Snark Tank; Recap
Agent Carter Season 2, Episodes 1 & 2: The Lady in the Lake/A View in the Dark Recap
Agent Carter’s return this week had me a lot more nervous that I would have expected last year. I personally loved the first season and was determined to try help it get a second season in any small way that I could. In fact I wrote an article for this very site about why you should be watching and why the show needed a second season. Since then some of the developments that have come about left me more than a little disappointed and unsure, so lets see how the first two episodes of the final product actually shaped up.
The Lady in the Lake
After finally catching Dottie while in New York Peggy is sent to Hollywood to help Daniel’s team with the mystery of a woman found frozen in a lake in the middle of summer. Clues soon lead them to Isodyne Energy where Peggy meets Jason Wilkes, who (after having Peggy taste science wine he’s making on company time) identifies the victim as his colleague Jane Scott, a woman that just happened to have “a very close relationship” with the company’s owner, Calvin Chadwick.
With the help of the (finally on camera) Mrs. Ana Jarvis, Peggy is all dressed to confront Chadwick at the races. Jarvis keeps his wife, famous Hollywood actress Whitney Frost, occupied by claiming Howard’s new studio is casting a role she might be perfect for while Peggy questions Chadwick about Jane. He seems shocked by her death, but with an actress as a wife perhaps he’s picked up a few pointers.
Back in New York Dottie is beating Jack at his own game and demanding to see Peggy, but she’ll have to wait some more because back in LA the freezing is spreading and the morgue employee shatters into a thousand pieces with one touch from Sousa.
Peggy brings in Wilkes to help but the freezing is quickly spreading throughout the building and when Sousa’s new police partner gets infected he decides the best course of action is to take Jason hostage in Jarvis’ car and demand the doctor fixes him. Peggy and co locate the car, now also frozen, and the officer admits he was paid off to make Jane’s death look like related to a serial killer in order to hide the fact she was actually killed by being exposed to the substance currently freezing everything.
I could bring up questions here about how Peggy and everyone else isn’t frozen from exposure to the substance but we can brush that aside for the sake of story. The team rescues Jason but the officer is shot before he can reveal who he’s working for. Surprise surprise, the office that shot him is soon seen being paid off by Chadwick and Whitney Frost. Is anyone really shocked?
Jack’s interrogation is interrupted by the FBI who are now taking over the case, and Jack gets some advice. The SSR is becoming irrelevant and maybe he should consider a new position. I am all here for Jack leaving the SSR and completely missing out on Shield.
Wrapping up the episode we have Jason and Peggy flirting again, but Peggy continuing to hide behind the fact she has to be professional with people of interest. When Peggy sees Sousa leaving work to meet his girlfriend at the end of the episode however it’s possible she might have started to change her mind.
A View in the Dark
Episode two begins with Peggy fighting strong-man Jarvis and giving us a line I saw a lot of fans hated. “I learned that one from my brother,” says the professionally trained SSR agent that fought during the war.
After a workout it’s back to the SSR where Rose and Sousa walk in on Peggy and Sousa’s girlfriend, Violet, getting along like they’ve been friends for years because, well, chicks before dicks. Violet tries to invite Peggy to dinner which Sousa doesn’t seem too happy with, probably because he neglected to even tell Peggy he was seeing someone for the whole first episode.
An Isodyne employee- I mean a mysterious stranger – steals the body of frozen Jane Scott while head of Isodyne, Calvin Chadwick, gets called into a group of mysterious old white men called themselves councilors that tell him they will be shutting down Isodyne.
Peggy and Sousa are not happy about the stolen body, but they just received word that they finally have a warrant to search the Isodyne building. Great! …not great, there’s a convenient “containment leak” keeping them out. Jason Wilkes slips Peggy a note to meet him later, which Sousa doesn’t seem happy about Peggy going to alone as he flirts his way into being invited only to drop the engagement ring he’s planning to propose to Violet with.
After more dress advise from Ana and being shown Howard’s sex car by Jarvis, Peggy is off to her not-date with Wilkes. The meeting, at a bar, quickly descends into an actual date as Peggy reveals more about herself so that Jason can feel like he knows her more before revealing Isodyne secrets.
While Peggy and Jason share a dance as Jason reveals the size of Isodyne’s plans we also take a short trip to a movie studio where we see Whitney Frost being treated like crap because she’s an “older woman” in the movie industry. Back in her dressing room Calvin is waiting to tell her Isodyne is being shut down by the council, and we see that Whitney is clearly the brains in this operation.
Jason and Peggy have left the club and are now on a rooftop somewhere (would I have recognized that building if I was American?) where Jason tells Peggy about his life and how Isodyne Energy was the only company that would hire a black scientist when he returned from the war. He’s reluctant to betray them because of this, but he knows the right thing to do and so we finally get a full explanation about what’s going on.
Wilkes shows Peggy footage of the Isodyne Fission test, an experiment that basically made a miniature black hole and left behind Zero Matter, a substance he believes is the most dangerous thing they’ve ever known… and it’s currently contained in the Isodyne building.
Jason theorizes that Jane is frozen because she touched the Zero Matter and Peggy sets in motion a plan to steal the substance, only to be interrupted by men shooting at them. Peggy sets off a switch on Howard’s car to alert Jarvis before hot-wiring a second car to escape in.
The two quickly lose the men tailing them but Peggy seems to have found a lapel pin exactly like the one Dottie stole from the bank in episode one. Now if we only knew exactly whose car she stole.
Sousa is just about to leave on his date with Violet when Rose gets a call from Jarvis who informs Sousa what is happening and breaks up his date. Sousa overreacts like crazy after finding the car abandoned and smashes up his office, having no idea Jason and Peggy are doing fine on their own.
We see Peggy fully confronted with the racism Jason faces daily here, as a shop owner they go to ask for change wants to know if Peggy is safe with Jason and quickly begins judging her too when he realizes she’s with Jason willingly. Peggy is about to break the owner’s face but Jason simply buys something to get them change for the phone (which doesn’t work anyway). Outside Peggy is still angry but Jason tells her hitting the man wouldn’t have changed anything, and the two share a kiss while hiding from a car that just arrived and is possibly the men tailing them.
After stealing yet another car, Peggy is really developing a problem, the two race to Isodyne where Jason begins removing the Zero Matter as Peggy keeps the grunts occupied outside. Whitney Frost appears, making Jason fangirl for a moment before she pulls a gun and demands the Zero Matter. The two fight and the container is dropped, and we see the weird explosion from Peggy’s point of view outside.
When Peggy enters the building both Jason and Whitney are gone, as well as a large hole in the building. Sousa arrives soon after to a shocked Peggy rambling about what happened, Whitney and Jason it seems are both presumed dead. Somehow I think otherwise.
Sousa returns home to apologize to Violet, who continues to prove she’s the best person ever for having no problem with Sousa missing their date to save lives. The two share I love yous, but we’ve all seen Sousa’s real priority tonight.
Peggy and Ana share tea as the episode ends and Peggy opens up about being so upset about Jason’s death despite only knowing him a short while. Ana compares the two to her and Jarvis, and how they fell in love over just a few short weeks. Perhaps Jason does have a chance of escaping the show without falling to the side of the dreaded love triangle?
The episode closes with a shot of Whitney Frost, very much alive, but with a strange black cut on her forehead that looks suspiciously like Zero Matter. As for Jason, well, we still don’t know what happened to him, but there will be rage if he truly is dead.
So, what did we think of this episode?
Dottie is back and what an entrance she made! I honestly didn’t expect to see her so soon, so it was a nice surprise that we saw her integrated into the plot so quickly. Recreating the opening scene from last season was nothing short of perfect and it’s clear very quickly just what an impression Peggy has made on our Black Widow. I don’t think we’ll be seeing her every week but considering her lapel pin was setup for this whole mystery I’m sure she’ll be back later in the season to finally explain.
Jason had my attention the minute he was on screen and he never really lost it. He and Peggy have great chemistry and we actually get to see them talk and explore their relationship, instead of just being told what a connection she has with him like we seem to be with Sousa. It’s nice to see also the show is finally touching on the racism of the time that was glaringly ignored during the first season of the show, but I still hope Jason isn’t simply around as a token character to explore this and that we will continue to get a more diverse cast.
I could be biased here, because I’ve loved Sarah Bolger since I first saw her in Once Upon a Time (and I’ve been enjoying her other current series, Into the Badlands), but Violet is a great new addition to the show. I can only hope she becomes more than just the “obstacle” we’re meant to see between Peggy and Sousa, but I’m glad the show decided to at least have her and Peggy get along. So many times we see a man placed into a terrible relationship to reinforce what the show wants us to root for, but here Violet is a genuinely nice person. It’s Sousa, infact, that we see so uncomfortable with Peggy and Violet being around each other.
I’m being completely honest when I say that I didn’t dislike Sousa for most of last season, I really didn’t. He seemed like a genuinely nice guy, even if Peggy didn’t want or need his protection, and it wasn’t until he turned on her instantly that any of that dislike started to creep in.
These two episodes quickly turned that slight annoyance at Sousa accusing Peggy into full on powerful dislike. What is it with television and movies, why do they have to turn male characters into complete jerks the instant they’re involved in some kind of romantic storyline? Over these two episodes we see Sousa hide the fact he’s planning to propose to Violet from Peggy, hide that he has a girlfriend AT ALL in fact so that he can continue to flirt, and trash his office like Kylo Ren on a bad day. Like Fitz, who I enjoyed immensely through the first season of Shield but changed as soon as the romance storyline started, we’re meant to root for angsty Sousa in the quest for Peggy’s love, despite the fact that the show has introduced someone we saw her have more development and chemistry with in one episode.
Look, we all know I’ve made no secret that I’m hard to please with romance storylines. Last season Peggy left Sousa with only a “maybe next time” when he asked to go out for a first drink with her. So the show instantly had me on the wrong foot when it’s made very clear that since we last saw them some epic potential romance is meant to have happened that’s keyed everyone in the SSR in on the two lovebirds.
This is just so lazy and means the show has to do no work in developing the relationship and, again like Shield’s Fitzsimmons romance, a lot of the storyline is characters telling us they love each other rather than showing us anything. Honestly I don’t even understand why this decision was made apart from to rush the two of them to the artificial drama of a love triangle (square?) before we’ve even had a chance to see them together, and it’s not like the show can’t write interaction since Peggy has some great scenes with Jason over these two episodes.
I already like both Jason and Violet far more than I want Peggy and Sousa to get together, and it’s kind of sad to think the two are likely to fall by the wayside once the season is over.
Probably the biggest disappointment to me is not only the lack of Angie Martinelli this season, but the fact that she has been seemingly erased. There isn’t a single mention of Angie over the two episodes, which might not be too strange if they were simply friends but Peggy moved in with Angie at the end of last season only to fly off to LA without a word.
While I never truly expect Marvel and ABC to let the show go there with Peggy and Angie it’s hard to not feel like the show’s complete lack of mentioning her is an attempt to shut down shipping that was fully supported… at least until the show got renewed.
The season premiere was pretty rocky for me, mostly for how heavy handed it was making the Peggy and Sousa set up clear for us, but the second episode found it’s footing a lot more and was pretty enjoyable. I don’t think I’m anywhere close to the obsession I felt at this time last year when it came to the show, but some interesting pieces and new characters are falling into place that I really enjoy.
Hopefully the show will continue to get better as the season progresses, and yes I am very much waiting for that Angie Martinelli return I know is going to happen… at least in a very small way.