LIFE OF THE PARTY – 6.5/10.
They say that desperate times make for strange bedfellows and that was certainly the case in Agent Carter this week. With Peggy still suffering from her injury received at the hands of Whitney Frost, Jason fading into the Darkforce and Frost going full dark side, Peggy is forced to do the unthinkable; to ask for the help of her greatest enemy, Dottie Underwood. While this was a worst case scenario for Peggy it was a lot of fun for the viewers. It was an absolute delight to see Dottie return to the show, she is a fantastic character and Bridget Regan brings a mischievous confidence to the Russian superspy. So with Peggy calling orders from the side-lines it was the unlikely pairing of Dottie and Jarvis that was sent into the field to retrieve a Zero Matter sample from Whitney Frost.
Peggy’s plan seems relatively simple in theory; Frost and her husband are appearing at a Fundraiser, Dottie and Jarvis will infiltrate it and use a special device to extract some Zero Matter from her, which Jason can then use to construct a containment chamber for himself. Actually when you say it like that it doesn’t seem very simple at all. First Peggy would need to convince Dottie to go along with the plan by helping her to escape from the War Department holding cell where Vernon Masters is keeping her prisoner. There was plenty of excellent verbal sparring between Peggy and Dottie in this episode, of course Dottie got all the best lines but Peggy was able to gain a measure of revenge thanks to an electrified net.
Knowing better than to trust Dottie, Peggy fits her with a rigged choker to guarantee that she won’t escape, although this isn’t much comfort to Jarvis whose requests to be armed fall on deaf ears. Jarvis once again provided most of the humour for the episode, James D’arcy’s comic timing is impeccable but he also manages to keep Jarvis competent enough to never seem foolish. Once inside the fundraiser Jarvis does his best to keep Dottie on mission, even going so far as to scold her in the most British way possible. While Jarvis and Dottie monitor Frost at the party, Peggy is forced to sit this one out in the surveillance truck with Sousa, who is suffering his own pain after his fiancée called of their engagement due to his obvious feelings for Peggy.
The mission runs into yet more complications when Chief Thompson and Masters arrive as guests at the party. Dottie happily volunteers to kill them but is instantly shot down by Peggy and Sousa (personally, I thought it seemed like a great idea), instead Jarvis runs interference on Thompson giving Dottie time to sneak off and grab the sample from Frost. However in her attempts to dodge Masters, Dottie ends up hiding in a closet in a conference room, the same conference room where Whitney Frost decides to demonstrate her new found powers to the Shadow Council. When the council tries to betray her she uses those very powers to kill several of its members, including her husband, leaving the remaining council members in little doubt as to who is now in charge.
Realising the value of the Zero Matter currently in her possession, Dottie decides to double cross Peggy but is stopped by Masters and Thompson, dropping the stolen sample in the process. During the confrontation she launches one of Master’s goons out of a window who lands rather inconveniently on top of the surveillance truck interrupting an almost-kiss between Peggy and Sousa. The impact also throws out the tracking device on Dottie’s choker, allowing her to vanish. Fortunately Jarvis is able to recover the Zero Matter sample and deliver it to Peggy. They regroup at Stark’s mansion, delivering the Zero Matter to Jason and pondering how best to track down an escaped Russian superspy.
Obviously Masters is none too pleased at having to take orders from Whitney Frost and he is even less pleased at Peggy’s continued meddling in the affairs of the Shadow Council. He orders Thompson to destroy her reputation, to discredit and disgrace her so that she is no longer a threat. Thompson goes to visit Peggy at Stark’s, again pulling her away from Sousa, a moment watched with some frustration by Jason. He attempts to threaten her but Peggy will not be intimidated and happily resigns from her position at the SSR, making it clear that she doesn’t plan to lose. Meanwhile, Dottie finds herself a prisoner once again, although this time she is at the mercy of Whitney Frost and no one is coming to break her out.
This episode wasn’t the strongest of the season but it did show a side to Agent Carter that we had not previously seen. We are used to Peggy fearlessly taking charge of any situation, but here she was forced to sit this one out and rely on others to get the job done. We also saw Whitney Frost ascend to the role of a fully-fledged supervillain complete with evil powers. This season has seen the show move away from spy adventure into full on comic book territory while managing to retain its unique identity, nothing ever feels too unbelievable as it is all happening under the umbrella of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. But it was undoubtedly Dottie who was the highlight of the episode and with her now taken hostage by Frost it seems likely that she will play a big part in the final act of this season.
POINTS OF INTEREST
- Peggy’s resignation from the SSR didn’t feel real, will we see her reinstated before the end of the season or is this the moment that she and Howard Stark form S.H.I.E.L.D?
- The love triangle may not be the strongest element of this season but it is still very engaging. I am definitely on Team Sousa, how about you?
- Jarvis’ muted and very animated argument with Peggy was quite possibly the funniest moment of the show, made all the more funny by Dottie’s deadpan reaction to it.
- Line of the night goes to Dottie and her veiled threat to return the favour to Peggy with a choker of her own.