Season two of Agent Carter premiered last night with a two-hour kick off and an all new set of foes for our titular hero to face. Don’t forget the red hat and some sunscreen as we travel with Peggy to la-la land.
Peggy and the rest of the Strategic Scientific Reserve catch Dottie robbing a bank safe deposit box in a pretty badass cold opening. Inside the safe deposit box is a lapel pin with a mysterious “A” in a circle on it and the SSR wants to know who it belongs to and why Dottie wanted to steal it. Peggy is the only person Dottie actually fears and will respond to, so she gets to question the former Soviet spy. Unfortunately for Peggy, Agent Jack Thompson’s ego is butt hurt over everyone thinking Peggy is the only person to break Dottie and he sends Peggy to Los Angles to help Chief Sousa and the new West Coast SSR office on a mysterious case of a frozen lake in the middle of summer which contains a dead woman.
Upon Peggy’s arrival in sunny LA, Jarvis is waiting to chauffeur her around and hopefully accompany her on a few missions, just like in the old days. He is not adjusting well to the environment. The palm trees are useless at providing shade, avocados are eaten with everything, and people don’t know how to drive (pretty much all my complaints when I moved out there). Along with everything else, Jarvis is bored as hell. All he has been doing is tracking down animals for Howard Stark’s “backyard menagerie” as it is called (in fact a flamingo is hitching a ride with them). Even though we don’t get to see him, we know Stark is doing well in LA. He has started his own production company, all the better to bed starlets with my dear, and is currently wooing a location scout.
Jarvis drops off Peggy at the new offices of the West Coast SSR where she tries to catch up with Sousa and get the details of the case instead. The two of them are forced to work with a LAPD detective who thinks the woman dead in the lake is another victim of a serial killer who stabbed women and disposed of their bodies in a lake. The killer stopped killing two years before and the investigation has gone cold. The detective wants to go to the press with the case in hopes they will help to shake out some information for him. Sousa tells the detective to do just that while he and Peggy follow up on a lead to Isodyne Energy.
When they try to take a look around the Isodyne labs, Peggy meets the very helpful scientist Dr. Jason Wilkes. He shows Peggy his amazing wine distilling technique and identifies the dead woman as Jane Scott, another scientist in the lab. He also shares that there is some gossip she was possibly having an affair with Calvin Chadwick, the man who runs the lab and is running for senator. Peggy attempts to question Chadwick, but she is quickly stonewalled.
Chadwick is a part of a mysterious Council who operate in the back room of the Arena Club. These men are the most powerful men in the US (possibly the world) essentially run everything. They want Chadwick to close down Isodyne Energy after the press surrounding Jane Scott and the SSR starting to question what the lab is up to. Chadwick tries to sway The Council’s decision because he feels the Zero Matter research they are doing will change the world for the better. The Council disagrees and wants him to concentrate on his run for senate and put aside the research. Chadwick tells his wife, starlet Whitney Frost, about the lab shutting down and she pushes him to keep going with the research. She knows Zero Matter will be important and wants her husband to be the man who changes the world so she can rebuild her floundering celebrity status as the wife of the famous industrialist. It is too late, the lab will be completely emptied by the end of the night and close down.
Peggy and Sousa know something wrong is going on at the Isodyne when the corner is frozen solid while in the middle of autopsying Jane Scott. They try and go back to the lab with a warrant to search the place, but they are stopped when the lab claims there was a radiation leak and everything is quarantined. Peggy attempts to question Wilkes about the radiation, but he knows there are people watching him and he slips a note to her asking to meet him for drinks later and he will explain everything he knows. Sousa doesn’t trust Wilkes and wants to go with Peggy. In order to do that, he would have to cancel his special dinner with the girlfriend, Violet. When Peggy finds the engagement ring in Sousa’s coat pocket, she talks him into keeping his date.
Wilkes and Peggy get to know one another at drinks (and even share a nice dance) when he tells her he grew up picking oranges with his family for work, but wanted more out of life. He eventually got a degree, went into the Navy, and got to work for them as a scientist. When he left the service, no one would hire him because of his race except for Isodyne Energy. The fact that a place would hire people of color or women to do jobs that were only reserved for white men at that time is a really radical thing. He tells her this so she would understand why he is not quick to tell her what they are up to. He needs to know that he can trust her and that she is a good guy. Apparently she does win his trust because he shows her a movie he stole of Isodyne testing a new technology known as Zero Matter which devours any physical energy around it and is highly dangerous. Prolonged exposure to it is what caused Jane Scott’s body to freeze over and cause anything exposed to her blood to freeze like the lake, the corner, and the LAPD detective who was paid off the Chadwick to get rid of his mistress.
Chadwick’s goons show up to try to take out Peggy and Wilkes, but Peggy manages to activate a tracker in a car Jarvis loaned to her and the two of them get to Isodyne Energy in order to steal Zero Matter and get it to the SSR labs. Jarvis calls Sousa, who was almost out the door for his romantic dinner with Violet, and he gathers backup to try and find Peggy. Peggy and Wilkes get to Isodyne, but are met with the goons clearing out the labs. Peggy goes to distract them so Wilkes can get the Zero Matter. Wilkes runs into a problem when Whitney Frost is in the lab trying to steal Zero Matter for herself. The two of them struggle over the vile and it breaks open and they are exposed. The SSR combs thru the lab and tries to find Wilkes, but there is no sign of him. We do see later that Frost survived with a cut on her head and Zero Matter energy shining thru. She has now become the physical embodiment of it.
Back at home in New York, the FBI comes in and takes Dottie off of Thompson’s hands. It is just as well because he is getting absolutely nowhere with her. Vernon Masters gives Thompson a bit of advice to “start playing the long game” when it comes to his role within the SSR. The war is over and the SSR is a wartime office, things are going to be reshuffled soon and if Thompson plays his cards right, he will be rewarded with a top position.
Thoughts, Theories, and Questions
The call back to season one opening was pretty clever. We got to see the iconic red hat in the sea of black hats, but it was Dottie, not Peggy wearing it.
It is nice to see Peggy has earned the respect of her co-workers after saving the day last season. Thompson and Sousa may have gotten the big promotions, but Peggy’s value is acknowledged by others. It will be nice to see her getting to work in the open this time versus last season when she had to go behind everyone’s back to save the day. There will still be the occasional sexist whatever she is going to have to deal with, but at least that will not be the sole focus of the show.
I’m a little annoyed by the tension between Sousa and Peggy. I was hoping when they showed he had a girlfriend that their relationship would become platonic like the one she has with Jarvis. I was hoping they would delay the whole romantic interest stuff a little longer. I like Wilkes, but is it too much to ask to have a female lead in a show without some kind of romantic storyline?
I missed the chemistry Haley Atwell and James D’Arcy have together. Watching the two of them just really makes me happy. The addition of the bubbly and affectionate Ana Jarvis is wonderful. She is the perfect counterpart to the stuffy Edwin. I adore that he complains about her affectionate ways, but it is something he loves about her. Lotte Verbeek stepped into the brother/sister relationship they created with ease.
“Aside from Danger, my middle name is Charm.” Best line of the night.
I really hope Sarah Bolger gets more to do than just being the sweet and loving girlfriend of Enver Gjokaj’s Daniel Sousa.
Zero Matter is another name for Darkforce which will be featured in Doctor Strange so I look forward to any Easter Eggs for the Marvel movie coming in November.
The show is playing with the origin story of Madam Masque and it is entertaining to see a villain in the making. Frost is a starlet who may not be old, but she is getting too old for an industry that covets youth and beauty. It will be interesting to see how she will use the Zero Matter energy to maintain the star status she craves and see how Zero Matter manipulates her.
You know we haven’t seen the last of James Wilkes.
Of course Howard Stark’s car would come complete with champagne, a change of clothing, and a mirror on the ceiling so he can watch himself.
What did you think of Agent Carter two-hour premier? How much do you love the new sunny LA location? Did you miss Peggy and Jarvis’ banter as much as I did? How much do you think Agent Carter will tie into Doctor Strange? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.