Agent Carter: A View in the Dark

Okay so maybe Dr. Wilkes isn’t evil. What can I say? I have trust issues. On an unrelated note, did anyone find Sousa’s girlfriend extremely suspicious? No, seriously. She's all sunshine and smiles and baked goods. I mean, okay, maybe she’s just an extraordinarily friendly person but she did ingratiate herself with Peggy really, really quickly. Just saying.

So the secret lapel pin organization makes itself heard in the episode. Frustratingly, it has no name so, in the grand tradition of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., I’m just going to call them SLYTHERIN. SLYTHERIN is responsible for crashing the stock market in 1929 (thanks, guys) and responsible for a super dangerous substance known as “zero matter.” Or, they were. They’ve decided that with Jane Scott’s death and the SSR poking around Isodyne, the project just isn’t worth the risk. A decision Chadwick was okay with and his wife Whitney was not.

Whitney Frost seems to be the mastermind in the relationship, the one capable of seeing the bigger picture, the master manipulatrix. Although I’m still not totally sold on her character. I think it might be the actress. We’ll have to see.

We were treated to some classic Peggy/Jarvis shenanigans. “The deadly arts,” indeed, Mr. Jarvis. And can I just say that I love the way they’re portraying Ana as not being jealous and possessive over their relationship. Agent Carter has always taken a very firm stance on love triangles and jealousy, preferring to showcase the women supporting other women route. It might seen like a little thing, but it’s really not when you look at a lot of what’s on TV right now. The only antagonistic relationship Peggy has with another woman is with Dottie Underwood, who is an enemy agent.

This is not a river.
The episode felt like a bit of a tour of classic Los Angeles filming locations. The “river,” the observatory. All it needed to feel complete was a shot of the Santa Monica Pier, although how they’d explain the existence of a light-up, solar-paneled ferris wheel in 1947 is anyone’s guess. The “river” in particular is almost a requirement for Los Angeles-based noir. And if you’re wondering why I keep putting “river” in quotation marks, you’ve never seen the thing.

After almost completely ignoring Dr. Wilkes’ race in the premiere, racism became a much bigger theme in this episode. I thought Peggy’s reaction to the man at the bakery made an interesting parallel with Sousa’s attempt to defend Peggy to Thompson in season one. There, he was the one outraged at how she was treated and she flat out told him that she didn’t need anyone to come to her rescue. Now it’s Peggy’s turn to be outraged on behalf of a potential romantic interest, although Dr. Wilkes seemed to find her rage more cute than anything else. Hayley Atwell is cute when she’s angry, but then, she’s always cute.

The heat between Peggy and Dr. Wilkes was palpable and for a moment I found myself thinking he could be an acceptable replacement for Steve, provided he turned out to be un-evil, but then - poof! - he was gone. Last episode, I thought the “zero matter” was the monolith. Turns out I was wrong (sad trombone noise). But I’m going to go ahead and say that unless the zero matter turns out to be related to the monolith, it was a poor choice to depict it as looking so similar. I’m sure I can’t be the only one who made the mistake of thinking we were seeing Harold the Hungry Space Rock: the Early Days. Unless that was a mistake the show intended us to make, I’m going to give them a little frowny face for that. :(

And am I the only one not on the Peggy and Sousa forever love train? End of last season, he asked her on a date and she politely refused because she still needed to get over Steve. He moved to LA, she called him, he ignored her, and now he’s so in love with her that he’s all about trashing his office and pulling out his hair when she might be in danger? That seems a little out of character. Last season he stood out because he was the only one who recognized her abilities and now he’s going to obsess and worry about her, relegating her to a damsel in distress? Um, no. His respect for Peggy as an agent was what made him an attractive prospect for her last season. Now, not so much.

We’re left with a couple big questions after this installment: what the hell is zero matter and where does it come from? What did it do to Dr. Wilkes and those people at the test site? And, perhaps most intriguingly of all, what did it do to Whitney? Stay tuned!

Intel and Assets

The more they use the name, the more ‘Isodyne’ sounds like a brand of toothpaste.

Howard Stark’s “leisure car” features secret compartments for champagne and a change of clothes, adjustable window tinting, a homing beacon, seats that go completely horizontal, and, classiest of all, a mirror on the ceiling. Although I have a hard time understanding how Howard was able to get a mirror on the ceiling of a soft top convertible.

Why are clandestine MCU organizations so obsessed with putting their logos on everything? You’re supposed to be secret, you guys.

Dr. Wilkes earned enough money to go to college sweeping floors at the Griffith Observatory. That would absolutely not be possible today.

Peggy dressed in evening wear and hot-wiring a car. I want to be her when I grow up.

Ana: “Did he catch you with his patented tortoise of fury?”

Sousa: “Who’s that clown?”
*cut to a clown sitting in a chair*
That’s probably the funniest thing Agent Carter has ever done.

Dr. Wilkes: “You gonna punch all of LA?”
Peggy: “Maybe. I could do with a hobby.”

three and a half out of four “rivers”
---
sunbunny

7 comments:

Billie Doux said...

I haven't seen the episode yet, but this review is hilarious, Sunbunny.

Marianna said...

I completely agree about the portrayal of women. I think we've all seen enough love triangles; it's nice that this show seems to have made a deliberate decision to stay away from them.

I also thought that Zero Matter was the monolith, but my husband corrected me. It's the thing that created Blackout, who was introduced to us in Agents of SHIELD: http://agentsofshield.wikia.com/wiki/Marcus_Daniels It looks like the monolith because they're both portals. In the case of Zero Matter the portal sucks up all energy to wherever the other side of the portal is.

I'm guessing that Dr. Wilkes got sucked up into the portal and Whitney Frost now has Blackout-like powers, but probably more with absorbing heat seeing as her last name is Frost. =)

In Sousa's defense, Peggy did send out an SOS signal, so it makes sense to think it might be more danger than one person, even someone as amazing as Peggy, can handle.

By the way, we've seen Hugh Jones, one of the Council members before in http://www.douxreviews.com/2015/01/agent-carter-bridge-and-tunnel.html. He seems to have his fingers in many pies.

Josie Kafka said...

On an unrelated note, did anyone find Sousa’s girlfriend extremely suspicious? No, seriously. She's all sunshine and smiles and baked goods.

Yes! She's totally evil. And her name is Violet, right? That makes me think she's some obscure Marvel villain, like the Incredible Shrinking Violet, or Ultraviolet Raize. (I've made both those names up.) I suspect she is poisoning Sousa with her baked goods.

Anyway: Sousa, you dog! I thought he and Peggy were fated for each other, then he goes and finds a hot blonde nurse. I would be far more upset about it if it weren't for the chemistry between Peggy and Dr. Wilkes. I hope he comes back from the "dead." (That's in ironic quotation marks, because "river" and "dead" don't mean the usual things in a Marvel version of LA.)

sunbunny said...

Violet and her pastries totally reminded me of Ted from Buffy. I wouldn't be surprised if there was something in them...

Mark Greig said...

Are you saying she's a robot?

migmit said...

I find it a bit hard to believe that a black guy would so openly pursue a white woman.

Stop looking at me like that. I mean, Wilkes is quite used to being mistreated because of his skin colour. In such situation I imagine him being cautios not to enrage the whole white population of LA. His carelessness seems odd to me.

Another thing: the force that lifted all this trucks and soldiers didn't seem to affect the camera. I can give some leniency to the fact that big chunks of earth weren't ripped off and lifted as well, but camera stillness seems strange.

All in all, that's a good episode. Mr. Jarvis' martial arts training kinda remided me of Sarah Michelle Gellar's role in "Scooby Doo" (which, of course, I only watched because of Sarah Michelle Gellar).

And Sousa's reaction is quite believable, I think. Yes, he knows that Peggy is quite capable of defending herself. It doesn't make him worry about her any less.

mazephoenix said...

Whitney Frost is a take on a existing Marvel characther..don't google her name unless you want spoilers..she usually appears in a more modern day setting so who know where this is going.
Violet seems shady. Aww poor Wilkes..but since we haven't seen a body I assume he lives.
Love Ana Jarvis so far, and no love triangle..that's so refreshing.
Peggy is the best.