NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of “Agent Carter”, including a major character death, are present in this review
It seems like even the great Peggy Carter can be put out of commission. Given her nasty fall and subsequent impaling during the conclusion of last week’s episode, Peggy found herself benched for, “Life of the Party”, though that didn’t matter all that much, since there was still plenty of exciting plot developments to go around, especially with the return of a certain major personality for this show.
After she finally got wrangled and thrown in a cell at the very start of this season, Peggy finds herself forced to enlist the begrudging help of Dottie Underwood, who becomes the only hope to steal a sample of Zero Matter from Whitney Frost at her husband’s latest fundraiser. Wilkes needs the Zero Matter ASAP, since he’s starting to fade further and further out of existence (we even get a quick glimpse of the chilling Darkforce-powered dimension that he briefly slips into during this episode), requiring it to build a containment cell that will keep him on the earthly plane.
This is a superb concept for an episode of Agent Carter, and as you can expect, the dynamic between Dottie, Peggy, Jarvis, and even Wilkes, is pretty fun, and can be downright hilarious at times. It felt like pretty much all of the Dottie humour landed, from Jarvis trying and failing to carry a gun around her, and then later being forced to admit that she’s an exceptional dancer while at the fundraiser ball itself, not to mention the amusing pseudo ‘sexual tension’ that Dottie continues to share with Peggy, even flirting with Wilkes as a means to get under her skin.
At the same time, it was also interesting and effective to have an episode where Peggy can’t just bail out her cohorts if things go sideways. Even Sousa points out that Peggy can’t run if she’s caught, and can’t fight if she’s cornered, forcing her to stay on the other end of a receiver to direct Jarvis and Dottie from a distance. Again, this led to great suspense and humour alike, especially when Dottie inevitably tries to give Peggy’s crew the slip more than once.
A real standout sequence occurs however when Dottie manages to ditch her communication device, and then hides in a wardrobe to listen to the Council of Nine convene, carrying over from when Chadwick requested their help at the end of last week’s episode. Whitney is brought in, believing that she’s doing a demonstration of her Zero Matter powers, absorbing a rat to the horror of the Council. Apparently though, Chadwick meant to use this as an opportunity to prove the threat of Whitney, and to try and have her killed. Unbeknownst to Chadwick though, Whitney now has the ability to command Darkforce to the point of absorbing people even from a distance, which leads to her absorbing her attackers, several members of the Council, and yes, Chadwick himself. It looks like Whitney’s finally seizing the power she always dreamt of, and even the boss of Roxxon is rightly scared of her after that display!
Surprisingly though, Dottie doesn’t seem too bothered by the fact that she witnessed the carnage of a real-life super-villain, and soon after tries to sneak out. Despite putting up a fight though, she’s captured, and not seen again until the very end of the episode. At this point, she’s shown chained up and inside a coffin, which Whitney opens, smiles at, and then closes again. Even the menace of Dottie Underwood can’t compare to the newfound power that Whitney now wields with extreme prejudice, and that makes her an even more terrifying threat than she was before!
All the while, Vernon Masters is also twisting the knife for Thompson, pressuring him to discredit and destroy Peggy to the point where she can no longer meddle in the affairs of the Secret Empire. Thompson even pays Peggy a visit after Peggy’s crew is forced to split, only being able to take the Zero Matter sample that Jarvis managed to salvage after Dottie vanishes, and subtly warns Peggy to give up the fight. Peggy, naturally, isn’t ready to quit though, and all Thompson can tell her is, “Good luck.” Peggy no doubt knows what she’s getting into, but it’s intriguing to see Thompson make that one last-ditch effort to save Peggy nonetheless. Now, even with the SSR at his command, Thompson can’t help her. Peggy’s truly on her own now.
The only weak point of this otherwise superb episode came when Sousa tells Peggy that Violet broke off their engagement. That wasn’t totally made clear when Violet inferred Sousa’s attraction to Peggy, but I guess that’s what happened. Peggy and Sousa have a brief interaction where Peggy expresses remorse for ruining Sousa’s new life in L.A., and the two even almost share a kiss, before being interrupted by a dead guy that Dottie threw out a window and onto their van, ruining most of their surveillance equipment. Honestly, this is groan-worthy, since it feels like the show is straining to rekindle the romance between Peggy and Sousa, even when it really no longer makes sense at this point. Honestly, Violet might as well have been Sousa’s sister in the end, since the romances on either side of Sousa’s love triangle don’t seem to be doing anything useful for the show’s plot.
Still, after a weaker episode last week, it’s great to see Agent Carter rebound so exceptionally in its latest episode, the first of a two-for-one offering that will be offered both this week and next, to compensate for the season being delayed by two weeks due to the U.S. Presidential Address at the start of the year. It was awesome to have Dottie finally play a part in the story again, and Whitney continues to become scarier every week. With Dottie and Whitney now having met, and Thompson’s hands now being fully tied, Peggy’s problems seem to be dividing exponentially now!
- Dottie's return, and how she plays off of Peggy's crew
- Whitney unleashing her powers and seizing the Secret Empire
- Thompson's last shred of loyalty to Peggy slipping away
- Peggy/Sousa romance still feels forced
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