Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Marvel's Agent Carter 2.03: "Better Angels"

“A soviet spy in an old boy’s club, what have you gotten yourself into, Peg?”
- Howard Stark

The drama picks up to a new gear this week with the return of one Howard Stark. After Peggy and Sousa find some rather incriminating items at Wilkes’ house (Russian gun, passport and lots of money), Peggy decides to pay our inventor extraordinaire a visit to see what he can make of the Zero Matter recording. She’s also got the pin she nabbed off one of the gunmen the night before. Howard explains it signifies membership at the Arena Club (no women or men of color allowed). They’ve been trying to recruit Howard for years. Across town, our would-be Senator’s wife sees that the Zero Matter is starting to affect her in weird ways (especially her blood). She’s bleeding black and honestly, the first thing I thought of again was the Inhuman from SHIELD (yes, I know it isn’t the same thing).

Things back at the office aren’t any better for Peggy and Sousa because Jack has shown up and insists on shutting down their investigation. He even tries to force Peggy to sign a false statement regarding what happened at the lab (complete with calling Wilkes a Communist). He also gets a visit from his FBI buddy who wants Jack to find some “missing material” and turn it over in the name of national security. So of course, Peggy does what she always does and gets creative. She needs to plant listening devices into the club and so she enlists Howard and his “production assistants” to get in. Howard plays his part remarkably well and Peggy is able to slip in amongst the ladies and plant some bugs. She even finds a secret room and promptly gets locked in as one of the guys from the secret society walks in.

Peggy manages to sneak out and Jarvis comes through with an assist to get her out of trouble with one of the head guys at the club. Unfortunately, the newspaper she saw (which seemed to be fixing events) had to be left there and her bugs were disabled so she’s got nothing. This only serves to piss Jack off more (he’s really an unlikable guy even with all we know about his history). He tells Peggy she’s bound back to New York but we all know that won’t happen. For one thing, she’s started to attract objects which she thinks means she’s been exposed to Zero Matter. She and Sousa head back to Howard’s place where he does some science-y stuff and figures out there is a different gravity around her. Lucky for them, Howard is always the eager beaver when it comes to new contraptions and he develops a solution that should make various invisible wavelengths visible. Peggy hasn’t been exposed to the Zero Matter (and she won’t be freezing into a Popsicle either) because it’s really Wilkes that’s been following her around. He’s out of phase with this reality or something and the mixture Howard devises is only temporary. But it’s enough for him to spill the beans on Mrs. Chadwick. So while Jack is handing over the footage of Zero Matter, Peggy goes to confront the woman in person. Jarvis is off making an errand run for all kinds of things, including cheese. Peggy is quite blunt with our frosty actress who denies any knowledge of what happened at the lab. She certainly denies being there but Peggy isn’t going to let it go.

Back at home, Howard has managed to get Wilkes visible again and they are working to try and find a way to make him corporeal. Howard is on a bit of a bender from lack of sleep but that’s not surprising in the least. The man is a genius but a bit of an oddball. Peggy’s clearly a bit frustrated by her day (what with Jack trying to shut down her investigation and Mrs. Chadwick stonewalling her) and so she’s out on the patio hitting the heavy bag quite vigorously. It’s a good thing she’s in such good shape because Mrs. Chadwick plays on her husband’s emotions to get him to send the Council’s paid assassin after her. With a bit of teamwork, Peggy and Jarvis manage to best the attacker and he gets off with a bullet wound to the hand. So naturally, Howard installs some new security measures including a recording of Jarvis’s voice. Jarvis hopes it’s only temporary, lest he spend the rest of his life as a disembodied voice. Oh just you wait Jarvis old boy. Just you wait.

The next day, Peggy begs Wilkes to stay so he’ll be protected and he agrees (Howard is off to Peru to find another big brain that they need) but only because she wanted him to do so. I’m really hoping they manage to get him corporeal again because he’s a sweetheart and perfect for our Peg. Sousa also has done some digging on why Mrs. Chadwick might know all about Zero Matter and he shares the interesting news with Peggy at the office. There was a woman behind the whole research lab back in the war days and it’s none other than our actress and would-be Senator’s wife. It’s quite the clever disguise really…being in the spotlight so everyone’s paying attention to her but not really paying attention. Although people might start paying a little more mind now since she gets upset (understandably so) when her director tries to hit on her after telling her he convinced the studio not to replace her and she turns him into Zero Matter and absorbs him. Definitely not what she’d intended!

And as we close out the episode, Jack gets to meet Mr. Chadwick at the Arena Club thanks to his FBI buddy and sees the headline about the other candidate bowing out of the race. So I have a feeling he’ll slowly come around to Peggy and Sousa’s side. I guess he’s not a bad guy necessarily, just opportunistic and somewhat eager to please his superiors. He doesn’t want to be forgotten in the history books. Not the worst crime in the world but honestly I’d be okay if he didn’t stick around much longer this season. Peggy and Sousa are a much better team (even if they also have some chemistry that needs to be dealt with).

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