NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of “Agent Carter” are present in this review
Agent Carter continued to fire on all cylinders for the first episode of its second double-episode week this week, “The Edge of Mystery.” Emotions ran incredibly high within this latest offering, due to the fallout of Whitney shooting Ana at the end of last week’s second episode, which leads to a bloodthirsty Jarvis, an increasingly desperate Whitney and Wilkes, and Peggy and Sousa desperately trying to hold everything together long enough to apprehend the bad guys.
Fortunately, it could be worse, as Ana manages to survive her wounds, despite it being a very close call in surgery. Jarvis is initially overjoyed, though is told later that the injury left Ana unable to bear children. This no doubt throws Jarvis’ future plans with Ana for a loop, and this was contrasted beautifully with the episode intro, which shifted back to a scene from Season One, showing Ana’s perspective when she called to Jarvis off-screen, upon his phone call where he was explaining the volatile nitro energy from Roxxon to Peggy. Ana expresses concern about Jarvis’ new affiliation with a female associate that Howard Stark actually respects, though Jarvis assures Ana that Peggy Carter will never affect their lives in any meaningful way. Ana says that Jarvis shouldn’t make promises that he can’t keep, and this turned out to be quite well-put, given the fallout to Ana’s injuries.
While Jarvis is tending to his wife, even going as far as to lie to her about her inability to have children (which was also a nicely tragic setup for later), Peggy and Sousa go pay a visit to Joseph Manfredi, devising a plan that has them hoping to trick Whitney into returning Wilkes, in exchange for fake Uranium rods. This is one of the only light-hearted moments in what’s otherwise a very serious and dramatic episode, though it was a good one, as Manfredi gets into an argument with his mother while cooking in the kitchen, as Peggy and Sousa take out Manfredi’s goons in a melee just outside the kitchen doors, which neither Manfredi nor his mother notice. The subsequent scene was pretty amusing as well, when Peggy and Sousa get Manfredi to set up the exchange with Whitney, provoking some pretty unexpected reactions from Manfredi’s mother!
Samberly comes back into play in time to build Peggy and Sousa some convincing fake Uranium, though fortunately, he doesn’t show up all that much until the episode’s climax, and even then, he’s used pretty sparingly, given his overuse in, “The Atomic Job” dragging the show down considerably. Jarvis drives Peggy and Sousa to a meeting spot with Whitney, Manfredi and Manfredi’s goons, and the exchange seems to go well at first, until one of the goons accidentally spills the rods, which obviously don’t explode, outing them as being fake. This forces Peggy, Sousa and Jarvis to beat a hasty retreat, albeit with Wilkes in their custody. Seems like a victory at first!
One of the episode’s biggest shocks occurred at this point however, when Wilkes points a gun at Peggy, and threatens to kill her if she doesn’t reveal where the Uranium is! Apparently, during Whitney’s poking at Wilkes’ Zero Matter-induced condition, she convinced him to turn traitor and seek greater power, nicely setting up how Zero Matter/Darkforce is very much a living, unstable entity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and one that indirectly seduces its hosts into terrible acts. Sousa is the one that ends up spilling the beans, leading to Wilkes phasing out of the car and getting away with Manfredi’s goons.
From here, Jack Thompson comes back into play in a big way this week, as he manages to get his hands on an official document that seems to out Peggy as a war criminal. He initially threatens Peggy with the information, though Peggy won’t comply with Thompson’s demands to return to New York with him. She manages to convince Thompson to doubt the information, with Thompson later confessing to Vernon Masters that he’s not sure if the file is accurate. Masters says that what the document says trumps what actually happened, and this eventually leads to Thompson eavesdropping on Masters on the phone, learning he’s working with Whitney Frost, and attempting to stop him from stealing the Uranium. It doesn’t work out though, as Masters employs the same memory scrambler that Peggy had so much fun using on Hugh Jones a few episodes back, leaving the Uranium gone, and Thompson incapacitated until Peggy and Sousa find him.
It seems like the SSR is officially compromised now, and that’s while no one in the group is aware of Jarvis’ intent to kill Whitney Frost, even leaving his will with Ana, while asking Rose to look after her. This leads into a fantastic climax that ups the stakes of the show even further, as Whitney, Manfredi and Wilkes successfully set off the Uranium bomb in the desert, opening the Zero Matter rift, which calls Wilkes inside it, though leaves Whitney alone. Samberly joins Peggy, Sousa, Jarvis and Thompson as they give chase, like I said, conveniently packing along a gizmo built from design ideas that Howard Stark faxed the team. The gizmo is a gamma cannon that uses an intense light burst to shut the rift, in theory, and the use of gamma radiation was a great subtle nod to the future experiments that would one day lead to the creation of The Hulk in the present-day Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Peggy’s crew manages to close the rift, though Jarvis takes off to try and shoot Whitney dead, with Peggy not managing to stop him in time. Whitney, however, can no longer be harmed by bullets, and Wilkes also happens to have some sort of crawling nasties inside him, from his time in the Zero Matter portal. Manfredi is initially intent on killing Peggy and Jarvis, though Whitney claims that the best way to keep Wilkes in line is to keep Peggy and Jarvis alive, which leads to Manfredi’s goons simply knocking them out as the episode ends. Wilkes already seems like he’s willing to comply, so it’s sort of questionable that Whitney would stop Manfredi from killing even just Jarvis, but I suppose that it’s a small corner that the writers had to wiggle out of.
Agent Carter continued to pack a superb emotional punch in this episode, even long after the show has successfully broken away from the fallout of Captain America’s loss in the 40’s. Whitney no longer feels like the main baddie of the season, though she’s still a very credible and appealing threat, even as the Zero Matter itself appears to be manifesting as the true evil that Peggy and co. now face. With Peggy and Jarvis now in enemy hands, and the Zero Matter creeping ever closer into the everyday world, things are looking grim, even considering the bullet wound that Ana Jarvis took at the end of last week’s double feature!
- Jarvis' emotional shattering
- Wilkes betraying Peggy, and getting infested with more Zero Matter
- Thompson learning the truth about Masters
- Would Manfredi really agree to spare Peggy and Jarvis?