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What if... Captain Carter Fought the Hydra Stomper?

“I don’t do sequels… Normally.”

The one where Peggy Carter makes her second season debut.

This episode has one of the more successful storylines, at least, from an emotional standpoint (Doctor Strange’s storyline being the other one). So, I guess it’s not surprising that The Powers That Be revisited it. Other episodes took characters we knew and loved and placed them in situations that altered who they were or set them on a path that diverged so far from one we recognized, that while they may have been interesting thought exercises, they lacked an emotional punch. Here, the twist from our known timeline may have altered Peggy, Steve, and by extension Bucky’s trajectories. Yet, it did nothing to change the nature of their relationships. Thus, they were used to great effect to toy with our emotions.

Peggy and Steve were always kindred spirits. And their attraction for each other was rooted in their shared view of the world and mutual respect, not in their physical attributes. Which is why Peggy filled Steve’s shoes so seamlessly as her moral center and strength of character equaled his. Those characteristics also make her more than a match for the more pragmatic Fury.

Fury may have brought the Avengers together, but he is more spy than hero. Information is currency and in that regard, he’s a miser. He also reads people exceptionally well. Fury at least suspected that informing Peggy of Steve’s possible survival ran the risk of his rescue becoming her focus rather than any mission Fury set. He wasn’t wrong.

And Peggy wasn’t the only one affected. Seeing a Bucky never traumatized by Hydra was as comforting as it was bittersweet. He’s not the tortured soul we know, but Steve’s loss still marked him. What wasn’t surprising is that he still fought for the less fortunate. This time as Secretary of State. It was also nice to see that his faith in Steve’s inherent goodness was as steadfast and foolhardy as Steve’s was in the Winter Soldier.

However, the thing I enjoyed most about the episode was the dynamic between Peggy and Nat. In our timeline, Natasha is the token female in the boys’ club that is the Avengers. Yes, there’s Wanda, but she was not an OG member of the team and was treated like junior varsity until Infinity War. As Steve’s surrogate in this world, Peggy is the leader of the band. But her bond with Natasha goes beyond respected colleagues with a shared purpose. There is a level of comfort and compatibility that never existed between Natasha and Steve’s, whose relationship was often hindered by mistrust or hints of attraction.

What about the plot you say? Honestly, it felt like a device used to tug on our heartstrings. Well, more like a device to rip the still beating heart from our chest and stomp on it. Natasha’s reunion with her erstwhile mother was anything but heartwarming. Both Melina’s pride in Natasha and sense of betrayal were on full display. So, using Red Room logic, it’s only natural that Melina would try to kill Nat rather than reconcile with her. And as for Peggy and Steve, if they found a way to have their dance in our version of events, I believe they’ll find a way to have their date in this one. I staunchly refuse to believe that this is the last that we’ve seen of Steve.

The coda at the end of the episode intrigues me. What Queen? Which world? And given Wanda’s abilities, why do they need Peggy? Wanda’s not psychic, so I imagine they either need Peggy’s physical strength or her strength of character. Time will tell. Though, the scene’s existence appears to be confirmation that there will be a story arc for this season. It wasn’t a necessity, but it makes me happy.

Considering the emotional journey this episode traveled, enjoyable may not be an appropriate word. But it was certainly well done.

4 out of 5 Red Rooms

Parting Thoughts:

I may be alone in this but I love that they’ve kept the same visual aesthetic as the movies. Complete with "camera" angles and slow motion shots.

I know these episodes are short and they have to keep the storylines to a minimum but was anyone else expecting Brock to betray Bucky and/or Peggy the way he betrayed Steve in The Winter Soldier?

It was nice to see Wasp at the Battle of New York, though maybe not as nice for her.


Peggy: “Fury has a mission for us. Think of it as extra cardio.”
Natasha: “Oh, man. You need more hobbies."

Natasha: “You might want to brace yourself.”

Fury: “After the war, Rogers and Barnes formed their own two-man army and destroyed every HYDRA base on Earth. Until the last mission claimed Steve’s life."
Peggy: “Well, I have bruises that say otherwise!”

Peggy: “You knew about this and didn’t tell me?”
Natasha: “I didn’t see the point in breaking your heart twice.”

Bucky: “Okay, I may be an old man, boys, but I punched Nazi and shared beers with aliens. I can handle myself.”

Natasha: “The suit is rebooting now. We’ll see who’s at the controls when he wakes up.”

Peggy “Are you certain you killed him?”
Natasha: “I mean, I stabbed him in the carotid artery with a corkscrew. So, yeah, I think I did.”
Peggy “You should write a memoir.”
Natasha: “Or like a how-to manual.”

Steve: “Looks like we have a little time.”
Peggy: “That’ll be a first.”

Melina: “You are Captain Margaret Carter, the epitome of womanhood and science. I don’t know whether to kiss you, kill you, or dissect you.”
Peggy: “Let me guess. Maybe all three?”
Melina: “Yes. Good plan.”

Melina: “It’s very refreshing to meet a hero who surpasses her reputation.”

Peggy: “I’m done fighting, Steve.”

Natasha: “Does Stark know you’re stealing his car?”

Watcher: “I am the Watcher. I see all, I observe all, I know… What the hell is this?”

Peggy: “So much for taking the night off.”

Shari loves sci-fi, fantasy, the supernatural, and anything with a cape.

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