Colorful poster from the show

Last winter's Agent Carter mini-series – a spin-off of Marvel's Captain America movies and a prequel of sorts to the Agents of SHIELD TV series – managed in its too-short eight episodes to be one of the best shows of the year. Airing during SHIELD's mid-season break, Agent Carter outshone the longer-running show with its post-WWII style, charming cast, and much more cohesive plot.

Fortunately, ABC saw fit to give the world another Agent Carter mini-series, this time with 10 episodes. But can it live up to the first one? Two episodes in, all signs point to Yes.

Hayley Atwell returns to her role as the titular Agent Peggy Carter of the Strategic Scientific Reserve, the WWII-era agency that later became SHIELD, and though the new series sees her flying off to sunny Los Angeles, much of her supporting cast has come along with her. Howard Stark is in LA trying his hand at running a Hollywood studio, seemingly for little purpose but attracting starlets, and his butler and Peggy's frequent sidekick Edwin Jarvis is with him. Agent Sousa has set up an LA branch of the SSR complete with busybody front-desk attendant Rose, who has to deal with performers drawn by their talent agency cover. The only one missing, sadly, is Peggy's gal-pal Angie.

With Peggy's worth proven to her fellow agents last season, there's less of the frustration of her butting her head against a misogynist workplace this time around, but it's not gone completely. While the other agents are no longer expecting her to get them coffee and file paperwork, some are still a little bitter about being upstaged by a woman – few more than Agent Thompson, who is now in charge of the East Coast SSR.

But that's not to say the show has moved on to some idealized version of the late '40s. Peggy's investigations bring her into contact with a black physicist named Jason Wilkes, who is wary of exposing any wrongdoing by his employer Isodyne because they were willing to give him a chance as a scientist. Working with Jason brings Peggy face to face with the racism he faces, and her growing feelings for him make her take that racism personally, especially when they're seen as an interracial couple.

Agent Carter continues last season's example of portraying plenty of positive female relationships, sometimes to the point of subverting what could have been catty encounters. Peggy makes easy friends with women who could have been written as rivals, from Agent Sousa's new girlfriend to Jarvis's long-kept-offscreen wife. The biggest problem with CBS's Supergirl as a feminist story is its insistence on pitting all the women against each other, and that's a pitfall Agent Carter deftly avoids. Peggy refuses to see other women as rivals unless they are literally trying to kill her – which they sometimes are – and those other women respond to that not with jealousy but with kindness.

It's probably too much to hope for Agent Carter to become a full-fledged series – the production values and writing would almost certainly suffer from the stretch – but it's great to have the show back for another 10 episodes.

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