Remember earlier, dear readers, when I said we had entered the “shark jumping” part of Agent Carter?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am a big sucker for a song and dance number. (It’s what got me through three seasons of “Glee”) But what irked me to no end, was the subject of the song. You remember how in Winter Soldier, Cap had a lot of comedic dialogue about whether he’d ask out Juanita from Accounting or Becky from Janitorial Services? But, when it really came down to it, the big decision of his arc was how far he was willing to go to save Bucky?
Yeah, eff that. When Agent Carter is having a big song and dance number about her giant ultimatum, it’s about her choice between two men. One who got engaged to another woman and the other who pulled a gun on her. (Both of which are equally responsibly for a psychopath getting uranium, but you know, whatevs.) It’s also a big disconcerting how torn she is between the two. Sure, they’re both “good men”. But, newsflash, you don’t have to be romantically involved with someone based on their level of “goodness”. Honestly what was so charming about Peggy and Wilkes was that she clearly wanted to bone him more than she ever demonstratively oogled Captain America. I’m sincerely hoping that this goes to the most obvious place: Carter chooses neither of them and we get a season 3 where she finally gets that lesbian kiss.
Probably the biggest surprise of this episode is that it suddenly became “The Jack Thompson Show”. While he’s been thankfully sparse over the season, Thompson suddenly becomes the plot’s biggest motivator in this one episode. Jack deals, double-crosses, triple-crosses and just in general does a pretty darn effective job of separating all the “generally good people” from the “generally bad people” into two camps. His ultimate plan (*spoilers* though this review is coming out so late I doubt anyone will mind 😉 is blasting the baddies to kingdom come and letting the Marvel Cinematic Universe sort it out.
Which brings us to the “Written Into A Corner” point of Peggy’s character this season. See, if you’re honest, Peggy has an interesting list of infractions she’s been all too willing to commit: breaking a dangerous felon out of prison, grave-robbing, psychological torture, blackmail, the list goes on. However, Peggy draws a line in the sand this episode (and two episodes before this, actually). Peggy will do many things this season, but she will not allow Jack to murder Whitney (who has enough uranium to open a hell portal) and her crew. This means that Peggy Carter – again, Peggy “Runs With Captain America” Carter – is basically living by Batman rules. Last season, we saw a big struggle in Peggy to lie to her coworkers, and it took her sincere, overwhelming loyalty and belief in Howard Stark to make her deceive them on his behalf. This season, anything goes as long as it’s not murder. I can understand wanting to make Peggy more “fun” and “cavalier” this season. But, when you’re dealing with stakes this high, you can’t take the night off and bust Joker out of prison just because he can get you in for free at the circus.
Anyway, Peggy keeps up her mantra of “he’s a good man” and continues putting all of Los Angeles at risk so she can save Dr. Wilkes from his own decision to go back to Whitney. Here’s another perfect demonstration of how the writers just stopped having the characters have real human emotions so they can be more easily puppeted through the plot. See, to Peggy’s benefit, she comes back for Dr. Wilkes because she sincerely believes that he has been “taken over” by zero matter and is no longer in his right mind. But, when she comes to save him, Dr. Wilkes looks her square in the eyes and tells her he was in control (you remember, when he threatened to kill her and gave uranium to a mad woman). Peggy’s response? A vacuous stare.
Along the same lines is the bizarre resolution to the Jarvis story. How “Agent Carter” managed to take one of the most likable characters on the show and reduce him to such a twat is a master class in writing. But, if the show is able to do one thing, it’s reduce a human being to emotionally distant enough to enable someone else. Case in point, Ana Jarvis. See, just when Jarvis gets his head on straight and Peggy convinces him that, yeah, he really should be with his wife and probably mention to her she won’t have to worry about losing the baby weight, like, ever, the show employs a clever device to get Jarvis right back in the action for the final episode.
While a “normal” nagging wife might have wanted their husband close by after their brush with death, Ana conveniently insist that now that Jarvis immediately go back in the field and help Peggy. After all, she has a lot of nameless “doctors and nurses” to keep her heart pumping, so what does she need the love and support of her husband for? She’s no buzzkill. (And we weren’t labored with flashbacks of Ana being concerned over Jarvis’s involvement with the SSR, so really, it’s not established she should be nervous!) Jarvis – dutifully this time – feigns reluctance before agreeing and high-tailing it out of there faster than you can say, “We’ll save a fortune on condoms, Darling!”
BOOB WINDOW ANALYSIS:
While we did get to see the return of the red dress that started the season (and it’s glory keyhole of cleavage). I’d like to draw attention, instead, to the ten pounds of magic hair Peggy grew exclusively for the purpose of dancing:
The important thing to remember for the upcoming season finale is that there is still a gamma bomb in play. I know it’s probably not healthy to hinge all your hopes on one little bomb, but Howard Stark designed it. And maybe that means he’ll come back to use it. And maybe that means Dottie will return and be hit on by Howard Stark who doesn’t recognize her as a brunette. And maybe Benedict Cumberbatch will appear to tie all this into “Doctor Strange”! The sky’s the limit at this point.
Britain Valenti always knew she’d be able to bring the Queen’s merkin into a review if she just waited out long enough. Thanks for following the journey to get here. We can do great things by mentioning the Queen’s merkin…and by making webseries.
- Incidental Music8.0