AGENT CARTER: S02E08

THE EDGE OF MYSTERY – 7/10.

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There was a double bill of Agent Carter this week so keep an eye out for the second part of this review a little later today. This means we get twice as much Peggy Carter and therefore twice as much Hayley Atwell, and that is definitely a good thing. Things were looking fairly bleak for Peggy and her friends last week; Vernon Masters had seized control of the SSR, Dottie had escaped, and Whitney Frost had taken Jason hostage, shooting Ana Jarvis in the process. This is where we pick things up, with Jarvis and Peggy keeping vigil by Ana’s bed and Jason chained up in Joe Manfredi’s basement. It would seem that Jason is able to maintain physical form with Frost’s help and she uses this to try to convince him to partner up in her experiments.

It turns out that the Darkforce has been ‘talking’ to both Frost and Jason, urging them to open another rift to release more Zero Matter. To do this they need the uranium that Peggy retrieved from the Isodine lab. Peggy and Sousa visit Manfredi to ask him to pass on a message to Frost, which he agrees to do after they make short work of his goons. The message is simple, Frost can have the uranium but only in exchange for Jason. Of course giving a power mad genius uranium is never a great plan and the ever resourceful Peggy gets SSR scientist, Dr Samberly, to create a ringer for the exchange. However things don’t exactly go to plan when Jason betrays them, holding Peggy at gun point and forcing Sousa to reveal the location of the real uranium.

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Having remained by his wife’s side, Jarvis is overjoyed when Ana finally wakes up. The scenes in the hospital allow James D’Arcy to stretch his dramatic muscles and show a side of Jarvis we haven’t seen before, I felt quite moved watching him pleading for his wife to wake up. Ana’s Doctor informs him that due to her injuries his wife will no longer be able to have children. Jarvis decides to keep this news from Ana, although she is astute enough to realise that something is causing him pain. This pain soon leads to rage and a desire for revenge. With time running out Peggy reluctantly agrees to let Jarvis join her on the mission to stop Frost from creating another rift. The team also has another very unlikely member in the form of Chief Thompson.

While Jason succumbed to the dark side in this episode, Chief Thompson actually had a redemption of sorts. Having uncovered some highly questionable documents accusing Peggy of war crimes he proceeds to deliver them to Masters. After overhearing a conversation between Vernon and Frost he finally realises just how big of a douche nozzle his boss actually is, although he is unable to stop Masters from retrieving the uranium from the SSR safe. With her team fully assembled Peggy races to Frost’s test site armed with a Stark designed gamma ray cannon that can apparently neutralise Zero Matter. Before leaving, Jarvis asks Rose to look after Ana. He gives her a package containing his last will and testament, proving just how far he is willing to go to avenge her.

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Peggy arrives in time to see Frost and Jason open the rift, they are drawn towards it however only Jason is able to hear the Darkforce’s voice. Frost watches on in a jealous rage as he is lifted off of the ground and absorbed by the rift, leaving her behind. Peggy is forced to act quickly and orders Sousa to close the rift using the gamma ray cannon. The machine works and  Jason is ejected from the rift before it disappears completely. With Stark’s device spent Jarvis decides to take matter into his own hands, racing towards Frost with Peggy in hot pursuit. He shoots Whitney in the chest but the Zero Matter appears to have given her a healing factor. With Peggy and Jarvis as her prisoners Frost plans to blackmail Jason into giving her all of the Zero Matter he obtained the rift, making her almost unstoppable.

This was a very packed episode which actually worked against it in some ways, moments like Jason’s betrayal and Thompson’s change of heart felt somewhat rushed. Particularly in the case of Thompson, who actually experienced a similar redemptive arc last season. If Thompson’s seeds of doubt had been better established in previous episodes it would have made the turn a bit more effective. Where the episode did deliver was in the dramatic fallout of the attack on Ana. While she seemed to be in surprisingly good shape for someone who had just been shot in the gut the effects were far more visible on Jarvis. James D’Arcy truly excelled in his scenes, managing to show Jarvis’ desperation, guilt and rage while maintaining the civilised demeanour of the character.

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I was glad to see the end of the love triangle as it felt somewhat contrived. Although Jason is undoubtedly charming, the romance felt very rushed and quite forced. That said Jason’s evil turn was mostly done out of desperation to save himself, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him redeemed before the end of the season, possibly by sacrificing himself to stop Whitney Frost. But that won’t be enough to sway Peggy away from Sousa, they share history although they still can’t directly address their feelings, resulting in a subtext laden argument in the SSR office. As invested as I am in the romantic sub plot it takes a backseat to the epic showdown that is brewing between Peggy and Whitney Frost. A showdown that draws ever closer as we approach the final episodes of the season.

Don’t forget to check back later for the second part of this review.

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • What was in Peggy’s redacted file? Something to do with a ‘massacre’? She seemed unfazed by Thompson’s accusations. I doubt we’ve heard the last of it.
  • How did Vernon Masters know how to use the memory wipe device and why was it just lying around the lab? Also how did he not think to check the SSR for the uranium first?
  • Jason’s reaction to Frost’s experiments was absolutely classic; accusing her of being little more than a mass murderer of rats.
  • Line of the night goes to Peggy for her rebuttal of Frost’s faux claims of feminism. “You’re such a staunch defender of the sisterhood. I could tell by the way you shot an unarmed woman.”

 

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