Marvel’s Agent Carter – Season 2 Episode 6
“Life of the Party”
Marvel’s Agent Carter races towards the end of the season with another double bill that starts with Peggy sitting on the sidelines due to her injury sustained in the last episode. As with the last double bill I have written this review without seeing the next one in order to not have my opinion coloured by future knowledge.
I really appreciated that this entire episode was built around Peggy dealing with her injury. It is so often seen on TV shows that characters make swift and miraculous recoveries between episodes so seeing some consequences to being hurt is really refreshing.
Nobody has the luxury of waiting for Peggy to heal as Whitney’s power is growing and, with it, the danger she poses to everyone around her. The urgency in this particular case comes from the fact that Jason is getting closer to completely fading away. We get to see what that looks like from his perspective and it looks like he is being drawn into a much darker reality against his will. Time is off the essence and he could be lost forever if they don’t act.
Luckily there is some hope as it was discovered last week that exposure to Zero Matter can make Jason tangible again. It only happened for a second but the logical conclusion is that more Zero Matter will lead to a longer duration. Since Whitney is the only source that they know of the plan has to be obtaining a sample of her blood.
Naturally this is really dangerous as Whitney is powerful enough to suck the life out of anyone she comes into contat with, knows who Peggy and Jarvis are and is obscenely difficult to get near due to her wealth and fame. Peggy being injured makes the whole thing more difficult as she won’t be able to get close enough to her while maintaining a safety factor.
Peggy’s idea is to enlist Dottie Underwood to get close enough to obtain the sample. It makes sense as she is highly trained, adaptable and used to do this sort of thing all the time before she was captured. The main issue is that she can’t be trusted and will almost certainly betray them.
The attempt to recruit Dottie was a great scene. Dottie is in prison but somehow manages to be completely in control of the situation. She immediately deduces that Peggy is hurt and therefore vulnerable as well as acting alone in securing her release. The disguise is a big giveaway but I liked the use of Dottie’s observational skills.
Her playful nature is a lot of fun to watch. She has a lot of fun withholding key information from Peggy as there’s really nothing she can do about it. The whole conversation is something that Dottie is in complete control despite the fact that Peggy really needs to be for her plan to work. Peggy tries to pretend that she can arrange for Dottie to disappear and that she is fully prepared for any tricks that might be attempted. Dottie knows that the deal is a lie and is confident that she can escape. I suspect that the only reason she agrees to help Peggy is because she knows she will escape in the end. It was great to see Dottie back and she was used to great effect in this episode.
The concern with bringing back an excellent villain from last season is that she might overshadow the current antagonist but that wasn’t the case here. Whitney is a great villain in her own right and functions on a different level to Dottie. Since they aren’t trying to be a formidable physical as well as intellectual threat the two characters can easily coexist and compliment each other rather than competing. Dottie is more playful and reactive to situations where Whitney is more devious and calculating. It’s a good blend of villainy and having both in the same episode shows how good this show is at creating engaging characters.
Whitney is used to great effect here as she takes complete control of the mysterious council. When she reveals the potential of Zero Matter they attempt to double cross her but her powers have grown to the point that she can destroy people without even touching them. It’s a great scene and shows how terrifying Whitney is that she can kill almost an entire room full of important people without showing the least bit of remorse. She even kills her husband without batting an eyelid. The Zero Matter infection has made her more desperate to assert her dominance but her cold streak has been there since before that happened so it doesn’t feel like her personality has flipped in any significant way. It appears that the potential was always there but she was never powerful enough to get to that point before.
Peggy’s plan to obtain a sample seems simple enough which is a good indication that it’s going to go horribly wrong. I like that it was a lot of small issues that made up a really messy situation rather than a single definitive problem. Thompson’s arrival led to him being suspicious of Jarvis and Dottie’s eventual betrayal making the whole thing a bit of a bust. It’s worse because Peggy is in no position to help due to her injury slowing her down.
The plan ultimately proves to be a bad one despite getting a hold of the sample. Dottie escapes and Vernon Masters is fully onto them so much that he wants to stop them. It’s something of a sour note to end the episode on and it works really well at creating tension for what happens next. I like that Peggy makes mistakes and then suffers the consequences for them.
Thompson’s ambiguous loyalty is one of the weakest stories this season so far. In the first episode the idea that he needed to choose a side as the spy game as well as the government was changing seemed clear but as the corruption has been made more clear to him his overall stance on what’s happening doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. Thompson has always been a career minded opportunist but I always felt that he has a strong sense of right and wrong. His acceptance of everything that Vernon Masters is saying doesn’t sit quite right with me and the fact that he becomes a mouthpiece for his politics doesn’t really work either. He should be giving Peggy more credit and trying to figure things out for himself but instead it just seems like he wants to climb to the top and doesn’t care what he needs to do or who he needs to step on to get there.
Ana Jarvis makes her return in this episode and it’s all the better for it. She’s such an endearing presence and brings a unique perspective on things. I like that she grounds the whole thing by showing real concern when her husband seems excited about going on a dangerous mission that could end in his death. The episode doesn’t properly deal with it as she storms out and her husband doesn’t follow her but the horror on her face as she ponders the bad possibilities works really well.
An excellent episode that finds a good reason to bring Dottie back without her overshadowing the threat that Whitney represents. I really appreciated the consequences of Peggy’s injury informing the setup of this episode. I do feel Thompson’s vague loyalty still needs a lot of work to be believable but there’s a lot to like in this episode.
• Peggy’s injury not magically healing between episodes
• Dottie’s return and any scene that she appears in
• Whitney becoming more powerful and more engaging
• having Ana Jarvis back in the fold
• Thompson’s vague loyalty
• Ana’s feelings on her husband being in danger not being fully dealt with