Agent Carter hit us with a mini-movie this week as we were treated to two episodes which pulled a number of story elements together and ratcheted up the tension heading towards the finale. You can read Doug’s review of both episodes here and keep scrolling for the biggest moments from “Life Of The Party” and “Monsters”.
1) Black Widow Returns
After being absent since the premier, this week’s double episode saw the return and active involvement of Bridget Regan‘s Dottie Underwood. She instantly brings a welcome presence to the proceedings, from her relish of her own villainous nature, to the way she gets under Peggy’s skin. And though her impressive Black Widow moves from last season weren’t fully on display, she did get some fancy legwork in on a goon after throwing his partner out a window.
The relationship between Peggy and Dottie works so well because of the actor’s chemistry, but it’s also refreshing from a character standpoint given the two female rivals aren’t fighting over a male love interest, as we’re so accustomed to seeing, but rather trading on the same sorts of machismo we’d normally see two male super secret agents one-upping each other with. This show has proven time and again that it’s adept at subverting well known tropes and the most enjoyable ones are consistently those involving the women on the show taking on the action movie mannerisms so often reserved for their male counterparts.
As much fun as Peggy and Dottie are though, their chemistry might be beat by the unlikely pairing of Dottie with Jarvis. The whole reason the crew involves Dottie (implausible as it may be) is to infiltrate an Arena Club/Council party and steal a sample of Whitney’s Zero Matter-infused blood to help make Jason whole again long enough to contain himself in a copper cage. Phew. Luckily, the joy of the scenes comes not from the plot but from the to contrast of the characters. Dottie and Peggy are all bravado and veiled hatred/admiration, but Dottie and Jarvis is the former loving every moment of the power she has and the latter sweating from her presence and mischief and his realization that he’s in over his head, especially when Thompson arrives with Masters. But once the two split, Jarvis butlers up and does a rather impressive job of distracting Thompson while Dottie grabs Whitney’s blood, once again proving his value to the team.
2) The Darkforce Awakens
Once Dottie secures the blood, she stumbles into the Council’s meeting room in order to avoid its members. Unfortunately, they’re going in too so she heads into a well-placed bureau and watches as Whitney demonstrates her powers, first on a rat she brought, then on four Council members and her husband once they betray her. This is our first indication that Whitney not only has more control over her abilities than we’ve previously seen, but they are far more powerful than we, or perhaps even she, knew. Given that she’s a scientist, it’s likely she’s been testing her limits off-camera, as she easily dispatches four people at once without touching them. She’s able to channel the Darkforce through the floor and consume them, and more impressive, she’s able to pick out the specific targets she wants. Once she does away with her husband (he really should have seen that coming), she tells the remaining Council members that she’s spared them to be a part of her new crew. Now that’s a formidable foe for Peggy.
Frost isn’t the only one with cool new Darkforce powers in these two episodes. We start off with the second half of last week’s cliffhanger: Jason disappearing into the Dark Dimension. Now we see what it’s like on his side. It definitely lives up to its name, and it’s a safe bet that if the show teased us with this look behind the curtain, we’ll likely be returning there before the season ends. Jason snaps back to Peggy’s room, but now he’s more anxious than ever to tether himself to reality. They devise the aforementioned plan, and after a short outburst and a long kiss, Jason is situated in his new one-bedroom. But when Whitney comes looking for him, and the Zero Matter he stole from her, they both learn that his abilities extend beyond simply straddling the line between two dimensions. When Whitney attempts to absorb the Zero Matter from him, he’s able to reverse the flow and pull some out of her. It’s enough to make him solid outside of the cage, and it piques Whitney’s scientific curiosity about what can be achieved using Zero Matter. So naturally, she kidnaps him with the help of everyone’s favorite mob boss.
With the Darkforce’s existing ties to Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. and its future connection to Doctor Strange, we’re likely to see it fleshed out even more on this show and a return of it in future episodes of SHIELD. With the different ways it affects those who wield it, and with that show doing a phenomenal job of showing what an alien world looks like, that just may be the place where we finally dive into it.
3) Candid Conversations!
Okay, most people wouldn’t exclaim that, but to me it’s what makes a TV show great: honest human interactions between characters, no matter how fantastical their circumstances. I talked earlier about this show subverting tropes, and another great example of that was the car conversation between Peggy and Jarvis on their way to rescue Dottie. Love triangles seem to be one of the more hated TV tropes, but I’ve never felt that this show has taken us down that path. In real life, people fall for different people, and one person can have multiple admirers. To me, the tired trope is milking those moments for tons of hand-wringing and melodrama, but Agent Carter isn’t most shows. The conversation Peggy has with Jarvis about the affections of Jason and Sousa is an honest one. They both have feelings for her, and she may have some for them as well, but she never meant for them to be competing for her. Even more than that, it’s hardly at the forefront of her mind. She cares for them both and is genuinely confused about what to do next, but it takes a back seat to her job and what she needs to do. It defines a moment in the character’s life, but never the character and certainly not the plot.
Less rewarding but still welcomed, we finally get some real talk between Peggy and Backslidin’ Thompson where he shows that he actually cares for and values her. Unfortunately, he’s still just trying to protect her and acting as if he knows best. Whatever Jack’s motivations have been this season, they really don’t excuse how thickheaded he’s acted, especially in regards to his number one agent. I suspect a return to the status quo by the end of the season, but Peggy quitting the SSR isn’t to her detriment, it’s to the organizations. And I hope Jack learns that the hard way because he really needs to answer for his blind bravado this season.
Perhaps the most exciting conversation in these two episodes was that between Whitney and Jason. While the show touched briefly on race when Peggy first met Jason, here the show delves into it more than we’ve seen in the whole MCU. It’s a brief exchange, but a meaningful one. Whitney highlights that in this society, her and Jason are both disposable and treated as less than human. But even before their extraordinary abilities are given to them, they both far outstrip many of their contemporaries with the things they can do and have achieved. I look forward to seeing the two work together, even if one is a villain who has kidnapped the other, because the idea of two blighted members of society wielding unearthly power is a pretty exciting one from a story perspective. But this episode wasn’t short on excitement. Because…
4) Ana Got Shot!
Now that’s heartbreaking. Ana has been one of the standout additions to this cast, both in giving Peggy another woman to play off of, and for what she brings out of Jarvis with her wild energy. She was back this episode, justifiably worried about her husband and commiserating with Jason over expensive bottles of Howard’s wine. I loved their scene together, especially the set-piece of the giant table halfway in his cage, so it hits even harder when Whitney shoots her right in the gut in order to make an escape with Jason. It’s hard to tell whether this will be the season’s big death (it feels like we need one), but I’m hoping not. For one, it seems unlikely that she’d be shot at the end of this episode, only to die in the next episode, but it’s not unheard of. But more than that, it would devastate Jarvis and drastically alter his character. Not only is that not in this show’s MO (though sister show SHIELD hasn’t shied away from it), it would be another example of the MCU fridging a beloved new character (again, that SHIELD death). You could argue that even her being injured could be a sort of fridging but my hope is that rather than pump Jarvis up to be a badass, it will make him realize he’s put his wife in danger by stepping out as an adventurer and he’ll sit the action out moving forward. Regardless of her fate, it’s a brutal way to end the double episode and I’m certainly anxious to see what next week brings.
So, what did you think? Let us know in the comments what your favorite moments were and what you’re hoping to see next week. You can check out the promo for episodes 8 & 9 (another twofer!) titled “The Edge Of Mystery” & “A Little Song and Dance” here and for all things Agent Carter, follow along here. For more MCU related news and features, make sure to follow us on Twitter.