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REVIEW: Agent Carter 2X03 “Better Angels”

Another day, another instance in which Peggy Carter gets to upstage anyone and everyone that dares cross her path. This week’s, “Better Angels,” had our favorite heroine using all of her assets and skill sets to glean as much information as possible, in as short a time as possible, to help figure out what the hell happened at Isodyne. Though not at all action heavy, save for a single scene in the final ten minutes, “Better Angels,” provided a fair amount of information that seems to be setting up the series for some intense showdowns down the line.

Spoilers ahead!

Dr. Wilkes is still around and in other news, water is wet.

Did anyone honestly think Frost would make it out of that Zero Matter explosion but Wilkes wouldn’t? C’mon, he smooched Peggy in the second episode! Of course he made it out… kind of.

But we’ll get to that in a bit.

This week’s Agent Carter focused heavily on the aftermath of the explosion at Isodyne, namely where Peggy’s guilt over the incident is concerned. Fueled by guilt over Wilkes’ presumed death, Peggy takes the one clue they found, the mysterious pin, and follows it all the way to the dodgy Arena Club. Unsurprisingly, said club is the very home of the mysterious group pulling the strings at Isodyne and Peggy decides that it’s the place to start this new stage of the investigation.

Calling upon trusty sidekick Jarvis, and the always fun Howard Stark, to help sneak her into the men’s club, Peggy discovers the secret conference room of the Council… along with a newspaper dated the following day and detailing the fact that Chadwick’s senatorial opponent pulled out of the race. It’s all very suspicious but, unfortunately, Peggy doesn’t get to investigate too much because a Council thug comes in and she’s forced to make a hasty retreat.

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Despite the clear sketchiness of the Arena Club and Calvin Chadwick, Thompson (who’s paying the West Coast a visit) tells Peg that he needs physical evidence in order to pursue either. The two have one of their standard tiffs, which ends with Thompson ordering Peggy to return to New York and Peggy ignoring him completely. Ahhh, classic Peggy.

What isn’t so classic is the floating objects that now surround her wherever she goes, assumingly due to her proximity to the Zero Matter, so Peggy hightails it back to the Stark compound to see if the resident genius can help figure out what’s happening to her. Stark, after much technobabble, informs her that nothing’s happening to her… stuff is happening around her… and thanks to a liquid spray he concocted, they’ll be able to see whatever mysterious thing or being has been following Peggy around.

Three guesses as to what/who it was.

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Wilkes! Got it in one.

Turns out this magic Stark spray allows everyone to hear and see the doomed Doctor, though he still isn’t corporeal, and he’s able to point the gang in the direction of Whitney Frost, whom he reveals was with him at Isodyne during the explosion. Peggy decides to pay Frost a visit and less than subtly informs the other woman that she’s on to her… prompting Mrs. Chadwick to use her alleged acting skills against her husband and convince him to send their go-to hit man after Peggy.

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Because of course they have a go-to hit man.

Unfortunately for the hit man and the Chadwicks, this is Peggy Carter we’re talking about. Mr. Hunt, hit man extraordinaire, gets in one good chokehold before Peggy takes him down (with some assistance from Jarvis) and shoots him in the hand as he escapes.

That probably would have been the most exciting thing to happen this episode were it not for the fact that the closing scene showed us Whitney Frost grabbing a nameless (Ken? Bill? Frank? Eh. Something generic) movie producer’s hand and…

TURNING HIM INTO BLACK ZERO MATTER GOO AND THEN SUCKING HIM UP INTO HER HAND AS THE OMINOUS BLACK CUT ON HER FORHEAD GROWS.

What in the holy hell?!

Much like episode two, “Better Angels,” was far more informative than action-driven. Unfortunately, it was mostly only informative to the people in the show. My main gripe with this episode in particular is that it felt as though it was being used as a means of cluing in the characters to a bunch of things that the audience already knew.

We already knew that Frost was with Wilkes during the explosion, we already knew she plays a far larger role in Isodyne, and we already knew about the Council and their involvement with the Chadwick. Just like we know Thompson’s old FBI friend is dodgy as hell and is clearly involved with the Club.

We pretty much knew everything that Peggy and the SSR were attempting to investigate this episode, which made it, dare I say it, a bit boring to watch.

Having said that, it seems that the viewers and characters are pretty much on the same page now in terms of who knows what (save for side effects of Frost’s interaction with the Zero Matter which nobody else is privy to) so it’s likely that, going forward, the information that gets revealed won’t seem as old hat to the audience.

Agent Carter is a charming show and, while the wit and rapport of the characters are some of the best aspects of the series, there needs to be a better balance of action and set-up. Alternatively, if an episode is going to be almost exclusively informational, the information being revealed shouldn’t be that which the audience is already aware of.

Based on the promo for next week, it seems as though the physicality will ratchet up once again, something I’m excited about since it’s always fun to see Peggy in one of her many other elements.

Episode Grade: B-

Episode Highs:

  • Jarvis’, “I have no desire to spend the rest of time as a disembodied voice,” was likely the best line that he will ever say. Which is saying a lot considering this same episode also had him say, “Allow me to show you how to make a martini in a timely fashion.”
  • I personally don’t think there’s anything better than watching two highly intelligent women (Peggy and Whitney) have two different conversations simultaneously. Those two were sparring and throwing around threats while exchanging pleasantries through feigned smiles.

Episode Lows:

  • Very little new information was revealed to anyone other than the actual characters. The audience already knew most of it, so the hour mainly consisted of having to watch other people figure it out.
  • It would be kinda nice to have one episode where Peggy isn’t burdened by an all-consuming guilt. I guess that was 2X01?
  • Exqueeze me… where the hell was Bernard? And on that note, where were Ana and Dottie?

Additional Thoughts:

  • How long do you think it’ll take before the SSR and our main gal Peggy figure out that Frost has some pretty gnarly new abilities?
  • Couldn’t Wilkes just… sneak in everywhere and get all the information that Peggy and the SSR needs? He’s invisible. I would sure as hell use that to my advantage.

What did you think of the latest episode of Agent Carter? Are you excited that next week is promising a bit more action? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments below!

About the author

Silje Falck-Pedersen