A LITTLE SONG AND DANCE – 8/10.
As the penultimate episode of the season, this episode’s major purpose was to move all of the pieces in to place for the finale. But at no point did it ever fill like a filler episode, in fact it may well be one of the best episodes of the season. Rather than throwing us straight back in to the action, we are treated to a wonderful dream sequence where Peggy is the star of her own musical. Not only does this perfectly fit the Hollywood setting of the show, it affords us a look into Peggy’s state of mind in a way that is totally fresh and utterly engaging. After a touching reunion with her dead brother, Peggy finds herself in a song and dance number featuring Jason, Sousa, Dottie and even her old friend Angie. But the fun soon ends when Peggy wakes up in the back of a truck with Jarvis.
Peggy is understandably angry at Jarvis, his reckless attempt to assassinate Whitney Frost having caused their current predicament. More than this she is disappointed in him, Peggy has a strict moral code and she is totally opposed to the idea of killing in cold blood as demonstrated by her refusal to let Dottie die. They escape the truck and head out into the dessert, bickering endlessly. Meanwhile Jason wakes up in the back of Frost and Manfredi’s car, he has absorbed an immense amount of Zero Matter and it is now tearing him apart. Frost seems totally unfazed by this and intends on using Peggy to blackmail Jason into handing over the Zero Matter, however she is forced to rethink her plan when she discovers that Peggy has escaped.
Peggy and Jarvis wander through the dessert venting their frustration at each other. The warm relationship between these two has always served as the core of the show and it is heartbreaking to watch it implode. Both Peggy and Jarvis say things that they immediately regret but the arguing soon stops when Jarvis reveals that Ana has been left infertile by Frost’s attack. They apologise to each other, but their reconciliation is interrupted by the arrival of some of Manfredi’s goons. Peggy and Jarvis easily manage to outsmart and overpower them, making off with their vehicle. Jarvis asks what the next part of the plan is but Peggy tells him that his place is with his wife. This time Jarvis reluctantly agrees and upon his return he finally reveals the Doctor’s prognosis to Ana.
While Peggy and Jarvis head back to the city, Sousa, Thompson and Dr Samberly find themselves still trapped in the dessert with Stark’s gamma ray canon. Things go from bad to worse when some of Vernon Master’s men show up to kill them. After some quick thinking by Thompson, Sousa, Samberly and the cannon all end up safely locked up at the SSR. Masters is irritated to find Sousa and Thompson still breathing, but Thompson convinces him that they should all work together to use the cannon on Frost. Of course Peggy doesn’t know about this plan and beats the holy hell out of Masters when she arrives at the SSR, suffice to say it’s very satisfying to watch. Despite not trusting Masters she agrees to go along with the plan to stop Frost.
At that moment Jason Wilkes is definitely eager for someone to stop Frost as she holds him prisoner in one of Manfredi’s waste facilities, using some pretty horrific equipment to try and extract the Zero Matter from him. Frost’s brutal ‘experiments’ are interrupted when Thompson arrives to talk to her, he tells her that Masters is planning to betray her, claiming that he wants to be rewarded with a place on the council. Apparently this is all part of Thompson’s plan, a plan that also includes cutting the fuel line on Sousa’s car so he and Peggy can’t follow when Thompson and Masters deliver the cannon to Frost. Even worse, Peggy discovers that he has convinced Dr Samberly to turn the cannon into a bomb, damning everyone within the vicinity of it to death, including Jason.
They deliver the cannon to Frost with Thompson quickly turning on his former mentor and abandoning him to his fate. He tries to detonate the bomb but Sousa gets Samberly to block the signal. Meanwhile Peggy breaks in to the facility to rescue Jason, but with the Dark Matter consuming him he asks her to leave him behind. She rejoins Sousa and Thompson and they argue about whether or not the gamma bomb should be detonated, an argument that ends with guns being drawn. Inside the building, Frost begins to absorb Masters but she stops when she notices the gamma bomb being armed. As Whitney tries to escape she is cornered by Jason whose body is violently torn apart by the Zero Matter, engulfing everything in its dark mass.
This really was a great episode, I loved the opening musical number and it brought back fond memories of Buffy’s ‘Once More with Feeling’. But while that may have been a lot of fun the rest of the episode successfully built up the tension for the finale. While Jason served as a far more effective ticking bomb than the actual ticking bomb, Masters and Thompson helped to add an air of unease to the proceedings with their nefarious intentions. But the heart of this episode was in the exchanges between Peggy and Jarvis, despite them appearing to make amends she still sent him away and perhaps that was the right thing to do. Thompson claimed that detonating the bomb was the hard decision, but it is Peggy who makes the hard decision, by always choosing to do what is right even if it comes at a great personal cost.
POINTS OF INTEREST
- With Peggy’s strong opposition to the brutality of murder, even when it comes to her enemies, it makes me even more curious to know what was in that file Thompson recovered.
- Could Masters have survived the Zero Matter explosion, if so would he be gifted with ‘abilities’ like Frost and Jason? That definitely wouldn’t bode well for Thompson or Peggy.
- While it is a given that Jarvis will be winging his way to Peggy, could Dottie’s desire for revenge against Frost be enough to bring her back in to play for the finale? I certainly hope so.
- While it seems unlikely that Peggy would have allowed Thompson to detonate the bomb that means that Frost is now in possession of an armed gamma bomb, which is slightly concerning.