Blargh. It is not often that I ask for the sweet embrace of death, but when I do, I tend to be watching Agent Carter. Don’t get me wrong, the reason the show’s failings hit me so hard is because – when it chooses to be good – it’s great. It’s funny, unique, touching and even inspiring in its 1940’s optimism. But, when it’s a sad, slap-dash shell of characters being puppeted across an inane plot, it’s just disappointing.
“The Edge of Mystery” opens with Wilkes still in the clutches of Whitney Frost, and Whitney Frost still fixated on getting her uranium rods so she can re-create the original dark matter experiment. Peggy wastes some screen time blackmailing Whitney’s mobster boyfriend to make contact with Whitney and make a deal exchanging Wilkes for the rods.
The deal is a fake, of course, with Peggy cleverly handing over fake uranium and Whitney handing over the real Wilkes. All Peggy’s careful planning goes awry, however, when the fake uranium accidentally falls out the box, revealing that it’s…not real. Peggy, Wilkes, Sousa manage to escape (with Jarvis driving), but then Wilkes does the unthinkable-
The stress of the last several days has been too much for the good doctor, and Whitney’s determination to study Dark Matter is the only thing that makes sense to him anymore. He pulls a gun on Peggy, swearing he’ll shoot her if she doesn’t tell him where the real rods are. (I know I’m passing up a hundred penis jokes, but dang it this is important!) When Peggy calls his bluff, Wilkes immediately turns to Sousa and demands:
“DAMN IT, DANIEL! Prove that you love Peggy even more than you value the safety of the whole world by telling me where the rods are or I”ll shoot her! Yes, I know this will make for a super difficult conversation about your feelings later!”
–or something, I don’t know, I was distracted by wondering again how Sousa got to be the head of the West Coast SSR division over Peggy. Sousa spills the beans of course, and Wilkes goes back to Whitney to tell her the ingenious location of the hidden rods that they would never have found without that whole melodramatic exchange.
Yeah, the rods are at SSR headquarters. In the lab.
However, all this is just the icing on a very big, overblown, fondant-covered cake. Why you ask? What could be more emotionally bloated then the forced love triangle coming to a hostage situation?
So last week, Whitney Frost shot Jarvis’s beloved wife Ana in the gut – a convenient way to distract Peggy long enough so Whitney could escape. Ana has been in a coma with Jarvis dutifully not showering and making inane promises by her bedside ever since. But, the second his wife wakes up and is, you know, able to talk and kiss and interact/be interacted with on a daily basis, Jarvis gets the bad news that injury means Ana will never be able to compete in her beloved horseback riding championships…no wait, it’s that she can no longer teach gymnastics to underprivileged youths…oh, no wait, this is a Marvel franchise… so of course she can’t have babies.
Jarvis promptly uses this excuse to 1) hide the truth from his wife, 2) abandon her side to go on a suicide mission – yes, Jarvis is planning on dying and even prepares his last will and testament – to exact his revenge. Good ole’ female trauma being used to justify some guy’s by-any-means-necessary blood lust.
We’ve officially hit the shark-jumping part of the season, folks. There was a freaking GAMMA CANNON built in one day in this episode, and it barely registers in terms of “over dramatic comic caveats”. And here’s the thing, the ACTUAL stuff the qualifies as action – Whitney re-opening the Dark matter portal and Peggy and her rag-tag team working in the realm of theoretical physics to re-close it – is great.
All this other…crap, is just bloated dramatics. And believe it or not, this show doesn’t do bloated dramatics well. Peggy and everyone at the SSR are painted as far too capable and smart to fall for these nonsense “Tell me or I’ll shoot the one you love!” ultimatums. Peggy could have disarmed or subdued any other male character pointing a gun that close to her face, but because it’s Wilkes, conveniently, she doesn’t even try to knock the gun out his hands. And it’s these convenient weaknesses or inactions that hold the character back and hold the show back from being all it can be.
- Britain Valenti needs to calm her tits down before getting into “A Little Song and Dance”, until she recovers, though. You can see watch her own attempt at the science fiction here. Warning, there are curse words up the wazoo.
- Incidental Music8.0