In Matt Fraction and David Aja’s Hawkeye, an award-winning comic book you all should have read by now, Clint Barton has a catch phrase. Almost every issue starts with it: “Okay. This looks bad.”
Peggy Carter can relate.
At the start of “Snafu,” S.S.R. is pretty much completely compromised and they don’t even realize it. The villainous Dr. Ivchenko has this weird-as-hell hypnotic power over anyone he talks to, and has Chief Dooley completely under his sway. Meanwhile, the one person who might be able to put everything together—Agent Peggy Carter—is in custody, suspected of being a double agent (kind of true) working for Leviathan (not true at all). Then there’s Dottie—who actually is an evil Leviathan agent, wandering around as if she’s just a harmless young woman trying to make it in the big city like the rest of us except with more ruthless murdering.
Yeah, I’d say “Snafu” is a pretty appropriate title, especially after this episode.
It starts with a little bit of background detail about our mysterious Doctor Ivchenko. Last week, I failed to ask the obvious question—is he actually a classic Marvel villain making his TV debut?—and this week’s very first scene totally hits you over the head with that question if you’re an airhead like me and forgot to ask it.
We’re in Russia, in 1943, and Ivchenko is in the Russian Army, reading The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus—which is as close as you can get to setting off an aircraft carrier full of fireworks to write in the sky that DOCTOR FAUSTUS IS THIS MAN’S SUPER VILLAIN NAME. For the uninitiated, Doctor Faustus is a Captain America villain who, like Ivchenko, used hypnotic suggestion to get his way—and convince people who stood in the way of that to commit suicide.
However, his techniques, used on the field that day for the first time, have a noble purpose—he’s able to get a young man completely under his spell, receding deep enough within his own memories that the field medic can amputate his limb without feeling it.
This is a huge problem in the present, because Ivchenko has attached himself to Chief Dooley’s side, even sitting in and observing while Thompson, Sousa, and Dooley take turns interrogating Carter, refusing to believe her when she holds that she’s not working for the enemy.
In fact, Peggy Carter pretty much goes HAM on these guys, ripping them a new one for not giving her a second thought and then acting surprised when she says she’s been able to conduct her own investigation into Leviathan and Stark while they weren’t looking. She also tells them that there’s one person they should be looking for—Dottie Underwood, who’s currently buying a stroller for some creepy reason. We don’t know why yet. It’s one of those save-it-for-the-end things TV shows like to do. We’ve got a couple more of those coming.
NEXT: Jarvis takes on the S.S.R.