This Agent Carter review contains spoilers.
Marvel’s Agent Carter: Season 2, Episode 3
I said this before but it bears repeating: I really like Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. It’s not on my tip top of must see comic TV list (and isn’t it great we have a list these days), but it is an enjoyable way to visit the Marvel Cinematic Universe on a weekly basis. And while we are on the subject of Marvel TV, I am looking forward to Marvel’s Most Wanted as well. I mean, I vividly remember eagerly going to the newsstand to buy the latest issue of West Coast Avengers (a newsstand is a place that sold things to read, ask your grandpa, kids), so I’m not going to say no to a Mockingbird series!
Now, with all that being said, I would give it all up for Agent Carter. This show is special, this show is subtle and funny and wonderful, this show is Indiana Jones meets the British Avengers, and this show is beloved by those that follow it. It transcends comic TV and manages to be something thoroughly modern while having such a pulp feel. It’s amazing.
Let’s latch onto that pulpish quality. So far, the story of season two reeks of pulpish inspiration. I mean, you have a cult-like men’s club, a strange and deadly element, enemy agents from a rogue state, masked assassins, femme fatales, and tons of action. These are all classic pulp elements. Heck, the whole kit and kaboodle even looks like a pulp magazine cover. The colors pop garishly as Peggy Carter proves herself to be the most capable agent on TV.
So what was Carter up to this week? We find out more about Isodyne Industries as it tries to cover up the disappearance of Doctor Wilkes and the Zero Matter. Let’s put on our speculation caps. Is zero matter connected to that weird oily gate to another planet that has been featured so prominently on Agents of SHIELD lately, or perhaps is it the introduction of the Darkforce to the Marvel Cinematic Universe? If so, that opens a whole slew of character possibilities which we will cover in a minute.
But I love how Agent Carter is additive to the Marvel Universe. Instead of just allowing the series to exist on the backs of what has been established previously in other films, the showrunners of Agent Carter are adding elements to the ever expanding MU. This could very well be Peggy acting as an extension of a Captain America story or an Iron Man story, but it isn’t, this is 100% a Peggy Carter story and bravo Marvel for letting Carter stand on her own.
And stand she does. Whether it is stealthily sneaking into the aforementioned secret club to plant listening devices or deftly fending off a masked assassin sent by Whitney Frost’s patsy husband, Peggy kicked some major league ass this week. And let me tell you, Hayley Atwell is an impressive specimen of intimidation. Did you see the way she was pounding that exercise bag? 1947 Ronda Rousey up in here. But Atwell gets to flex her comedy muscles as well because she and Jarvis are classic cut ups and every second they spend on screen is a delight.
This week, we had a third comedy player as Dominic Cooper returned as Howard Stark. Now, Stark is totally a guest star in a Peggy Carter story instead of Carter riding shotgun on a Stark story. And how about this for awesomely meta: this week, we learn that Howard Stark is financing and directing his own motion picture. What is this motion picture, you ask? Is it some musical or some late ’40s noir piece?
No, not those, it is (this is so great) an adaptation of Kid Colt Outlaw! That’s right, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Howard Stark is responsible for the very first Marvel film. They even had some dude in a Kid Colt suit and a bunch of replica covers. Not only that, it is established that Kid Colt is a real historical figure! Do you know how much I’m nerding out right now?
Anyway, Stark helps Carter figure out what the zero matter might be and also discovers that somehow, Doctor Wilkes is now in a phantom state connected to Peggy. So Wilkes is around in a much altered form but it certainly made for an interesting dynamic as Peggy’s great lovers are now a man out of time and a man out of phase. We do not get to discover much more about zero matter but we know Peggy needs it to restore Wilkes back to his substantial self.
But the zero element is stuck in Whitney Frost who proves herself a perfect foil to Peggy Carter this week. Where Peggy gets what she wants by will, Frost gets it by emotional manipulation. When she wants her senator husband to kill Peggy, she turns on the waterworks to get the job done. She is a manipulative, anachronistic vain woman who desperately wants to hold onto her Hollywood career. She is callous and undignified and a stone cold killer. Everything that Peggy isn’t. She also might very well be a darkforce vampire as the episode’s stinger had her absorbing her director in her zero matter possessed body. Creepy! Frost does provide Peggy Carter with a nemesis of her very own, a super powered threat in a world without super heroes.
We also get to see some Director Thompson action as he continues to be manipulated by the dad from That ’70s Show. Thompson is even a bigger d-bag this season, but this time, he may be inadvertently helping the enemy as he represses proof over the existence of zero matter.
So not many secrets revealed this week, but there were still lots of laughs and action as this series continues to be a pulpish adventure that remains something classic yet so unique.
Guys, Howard Stark is making a Marvel film! I wonder if a very young Stan Lee makes a cameo in it.
Retro Marvel Moments
So if zero matter is part of the Darkforce, this could lead to Cloak and Dagger, Darkstar, Blackout, Shroud and so many more darkness based characters. Holy balls, how killer would Shroud be on one of Marvel’s Netflix programs?
Kid Colt first appeared in Kid Colt #1 (August 1948). Colt’s adventures were published into the mid-70s as he was a mainstay Marvel character. In fact, along with his gun slinging brethren Rawhide Kid and Two-Gun Kid, Kid Colt kept Marvel Comics afloat in the pre-super hero era. I am one of seven people that would see the shit out of a real Kid Colt film.