Well, Agents, after months of waiting, the day of Agent Carter returning to our television screens finally came. It is with great pleasure that I tell you that it returned with all of its charm, wit, and importance intact. Now, follow along with me as I use way too many words to talk about it!
Launching into the episode, we immediately close in on a storyline left open at the end of Agent Carter’s first season. Meeting up with Dottie happened earlier than I had anticipated, but it was a great way to illustrate where Peggy sits with her fat head male coworkers after the gap between seasons. She’s no longer left to answer phones and take lunch orders. In fact, it would seem that several of her colleagues even revere her. That is, with the exception of one Jack Thompson.
Though it was a touch surprising to see that he hadn’t changed much since we left him, I do have to say that I approve from a character perspective. Now, that’s not to say that I enjoy it, most of the time I’d like to punch Thompson in the face, but the persona the writers have given this character doesn’t strike me as a one and done change. We saw some progression with him in “The Iron Ceiling” back in season one, but beyond that, he’s still pretty much the same old Jack.
That ‘Same old Jack’ stuck to his same old colors when he sent Peggy to Sousa, knowing how uncomfortable it would be for his fellow Chief, and how awkward it would be for her. Then did so again when interrogating Dottie, if ‘interrogating’ is what you want to call him getting his butt kicked by a suspect he couldn’t handle. That was made pretty much irrelevant by Mr. FBI showing up to take Dottie away. Almost as irrelevant as Mr. FBI feels the SSR has become, but he assures Jack that he needn’t worry. There’s a place for ‘war heroes’ in the future. Remember me mentioning how I want to punch Jack most of the time? Let’s go to L.A, shall we?
Peggy lands! Jarvis is there! I was going to lead off into this paragraph with about 5 succinct and short sentences, but then I remembered the way Peggy and Jarvis looked at each other and I had to stop for a moment. Their platonic bond elicits such a strong emotion that I can’t describe. It’s almost like you’re seeing them through each other’s eyes, and that is all Atwell and D’arcy. Their chemistry on screen is on point, and I love that there’s not one single romantic aspect to it.
That last paragraph is an example as to why this is going to take forever. I just turned “Peggy and Jarvis reunited” into 6 sentences. Run. Save yourself.
After their brief meetup and the introduction of the new fan favorite Bernard, Peggy heads over to the SSR for an awesomely awkward meetup with Sousa. Turns out Sousa didn’t return Peggy’s calls, which we later discover is because Sousa’s found himself a new girl. More on that later!
The honorably awkward together agents of the SSR delve into their case. An inexplicably frozen lake accompanied by an inexplicably frozen dead woman, who eventually freezes the coroner working on her by proxy. Through the investigation, we end up at Isodyne (the victim’s place of work) and meet the wonderful Dr. Jason Wilkes, who’s got it bad for Peggy. Ain’t No Peggy Got Time For That, though, it’s time to head to the races!
Without a search warrant, the SSR couldn’t do much at Isodyne, so they head to the horse races to interrogate Calvin Chadwick, the owner of Isodyne who just so happens to be running for senate. Another interesting tidbit about Chadwick? He’s Whitney Frost’s husband. Oh, and the girl who died? His mistress.
Peggy and Jarvis spend some quality time with the charming couple, but ultimately glean nothing from the interaction other than learning some personality quirks. It bears mentioning that Whitney Frost is shaping up to be a grade-A future villain. Her dignity constantly seems to be constantly diminished by Hollywood jerks, but she squares her jaw and gets the job done.
A contrast to Whitney’s cold demeanor is Ana Jarvis’ warmth. This woman was one of the biggest sources of joy for me in this premier. From her friendliness to laughing at her husband’s expense, Ana brings a new kind of dynamic to the Agent Carter universe.
The investigation comes to a head when Agent Henry gets hit by the cold, and we find out that while he wasn’t behind the inexplicable frost, he was cleaning up other people’s messes. In this case, the mess is that of Calvin Chadwick. Henry’s panic at his impending death inspired him to kidnap Dr. Wilkes, ending him up in a spot that no one wants to be in—With Peggy Carter chasing after you. She and Sousa catch up with Agent Henry soon enough, but a trigger happy rookie takes away any chance of them getting any information out of Henry before the lights go out.
Dr. Wilkes is a bit shaken up, but recovers well enough to ask Peggy on a date. Despite his ordeal, and being gently declined, he handles the information with grace, which is so lovely to see on television. Wilkes isn’t the only one to get turned down that night, though. Sousa not so smoothly declines Peggy’s offer for a drink, and we find out why once he makes his way to his car. Daniel’s got himself a new girl!
We close out the first half of the premier with Dr. Wilkes standing in Isodyne looking at looking at the dark matter. The scene’s a touch ominous, but thankfully we got two episodes in one evening! In the second half we get a glimpse into his life, learning of his Navy background, as well as how he built his way up to be a physicist in an era were black Americans were still not considered equal by many.
It takes things out of order, but since we’ve reached the natural progression, I need to touch on the subject of racism, and its representation in Agent Carter. Moments like the one in the bakery are what make the show more than entertaining. Moments like that are what make it relevant. Peggy doesn’t just defend her value, she defends everyone’s, and her stark indigence at the baker’s blatant racism mirrored how many viewers felt.
To take things back on track, um, Hail Hydra? That symbol looks an awful lot like Hydra’s space division’s logo, and has characteristics similar to Hydra’s symbol evolution throughout the year. Their little bank meeting takes place immediately after Peggy discovers a pin identical to the one Dottie was trying to steal in the first half of the premier as well, so I think it’s safe to say we’re already seeing ties between the Russians and Hydra.
The not-yet-confirmed-as-Hydra-but-totally-Hydra-secret-society informs Mr. Chadwick that his work with the dark matter is to come to an end, which he was less than pleased about. His hesitance to end the program was nothing compared to his wife’s, though. We haven’t learned much about Whitney just yet, but there is definitely more to her than meets the eye.
While secret societies are plotting, and husbands and wives are arguing, Dr. Wilkes schedules a special rendezvous with Peggy shortly before she finds out that Sousa intends to propose to his new girl. We meet Violet earlier in the episode, and while twitter didn’t seem to take her introduction well, I have to admit I kind of like her. She seems just the right balance of kind, sweet, and funny, but I will see that balance seems a little too perfect. It will be interesting to see if she’s just a kind nurse, or if she has other motives.
Despite Peggy’s obvious heartbreak at the news of Sousa and Violet’s impending engagement, she is an agent with a job, so she makes her way to her meeting with Dr. Wilkes. Not before Ana provides her with a stunning dress though! It is definitely my hope that we explore more of this wonderful bond between the two women.
All interrogations should happen on the dance floor. It’s only civilized! Especially when the music is as divine as it was in that club! Unfortunately, the dancing doesn’t last long before the two head to the observatory to get more of the story behind Isodyne.
Dr. Wilkes isn’t loyal because he believes what they’re doing is right. He’s loyal because they gave him a chance when no one else would. We may have learned more about his history, and the atomic testing that lead to the Dark Matter, but he and Peg got company.
Chases! Intrigue! Bernard! Sousa SMASH! KISSES!
I mentioned earlier the platonic chemistry between Peggy and Jarvis, but that’s not the only nail they hit on the head. The romantic chemistry between Peg and Dr. Wilkes was short lived, but wonderful all the same. Hopefully this wasn’t the last we saw of it, but things don’t look great for the good doctor.
Whitney Frost might get pushed around on film sets, but she’s taking matters into her own hands. Dark Matters! That joke would be funny if we weren’t all in mourning with Peggy, but do we really think that this is the end for Jason Wilkes?
Whether it was his end or not, we all had to live through something that I had personally hoped to never see again—Peggy Carter crushed at the loss of someone she cares for. The palpable devastation she displayed when she was trying to report to Sousa was almost too much to bear, and it only got worse when she so hopelessly asked Jarvis for a ride home.
The episode comes to a close with a crushed Peggy, a pair of loyal Jarvis’, an apologetic Sousa with a loving girl, and a noticeable crack in Whitney Frost’s façade. What will this lead to as we move through the rest of the season? What are your theories, agents?
Thanks for sticking through my small book, and look for more Peggy Carter goodness throughout the season!