Look at Agent Carter season two, starting off with a bang!
This episode starts with Peggy in her iconic blue and red outfit walking through a crowd. She shows up at a bank to make a withdrawal…only it pans up and it turns out it wasn’t Peggy at all, but the Black Widow Dottie Underwood in disguise, robbing the place. A few men in the bank turn out to be plants and pull out guns, so you know she means business – until the S.S.R. pull the old switcheroo, and it turns out they were one step ahead; all the other customers were plants too, and Dottie is promptly arrested by Peggy Carter and Jack Thompson after a really cool fight scene.
Meanwhile in L.A., chief of the new office Daniel Sousa is called on the revival of an old case, the “Lady of the Lake Killer”, by homicide detective Andrew Henry. A woman was found in the lake under unusual circumstances, but most unusual of all – she and the lake are frozen on the hottest day in Los Angeles. Sousa realizes he’s going to need some backup.
In New York, Peggy is interrogating Dottie at the S.S.R. office over what she attempted to steal – a golden lapel pin. Now, let’s talk about the logo on the pin. Recognize that logo? If you don’t, you need to get caught up on your Marvel television! The logo on the pin is none other than one of the many logo variants HYDRA used before settling on their octo-skull, as evidenced by recent episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. This is particularly interesting because this is a few years after World War II, but several before Captain America: The Winter Soldier – HYDRA was presumed to be dead at this point. Of course, we know otherwise – but it’s nice seeing little easter eggs like this. But I digress.
New Chief Thompson can apparently feel his masculinity slipping, or maybe he hasn’t reminded us that we love to hate him yet this season, so when he gets a call from Sousa requesting some extra hands on deck he immediately sends Peggy Carter – mid-interrogation. Peggy isn’t happy about this, though she is a little flattered that Daniel asked specifically for her (he didn’t), and leaves immediately. No time to take off work, Angie! Peggy is on a mission.
In sunny Los Angeles, our favorite butler Edwin Jarvis is waiting to pick Peggy up. Though he despises everything about L.A., he and his wife Ana have moved out west with Howard Stark, who is starting up a film company. Jarvis immediately offers his services again to Peggy, as he is incredibly bored and has spent his time recently procuring and fussing over his new arch-enemy; Bernard, Howard Stark’s new pet flamingo.
Peggy shows up at Auerbach Talent Agency, the front for the Los Angeles branch of the S.S.R., and is warmly greeted by the new secretary Rose, who was previously the dispatcher for the New York Bell Company front back out east. Rose is very happy to see Peggy, as her days appear to consist of refusing people who find and decide to audition for their front. She shows Peggy the code to enter the S.S.R., the “R” and “S” lockers. Easy enough. Peggy asks about Sousa, but Rose directs her directly to him.
Sousa and Peggy awkwardly reunite, and it becomes very obvious this was not Sousa’s plan. As it turns out, Sousa has not been returning her calls; I feel like Thompson set this up on purpose. Henry shows up and decides to take Peggy and Sousa to check out the autopsy. As the body is frozen through-and-through, there isn’t much they can do; however, the body glows. Glowing bodies aren’t normal, and they deduce this woman worked with the particle reactor at local research development company Isodyne.
After some crafty maneuvering, Peggy infiltrates Isodyne labs. She doesn’t get much information, as she is whisked away immediately by a charismatic scientist Dr. Jason Wilkes, who has found out how to perfectly aerate wine on company time – they are both caught. Wilkes does tell her, however, that our victim Jane was “special friends” with CEO Calvin Chadwick. I ship it already. Peggy and Wilkes, not Jane and Chadwick.
Back at the S.S.R., Peggy and Henry are butting heads over how to continue. Peggy wants to go approach Chadwick directly at the horse races, but Henry thinks that’s a terrible idea because Calvin Chadwick is both beloved by the press and running for senate. He reaches out to some media contacts….but Sousa secretly sends Peggy and Jarvis to the races anyway. The good thing about working under Daniel Sousa: the level of sexism in the Strategic Scientific Reserve is greatly diminished.
Before the races, Jarvis decides to introduce Peggy to Ana, to help her find something to wear. To say Mrs. Jarvis is the complete opposite of Mr. Jarvis is an understatement – she is a young and modern free spirit who (appears to) absolutely adore Los Angeles and especially embarrassing Edwin with public displays of affection. She picks out a dress for Peggy, and makes her some special spy-related modifications. I think we’re gonna like Ana.
At the races, Jarvis distracts Calvin Chadwick’s wife, the glamorous actress Whitney Frost, with poorly improvised talk of a picture deal through Howard Stark’s new motion picture studio.
Peggy approaches Chadwick as an American political supporter to get close to him, but instantly drops the accent and accuses Chadwick of sleeping with and killing our victim and blaming it on the Lady of the Lake Killer. He refuses to confess, and they unfortunately have no evidence – but he is clearly rattled by the conversation.
In New York, Thompson tries to interrogate Dottie, though she knows that Peggy is the only one with all the cards to make her break. After threatening and easily almost killing Thompson, he tries a different technique – before the interrogation is called off by Vernon Masters, a war veteran and friend of Jack Thompson’s father, who helped him get to where he is today. He appears to have ties with this shady-group-that-is-totally-affiliated-with-HYDRA, and just reassures Thompson that the people Dottie tried to steal from are grateful for him.
Back in L.A., Peggy, Sousa and Henry decide to check up on their corpse, but not only is she still frozen – so is the medical examiner. When he is touched, he shatters into a bunch of small dark clear shapes, like a thousand D12s. Peggy calls in Jarvis and Wilkes, who have a hard time stomaching it. Henry then gets internally frozen from the water fountain. and realizing he doesn’t have a time, kidnaps Wilkes and makes off. What a detective!
As they follow a slowly freezing Henry, who admits he covered up the crime to make it look like it was the Lady of the Lake Killer, an incompetent cop shoots him (despite Peggy constantly saying don’t fire…good job sir) and explodes him into RPG dice as well. For saving his life, Wilkes asks Peggy out. YES PLEASE. She, of course, refuses.
She’ll come around.
We see the cop who shot Henry getting paid off by Chadwick and Frost – and from this interaction alone you can tell Whitney Frost – the comic’s Madame Masque – is the one wearing the proverbial pants in the relationship.
Back at the S.S.R., Peggy asks Daniel out for a drink. In a scene paralleling the season finale, he promises another time. Peggy then watches as his girlfriend picks him up from work. That’s…disappointing. But Wilkes is single….
Speaking of Jason Wilkes, the final scene of the episode is Wilkes checking out a mysterious otherworldly substance that looks suspiciously like Darkforce. More on that next episode
Now, as I said earlier, this season really kicks off with a bang. Everything feels more like a comic book, more colorful and fun. The returning characters are great, the new characters are great, and everyone seems to be having fun – not to mention how much more “connected” this season feels overall to the MCU. If it can keep up this momentum, we are in for a hell of a season.
I give this episode an easy 9/10.
Stay tuned, however – this was aired back to back with another episode, and we’re not done the ride!