NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of “Agent Carter” are present in this review
The second half of Agent Carter’s two-episode premiere, “A View in the Dark” continues to push the over-arching mystery of the show’s second season along nicely. This time, the New York storyline is completely ignored for now, with this episode devoted entirely to expanding the Marvel Cinematic Universe history of Darkforce, now referred to as, “Zero Matter” by the unsuspecting people that have stumbled upon it, and aim to exploit it.
That is, however, after we get another goofy start with Peggy coming across Jarvis, who is trying to get in better shape, following his adventures with Peggy during Season One. Peggy still gets the upper hand on him pretty easily though, and Ana seems unbothered by the suspicious position she finds the two in during a judo practice session. As with the first episode of the season, the second has a few rather silly moments, which not everyone will embrace, but at least this episode is still just as entertaining as its predecessor, while also furthering the thrills and mystery at the same time.
We also get a peek into a mysterious council that appears to have quite a lot of influence in world affairs, which Whitney Frost’s husband, Calvin Chadwick is receiving support and donations from. Since these men want to scrap the Zero Matter experiment, following the SSR nosing in, Chadwick is advised to focus on his campaign for senator, which Whitney is none too happy about, as she believes that Zero Matter is the future of energy. According to Agent Carter’s showrunners, this council, known as the Council of Nine, is actually supposed to be a forerunner to the Marvel Comics villain organization, Secret Empire, which is an offshoot of HYDRA in Marvel lore. Could this be laying the groundwork for HYDRA’s infiltration of S.H.I.E.L.D. after that organization’s formation?
Whatever the case, Wilkes appears ready to blow the whistle on the experiment, secretly feeding Peggy and Sousa intel, and wanting to get Peggy aside to a popular nightclub, so he can keep telling her about what Isodyne is working on. After some help from Ana, along with a showcasing of Howard Stark’s latest pimped-out vehicle, Peggy meets with Wilkes, and ends up bonding with him over shared stories of their past. Eventually however, this ends up being interrupted by the Council of Nine’s cleaners, who are eager to get rid of the Zero Matter evidence, forcing Peggy and Wilkes to flee after a brief firefight.
What follows is an interesting foundation for a Peggy/Wilkes romance, even if, like Sousa’s, it seems to happen pretty quickly. Ana tries to explain this by saying that it doesn’t take long to realize that you’ve met someone special, as Jarvis was forging papers and stealing planes to rescue her from the Third Reich after knowing her for just a few weeks, but this honestly feels like a big disadvantage to the decreased episode count of an Agent Carter season. Since there’s so little time to develop romance, a lot of the romantic arcs just end up feeling hollow. It’s cool that the show is trying to offer an honest effort of Peggy finally moving on from Captain America, but her new love interest isn’t any more compelling than Sousa’s, frankly, as Sousa’s better half is simply portrayed as a stock ‘perfect woman’ type. Then again, it’s not surprising that Sousa already wants to propose in that case, which Peggy awkwardly discovers after the ring falls out of Sousa’s jacket.
Anyway, when Peggy and Wilkes decide to directly steal the Zero Matter from Isodyne, before the Council of Nine can scrub it, the two end up splitting off, with Peggy holding off the bad guys, while Wilkes takes the Zero Matter. To Wilkes’ surprise however, he encounters Whitney Frost, who is going against her husband’s and the Council’s orders, and is trying to take the Zero Matter away herself. After a brief struggle, the Zero Matter’s containment is broken, and the two are forced to try and run away from a violent explosion of Darkforce.
At this point, Wilkes’ fate is ambiguous, and Peggy even believes he died in the explosion. I have a feeling that this isn’t true, but the fallout isn’t so bad, when Peggy realizes that another person she cared for has slipped through her fingers. Sousa’s rage at Peggy being in danger, yet subsequent desire to go back to his other girlfriend, also feels odd. Is he just indecisive, or what? Fortunately, the very end of the episode was better, as Chadwick bangs on the door of Whitney’s dressing area, with Whitney in hiding, looking at her face, which now has a distinct Darkforce-esque crack on it. Uh oh. Could this be the first step in Whitney becoming the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Madame Masque?
“A View in the Dark” is continuing to gradually improve the foundation of the already-good premiere episode of Agent Carter’s second season, giving Peggy a promising, but seemingly short-lived new love interest, and turning Whitney Frost into a very compelling villain in her own right, even with no Dottie in this episode. The clever integration of Darkforce into the MCU is continuing to go pretty effectively, and the incorporation of the Council of Nine also seems to be setting up for great things to come. The romantic elements still don’t fit as well with the rest of the story, due to the shortened season length, but that’s ultimately a minor nitpick for a show that’s still effectively centered on such a kick-ass character!
- Clever inception for Darkforce/Zero Matter in the MCU
- More fun moments with the Jarvis's
- Whitney Frost is developing into a great antagonist
- Romantic arcs for Peggy and Sousa feel too rushed
- No Dottie or New York updates