Marvel's Agent Carter Review by Henry Tran

Marvel's Agent Carter 2.06/2.07: Life of the Party/Monsters

Marvel's Agent Carter 2.06/2.07: Life of the Party/Monsters

Written By:
Eric Pearson and Brandon Easton
Directed By:
Craig Zisk and Metin Huseyin


It's a testament to the deep bench of interesting supporting and bit players on this show that the title lead character can (logically) stay out of the action, and it doesn't suffer much dropoff in quality. Peggy Carter spends the bulk of these two episodes recovering from getting a hole put into her side, which means that the rest of the cast has to pick up the slack for her. The show smartly deploys an asset that hasn't been seen or heard from since the beginning of the season: Dottie Underwood. And she gets to be what she always strived to be from the beginning: A live substitute for Peggy Carter. 





The show uses Dottie's persistent need to be Peggy to great effect, tasking her with obtaining a blood sample from Whitney Frost during a campaign fundraising party for her Senator husband. The group recognizes that this would be a dangerous plan with the use of a dangerous Soviet terrorist, albeit one that has had every tie to the Soviet Union severed with the downfall of Leviathan last season. While this was a prudent course of action for our heroes, as well as putting forth some safeguards to ensure that Dottie will go along with the plan of infiltration, she still remains an unpredictable wild card that has been unleashed back into the world. In addition to the necklace that tracks her every movement along with having a neurotoxin that is supposed to kill her if the necklace is removed, Jarvis becomes her companion on the mission in order to keep her in line. Jarvis, ever being the comic relief as the butler, tries his hardest, but Dottie remains too slick for him to keep hold of her. 

She does get the blood sample from Frost as she was told, but that provided some rather unforeseen consequences. For one, Dottie accidentally witnesses the true power of Frost when she unleashes the zero matter onto half of the Council of Nine during their meeting. The meeting itself was a means to an end, an easy-to-see setup by Senator Chadwick in order to capture and possibly interrogate his own wife. Literally showing the fact that the women hold all of the power here, Frost strikes back by killing half of the Council, including her scheming husband, and seizing full control of the Council. 






That Dottie witnessed the swift coup and the extent of the effects of zero matter on Frost plays a big role in "Monsters," when she is interrogated/tortured by a now totally villainous (and power-mad) Frost. I know this is basically describing the plot of "Life of the Party", but there is a certain sense of joy that permeates through the two hours that is rather indescribable on writing. Jarvis in particular is a comic delight, yet it doesn't play as goofy. The complications that develop out of the mission and its results feel entirely natural. The women basically own this series right now. Agent Carter, Dottie, and Whitney Frost are able to hold the screen whenever they are on, and they control all of the power in the presence of their male counterparts. 


That much is true with the beginning of "Monsters," where Dottie holds her own against, even managing to subtly intimidate and neuter, Vernon Masters, as he interrogates her about what she was doing at the fundraiser. He doesn't get anywhere because Dottie is only interested in talking to those whom she considers to be intellectually on her level. She is supremely arrogant about how cool she acts under pressure (and the fact that she has tested various methods of torture on herself, right in line with her self-mutilation from last season), but when she comes up against Frost, it's a completely different animal. Frost terrifies Dottie on her very touch, unleashing the power of the zero matter on her, which effectively gets Dottie to tell her everything that is going on. 






The targets then become much more personal rather than the goal of changing the world through evil means. Frost aims to understand what exactly is the effect of the zero matter is, and the key may lie in what Dr. Wilkes is experiencing. Once he is rendered back to a corporeal state, he has to stay inside a containment cage built in the lab of Howard Stark's mansion. That is where Frost finds him after finding out from Dottie that he had somehow survived the initial zero matter explosion. It looked initially like Wilkes could be the only person who would be able to "stop" Frost as it were by drawing out the zero matter in her body. That little incident piques the curiosity of scientifically-minded Frost, who kidnaps the doctor for further study. To slow down our heroes, she proceeds to coldly shoot Ana Jarvis in the gut, leaving her survival very much in doubt by the end.


Peggy gets herself into the action much more than in "Life of the Party" and the show manages to also work out her burgeoning love triangle in an unexpectedly mature way. Jarvis gives her some sound advice and much needed comfort, which she then reciprocates when his wife is brought to the hospital for surgery. Ana's death would be a big bummer since she has demonstrated remarkable warmth and charm on her return to the screen. There is no hint of animosity or jealousy towards Peggy for her working relationship with Ana's husband. She does recognize the inherent danger in their work, and she got a taste of such during the home invasion. Here's hoping she will survive. The show is nicely building up a lot of momentum approaching its end, even as the ratings have not coincided with the increase in the quality of the storyline.



Our Grade:
B+
The Good:
  • The show proves that it is strong enough to have episodes with Peggy on the sidelines
  • The second half delivers some shocking developments
The Bad:
  • The series is unlikely to see a third season

Henry Tran is a regular contributor of review for Critical Myth; The Critical Myth Show is heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @HenYay

Marvel's Agent Carter by - 2/19/2016 8:20 AM112 views

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