Agent Carter Life Lesson of the Week: Better Angels

Sorry for the delay in getting this post up and running! I spent most of last week recovering from a stomach bug. But I feel better now and can’t wait to talk about Peggy Carter with all of you!

Agent Carter s2

“I trust my instincts…. They’re more reliable than what I’m told to believe.”

Those words from Peggy Carter resonated with me on a very deep level when I heard them in “Better Angels.” I believe in little else like I believe in the power of trusting your gut and following your instincts—even if it feels like no one else understands. If something feels wrong to you, it feels that way for a reason—and you should trust that feeling instead of belittling your intuition. It takes confidence to trust your instincts, but, as many of the characters in “Better Angels” showed us, it’s a path we don’t have to walk alone. If we have the right people around us, they’ll trust our instincts, too.

From the start of the episode, Peggy knew the story being spun about Dr. Wilkes being a Communist spy wasn’t right. But when she went toe-to-toe with Jack Thompson about the truth behind what happened at Isodyne Energy, Peggy encountered a sad truth about a woman’s intuition: People are often quick to dismiss it. Jack accused her of letting her emotions cloud her judgment, and all too often we as women are told that our instincts are actually just our emotions, our anxieties, or our nerves getting the better of us. But instead of letting what he said lead to self-doubt, Peggy stood up for her instincts and her ability to act on them. Peggy has enough confidence to trust herself and her feelings—no matter what anyone tries to get her to believe. And she’s also not afraid to call out someone (in this case, Jack) when they’re ignoring their own instincts.

Peggy knew Jack also had a sense that she was right, but he was willing to ignore the truth in order to behave how others wanted him to behave. And that kind of attitude is shameful to Peggy—not just because he’s ignoring her instincts, but because she knew he was ignoring his own. It’s often easier to just push away the gnawing feeling in your gut that says something isn’t right. To follow your intuition can sometimes mean acting in a way that others—especially those society deems “cool” or “important”—won’t appreciate or understand. And while it was more important for Jack to do as he was told in pursuit of acclaim and power, it was more important for Peggy to be true to herself, which often means acting in direct opposition to the way she’s supposed to behave.

While Jack provided the example of what not to do when it comes to gut feelings, Daniel Sousa was his exact opposite. When Jack belittled Peggy’s intuition and tried to undermine it, Daniel supported her and encouraged her to come to him with her concerns so they could follow up on her hunches together. One of my favorite things about Daniel is the way he works so hard to remind Peggy that she doesn’t have to stand alone in her principles; she has someone in her corner who has her back. And, in this case, that meant having someone who was willing to trust her instincts and his own when it came to what was really going on at Isodyne Energy. Together, their instincts proved to be right, leading to the exciting reveal of Whitney Frost’s true identity.

Another character whose intuition was spot-on in this episode was Howard Stark. Once Howard began working with Dr. Wilkes, it was clear once again that he’s a man who doesn’t care about the labels placed on people; Howard respects people because he believes them to be worthy of respect—not because of what society tells him. He immediately opened his home and his lab to a Dr. Wilkes, and the idea of a rich white man treating a black man like his equal was incredibly rare in this time period. But Howard’s gut reaction to Dr. Wilkes was to respect him and to care about his fate. As Peggy said, it’s a rare thing to impress both her and Howard, but Dr. Wilkes managed to do exactly that.

Peggy also told Dr. Wilkes she believes she’s a good judge of character, and I have to agree. The people she’s chosen to trust are all people worthy of that honor. This episode focused closely on the Peggy’s inner circle of Jarvis (another person known for trusting his gut—see his decision to save Ana at the expense of his reputation), Howard, and Daniel (and Dr. Wilkes, too). At the center of that group is the powerful woman who is sincerely respected by these men. Their first instinct is almost always to follow hers. And—as we learned in this episode—Peggy’s instincts are almost always right.

“Better Angels” showed us how important it is to listen to your intuition, especially when others try to belittle it. Whether you’re trying to piece together a massive government cover-up or just trying to navigate school or the dating world, do as Peggy says: Trust your instincts. They’re more reliable than what you’re told to believe.

6 thoughts on “Agent Carter Life Lesson of the Week: Better Angels

  1. Katie, soooo glad you’re back among the land of the living . . . and eating (more than saltines) . . and standing up without passing out.

    I have to admit that while I was watching this episode, I wondered what you were going to focus on this week. I love that you picked intuition — because it is something easily dismissed by both men and women.

    It’s not just men who will dismiss a woman’s intuition. Women will dismiss their own — because they’ve had it drilled into them that it isn’t logical. I have a friend with the most amazing intuition concerning people. She just knows when something is off. She can’t always tell you what or why. . . she just knows. When she can’t explain and when it often seems contrary to what everyone else thinks, she tends to dismiss it. (She apologizes with, “I’m probably being judgmental.” She’s not. She isn’t wired that way.) I finally pointed out that SHE IS NEVER WRONG. Her gut instinct on a person is always spot on. I don’t have her instinct, but I trust hers . . . I want her to trust hers. I love the picture Peggy Carter displays of a woman who trusts her instincts . . . and that she has good instincts to trust. How often do characters proclaim they have good instincts when everything you see them do and say proclaims the opposite? I love that Peggy isn’t one of those.

    Like you, I love that Peggy has a support group this time around. I love that Daniel supports her, but will point out when should be handling things better. I have undying love for Jarvis and how he’s willing to let his friendship with Peggy push him out of his comfort zone. And oh, how I am loving Howard Stark. Normally, I don’t like playboy types — usually because they see people (particularly women) as things. Stark is better at understanding people than one would expect from the genius playboy. Look at how much better he understands Peggy and Wilkes — he sees past the labels and assumptions. Which, if you think about it, makes sense for a genius. You have to see the world differently to be a genius. I love that Howard’s genius embraces the Peggys, Wilkes, and Jarvises . . . I love his willingness to jump in and help — with all that boundless enthusiasm. I just really hope we get a Howard Stark and Ana Jarvis scene. I need this.

    While Peggy has those who support her ideas and intuition, Whitney Frost still has to hide. The company is built on her genius, and yet no one really listens to her or pays attention. I can’t help but wonder how many people watch this arc unfolding and think the Hollywood actress as genius is far-fetched . . . not realizing this is basically Hedy Lamarr?

    Random thoughts:
    — Oh Howard, I’ve had those mornings, too, where I wished someone would turn down the sun.

    — Poor Jarvis. He could only handle some much martini-making incompetence.

    — I absolutely adored the visual of Peggy and Jarvis side-stepping to get out of the movie scene . . . and side-stepping again.

    • Thank you so much, friend! It feels good to finally feel good again.

      I think what you said about women not trusting their own intuition is so true. One thing I’ve really come to like about myself is my unwavering belief in my own instincts, and I think a lot of that has come from the fact that time and again they’ve been proven correct. So like you, I love that Peggy’s instincts are so often right. It’s important for women—especially young women—to see another woman with great instincts.

      I also really appreciated your comparison between Peggy and Whitney Frost. Whitney is a genius, but people can’t look past her gender and beauty to take her seriously. So she’s used that to distract people while she develops her own plans. Peggy, on the other hand, has found a group of men who see her as so much more than just a pretty face. They respect her for her intelligence and want her to be respected by the world at large. It’s such a great contrast, and I can’t wait to see those two women act as foils all season.

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  4. I really needed to read this. It really is important for us to trust our instincts, and that’s something I’ve struggled with for a long time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dismissed my gut feeling about something or someone, only to kick myself for it later. You’d think that knowing I have a highly intuitive personality type (INFJ) would help, but noooo. Actually, I am getting better, but I still have a ways to go before I’m at Peggy’s level. This is one of the many reasons I love Peggy and characters like her: they give me something to aspire to.

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