Spoilers for “Better Angels”
The search for answers about Zero Matter ramps up (with a little help from the original playboy, billionaire, philanthropist) as Whitney Frost starts to exercise the power she has gained.
While trying to find answers to what Isodyne was researching, Peggy Carter and the rest of the SSR search Jason Wilkes’ home. They find evidence that Wilkes is a Russian spy. To make matters worse is Chadwick tips the newspapers off about the evidence found in Wilkes’ home making the SSR feel the pressure to quickly close the case. Peggy doesn’t buy for one second that Wilkes is a Communist and wants to look into Isodyne further.
Dear ol’ Jack Thompson decides (with a little help from his pal Vernon Masters) to come to the West Coast to make sure the case is being handled properly. He rewrites Peggy’s report as to what happened at Isodyne the night Zero Matter and Wilkes went missing to corroborate with the Communist spy theory going around. Thompson tries to strong arm Peggy into signing the report and closing the case, but she refuses and begs him to watch the film Wilkes showed her so Thompson might understand the dangerous nature of Zero Matter. Eventually he does watch, but does not tell anyone about it. Then hands the reel over to Masters when he offers Thompson a pat on the head if he hands over any information they find about Isodyne’s experiments.
Since the SSR is no longer helpful to Peggy’s investigation with Thompson around, Peggy turns to the one person she can trust who is also smart enough to understand what Zero Matter could do. Howard Stark, I have missed you and your caddish ways. She also shows him the pin Dottie attempted to steal and Stark tells her all about the Arena Club and their racist, misogynistic ways. The Arena Club has been trying to recruit Stark for some time, but Stark didn’t like their rules and limitations. Plus they don’t allow women inside of the club.
Stark quickly fixes that problem when he invites a group of women (including Peggy) to come and be a distraction when he and Jarvis go on a tour of the Arena Club under the guise of wanting to accept their invitation to join. Peggy uses the commotion to plant bugs around the main areas of the club and finds the secret meeting room. The Council of Nine is pretty paranoid and set up the room to be unbugable. While attempting to plant the listening devices, Peggy does see two newspapers with two different headlines and the next day’s date. One talks about the rival candidate for Chadwick stepping away from race by choice and the other has him walking away because of a scandal so Chadwick can run for Senate unopposed.
Thompson is furious that Peggy would break the law to spy on the Arena Club and didn’t bring him any proof of the things she saw and over heard there. She calls him a coward who folds at any chance to get a promotion and a metal no matter what the consequences for everyone else. Thompson orders Peggy on the next flight to New York where he will deal with her later. Sousa stops Peggy as she is storming out the SSR building and tries to talk some sense into her about not burning bridges every time someone disagrees with her. But the conversation is quickly forgotten as the two of them realize there are objects floating around Peggy. She thinks it is a side effect of her exposure to Zero Matter the night Wilkes disappeared and goes to Stark for help. He doesn’t think it is a side effect of her exposure and uses a new film developing technology he is working on the reveal what is around Peggy.
I told you we are not going to see the last of Wilkes. The exposure to Zero Matter has made him non-corporeal and Stark’s film developing solution allows him to be seen and heard. Wilkes tells Peggy about Whitney Frost being at the lab and she is off to poke the bear. Howard and Wilkes work on understanding Zero Matter and getting Wilkes to be a real boy again.
Peggy tries to get Whitney to stumble and tell her why she was in the lab stealing Zero Matter, but Whitney is an ice queen and never lets the “I’m just a lowly actress” mask slip. Peggy has great instincts and doesn’t believe the lies for a second. Whitney is concerned about Peggy snooping around so she easily manipulates her idiot of a husband into sending their goon to kill Peggy. Jarvis and Peggy were able to fight the guy off, Peggy even managed to shoot the guy in the hand. Whitney’s panicky move lets Peggy know she is rattling the right cages. When Sousa looks further into whom exactly Whitney Frost is he finds that she is actually a brilliant scientist who helped to build Isodyne with Chadwick. Frost is just her stage name.
Whitney’s cage is further rattled when the slimy director for her movie comes in to let her know the studio wanted to replace her, but he went to bat for her. It is pretty obvious he is lying about this information in order to coerce her into bed with him, but his slimy seduction is interrupted when he sees the mark on her head from her exposure to Zero Matter. He freaks out about her face being ruined and wants to go to the studio with the information when Whitney grabs him in a panic and starts to absorb his energy. The mark on her head extends as the Zero Matter in her body becomes more powerful.
Before Thompson leaves for New York, he gets a good bye drink with Masters at the Arena Club where he is introduced to Chadwick. The two of them talk about how they can bolster Thompson’s career when he sees the headline Peggy described to him in detail about Chadwick’s competition exiting the race.
Questions, Thoughts, and Theories
Hayley Atwell could have perfect chemistry with a house plant, but her interactions with Dominic Cooper are almost as amazing as her chemistry with James D’Arcy. The banter between them is flawless. Peggy’s remark after Stark tells her she would be great in some saucy roles, “I’d rather be the Cowboy” is just brilliant.
The best line of the night: “A movie based on a comic book? Sounds like a dreadful idea.” Very Meta.
I missed Ana Jarvis this week.
I wonder what Stark meant when he asked Jarvis if he was going to need a new butler when talking about Jarvis’ love of working with Peggy? I know he can’t be implying that Jarvis is in love Peggy and will leave his work and Ana to be with her. There is no trace what so ever of romantic love between Peggy and Jarvis. I wonder if Stark thinks Jarvis will leave him and go to work with Peggy at the SSR.
Jack is a little shaken when he realizes the newspaper headlines Peggy was talking about is the truth, but I don’t know if he will act on that instinct. Jack strikes me as a guy who will willingly let himself be manipulated as long as he doesn’t see the strings pulling him and gets lots of promotions and accolades along the way.
Even though Stark treats the women in his house like pretty pieces of art for him to admire, I love that he jumped at the chance to subvert the Arena Club’s backwards rules by filling its halls with women simply because he does not agree with their treatment of women as inferior. I also love that Stark doesn’t see Wilkes’ color of his skin. He just admires and respects the Wilkes’ intelligence much like he admires and respects Peggy’s instinct and tenaciousness. For the era he grew up in, Stark can be a very progressive character in his own strange way.
I loved that Whitney is revealed as the main brains behind Isodyne’s research and she has been playing the dumb actress card because that is what’s expected of her and it allows her to get away with a lot I bet. The fact that the big bad for the season is a woman who is smart and powerful gives me all of the happies. The MCU is due for an awesome female baddie.
What did you think of last night’s episode of Agent Carter? Do you love that the series does not waste any time getting to the action? Do you think Wilkes will become corporeal again? What do you think of the Madam Masque origin story so far? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.