Agent Carter S2 E03 – Better Angels

A bit behind in my Agent Carter and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D posts so I hope you’ll forgive me.  Let’s try and catch up over the next little while – shall we?

Episode 3 of the 2nd season of Agent Carter started to get quite a bit more serious in comparison to the previous episodes.  With the “death” of D. Wilkes’ in the previous episode, we were left to wonder about the potential budding romance between Peggy and Wilkes – well we start to get some of those answers here.  When Peggy and Sousa investigate Wilkes’ home, they find items that implicate him as a Russian spy.  As this show takes place during the time of the McCarthy trials – well probably before them if we want to be historically accurate! – the threat of Russia is very valid.  In addition, it’s another good tie-in to our season 1 storyline and Dottie & the Black Widow institute!  While the rest of the detectives believe the evidence implicating Wilkes, Peggy and Sousa don’t so Peggy gets Howard involved.

Howard is on the set of his latest film and while it’s based on a comic book (quite funny that, all things considered!) his offer to Peggy of a role, is quickly turned down.  Once Peggy manages to get him onside with her investigation, he quickly helps her identify the mysterious pin that we initially saw from episode 1 that Dottie was trying to steal from the bank.  Telling Peggy that it’s for an exclusive men’s only venue called the Arena Club they concoct a plan to break in so that Peggy can get a good look around.  Howard and an entourage of his beauties proceed to “storm” the club and while they are roundly welcomed by the male patrons, they are eventually forced out.  However Peg has managed to get in also and looking around, Peggy discovers that this group has a lot of control when it comes to manipulating things, particularly in the government.

agentBThompson however has arrived in LA also and he’s not too happy about this mission.  When he finds out about it, he berates Sousa (for allowing Peggy to go rogue) and Peggy for being such a difficult agent to handle.  While a lot of this might be Thompson’s natural aggressiveness when it comes to Peggy, he’s actually under the thumb of Vernon Masters – the head of the FBI who’s working for the leaders of the Arena Club!

However – all is not as it seems!  Peggy notices that objects have started floating around her and initially thinks it’s because she’s been contaminated by zero matter.  The truth however is significantly more complicated (and interesting!).  Peggy gets Howard to help her find a solution to her contamination, but they quickly realize that she’s not actually contaminated at all!  Wilkes is somehow still alive – just in an alternate dimension/universe – but Stark creates a “magic” potion that he’s able to spray on him & manages to make him visible again.  Initially unable to talk, Stark proceeds to spray it in his mouth also (which I thought was a bit silly to be honest) so that his vocal chords too are reintegrated and then *boom* he can speak again!  I think the fact that air from the lungs are required to pass over the vocal chords and hundreds of other bodily functions that are missed are somewhat convenient.  It would have made more sense if he could just talk when he was brought back without the whole spray into the mouth thing.  Anyways, moving on!

agentCThis discovery launches a whole new project: make Wilkes a physical being again as while the team can see him, they can’t yet touch or otherwise interact with him.  One thing they do learn however is that he was not alone at the explosion.  Whitney Frost was there too and while she seems unaffected by what happened, after Peggy confronts her, she seems even more imbalanced than before.  “Persuading” her husband that Peggy must die, they hire a hitman to take her out and while it must be said, he’s probably the most successful of all of Peggy’s assailants, he too fails to kill her with the fortunate assistance of Jarvis.  While that might be the end of Whitney’s issues, in reality she’s been affected even more strongly and strangely than Wilkes’ has.

Continuing on from the theme we saw explored in a small manner in the previous episode, Whitney’s manager approaches her and tells her that she was going to be replaced because she was “too old” but he managed to stop it from happening.  When he tries to get a bit grabby as thanks for his assistance, zero matter shoots out of Whitney’s hands engulfing him and in some way decomposes him before sucking him back into her. We also learned this episode that Whitney is actually the mastermind who created Isodyne. I wasn’t sure about Whitney last episode, but now I’m thinking she’s a worthy villain for Peggy.

Final Thoughts:
First off, Peggy continues to kick ass in this show. There are moments where she goes undercover and acts like a girly girl and you can tell she hates it. It’s fun to see her change so quickly from that to the awesome strong character she is and deal with the problems surrounding her. Hayley Atwell gives a fantastic performance and embraces every aspect of Peggy. This season is really captivating so far. I love the diverse characters and that everything is linked in an intelligent way. I also love the commentary on sexism and racism throughout each episode. This show does a pretty good job of combining social commentary, humor, action and an engaging storyline in a fairly neat package.

 

 

 

Agent Carter – S2 E02

We ended the previous episode with the revelation that Sousa is in a somewhat serious relationship which seems to put to bed all of our hopes and wishes for an eventual joining between Peggy and Sousa.  Really a pity as they would have made an excellent couple and while it seems that Sousa moved away from New York to get some distance – there was definitely an attraction between the two.  Season Two of Agent Carter continues at the same breakneck pace we’ve come to expect and this episode delivers in spades.  The episode never loses sight of the characters and spends a lot of time dealing with Peggy having trouble adjusting to life in L.A. as well as finding it difficult to accept that Sousa has found someone. Ultimately seeing how nice a person Violet is causes her to suck it up and be happy for Sousa rather than giving us a tired love triangle.

Continuing the trend of adding more women to the show, we’re also introduced to the very lovely Ana … Jarvis’ wife.  Ana walks in on what other shows might consider a compromising position but she isn’t phased by it at all. This shows how much she trusts her husband as well as Peggy’s platonic connection with him. The scene was pretty amusing but got a little cartoonish at some points.

Speaking of that connection, I loved seeing Reggie Austin, who plays Dr Jason Wilkes, and Hayley Atwell in this episode. I, for one, enjoyed their relationship in this episode, more than I’ve enjoyed the will-they-won’t-they nature of Peggy and Daniel’s friendship.  The whole person of colour angle too is one that suits this show and era and I think it’s treated quite well overall. One thing that works really well is how the episode tackles the issue of race in the 1940s. Jason’s loyalty to Isodyne makes sense on a character level as they allowed him to carry on with what he wanted to do without caring about the colour of his skin. The racial issues aren’t sensationalised in any way as the facts speak for themselves. I will say, though, that I liked seeing Sousa become upset after hearing Peggy was lost.

Whitney being the big bad though is probably the best part of this episode.  In the first episode, her involvement is alluded to although it seems her husband is the driving force.  However, we learn here that she’s got some significant brain power of her own & was the creator and inventor of many of Isodyne’s key projects. She’s someone that could possibly give Stark a run for his money as while he’s a paramount engineer, there are some questions about the ownership of his creations!  In addition to her brain power though is the way she’s portrayed as an aging actress in a Hollywood focused purely on beauty.  Sadly this is one of the things that hasn’t changed despite the time that has passed.

 

Last night’s episode of “Agent Carter” titled The Lady in the Lake (Agent Carter Season 2 Episode 1) introduced a ton of amazing new mysteries for its second season. They brought back Black Widow baddie Dottie Underwood, they teed up the mystery of a frozen, radioactive woman, and they revealed a secret society that looked way too much like Hydra.  Now it must be stated upfront that while I expected Dottie to be back at some point this series, I didn’t expect to see her so soon!  Carter as I mentioned in my previous reviews doesn’t waste time and while the short seasons somewhat contribute to that, I expect another reason is the lessons learned from Season 1 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D which just dragged.

Season two of Marvel’s Agent Carter begins the same way season one did: with a sassy brunette in a red hat. But this time the brunette is Russian super-spy Dottie Underwood (Bridget Regan) dressed like everyone’s favorite SSR agent — Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) — and she and her goons are robbing a bank. Just when you think they might get away with it too, Peggy pops out of the safe with a shotgun and gets into a showdown with Dottie and while we don’t have one of the epic fight sequences that May made famous in S.H.I.E.L.D we still do have a quite exciting showdown between the two girls.  The brawl ends when Peggy smashes a bag of coins into Dorothy’s head, and having the bag burst as it smacks Dorothy accentuates the impact of the finishing move, using the explosion of coins as a visual representation of the force of Peggy’s hit. Managing to capture Dottie, Peggy is in the midst of her interrogation … and you can tell that things have changed at SSR as the other agents obviously hold her in extremely high esteem which Thompson is not too appreciative of.

The SSR’s new west coast chief Daniel Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) is in Los Angeles, and let me say that he’s never looked better. The SSR gets called in to help the LAPD because there’s a frozen lake in the middle of a heat wave and a dead girl at the bottom of it. But Sousa is the only agent in LA and he wants backup for what he thinks will be a huge, high profile case. Thus the east coast chief, Jack Thompson (the very angry Chad Michael Murray) sends Peggy to the west coast, interrupting her Dottie interrogation. The main reason he does is because he thinks this will annoy Sousa and Peggy, which doesn’t give me much confidence in his leadership abilities. And then he proves incapable of interrogating Dottie — whose lipstick remains perfect while in custody — before the FBI swoops in and takes her away, so all in all, not a great day for him.

Meanwhile, everyone’s favorite sassy butler Edwin Jarvis (James D’Arcy) has also moved to Los Angeles because Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) has decided to start making movies. Unlike Sousa, Jarvis has not changed his wardrobe at all, and he’s annoyed that Californians “eat avocados with everything.” Never change, Edwin. When Jarvis brings Peggy to the Stark mansion, Peggy finally meets his wife, Ana Jarvis, who last season seemed to maybe be a figment of his imagination. Those expecting a dowdy housewife for Mrs. Jarvis will be surprised by Ana’s effervescent disposition, and her personality carries over to her bold wardrobe of dresses in brightly colored floral patterns. She’s a housewife that has clearly spent her free time keeping up with the latest fashions, and Ana’s expertise comes in handy when Peggy needs help getting ready for a date with Dr. Jason Wilkes (Reggie Austin), a scientist working for the company directly connected to the murder Peggy is investigating.

Peggy Carter is relocating to Hollywood for Agent Carter’s second season, but it’s far from the only big change for the series. As expected from the new setting, the visuals are brighter and the fashion is more glamorous, but there’s also an influx of new female characters, a love interest of color, and a story that pulls Peggy away from the workplace misogyny that defined so much of the first season.  But back to our Jane Doe, who’s not only frozen, but glows in the dark. The dumb LAPD detective Sousa and Peggy work with keeps trying to stop them from following leads, as his main investigatory strategy is to leak the story to the press. This is so ridiculous it’s clear that he’s up to no good. Later he’s outright racist toward hot black doctor James Wilkes (Reggie Austin), so you can tell he’ll be gone soon.

Right, racism! Season one (rightfully) faced criticism from fans for its very white cast, but this season adds hot Dr. Wilkes, a scientist at Isodyne labs, where the dead girl — he tells us her name, Jane Scott — worked. Rumor has it she was sleeping with the boss, Calvin Chadwick (Currie Graham), who’s also running for Senate. It’s clear from his first moment on screen that Wilkes is supposed to be her new love interest, but Peggy seems sort of uncomfortable about it. It’s unclear if this is because, as Peggy says, he’s a person of interest, or if because Peggy might be a little racist herself.

Peggy and Jarvis go to feel out Chadwick and his wife, actress Whitney Frost (Wynn Everett) at a horse race, where Jarvis poses as an executive at Stark Pictures Productions and Peggy impersonates an American. I love when British people do American accents, so this was great. Chadwick gets defensive very quickly, joining the other characters doing a bad job hiding their evil intentions & Carter realizes immediately that he’s somehow involved.  When the dumb LAPD detective gradually starts to freeze also, he decides that the only person who can help him is Dr. Wilkes – perhaps he knows something? – and kidnaps him.  Peggy and Sousa are in immediate pursuit and while they are able to corner, him, he is shot by another police officer – one who claims that he didn’t hear the no fire order.  It looks like team is left with very little to go on now, although they’re going to dig further into Isodyne that’s for sure!