Yes, apparently it can get a lot worse for Peggy and friends.
We start on a press conference where Whitney Frost is faux-sadly announcing the death of her husband in a boating accident, with a convenient veil covering her scar. If he was running for senator unopposed, who’s going to be senator now? Peggy and Sousa are present at the conference; Sousa is impressed with her acting chops, but Peggy sees right through her. She looks directly at them as she says she will come through this stronger than ever. After, Sousa and Peggy are talking about Dottie; Peggy refuses to believe she is dead until she sees a body. Sousa agrees and then awkwardly says that once this is done they should….talk about things.
Meanwhile, Vernon is attempting to interrogate Dottie and failing. Dottie isn’t intimidated at all by her Vernon’s tools, stating that she has pulled out her own teeth and hair, broken her own fingers, and burned her own flesh with a blowtorch to withstand interrogation and that he will not break her.
In Stark’s lab, Jarvis is fixing the broken transponder from yesterday’s escapades, while Ana and Wilkes are almost done building Wilke’s containment unit – when Wilkes starts fading away again. Ana points out that it is being more and more frequent, and they don’t have much time. Peggy shows up and starts asking Stark about the now-fixed transponder, and if they can locate Dottie. Unfortunately, she appears to be out of range. Wilkes explodes, angry that they are focusing more time and resources on finding Dottie than saving him, when they could just kill her and be done with it. He then apologizes for his outburst – he’s under a lot of stress. You’re still a good guy, Dr. Wilkes!
Back in wherever-they-are, Vernon is still making no progress with Dottie, though he seems to think he is. It’s kinda valiant in a way that Dottie is standing up for Peggy. As he starts asking about Fennhoff and the events of season one, our mob boss Manfredi comes downstairs and says Frost wants to see him – and no, it can’t wait.
Vernon meets with Whitney outside, grumbling that he was on the verge of making Dottie talk – which she highly doubts. As Manfredi goes for some grappa, Vernon questions his involvement – Whitney states that she trusts him and his men actually follow orders. Vernon’s only concern should be finding the rods Peggy stole from her. They have to be the exact rods used in the original tests. She decides that interrogating Dottie needs a woman’s touch.
Downstairs, after some small talk, Whitney informs Dottie that she disabled the tracking device in her necklace – so don’t expect Peggy to come rescue her any time soon. She makes Dottie talk by pumping her full of darkforce, which both looks absolutely horrifying and breaks one of the world’s best Black Widows immediately. She tells Whitney everything – they took a sample of the Zero Matter inside of her, to help Jason Wilkes, who is still alive but in a ghost-like form.
Well, this can’t go well.
In Stark’s lab, they have Wilkes in the containment unit – this is the big moment. They inject him with the Zero Matter, turn on the machine – and it works! Wilkes is whole again! He grabs Peggy and kisses her immediately, before apologizing. He then announces he is starving, and Ana leaves to make him a Hungarian feast fit for a king. Suddenly, Dottie’s beacon starts beeping.
Peggy calls Sousa and tells him what they found, but she deduces from his coded messages to his mother that Vernon Masters is there, and he can’t talk. Vernon tells him that there has been a theft on his watch; someone stole Uranium rods from Roxxon, and he needs to find them.
Peggy tells Jarvis that Sousa is pre-occupied with Vernon Masters, and Jarvis voices his concerns that they may be walking into a trap. Peggy confirms that she is positive they are, so Jarvis shows her one of Stark’s new toys that should be able to help them out; the Jitterbug. It’s a small machine that you stand behind, and once you enter the code (3-4-2-4-3-4) and flick the switch, it sends a giant kinetic blast that helps their assailants “cut a rug”. As they get ready to leave, Ana gives Jarvis a new jacket and hugs him goodbye. She reveals that she is worried, and he offers to stay – she refuses, Peggy needs him. She will stay and be worried and that’s fine.
As Vernon tells Sousa more about the Roxxon job, Sousa deduces that the trail is cold – they’ve known about this crime for days and are only just now coming to the S.S.R. for help. He says he will do what he can, but isn’t making any promises. Vernon launches into the same spiel he did with Thompson, hinting at the possibility of power and a “great story” that the folks in Washington would love. Sousa says he’s not here to make a great story, and that he will do what he can – but he’s not making any promises.
This is what differentiates Sousa from Thompson. Good for you, Daniel!
As Jarvis and Peggy drive through the valley to find Dottie, Jarvis keeps trying to bring up Peggy’s new love triangle, and Peggy will have none of it. She says that she did nothing to attract the romantic interest of Wilkes and Sousa and is perplexed by the situation. Jarvis tells her that she underestimates her allure, and that he isn’t surprised at all. Peggy confides that she is, and she doesn’t know what to do.
Later, under the cover of night, Jarvis walks through the Chadwick (or Frost, now?) estate. One of Manfredi’s goons stops him and asks who he is, to which he cheerfully replies that he is the distraction. Peggy knocks the goon out from behind. Jarvis sets down the Jitterbug as a large group of Maggia mafiosos approach, armed. Peggy tells him to activate the thing, but he is waiting for the perfect moment. Once they are within range, Jarvis enters the code – but it doesn’t work. (Probably because he entered 2-3-2-3-3-3 instead of 3-4-2-4-3-4 but that’s just me.) He then tries 2-3-3-3-2-3 and nothing happens, as they are told to drop their weapons. Then 3-3-2-3-2-3. They drop their weapons and allow themselves to be captured. As they are taken to the basement, Dottie is excited that they came to rescue her, even if they failed.
In the lab, Wilkes is dining like a king as he tells Ana to tell Jarvis that he is a very lucky man. They drink to Peggy and Jarvis, and their safe return, which gets Ana thinking about it again. Poor Ana.
In the basement, Peggy is interogatting Dottie as all three of them slowly work their way of out their ropes. She tells them that Vernon tried to break her and didn’t come close as both Peggy and Dottie get their arms free, and Dottie warns her – if she gets free before Peggy, there’s no telling what she will do.
Back at dinner, Wilkes asks Ana if she is alright. Ana tells him to be careful what he asks – she’s had enough wine that she may answer honestly. She confides that when Jarvis first told her of his exploits with Peggy, he lied to downplay the danger. Now that she knows the truth, she misses the lie. Wilkes laments that he doesn’t know what his next step in life will be – at Isodyne they were ten years away from unlocking the full potential of Zero Matter. Now he doesn’t know what to do. He then teases her, saying that they had lots to celebrate and were crying into a $400 bottle of wine. Ana asks if he wants to cry into a $1000 bottle.
As Jarvis is untying himself and trying to remember the Jitterbug code, Peggy and Dottie are almost free and Peggy are Dottie are still verbally sparring. Jarvis somehow manages to free himself first. He then realizes his mistake – the code for the Jitterbug was Carole Lombard’s measurements, and he accidentally put in Barbara Stanwyck’s – which is the code for a delayed detonation. They hear and feel the Jitterbug go off upstairs.
As they get free, Peggy notes Dottie is hurt. She claims it is from Vernon’s interrogation. Peggy then realizes no one came to interrogate them, awaiting Whitney’s return; that it wasn’t Vernon who injured Dottie, it was Whitney. She demands to know what Dottie told her. Dottie tells her that Peggy knew this was a trap – but it wasn’t set for her. Peggy realizes that they are going after Jason, and Jarvis realizes Ana is there. He knocks out a guard, picks up his gun and angrily shouts at Dottie to move.
Right as Ana is checking the security system to ensure it works, Whitney breaks into the Stark mansion with impeccable timing. As Wilkes is working on some research inside his containment chamber, Whitney comes into the lab, impressed with his work. She expresses her interest that he is alive; how Zero Matter’s properties are so unknown, that they affected both of them in very different ways. She tries to kill Wilkes and absorb his darkforce, but Wilkes inexplicably absorbs the darkforce through his hand – making Whitney a little less powerful and Wilkes a little more permanently solid. This hurts and fascinates Whitney.
As Jarvis, Peggy and Dottie speed back to the mansion, Dottie comments that she’s never seen Peggy scared before.
In the lab, Wilkes gets out of his containment chamber and is still tangible. Whitney tries to convince him to run off with her – they both need Zero Matter, and they can use each other to understand and control it, and change the world. Wilkes says the world is fine the way it is, and Whitney points out that they are a woman and a black man living in 1940’s America; no one pays attention to them and they are considered expendable. Wilkes refuses to help, so Manfredi arrives to intimidate him. As they get in each other’s personal space, Whitney knocks out Wilkes.
Sousa calls Ana, asking if the gang is back yet. Ana says they aren’t, and she’s starting to get worried. Sousa tells her to sit tight – he will be right over; but then Ana notices Manfredi and Whitney carrying off an unconscious Wilkes. As Sousa gets ready to leave, he is suddenly attacked by home invaders that definitely were not sent by Vernon Masters. They beat him up and leave.
Ana confronts Whitney and Manfredi outside, telling them to drop Wilkes – and Manfredi pulls out a gun. Whitney tells him to stand down and starts talking to Ana, explaining Wilkes needs answers. Ana tells her that Peggy will not stop coming for her, right as Jarvis and Peggy start pulling up, so Whitney decides to slow Peggy down by taking Manfredi’s gun and shooting Ana before escaping.
Jarvis, as panicked as we’ve ever seen him, sprints out of the car to Ana’s side and starts screaming for help.
They speed to the hospital and help her inside, as Peggy tells the officer that she is a federal agent and a wanted criminal is in her trunk – do not listen to her or open the trunk. As they gurney Ana to the operation room, Jarvis is in shock and can’t answer any of the doctors questions. Peggy tells him her name is Ana Jarvis and it was a robbery gone wrong. They are asked to wait behind, when someone screams than an officer has been shot. Peggy rushes outside to see the trunk open, the officer dead on the ground, and the tracking necklace taken off.
Well, things can’t get any worse.
The next morning, at the S.S.R., an injured Sousa makes his way to the office. Vernon Masters is there and puts on his best surprised face, but both of them know what really happened. He asks Sousa if there have been any leads on the Roxxon material, so Sousa smirks and smugly says says “Not a thing. I don’t think we’ll ever find it.” Vernon says that that would be a real shame for everyone involved. He decides to take over the S.S.R. until Sousa is back on his feet.
Oh wait, of course it can get worse.
At the hospital, Peggy calls the S.S.R. only to get Vernon, so she hangs up. She goes to sit with Jarvis, who says that Ana is still in surgery and they don’t know if she’ll make it. Peggy holds his hand and they just…
What a bleak episode.
This episode really raises the stakes for the show. In a show that takes place in a shared universe and happens to be 69 years ago, you’d think it would be difficult to keep suspense – we know Peggy lives until 2014 at the very least, while Jarvis is presumably still around at the time of his future ward Tony’s birth in 1970. Then you have characters like Sousa and Wilkes and Ana…
This episode was a fantastic installment in a fantastic season – it’s really a shame no one appears to be watching this season. I give it a 8.5/10.
Let’s hope next week’s Carter-two-parter will be happier.