If last week’s Agent Carter was about character—that of the two women squaring off this season, Peggy Carter and Agnes Cully/Whitney Frost—then this week was about action, and nothing says action like trying to steal not just one but two atomic bombs. Whitney, after all her experiments (those poor rats!) and killing her former employee, somehow comes to the conclusion that more Zero Matter is better. Like a lot of villainous motivation, this doesn’t exactly make sense. Right now, she has the ability to kill and has obviously mastered it to the point of being able to do it at will. While at first glance, “more” of whatever she is experiencing might seem like a good idea to her, but this doesn’t really hold up very well, especially her sense of immediacy. After all, while she has some idea of what her power is, her experiments cannot have revealed to her how the Zero Matter gave her said power or what the actual effect of more of the substance would be. And it’s obvious that the bombs that she believes could generate more of the stuff are safely stored and could be retrieved at any time. So for someone who has been established not only to be a brilliant scientists but someone patient enough to set up a frontman like Calvin Chadwick and play the kind of long game Frost has been playing to act so rashly as to make a move on the bombs (and incur a debt to an underworld kingpin in the process) just doesn’t sit quit right. That said, it does give us an entertaining caper in the episode, starting with the lead-up. One of the things I am less than wild about this season is the Peggy-Daniel-Violet triangle. It’s silly enough to have posited Daniel running off to LA and away from Peggy, with whom he is obviously smitten, with no explanation. That’s not really the Daniel we got last season—a man afraid to deal with emotional issues. For the writers to then hook him up with another girl so quickly thereafter seems even more out-of-character; at least the burying-himself-totally-in-work thing might have made some sense. And Sarah Bolger’s Violet is just so likeable, that it’s painful watching the trainwreck we all know is coming. For all that, the proposal was adorable. The difficulty of timing that would always plague a relationship between a cop and a nurse, Violet’s no-nonsense grabbing of the bat on her way in to her open apartment, Daniel’s clumsy approach, and their shared and happy fumbling to find the ring—it made the bittersweet quality of the moment far more palatable, at least for now. The recruiting of Rose gave Peggy the chance to stick it to Sousa, whose sexism, as I have pointed out before, may be better hidden but still informs his decisions: “It’s funny. I’m seeing Daniel Sousa, but I’m hearing Jack Thompson,” Carter tells him when he says he doesn’t have time to protect Rose, moments before the woman he’s referring to tosses a man across the room. Rose, in turn, pulls Dr. Samberly into the adventure, using her charms and pie to convince him to let the team use his inventions on their mission. Samberly also gets to call Sousa on the carpet when he points out that Daniel promised to use him in the field when he hired him, and insists that he be included in the caper as well. Add one butler, and they are off. Save for the special key that they need to access the place where the bombs are stored, a key that Hugh Jones, a member of the Council, has on him. This requires Carter to go in to his office in disguise (as Bettie Page?) armed with one of Samberly’s devices that makes him forget that he knows that she’s an agent for the government. Considering the usually sleazy roles Ray Wise tends to play (and is playing here), watching Carter light him up repeatedly as he wakes only to make disgusting pass after pass at her feels more than a little like well-deserved revenge for the sexual harassment endured by generations of secretaries. And it is so sweet when she gives him the last shock that we’re sure must leave him with just a touch of brain damage. The actual race between the two teams, each intent on stealing the bombs, is really just the set-up of the old trope of the first fight between protagonist and antagonist. First the two must size each other up verbally, as Peggy and Whitney did earlier in the season. Then there’s the first physical clash, all leading to the final conflict. As an unlucky Jarvis, locked in the vault with the bombs works to remove the rods while Dr. Samberly tries to effect his release, the one-woman army that is Peggy Carter clears the halls of the borrowed thugs that Frost and Chadwick have brought with them. We’ve seen the alacrity with which she dispatches bad guys, but here, these fights serve a specific purpose: they remind us of just how kick-ass Carter is so that when we get to the main event, we understand just what Peggy brings to the table. And how frightening it is that Frost, while clearly at a deficit when it comes to actual hand-to-hand combat skills, seems hardly to be phased by Carter’s attacks. In the end, it is Frost who walks away unscathed while Peggy is seriously wounded and carried off to the tender mercies of Violet. But while Front might have won the fight, she did not make off with the bombs. Still, she does not come away completely empty handed, not only does she know that she can defeat Peggy, but her failure motivates her to step out from behind her husband and make it clear to him who really has the power in the relationship. And although more seems to be accomplished by our heroes, there are more causalities than Peggy. One of the themes of this episode has been Daniel’s shortcomings: from his failure to live up to his promises as boss to men like Samberly (and who knows how many more) to the kind of low-level sexism that insists that his female agents need protected in situations that he would not assume his male ones would, we have gotten a less-than-admirable view of Agent Sousa—the one other member of the SSR that we’ve been led to believe is a “good guy.” Violet’s quick discernment of his real feelings toward Peggy not only threaten her own hopes for happiness but also our perception of what kind of man he is. And perhaps even throw open the question of whether Carter’s affection for him is entirely deserved. For now, both sides are set to regroup, and Carter and company have the bombs they need to hopefully return Wilkes to a corporeal state, vital now that he’s vanished again. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.