted to get Yauch to get drunk enough that he wouldn't start to question committing suicide.
    • The next episode also shows an important part of hypnosis: the Happy Place. One tactic for maintaining trances is to get the subject to get in a good enough mood that they're willing to go along with anything you say, and will avoid disobeying you because it starts to pull them out of their wonderland. We see that with the poor Russian soldier getting his leg amputated, who starts to notice something off but ignores it at the doctor's request, because staying in this paradise is much more fun. It's shown again with Dooley, who admits to his illusionary wife that he knows he did something bad, but he just couldn't find the will to prevent it, because seeing her seemed more important. It also further illustrates the need for calming Yauch down with a drink first.
  • Dottie using a rifle to communicate with Dr. Ivchenko: any spyglass would have worked just as fine, but that way had anyone spotted her she would only have to shoot, miss and run, pretending it was a failed attempt at Ivchenko's life and saving his cover.
  • Sousa managed to survive a fight with Dottie, who is a highly trained assassin capable of moves that have felled people in far better physical condition. How is that possible? Two reasons: (1) He got the warning from Thompson (who met that little girl in Russia and rightly assumed an adult version of such a girl would be even more formidable) so unlike everyone else who met Dottie, he had his guard up; (2) Due to his bad leg, Dottie probably didn't expect him to be much of a threat. In other words, he lived because she did what everyone else usually does to her and underestimated her opponent.
  • A number of the "bad babies" that Stark stored in his vault seem to have a common theme to them. He built a massage device that ends up breaking bones due to muscle contractions. The SSR scientists in "The Blitzkrieg Button" are baffled by a number of devices whose functions only hurts the person that activates it (an item that electrocutes the user, the other two that sets a scientist's arm on fire twice). Chief Dooley dies from a protective vest with a built-in heating system unstable enough to blow up, yet is designed with a circuit in the clasps that only hastens the explosion if the wearer tries to take off the vest. The SSR scientists remark that Stark must be either a genius or an ignoramus to make inventions like these. Given some of the other items stored in the vault like the nitramene formula, Steve's blood, and Item 17, it is possible Stark was really storing traps inside in the event someone broke in and stole something. He may have hoped that any thief would get tempted by a "bad baby", try it, and end up foiled by whatever surprise it would spring.
  • This post gives an insightful look on the symbolism given during Peggy's "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Dooley, Thompson, and Sousa:
    • Dooley: When she's "the stray kitten, left on [Chief Dooley's] doorstep to be protected" she's in front of the dark wall as if the only light on her is the moon as she is left on the mighty savior's doorstep in a basket like all stray kittens are in the stories. Chief Dooley says he's "impressed" because stray kittens are incapable of "playing the game" and deceiving so well. Stray kittens aren't agents.
    • Thompson: When she's Thompson's "secretary turned damsel in distress" the camera switches the angle so we can see her profile with the lamp light forming a circle around her like a halo. Thompson sees her as some kind of an angel who does only good because that's what women should all be. He says he's "confused" because angels should be incapable of deception, damsels in distress should never take action and do things for themselves. She's not playing her role.
    • Sousa: When she's Sousa's "girl on the pedestal, transformed into some daft whore" the lamp light shines on her face with the darkness behind her. He saw her as an example of decency in the world, of goodness, someone (metaphorically) made of light. He's "sick" with what he sees now because light doesn't lie, light doesn't deceive. He sees deception as the mark of a "daft whore," because that's as negative as women can go.
  • By the end of the series Arnim Zola gets access to Fennhoff's method of hypnosis. This is the reason why on the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. HYDRA has a method of making their subjects "comply".
  • When seeing Item 17 in Episode 6, Ivchenko starts to sound fairly emotional, and breathing heavily. He must be reliving a bit of what he saw the gas do at Finow.
  • Howard expresses that Steve's the only good invention he's ever made, where all the others were at best mere failures and at worst abused to cause death and suffering. Assuming Tony saw some of this attitude in action, it explains a lot of why he doesn't want his Iron Man tech to meet the same fate.
  • Peggy lectures her SSR colleagues about how she was able to get away with her secret investigation because their sexism keeps them from noticing her unless she's bringing them their coffee, their food, or their files. Think about it: This statement doesn't just apply to Peggy, but to women of the 1940s in general. It's the same reason Dottie was so easily able to manipulate Howard and the reason that the Black Widows make such effective spies. It's not their combat training or their ability to lie, though those certainly help. It's that in this time period, no one would ever dream that a woman could be a professional spy note 
  • Jarvis reveals in the last episode that one of Howard Stark's private airfields wasn't secured by the SSR. This explains how Stark was able to get in and out of the country while on the lam.
  • While infiltrating the Leviathan's Black Widow training room, a clip from The Dover Boys is being projected for the students. In the cartoon, a supposed Damsel in Distress turns out to be much stronger than her captor expected.
  • In the finale it's revealed that one of the architects of the Winter Soldier Program was a certain Doctor Faustus, whose special skill was made use of by other HYDRA loyalists on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. It's not too unlikely that Pierce was making use of this with his speech as well. With this in mind, some of the Fridge Horror in Captain America: The Winter Soldier may be alleviated when you consider that some of the Winter Soldier's conditioning "merely" involved trapping him in a Lotus-Eater Machine as opposed to more direct forms of 2 + Torture = 5.
  • "New Directive: Kill Peggy Carter." Fennhoff was already aware of Peggy's fighting skills, both through Green Suit's messages and seeing her in action in Russia. But what made him decide she was too dangerous to be left alive? When she started asking him about the Black Widow girls and if one of them could have come to America. It clearly signaled to him that she was just a few clues away from blowing the entire scheme.
  • Why is the sexism so much worse than it was in The First Avenger, where Peggy was at least recognised as a proper SSR agent? Because that's what happened in real life! After the war, all the female munitions workers and codebreakers and so on were basically told they'd done a great job, but the men were back now, so they could return to their "proper place", just as happens to Peggy.


     Season 2 

  • Roxxon having corporate spies in Stark Industries makes more sense come Season 2 where its head is revealed to be a member of the Secret Empire. Stark can't be recruited so they are keeping an eye on a rogue element that could be a Game Changer.
  • In "Better Angels," Howard notes how much Jarvis enjoys working with Peggy, to the point of expressing concern that Jarvis might quit his job as Howard's butler (Jarvis reassures him that he likes his job). Also, when Howard implements a security system using Jarvis' voice, Jarvis says he doesn't want to spend the rest of his life as "a disembodied voice." Many years later, what is the Artificial Intelligence JARVIS designed as? Not a mere "disembodied voice"—he is not just Tony's butler and in control of pretty much every automated item in Tony's life, but he is treated as a friend and an integral part of Tony's work as Iron Man. In other words, JARVIS continues to be the capable and enthusiastic assistant to a hero long after the human Jarvis is gone.
  • As noted on the recap, Peggy claims that the tranquilizer dart she shoots Hunt with should have taken down a rhino, yet he is still conscious. However, Jarvis noted that the tranquilizer rifle he brought was used for a koala, an animal smaller than the average human. In general, a tranquilizer dart's effectiveness varies with the dosage, and if the darts were really for a koala, it probably would not cause an instant knockout on a bigger creature. The rhinoceros line was probably an exaggeration (either by Jarvis, or by Peggy in the hopes that Hunt would be too distracted by getting shot long enough to get incapacitated).
  • Why did Ana Jarvis rush out to confront Whitney and Manfreddi as they were kidnapping Dr. Wilkes instead of just hiding and waiting for Peggy and Jarvis to return? Because she was a Jew during the Holocaust, and she knows more than anyone how horrible it is to have something horrible happen to you while friends and neighbors stand by and do nothing to help.
  • The reveal that Ana can no longer bear children adds another layer to Jarvis's Parental Substitute relationship with Tony. Not only is Tony the son of a man Jarvis was exceptionally loyal to, but he's also like the son Jarvis could never have himself.

  • From "SNAFU": unless the exploding vest incinerated him entirely, did Chief Dooley's smoldering remains rain down on the street outside the SSR offices?
  • What if the bomb hadn't exploded until after Chief Dooley hit the ground, causing it to detonate where pedestrians were walking?

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