Margaret Carter, how I have missed you.
The opening of the episode should have been familiar if you’d seen season one. A beautiful brunette confidently striding through a sea of men, instantly identifiable by a bright red hat. That this time, that woman happened to be Dottie Underwood instead of Peggy Carter was beyond perfect. Dottie is clearly obsessed with Peggy and has been since season one when she broke into her apartment, rummaged through her panty drawer, stole her lipstick, and then kissed her. All of which was most definitely necessary for the mission at hand </sarcasm>. After playfully suggesting that her next disguise might be as an SSR agent last season, Dottie has emerged as a Peggy doppelgänger, although taller and rather deranged. Like I said, obsessed.
mid-season finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Also worth remembering: we recently learned that HYDRA is actually the modern form of an ancient secret society that predates World War II. So despite Arnim Zola, the man who would later build HYDRA into S.H.I.E.L.D. being in prison (or having been out of prison for less than six months), it’s entirely possible, even likely, that HYDRA is controlling Isodyne and is related to the lapel pin. Are you confused yet?
Okay, back to the present, by which I mean the past. Peggy begins her interrogation of Dottie only to be undermined by Thompson who’d rather grab the glory of a confession himself. Faster than you could say “Thompson, you asshole,” Peggy was on her way to sunshine and palm trees, leaving Dottie to nearly kill Thompson with a table. Which I loved.
Peggy’s move to Los Angeles allows the show to head in a distinctly noir direction. In the first episode alone we have the murdered mistress of a powerful politician, dirty cops, and a dramatic scene under a bridge. Also, a flamingo named Bernard. Which may or may not be a film noir trope; I’m not overly familiar with the genre.
Sousa, being the second most competent person in his field office (after Peggy, of course), has been promoted and given his own field office in Los Angeles in the six month gap between seasons. He’s also gotten himself a girl. More on that in the next review. His current case reminded me of an early Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode. In it, a device caused a pool and a person to freeze. It doesn’t seem to have any connection with this mystery, which appears to be rooted in a toxic substance, a toxic substance that killed one Jane Scott, former mistress to Calvin Chadwick, owner of Isodyne energy, politician, and definite bad guy. Whether her death was an accident or intentional is an open question, although I’d put my money on accident. It seems like an overly complicated way to rid oneself of a troublesome mistress. Death by freezing is also a reference to Captain America, currently frozen in the Arctic. Poor Steve.
Speaking of romantic interests, I want to like Dr. Wilkes and his Fitzsimmons-esque enthusiasm for science certainly helped that along, but he’s just so…smooth. Way too smooth. He ruffled Peggy. No one ruffles Peggy. He’s probably evil. Just a note about potential romance for Peggy: she says in Captain America: The Winter Soldier that her husband was saved by Steve during the war. Just something you might want to be aware of.
I have to say I’m a little disappointed with the introduction of Ana Jarvis. Not that I dislike her character particularly, but because I’m a fan of the character who inexplicably never appears onscreen thing. Ana has certainly appeared onscreen now and is just as vivacious and friendly as her husband is proper and polite. I had indeed been expecting “Mr. Jarvis in a girdle.” This is better. She’s already struck up a fast friendship with Peggy. A garter holster: the ultimate way to Agent Carter’s heart. Ana feels a bit like a replacement for Angie who Peggy sadly left behind in New York. I was totally on board for the action to move to Los Angeles, but I wish it didn’t have to come at the loss of such a great character. And honestly, I’m not sure it had to. Couldn’t Angie have tagged along to Hollywood with Peggy? She’s an aspiring actress, I’m sure she could have found something to do.
Intel and Assets
--The episode takes its name from a Raymond Chandler novel.
--When Peggy heads into the Los Angeles office for the first time, you can see a marquee with Whitney Frost’s name in the background.
Peggy: “Love the hat.”
Jarvis: “Miss Carter, you have no idea how foreign Los Angeles will seem to a civilized person such as yourself. They eat avocados with everything. The foliage is preposterous. Take the palm tree. Would you trust the structural integrity of such a thing? They afford no shade. Everybody says it’s a very dry heat, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t unbearably hot. And worst of all, the drivers are both abundant and abundantly irresponsible.”
Peggy: “How is…everything?”
Rose: “Everything is through the first door to your right. You can’t miss him.”
Jarvis: “This would be a spy picture. You’d play a female agent. Tough as nails.”
Whitney: “Now I’m intrigued. So she doesn’t have a love interest?”
Jarvis: “We haven’t found the right actor yet.”
three out of four pairs of fabulous red sunglasses
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