This Agent Carter review contains spoilers.
Agent Carter Season 2 Episode 1 “The Lady in the Lake”
Agent Carter Season 2 Episode 2 “A View in the Dark”
It has been a very long year, but the Agent Carter season 2 premiere doesn’t disappoint. The action, intrigue, and refined humor of the first season is all in place in place. The Agent Carter brain trust didn’t have it easy, as there are plenty of new characters, a new threat, a new setting, and a new mission to get off the ground in short order.
The move to Los Angeles feels like it severs the ties between the series and the Captain America films. While the specter of Steve Rogers will be felt in any Peggy Carter story, this no longer an extension of something that came out of an earlier Marvel film or a residual plot from Cap’s past. This is Peggy’s world and supporting cast and Agent Carter has become a big league Marvel protagonist in her own right.
The first hour of the premiere gave us a procedural murder mystery involving a frozen corpse in a Los Angeles lake. It’s the still arrogant and rather douchy Director Thompson who shuffles Peggy off to LA to help Agent Sousa (now an SSR bureau chief) in a murder investigation. The investigation leads Peggy to Jason Wilkes (Reggie Austin) a brilliant young scientist working for the shady Isodyne Corporation. As an African American in this time period, Wilkes is kind of living a parallel life to Peggy, working twice as hard as his colleagues for half the accolades. There are some sparks early on between Carter and Wilkes and I look forward to seeing where this relationship goes, if it goes anywhere, because Wilkes sort of, well, dissipates by episode’s end.
The investigation leads to Whitney Frost (Wynn Everett), an aging starlet who is being shoved out of her roles because she dares to age naturally. You might be tempted to sympathize with her, but she and her rich husband are corrupt, and have ties to Isodyne. The mysterious black, oily, alien material that has been featured so prominently on Agents of SHIELD this year plays a major part in the proceedings as well. You know, the same stuff that sucked Simmons into that alien world. It’s nice to see some plot elements stretch from Agents of SHIELD find their way to Agent Carter.
It turns out the Frosts wanted to use this element as a new form of energy but the secret consortium that they’re are a part of wanted no part of that plan. Now, the question is who is this subversive group of billionaires? One of the members mentions how this group caused the Great Depression, so it doesn’t appear to be HYDRA because HYDRA was established during World War II. So with the promise of some Doctor Strange winks this season, could this cadre be something more mystical?
By the time things wrap up, Wilkes and Whitney Frost are both exposed to the black element. We never found out where Wilkes went but we did see Frost at episode’s end, and the black substance seemed to be inside of her. This should lead to a really dangerous major villain for season two which was pretty much the only thing the first season lacked.
It’s wonderful having James D’arcy back as Edwin Jarvis, isn’t it? Carter and Jarvis remain the modern day Steed and Peel (man, that’s a lot of Avengers in one show) and it’s an absolute joy to watch the duo any time they are on screen. Ana Jarvis (Lotte Verbeek) is another welcome addition, especially since I always figured Ana was going to be a running gag, you know, one of those characters always teased but never to appear. Kind of like the superhero version of Vera from Cheers.
There’s a lot getting put on the table for this season. We have the mystery substance, a vast conspiracy, and the machinations of the Frosts. Oh yeah, we also have Dottie Underwood, the Red Room agent from last season. There was a fun cold opening where Peggy brings down Underwood who is now in custody and being questioned by Thompson. Poor, poor Thompson. I just don’t think he will be able to contain a woman who had the same training as Natasha Romanov.
From the Files of the SSR
– The killer in the episode’s first hour was gifted with cold powers. The killer’s appearance and power set were similar to the Golden Age villain Jack Frost (no relation to Whitney). Jack Frost first appeared in U.S.A. Comics #1 (1941) and was actually one Stan Lee’s first creations. Along with artist Frank Giacoia, Lee presented a character that was kind of like a frozen version of the Sub-Mariner.
Jack Frost was from a hidden race of ice people and he did not really like humankind all that much. Roy Thomas played a bit with Jack Frost during the Bronze Age but the Stan Lee creation remains a relative unknown. I don’t think this week’s ice killer has anything to do with Jack Frost; I just want to show off my Nerd Fu.
– Whitney Frost, on the other hand, first appeared Tales of Suspense #98 (1968) and was created by Stan Lee and Gene Colan. Like the Frost that debuted this week, the comic Frost was no stranger to shadowy organizations. The comic book Frost was the daughter of Count Nefaria, the head of the Maggia. The Maggia is basically Marvel’s version of the Mafia and Frost was the daughter of its head honcho. In the comics, Frost undergoes a villainous transformation, one we will get into as the TV Frost evolves.