TV Review – “Agent Carter” (My final thoughts)

With the finale airing this past Tuesday, I thought I would give my thoughts on it, and the series as a whole. I am crossing my fingers and hoping that we will get a regular TV series soon, maybe to air during the breaks in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

A lot happened between episode 4 and the finale. Lots of crazy stuff was revealed about different character, battles were fought, Peggy went through some pretty terrible stuff, and by the time the credits rolled in the finale, I was truly sad to say goodbye to this incredible roller coaster ride of a series. Episode 5 was full of excitement as Peggy traveled with Jack to Russia, where they met up with the Howling Commandos. Episode 6 was a nail biter as Peggy ended up on the run, her mission to prove Howard Stark’s innocence unveiled. Episode 7 was full of me yelling at characters as Peggy tried her best to convince her friends that she was not a traitor. The episode included a horrible death that I was not expecting to have such an impact on me.

The finale was the kicker. Everything we had been seeing throughout the series came down to this episode. Peggy, now free since her friends have realized the truth, uncovers Leviathan’s plot alongside Jack and Daniel. Of course, Howard Stark shows up just in time, and is his usual jerkface self. Kidnappings, poisonous gas, unexpected feels, and an epic showdown between Peggy and Dottie are just a few of the things we encountered in this episode. We were treated to a strong dose of Captain America feels and tears by the end of the episode. And everything was wrapped up nicely with a bow on top… right? RIGHT?

Not right. Several loose ends were left, possible setting up for a season two? One of the baddies escapes (I honestly don’t understand how), and the other ends up in prison with a very familiar figure. After hearing the doctor talk to him about Peggy will never see him the way she saw Steve, Daniel finally gets up the nerve to ask Peggy out (*cheers and squealing*), only for her to turn him down because she has to meet Angie (*angry punching of couch and flinging phone across room*). However, when his back was turned, Peggy smiled in a way that tells me that she might just have a thing for Daniel herself.

But we did get some moments of closure. Jarvis made the decision to give Peggy the vial of Steve’s blood, believing that only she knew what to do with it. And in a tear inducing scene, after a year of mourning Steve, Peggy finally lets go, pouring the blood into the river and telling him goodbye. (Right in the feels MARVEL, right in the feels…)

So what did I dislike about this series? There was some cussing, which was probably my biggest overall problem. The violence could be a bit problematic for some people, though it’s really no worse than what you would see in any other MARVEL franchise. The one thing that I absolutely could not handle was a scene where Dottie puts on some of Peggy’s knockout lipstick, and uses it on Peggy. Yup. While I understood the purpose behind it, I think there were other ways for this to work.

But overall, Agent Carter has been a wonderful, action packed offering from MARVEL, who continues to reign as king of the Superhero franchise. And the best thing? Peggy, Daniel, Jack, Jarvis, and the other characters? They aren’t even superheroes! They are ordinary people, with regular gifts and fairly normal lives. They don’t  have super strength, hammers, or iron suits to help them along. Jack is a man with scars from his past, but with a gift of leadership. Daniel may have a crutch to walk, but he is of sharp mind, and is a good friend. Jarvis might be just a butler, but his heart and his caring spirit make him one of the best characters on the show. And Peggy might be “just a girl”, but she chooses to be who she is, regardless of what others say about her. I loved the scene where Jack was receiving all the credit for stopping Leviathan, and Daniel indignantly says that he is going to tell those people what really happened. Peggy just tells him that her value isn’t bound to what men think of her, or what people in general think. She knows who she is, and that’s enough. Peggy is an example of what we should all do. When haters get us down, when people tell us what we can’t do, we stand tall with our heads held high and say “Yes I can”, and then go and do exactly what they said we couldn’t.

Agent Carter is one of the best TV series I have ever seen. It blends history, mystery, action, comedy, and heart so well. I have personally sent an email to ABC, asking them to renew Agent Carter for a full season. Overall, I give Agent Carter 4 stars content wise, but 5 STARS overall. I highly recommend this for teens, especially girls, who will find a great role model in Peggy.

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Book Review – “Steadfast Heart” by Tracie Peterson

Despite her spoiled upbringing, twenty-year-old Lenore Fulcher isn’t pretentious. She simply believes a marriage should be built on true love. Her father, however, thinks she’s wasted enough time searching for the perfect husband. He wants to marry her off to one of his business partners–who is seventeen years her senior–an idea that is out of the question for Lenore.

Kolbein Booth, a young lawyer from Chicago, arrives in Seattle looking for his headstrong sister, who he believes may have answered an advertisement for mail-order brides. Sick with worry, he storms into the Madison Bridal School, demanding to see his sister, only to learn she isn’t there. But Lenore Fulcher is, and something about her captures his attention.

Is this the man Lenore has been searching for? She may not have long to find out…

I had already tried reading another one of Tracy Peterson’s books from a review program, and was generally disappointed. I decided to give her another try with this book, but unfortunately, I liked this one even less. I couldn’t even finish this book because it failed to hold my interest.

However, I will start out with the positives. I did enjoy Lenore and Abrianna, her best friend. Lenore was thoughtful and kind, and I appreciated her strength of character and belief that marriage should be built on more than a business arrangement. And Abrianna was like my spirit animal. Awkward, a little hard to understand, but at heart a wonderful and charming person. I hope that the next book is about her. And the premise of the book was certainly interesting, though I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought it would.

However, I disliked Kolbein. I couldn’t really put finger on why, but as I read the book, I really disliked him. Maybe it was his impatience. But I just could not get behind his character.

And as I mentioned earlier, the plot failed to draw me in. I enjoyed the first few chapters, but by the time I was halfway through the book, I couldn’t read any further. I think part of the problem were the little subplots. They added unnecessary padding to the story, and I felt like the whole issue with Abrianna’s suitor could have been settled in a later book. The plot moved VERY slowly, and I felt like Mrs. Peterson could have cut out some of the padding to make it a bit easier to read.

Content-wise, I could find little fault with the story, outside of some mentions of murder and such. However, this did little to change my thoughts on the story. So unfortunately, I give this book 3 out of 5 stars, and recommend it to 16 and up.

*I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review*

The Problem with “50 Shades of Grey” – Part 2

Over this weekend, thousands of people around the globe will flock to the their local theaters to view what some are saying is the most highly anticipated film of this year. It’s not a family film, it’s not a superhero film, a chick flick, or a teen fiction film. It is “50 Shades of Grey”. Touted by its supporters as a unique, raw romance, the book has sold millions of copies around the world. I did a post a while back on this, and I thought I would amend it with the release of the film.

And why should this concern us? Because there are many Christians who will be supporting this film. This story that is filled with sex, violence, abuse, and immorality, will be viewed by the same people who say that they agree with the Bible. This should concern us greatly. PluggedIn.com did a review of this film, and I could only skim over it. However, the film is not something that I, or any Christian, could possible support in good conscience. It isn’t just the obvious problems, like sex, nakedness, swearing, and such. The bigger issue with this film is the lifestyle and morals it is portraying as right.

First and foremost, this film is telling us that premarital sex is ok. That should be a major red light if the other issues weren’t. There isn’t much to elaborate on here. The main reason I take issue with this is because it is so easy to become desensitized to this sin through stories like this one.

The second, and probably the most important to me, is that this story makes abuse look good. Now, I know that what goes on in the relationship between the characters is often called innocent, but the reviews I have read tell me a different story. Christian Grey hits Ana(The female main character) because he is angry with her. Now try and tell me that this isn’t abuse. He stalks her. He wants to control every aspect of her life. I have spoken with several women who have been in abusive relationships, and the ones who have read this story talk about the horrible similarities to their own experiences in the story. And that is one of the most horrible things about this story. It glorifies abuse. And women like it. I know many women who talk about wanting their own “Christian Grey”. REALLY? You want a man who will control, manipulate, and abuse you for his own personal gain? Not only does this sicken me, it breaks my heart. It hurts to think that our culture has drifted so far.

And the last reason, which I discussed in an earlier post, is this: “50 Shades” twists God’s beautiful design for intimacy. Call what happens in the story what you will, but God never intended for intimacy to be what the story makes it. Fear, pain, and not born in the least out of love. I have read several reviews discussing the fact that the main character often states that he does not do what he does out of love. And that is even worse.

What I am trying to say is this: Our culture has drifted so far from the truth and wisdom of God’s word, but even further from basic moral decency. You want to promote porn? That’s bad enough. But porn that makes abuse seem attractive? That is pretty much the lowest a person could stoop without actually participating in abuse or porn. So why do so many Christian women read this book, and excitedly await their turn at the movies? Some of them are single, some are married. I know some teens who read the books. Is it our sin nature? Or is it something deeper? I fear that little by little, Satan has crept into the minds of Christians, whispering things like: “It’s not really porn…” “It won’t hurt just this once…” “But look how good this makes it look!”.

And when there are believers who are bold enough to speak out against this film, you know what happens? They are immediately called out for “judging” and “trying to take God’s place”. And I think this quote sums it up perfectly: “The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.”

And I know that we all want a good romance on Valentines day, but I don’t an abusive sex fest counts. So might I suggest some far cleaner (and I believe, more entertaining and far deeper) alternatives? Anything by Jane Austen (book or film, you choose) is certainly a good choice, as well as “Jane Eyre”, and “North and South”. Or if you’re not a regency kind of person, there are plenty of great Hallmark films out there. Or might I suggest a good ole’ “Lord of the Rings” marathon? I myself will likely be on a “date” with my favorite Jane Austen characters (probably Mr. Darcy and the Bennets). There is also a lovely sounding film in theaters called “Old Fashioned”, and if it were showing in my town, I would definitely see it!

Well, this turned into more of a rant than I planned, but I needed to say what has been on my heart for a while. And if this post offended you because you enjoy these stories, I would ask that you consider this: What is this story doing to your heart? Your mind? Your spiritual life? And if you happen to be married: Your marriage? Remember, Satan works through the seemingly minor things, and he slips through the cracks in our spiritual armor almost undetected. Take some time to consider it, and consider spending your hard earned money on something much more meaningful and pure.

“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable – if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise – dwell on these things.” Phillipians 4:8

“I will not set anything Godless before my eyes. I hate the doing of transgression, it will not cling to me.” Psalm 101:3

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