This Agent Carter review contains spoilers.
Agent Carter: Season 2, Episode 5
It seems the mission statement for this season of Marvel’s Agent Carter is to make Peggy Carter a true leading lady. I’ve mentioned before that this season seems to be trying to position Peggy Carter as her own franchise rather than an extension of the Captain America mythos. Last episode, Peggy received her own origin filled with tried and true classic Marvel hero tropes and this week, she got her own classic Marvel style crew of supporters.
Break down all the Marvel solo stars, and you’ll find that for every hero, there is a great group of supporting players. Iron Man has Happy, Pepper, and Rhodey; Captain America had the Howling Commandos and has the Falcon, the Winter Soldier, and pretty much all of S.H.I.E.L.D.; Thor has the Warriors Three, Jane Foster, and Darcy Lewis; and Ant-Man has his crew of wombats. Well, this week, Peggy’s crew assembles and what a crew it is. First we have the faithful Agent Sousa who not only went on this week’s high stakes mission, he also popped the question to his girlfriend Violet (Sarah Bolger). Nurse Violet becomes a de facto member of Carter’s crew as well after things went pear shaped during Carter’s first physical altercation with Whitney Frost.
In addition to Sousa, Carter’s new crew had Edwin Jarvis of course, the wonderful Rose Roberts (Lesley Boone), and Peggy’s very own version of Q, Doctor Samberly (Matt Braunger). All these players take part in a humorous but high stakes heist to stop Whitney Frost and the Maggia from stealing an atomic bomb. You see, Frost wants to recreate the explosion that created the zero matter that currently courses through her biology. Peggy wants to stop her or else good-bye Los Angeles and all manner of chaos follows.
Things are really high stakes what with the nuclear bomb and all but the show’s constant use of humor never allows things to become too dire. We have the bumbling Samberly making goo goo eyes at Rose, we have Peggy and Jarvis being their usual potently humorous selves, and we have the aforementioned Jarvis forced to disarm an A-bomb. The whole thing is structured like a classic heist but in the inimitable Marvel style. In fact, as the action was unfolding, I was totally reminded of Ant-Man. The episode has the same tone, if none of the shrinkage.
Whitney Frost continues to be a great big bad as she is like the anti-Peggy Carter. She is a woman who is constantly held back by the men in her world and now, thanks to the zero matter, she can push back. And push back she does forcing her husband to get in bed with the Maggia to help her steal the A-Bomb. Like I said, she has her first physical battle with Carter this week. We really aren’t used to seeing anyone get the better of Peggy in a fight, but this week, we see just that as Frost takes out Carter and even causes Peggy to be impaled on a chunk of rebar. It is a truly shocking sight especially since the opening acts of the show featured so much humor. But there is nothing humorous about dear Peggy bleeding and half dead thanks to Frost. Frost does not detonate the nuke thanks to the hurt locker that is Edwin Jarvis but she did establish herself as more than a match for Peggy thanks to the zero matter.
Speaking of zero matter, we have more hints this week of the dark element’s true origins. It looks more and more like the zero matter is indeed a mystical energy that ties into the coming world of Doctor Strange. Doctor Wilkes dropped some ominous hints about the zero matter’s place of origin and things even get more ominous when Wilkes blinks out of reality and into the zero matter dimension.
Some scary stuff, but it is the humor that truly won the day this week from to the wacky mind-wiping scene between Peggy and an ascot wearing lech to the one sided flirtation between Samberly and Rose, and to the ever bumbling Jarvis trying to diffuse a bomb, with Sousa trying to play leader and keeping this zany group of heroes together, the whole thing is a heist for the ages.
But for something so funny, ending with the potential breakup of Sousa and his newly ordained fiancé, an impaled Peggy Carter, the disappearance of Wilkes and the continuing evolution of the evil of Whitney Frost means there just isn’t a whole lot of laughs as we wrap things up.
Retro Marvel Moments
It’s appropriate that Frost turned to the Maggia to help her steal the A-bomb. The Maggia has long been the Marvel Universe stand in for the mafia. When Frost was first introduced into the world of the comics, she was the daughter of Count Neferia, the leader of the Maggia. Frost had to choose between her duties as heiress of the Maggia and her love for Tony Stark. After she was scarred in an airplane crash she becomes Madame Masque and takes her place as the leader of the criminal organization. One wonders if TV”s Frost will rise to take over the Maggia as she becomes more adept at using her powers.