As Peggy (Hayley Atwell) searches for the stolen Zero Matter, she uncovers what may be a huge conspiracy involving a politician, Calvin Chadwick (Currie Graham), who is running for Senator, and his Hollywood star wife Whitney Frost (Wynn Everett). She is joined as always by Mr. Jarvis (James D'Arcy) and Chief Sousa (Enver Gjokaj), but Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) also drops by in a welcome return, and Chief Thompson (Chad Michael Murray) flies in from New York to antagonize their investigation.
|Peggy Carter approves of this plot.
I expected we'd see more of Dr. Wilkes (Reggie Austin) eventually, but I never expected it'd be so fast. He isn't dead, but isn't really very technically alive either -- he's like a scientific ghost (using the word "scientific" within the parameters of the show's version of science, of course). And I'm sure that they figure out how to bring him back to the physical reality so that the sparks between him and Peggy can be resolved one way or another.
Jarvis happily continues the be Peggy's most constant companion and loyal friend. Howard slipped in like he's always belonged (very characteristic of him) and made all his usual airy quips, sly remarks and fun nods, and I rather wish he'd stay for every episode, but that seems unlikely. He really round out the "team" effect though. Everyone else on the team who had their introductions two episodes ago seem to have eased comfortably into their respective places and found their groove. It's a good one -- this episode may not be the high quality of the average first season episode, but it feels comfortable and natural again.
|"You're brilliant!" No, you're brilliant!"
The least natural thing was Thompson -- who may not be a bad guy, but is undoubtedly an antagonist -- coming to pry into our heroes affairs and make matters worse for them. He acts like he's Sousa's boss, and after forcing Peggy to go on the L.A. assignment, threatens to pull her out of it for... reasons I honestly don't remember, but it doesn't matter because the point of everything he does is what he does, not why. If the point were why he does thing, then the character would be much more acceptable and fitting in the narrative.
Peggy continues to be the Peggy we all love and appreciate. When she's adventuring -- sneaking and spying and generally being Peggy -- by herself was the more memorable parts of the show. An I felt the more slowed-down, richer pace I was hoping for in those scenes as well. She and Sousa have a more comfortable dynamic going right now as their drama in put on the back-burner. I approve of this. Don't milk it too hard -- seeing them work well together without tense, romantic undertones is quite enjoyable.
|No surprise that the aging Hollywood film darling is the villain, right? ... Right?
Whitney Frost is shaping up to be a big super villain of the season as her efforts to steal the Zero Matter resulted in it implanting itself in her forehead and now she can accidentally kill people by touching them. Crazy. The character is interesting and sufficiently creepy, but I worry for the potential cheesiness of her future. I watch Agents of SHIELD for superhero powers; I watch Agent Carter for throwback stylish mystery solving, so I hope they keep it all firmly grounded in that realm. This episode both begins to look up, and casually threatens to wander even further down.