Previously on Agent Carter, ‘Life of the Party/Monsters’
Starring: Hayley Atwell, James D’Arcy, Enver Gjokaj, Chad Michael Murray, Wynn Everett, Reggie Austin, Lotte Verbeek, Ken Marino, Kurtwood Smith, Lesley Boone, Matt Braunger, Bridget Regan, Lyndsy Fonseca, Tom T. Choi | Directors: Metin Hüseyin and Jennifer Getzinger
IN THE DOSSIER
Chief Sousa and Agent Carter spring to action after Whitney Frost snatched Dr. Wilkes to determine why their powers are so unique. Peggy tries to fan the flames of revenge within Edwin and has no luck. Chief Thompson finally gets his head out of his ass and learns of Vernon Master’s allegiance to Frost. Due to Whitney reopening a portal to acquire more zero matter, enemies unite to take her down. While Dr. Samberly creates all manner of tech for the team to combat Whitney and Joseph Manfredi, Thompson puts everyone at risk with plans of his own.
IT’S GOOD TO BE BAD
It’s difficult to keep things short and sweet when reviewing Agent Carter, especially with double episodes for consecutive weeks. Thankfully, Wynn Everett has fashioned a dynamic villain in Whitney Frost that makes these lengthy jaunts far more enjoyable. It’s been mentioned over and over again on Project Fandom how Frost has become one of Marvel’s better antagonists. Whitney is equal parts brains, guile and ruthlessness and despite her knavery, she somehow remains a sympathetic character because her past experiences are quite relatable to many viewers. It’s a shame that she resides within this era of the MCU as her presence in the here and now would provide an intimidating and lasting adversary for any one of the heroes.
In this week’s double feature, Whitney has kidnapped Dr. Wilkes (Reggie Austin) and reignited her inquisitiveness to immense levels. Frost’s experiments continue, but with no rats around she resorts to gauging the unnatural attraction between her and Jason. Now aware that he hears the same ominous voice that communicates through the zero matter, Whitney enthusiastically suggests Wilkes joins forces with her in order to better understand their newly empowered station on earth, and reopen the portal. It’s an offer Jason doesn’t entirely reject as the lure from the unknown becomes more and more difficult to resist.
WELL, THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY
Definitely the biggest didn’t-see-that-coming moment of “Edge of Mystery” was Dr. Wilkes’ turn to the dark side. His unraveling wasn’t so surprising as his actions have been more erratic the last two episodes. It also doesn’t help that the mysterious voice in his head has accelerated his desperate attempts to remain within our reality. Wilkes and Frost should have known their successful reopening of the portal wasn’t going to enhance their understanding of zero matter but increase its presence on earth. Smart though they may be, it’s clear their zeal to acquire more “black space goop” via atomic device wasn’t a big enough red flag to wave in front of their faces.
The more profound betrayal felt by Carter was thanks to Jarvis, who is also experiencing his own meltdown. Determined to end Whitney’s life for nearly killing his wife Ana, Edwin puts the entire operation in jeopardy to put two slugs in a woman who – as viewers now know – can’t die by conventional means. Naturally, the two escape captivity and during the long walk home Peggy and Edwin vomit out all their frustrations and disappointments about each other in a spirited game of Who Has It Worse. Tired and annoyed by their consistently losing effort, Carter and Jarvis quietly part ways when now is the hour that the duo need one another the most.
YOU DON’T KNOW JACK
Props have to be given to Chad Michael Murray for portraying such a universally despised character like Jack Thompson. Never has a smug, condescending, boorish louse ever been so lovingly disliked. Like Frost, though to a lesser extent, there’s always been more to Thompson. Granted, none of his associates have the time or patience to dig miles deep beneath the surface to know the real Jack. His actions this season only prove how sensitive and insecure the man is in his own skin.
Vernon Masters, silver tongued devil that he is, has been extremely persuasive with young Thompson’s fragile psyche. Despite his gruff disposition, Jack has conveyed a sense of vulnerability in his quest to find a place where he belongs. Clearly he either isn’t satisfied with his position with the SSR back in New York or the entire office detests the guy, hence his own extended stay in Los Angeles. Coincidentally his mentor was a goon for the Council, so when Vernon kept stacking compliment after compliment with the promise of entitlement… well, you’ve seen the result. As much as Thompson wants to find a greater purpose in the world, he continues to cower behind a thin veneer of blustery machismo rather than expose the faintest hint of genuine emotion.
Now that nearly everything is out in the open and tenuous alliances have been established, Jack finally decides to use his brain much to everyone’s chagrin. In a wicked display of entwined betrayals, Thompson tricks Dr. Samberly to rig the gamma cannon – constructed in “Edge of Mystery” to close the zero portal – into a bomb that’ll blow Masters, Frost and Wilkes to kingdom come. Perhaps partly embarrassed by his affiliation with Masters, Jack decides on his own that all three must go, for the sake of the nation. Just when viewers think Thompson is finally on the road to redemption, Jack still believes he’s better than those whose approval he seeks and is ready to make the hard choices.
This guy, I swear…
Agent Carter’s second season will reach its explosive (ha!) conclusion in “Hollywood Ending” on Tuesday at 9/8c on ABC!
Agent Carter S2E8/E9
There were a lot of heavy scene-chewing moments in both episodes but the most effective was Peg and Edwin’s row in the desert. James D’Arcy was excellent throughout as a distraught Jarvis, wallowing in anguish over his wife’s condition and occasionally unleashing his frustration on anything or anyone in his proximity. That particular scene with its isolated landscape and concentrated drama brought out the best in Atwell and D’Arcy, possibly in all of the second season.
I could watch Whitney Frost all day. Seriously, it could be anything and Wynn Everett would make it compelling with her intense stares and flashes of rage that are barely restrained. Killing rats. Stealing uranium. Trying on different hats to hide half her face. Torturing a Russian assassin. Eating a PB&J. Whatever it is, Everett can make it work.