Let’s get to recapping this week’s double episodes – ‘Life of the Party’ and ‘Monsters’. Last week we noted that Agent Carter had elements of a comedy, but this week it truly showed its versatility as these two episodes read more as a thriller while still using elements of comedic action – especially in the scenes between Jarvis and Dottie.
The shining point of the double episode was the writing, the fluid movement between action scenes and moments of emotional intensity. The stakes were high this week and we felt it as we followed each character go through their own journeys.
It’s Whitney Frost’s Monster World, And We’re Just Living In It
The character that had the most impact on this week’s episodes was Whitney Frost as we saw her develop into her Madame Masque alterego more and more.
During the course of ‘Life of the Party’ and ‘Monsters’, Whitney was betrayed by her husband, killed most of the Council of Nine (including her husband), took control of the council, kidnapped Dottie, tortured her, kidnapped Jason Wilkes, and shot Ana Jarvis. Whew! That’s a lot.
In many ways, Whitney Frost reminds me of Wilson Fisk from Daredevil, this damaged person who was used to being under the control of other people, whose childhood we’ve seen in flashbacks, who rose to power and then abuse it thinking that they are making the world better. Every scene with Whitney had me teetering between love and hate, one cannot help but appreciate what an excellent villain she is.
The scene with her husband when she discovers that he betrayed her is heartbreaking, and when she recovers and takes out half the council, one cannot help but admire Wynn Everett’s superior acting skills. Also I think as an audience we truly understood the threat of Whitney, once she tortured Dottie – who visibly expressed fear and started talking once Whitney used the zero matter to choke her. It has also shown us how Whitney has grown in controlling her powers the past few weeks, as well as how she’s accepting the ‘monster’ side of herself.
In the scenes between Whitney and Jason Wilkes, we see an interesting dynamic. She tells him that they are sidelined because of her sex and his race, that he was employed sort of as a ‘token’ because he would be so grateful for the employment that he would be fiercely loyal and willing to do anything. Besides a few throwaway lines in the earlier episode this is the first time that the show has tackled the racism of the era full on.
It would have been difficult for a black scientist to get a job (even Joseph Manfredi quips, “A colored scientist, now I’ve really seen it all.”) and earlier episodes showed us that Wilkes did have an idealised view to Isodyne because they did hire him, but I cannot believe that someone that has marginalized their whole lives had not ever thought that perhaps the company that they are working for might have other reasons for breaking the status quo in their hiring. Although, Whitney does try to draw comparisons to herself and Wilkes saying that they both have brilliant minds but are only judged for what’s on the outside – her with her beauty, and him with his race.
It’s also worth noting that when Wilkes touched Whitney (this was after he became corporeal again after using a sample of her blood) he soaked up some of the zero matter and he became stronger. Does this mean that he might have the power to defeat Whitney? Or maybe it is foreboding and he will turn evil like Whitney as well? We saw some glimpses of his dark side when he told off Peggy for trying to save Dottie, could this also be a way to make the audience dislike or mistrust him?
The Allure of Peggy Carter
So since the disappearance of bae of our hearts forever, Steve Rogers, Peggy has had two canonical love interests – Daniel Sousa and Jason Wilkes (however much I enjoy reading the fanfictions of the non-canonical relationships, shout out to the Angie/Peggy, Howard/Peggy, Dottie/Peggy, Jack/Peggy, Jarvis/Peggy shippers) – and for Peggy both seemed a little out of her reach as Daniel was engaged and Jason was untouchable, literally.
But this week was a game-changer for both ships as after the events of last week, Daniel’s fiance, Violet, broke after the engagement after discovering he was still in love with Peggy and after Dottie retrieved Whitney’s blood sample, Jason is now able to touch Peggy again.
Peggy and Sousa have an almost kiss as they are discussing their feelings, and Jason plants one on Peggy once he is able to feel anything and us as the audience feel just as torn as Peggy.
There is an adorable scene between Peggy and Jarvis where he is asking about her feelings for both Daniel and Jason, and he is so utterly big brothery to her in telling her that she underestimates her own allure when it comes to others.
Peggy, in turn, gets to be there for Jarvis at the end of the episode when he is waiting for Ana to come out of surgery after being shot (please don’t let her be dead). The two quietly hold hands and we get this gentle moment of comradeship which hints at an extremely strong friendship that will last through the ages.
The Beginning of SHIELD?
This season we’ve been seeing the crumbling of the S.S.R, not only with Vernon Masters telling Jack Thompson that, but also with the seeds of mistrust that people like Daniel and Peggy have the organisation. All roads seem to be pointing at the end of the S.S.R and the beginning of SHIELD.
The ratings of Season 2 aren’t the greatest, even though the critical acclaim is high and the casting of Hayley Atwell in a new ABC drama series seriously put a cog in the pipeline and might have helped to sign Agent Carter’s death sentence (everyone pray for a miracle).
The two things they promised us when the series started was that we will see the creation of SHIELD and that we will find out who Peggy eventually marries (my money is on Sousa) and if we get no season 3, the showrunners will probably set up both these things before the current season ends.
Peggy and Sousa seem to be growing closer and closer romantically and professionally, and I predict that them along with Howard Stark will start SHIELD, and as a last ditch effort, Jack Thompson will choose to join them, and he will be the first HYDRA agent within SHIELD.
Last minute thoughts
- Dottie was excellent this week and such a delight to see onscreen. She kind of reminds me of Katherine Pierce in early seasons of The Vampire Diaries, popping in, causing havoc and then going on the run again. I look forward to her appearing again.
- Ana too. We get foreshadowing of her being worried about Jarvis’ dangerous shenanigans with Peggy, but instead of telling him he can’t she tells him she understands. Such a great character. I hope they don’t kill her off, especially since Violet is out of the picture, Rose is visiting her sick mother, Dottie is now M.I.A, and still no sign of Angie.
- Can we at least get an Angie mention so we know she’s okay? Or a phone call of her checking up on Peggy? This pretending she doesn’t exist isn’t cool.
- Uh, someone call Howard Stark and tell him that they solved the Jason Wilkes mystery without him, he can return to LA and finish his movie.
- I love how Whitney is now fully in control of her powers, if not her mind.
- Can Jarvis also be a SHIELD member?
- Also if we see the genesis of SHIELD, can we get later flashbacks, perhaps of young Hank Pym also joining the organization? They can use the actor who played Michael’s dad, Kirk Douglas in Trumbo.