On this episode of Agent Carter we find out the aftermath of Zero Matter being released and its effects on both Whitney Frost and Jason Wilkes. We also go super meta, and Peggy breaks into a boys club.
Our episode starts with the arrival of Peggy at Jason Wilkes’ house, being mobbed by the press. All of this press probably isn’t helping the SSR with their undercover work. They have a secret office hidden in a fake acting agency but they’re constantly in the paper?
Peggy, who is very clearly blaming herself for Jason’s (apparent) death, quickly finds a Russian passport hidden under the floorboards of his house. While Agent Vega is very quick to call Wilkes a Russian spy Peggy doesn’t believe any of it, someone is planting evidence.
Howard Stark, missing last episode, is reintroduced along with this new movie studio. The show makes it’s first meta wink towards the audience with Peggy’s dig against the comic book movie Howard is currently making, but at least it’s a cowboy movie and not the Captain America radio show brought to the big screen? It could be worse, Peggy.
After viewing the Zero Matter footage, Howard also sees the lapel pin Peggy found last episode and we finally get our answer as to what it means. The Arena club is an all white all male social club that has been trying to get Howard as a member for years. Peggy has her lead.
If you were wondering who decide to make Jason look like a Russian spy, it was our old friends Calvin and Whitney. The Newspaper has the headline before the SSR has even released their statement. Having shown up in LA on “business” Jack Thompson also gives Peggy a false statement to sign, claiming she was chasing after Wilkes rather than running around with him. The word Communist is used in place of a lot of other words for Jason this episode, but the intention is clear.
On a related note, I’m not too sure how I feel about all of our (white) good guys being so immune to the race issues being explored. It started with Peggy last episode, which is mostly expected as she is the main character, but it’s quickly spreading. Right now all the racism and sexism shown is distilled into Jack and the villains. I feel like we kind of lose the point being raised here when only evil people can possibly have some kind of prejudice, despite how prevalent this can be in people that don’t even realize it.
After refusing to sign the statement and making some work supplies float (we’ll talk about that later) Peggy meets Howard during a pool party going on at his house and tells him her plan to break into the
no girls allowed Arena club.
With the help of the women at the party Howard and Jarvis start a code pink at the Arena club, enabling Peggy to sneak inside hidden in the crowd. I know this group is most likely meant to be Agent Carter’s equivalent of a secret Illuminati society but the way they’re portrayed here is more comical than scary. I guess the real leaders are in the back room behind the secret bookcase entrance Peggy finds while placing microphones around the building.
While placing a bug under the table in the secret meeting room Peggy is almost discovered when something starts to go wrong with the technology. She manages to sneak out only to be discovered in the hallway, but as usual gets out of the situation quickly with an American accent and a little help from Jarvis. I will never tire of Peggy’s American accents and her using men’s low expectations of women against them.
Back at the SSR Jack is berating Peggy for sneaking into the Arena club, which isn’t surprising since he’s just had a visit from his FBI friend again and seems to have no problem handing over the Zero Matter film if he comes across it. Well, okay, he seems a little hesitant and suspicious, but Jack can’t ever say no to a higher up that could give him a medal. Peggy even tells him as much, after Jack refuses to listen to the evidence of election rigging she saw in the chamber room, two newspapers for the next day that tell two very different stories about the current senator stepping down. Either he does so willingly or they cause a scandal and Chadwick wins the election anyway. She has no evidence with her, however, the bugs she placed were destroyed and she couldn’t bring the newspapers with her, so Jack won’t have it. Peggy hits below the belt with a remark about Jack’s war time activities, and gets banished back to New York.
Considering her office supplies start floating again soon after I have a feeling Peggy is going to be missing that plane. Instead we’re treated to an explanation of Marvel science from Howard, who created a spray to reveal what is happening around Peggy. The formula reveals, of all things, Jason Wilkes, stuck on some kind of other spectrum.
His visibility only lasts for a few minutes, and it hasn’t made him whole, but it’s still enough time to have a moment with Peggy (Wilkes isn’t even tangible and he still makes Sousa jealous and nervous) and tell her that Whitney Frost was very much involved in the explosion the night before. As Jason disappears again Howard works on making him completely solid and Peggy leaves to confront Whitney.
Whitney uses a lot of the same tricks Peggy does, even her husband thinks she just wants to settle down and have babies and he knows what she’s really up to. Peggy isn’t buying her oblivious act however, and the two might have come to blows if not for Whitney being called onto set.
Jack hands over the Zero Matter film to the FBI, though he claims not to have watched it (he’s lying). “If it was up to me you’d get a medal for this,” he’s told, yet another call back. I can’t tell if the show wants us to feel sorry for him and the fact he killed a bunch of people surrendering during the war, but I don’t.
After his meeting Jack also runs into Sousa checking through files. Jack seems like he feels some kind of guilt for what he’s done and try make amends with Sousa, but he’s still too much of an ass to think of apologizing to Peggy.
Back at Howard’s house Jason is back to visible but he still isn’t solid. Howard is going a little crazy trying to fix this problem, and Jason doesn’t seem too convinced that he will ever get back to normal. Peggy manages to give him a pep talk about this but doesn’t seem to truly believe it herself and is outside beating up a punching bag in frustation when she’s attacked by a masked man.
We don’t need to debate who called in this hit, as we just witnessed Whitney Frost manipulating her husband into ordering it minutes before. The combined might of Peggy and Jarvis has the attacker escaping over a wall, Jarvis’ training is really coming in handy. As is his voice, used to create Howard’s new alarm system.
“It’s a temporary measure, I have no desire to spend the rest of time as a disembodied voice.
Don’t worry Jarvis you’ll get a body again eventually, you can even lift Thor’s hammer.
Howard leaves for Peru to track down another scientist likely to help Jason’s situation, leaving us with a not so subtle shot of an image that looks a lot like Tony Stark’s arc reactor. Peggy apologizes yet again for what has happened to Jason, but he refuses to let her take responsibility. In fact Jason thinks he’s the one putting people in danger, but the two finally agree that he isn’t going anywhere. There’s a lot of cute flirting, I find it all very adorable for someone that’s still so mad about Angie being missing and taking away my Cartinelli.
Peggy still has a hard time forgiving herself for the people she’s close to getting hurt, being dragged into her battles. I still feel like part of that has to do with Steve, no matter his size and strength after the experiment Steve was just a good guy that wanted to help people, an innocent casualty of war, that’s how she sees him.
Sousa has some new information for Peggy back at work, Whitney Frost is actually a stage name and the woman is actually a scientist, Agnes Cully, it’s no wonder she seems to know more about Isodyne’s business than Calvin does.
Calvin himself is back at the Arena club, being introduced to Jack by FBI-man-whose-name-I-still-don’t-remember, and Jack knows exactly how wrong he’s been about Peggy’s information when he’s handed one of the newspapers Peggy saw during her break in.
We’re left with a finally scene of Whitney being told she was going to be fired, but her boss managed to save her job. Don’t worry though, he’s not actually a nice guy, he just clearly wants her to give him something in return and when he touches Whitney’s face he sees the black Zero Matter scar she’s been hiding this whole episode. He does not take this well, and not keeping his calm gets him… absorbed into Whitney’s body in the most disturbing possible way. I don’t even know what to make of this, but I feel like it would have been avoided if he just wasn’t creep and didn’t have such over the top reactions to scabs. Who knows.
While episode one is still the worst of this season so far to me, I’d still have to put this slightly below episode two. Things were a little slow but this is hopefully the show planting seeds for later episodes and not an indication of the continued pace. There was only one or two references to Peggy and Sousa, which is good for me but will no doubt be back soon, and Jason continues to be great even if he can’t currently touch anything. What this episode did have going for it as a lot of laughs and a whole lot of references to the Marvel movies, though I think the latter could get old quickly if we continue to get so many so quickly in future episodes.
Missed a recap? Catch up now with the Agent Carter season 2 double recap.