Spoilers for “Smoke and Mirrors”
The writers took our love of Peggy Carter even further when they gave us a look at her life pre-Captain America, really enriching a character that already has so many layers. What made last night’s episode even better is they gave Whitney Frost the same treatment to keep her from falling into the whole villain to be a villain role.
Peggy growing up in England was very picturesque. She had a mother who loved her, even when she being very un-lady like playing dirt, and a brother who encouraged her to be the hero she dreamed of becoming. As a top code breaker at the beginning of World War II, Peggy was asked to join the SOE to train field agents for spy work. Her fiancé didn’t think she should be on the front lines because it is not a place for women, but her brother knew she would regret not taking the job and begged her to explore her potential. He would never get to see what she could become because he was killed in action. His death does prompt Peggy to end her engagement and take the position in the SOE.
Agnes Cully (Whitney Frost’s real name) had an opposite up brining. Her mother relied on a sugar daddy to get them thru; but as all sugar daddies do, he moved on to the next honey pot when the current one got a little too old. Even though Agnes is highly intelligent, she is constantly told by her mother the only value she has is in her looks. After moving to Hollywood Agnes meets a very sketchy talent agent who thinks he can get her a modeling job or even into acting. All Agnes has to do is smile and show off that beautiful face.
Back to the present, Peggy and Jarvis notice Chadwick’s goon injured hand and realize he is the one who attacked them several nights before. The two of them figure they could tranquilize him and find a way to get some information about Chadwick and the Area Club. He must have a touch of super serum in him because the goon did not go down easy. Sousa is furious that Peggy would continue on investigating without him and not because she broke a serious amount of laws kidnapping a guy. If she is in, so is he. Knowing the goon will not fold during normal interrogation tactics, Peggy uses a bit of genius trickery by injecting him with an extreme strain of the Malaria virus that will take 20 minutes to kill him. She actually just gave him a really intense cold, but the goon falls for it and starts naming names and tells Peggy and Sousa all about the recordings of the Council of Nine meetings. He also warns the two of them the Council has influenced all of the major events to happen in recent American history and their reach is very high. No one is safe from the Council of Nine.
Peggy and Sousa gather the troops and await word on their search warrant for the Arena Club when Vernon Masters comes in with several agents of his own to perform an audit of the West Coast branch of the SSR. He also informs them the search warrant will not be granted and the two of them need to be wary of the tide that is coming thru. No one wants to be thought of as a Red Spy. Masters and his men make off with all of the SSR’s files, but Sousa squired away the blood evidence from Jane Scott’s case so they can continue their research into Zero Matter.
The research into making Wilkes corporeal again has begun to stall out. Wilkes is starting to feel a pull from Zero Matter and he tells Peggy the desire to give in is very strong. She begs him to keep going and the two of them have a bittersweet moment of trying to hold hands, but they can’t. Unfortunately this moment is witnessed by Sousa.
Whitney is doing some research of her own by using rats to gain control over her abilities to absorb living being’s energy. After several successes, the mark on her face from Zero Matter starts to become bigger. When Peggy and Sousa plant a listening device on the goon and allow him to escape. He goes straight to Chadwick’s house to tell him all about the SSR’s investigation. He wants Chadwick to protect him from the Council of Nine or he is going to tell them all about Chadwick’s secrets. Whitney decides she is going to let her husband in on her new found power and absorbs the goon’s energy. He is baffled and terrified about what he just witnessed and asks Whitney what she is. “Whatever I want,” she replies.
Questions, Thoughts, and Theories:
I really loved that it was Peggy’s brother who encouraged her to live up to her potential. Peggy made herself smaller because that was her only choice at that time in society, but the death of her brother made her realize that she was wasting herself in a life she was told she should want. It was a perfect contrast to Whitney who knew her potential and tried to explore it, but was beaten down by her mother into becoming less. I’m willing to be that if Whitney’s situation would have been a little different, her and Peggy probably could have been a formidable team and close friends.
I was and wasn’t shocked to see Peggy was engaged before we meet her in Captain America. Fred was not a bad guy, but he is definitely no Steve Rodgers
I know the Marvel movies only have a couple of hours to tell a big story, but those writers and producers really need to sit down and take some notes from their TV counterparts on how to do a villain right. Whitney Frost is the perfect counterpoint to Peggy Carter. The two of them are so similar in so many ways and it is fascinating to watch how these two women use their intelligence and instincts to get what they want. I have no doubts there are going to be many times in the next few episodes where I am going to identify and sympathize with Whitney.
Whitney being told to “smile” has to be an obvious reference to Jessica Jones.
A word of advice to men, women don’t like being told they would be prettier if they would just smile. It is highly insulting and really creepy when it comes from a stranger.
Again, I really missed Ana Jarvis this week.
Best line of the night as usual comes from Jarvis when he is talking about having to use the tranquilizer gun on the Koala in Stark’s personal zoo, “its adorable appearance belies a vile temperament.”
That look on Jarvis’ face when he was essentially sent to fetch drinks for Peggy and Sousa is really kinda sad. I have no doubt that by the series’ end we will see him leaving his position with Stark to go and work with Peggy and Sousa at the SSR.
What did you think of last night’s episode of Agent Carter? Did you love the paralleling stories of Peggy and Whitney’s past? Do you think Jarvis will leave Stark to go to work with Peggy? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.