Marvel’s Agent Carter – Season 2 Episode 9
“A Little Song and Dance”
Marvel’s Agent Carter starts to bring things to a close with the penultimate episode of the season -and possibly the series- raising the stakes for everyone concerned.
Before I get into the actual episode I have to talk about the musical number at the beginning. It had absolutely nothing to do with the story of the episode and didn’t result in any sort of thematic payoff or revelation for Peggy.
Now that I’ve said that I can say that I didn’t care. I love that style of music and I really enjoyed the sequence. It was well choreographed, had good music and showcased some alternative talents held by many of the main cast. Sometimes it’s fun to divert from the story a little and be creative. Also, wasn’t it great to see Angie again? Even if she was only in a dream.
It does tie into Peggy being in the middle of a love triangle between Sousa and Jason while being pulled away by her responsibilities as represented by Jarvis and Rose. I can only conclude that Peggy is a little messed up if she concocts elaborate musical numbers as a way to deal with her emotional problems.
Outside of the musical interlude the situation is quite a dire one for all concerned. Peggy and Jarvis are trapped in the back of a truck in the middle of the desert and Whitney has Jason as her prisoner with the intention of harvesting all of the Zero Matter from his body.
Interestingly it is the drama between Jarvis and Peggy that is most intense in all of this. Peggy blames Jarvis for the situation they are in because he went off on a mission of revenge without telling anyone and got them captured. She assumes that it was all down to Ana being injured but sees it as an unnecessary escalation because Ana will be fine as far as she knows. Peggy makes some really cutting remarks about Jarvis’ lifestyle up to this point. As far as she is concerned he joins her on adventures because he sees them as fun diversions from the norm then goes back to a mansion belonging to someone else at the end of the day and doesn’t consider the consequences of any of it. He has never had to suffer loss and likely never will so doesn’t understand what any of it means.
Jarvis is equally as cutting and tells her that even though she isn’t a murderer, her actions do cause people around her to die. It almost seems as if he is blaming Peggy for Ana’s injuries which could be true from an emotional outburst point of view. He’s upset and lashing out at the only person nearby because she has some connection to the incident. It’s irrational for sure but that’s what makes it so good. These characters feel like real people who react to things in believable ways.
The heated exchange between Jarvis and Peggy works so well because their dynamic is really well developed. Peggy is willing to throw away their friendship over this as she can’t let Jarvis put anyone in danger again. It’s a really powerful scene because these characters who are normally so close are being torn apart.
It all calms down when Jarvis admits the truth to her. He tells Peggy all about Ana’s inability to have children and it is immediately understood why he was so driven to revenge. She switches from anger to sympathy in an instant and is suddenly there for her friend again. Honesty strengthening friendship is an ongoing theme in shows where secrets are kept and it certainly rings true here.
Ana and Jarvis have a really touching scene together where she calmly gets the truth out of him by pointing out that he’s a terrible liar. It’s a really nice moment between these two characters but it’s a shame that the episode cut away from Ana’s reaction. I can sort of understand why as this would be a difficult thing to show and get right but if the risk had been taken then it could have been incredibly moving.
The rest of the episode had its ups and downs. Whitney is still engaging to watch due to Wynn Everett’s performance but she is in full villain mode now and doesn’t seem to be compromising on that at all. None of the nuance that defined her up until now is present in her scenes and for the most part she is chewing scenery.
Reggie Austin has a bit of a thankless task as Jason spends most of the episode strapped to a table complaining about not feeling well. It’s due to all of the power surging through him but it pretty much looks like he has nothing worse than an upset stomach. Maybe it was down to the direction or the special effects weren’t effective enough to show how much power his body was containing. Either way it wasn’t coming across very well.
Another issue is Peggy forgiving Jason’s betrayal because of some corruption associated with the Zero Matter. I can see what the episode was going for but him being corrupted didn’t really come across as clearly as it should have. I would prefer his actions to be motivated by his own desire to learn more about himself as well as fear and scientific curiosity. The whole corruption angle feels a bit lazy and it’s something that we’ve seen almost everywhere else.
I felt that the general storytelling was overly complicated. Thompson, Masters and Sousa were all involved in a complicated series of double crosses that fired twist after twist at the audience until I had no idea what the actual plan was. I did like that Masters wasn’t blindly devoted to Whitney and is willing to betray her to preserve his own life. Peggy’s role got lost in all of the confusion and I felt confused as to who was working towards what agenda by the end. Hopefully the finale will bring some clarity.
An uneven episode that had some great scenes involving Peggy, Ana and Jarvis but became needlessly complicated with all of the double crosses. The musical number was completely superfluous but an awful lot of fun to watch so the episode gets extra enjoyment points for that.
• the incredibly entertaining musical number
• great character moments involving Peggy, Jarvis and Ana
• the needlessly complicated shifting agendas
• a disconnect between what appears on screen and what the episode tries to achieve