In this week’s Agent Carter double-header (“The Edge of Mystery” and “A Little Song and Dance”), allegiances are tested, faked, and then tested again. With Ana in a coma, Jarvis is a broken man. When he is bargaining out of grief at her bedside, his emotions are palpable and beautifully done. When she finally wakes up to his desperate and somewhat ridiculous promising, she reminds him, “Don’t make promises you can’t keep.” This recurring motif is well done.
Daniel and Peggy have an unexpected sit-down with Joseph Manfredi. The exchange is hilarious, largely due to his grandmother loving Peggy while thinking Daniel is the devil—and giving him the malocchio (evil eye). Dear reader, I laughed at that as much as I cringed when Joseph said gravy instead of marinara sauce. Gravy is for turkey and nothing else. *fumes* (Did I mention I’m Italian? And this is a regional point of contention?)
Joseph agrees to tell Whitney that Peggy will give her the uranium in exchange for Wilkes. The plan is to give her fake uranium, but we all know plans go awry. At the meeting, Whitney remarks, “Such a pity two accomplished women should be standing on opposite sides.” True, but it kiiiiinda matters when one of them is evil. Jarvis offers to be the getaway driver, as Dr. Samberly is working on a Gamma Cannon, whose specs were set by Howard Stark. And they nearly make a clean exit, except Wilkes has switched sides and threatens to shoot Peggy, leaving Daniel (who clearly loves her) to cough up the location of the uranium rods. Wilkes ghosts through the side of the moving van. I…I have questions. Namely, since when did he learn to control his powers?
Wilkes isn’t the only one to threaten Peggy. Thompson shows up, waving around a manufactured file that he recovered at Vernon’s behest. He tries to pressure her into heading back to New York, but it’s kind of halfhearted. This is all an excellent setup for Thompson to confront Vernon about the validity of the file, overhear Vernon on the phone with Frost, and very nearly save the day. Turns out the uranium rods were stashed in the SSR’s lab (how did they get there, exactly?). Jack confronts Vernon, finally seeing the light of day, but Vernon miraculously knows how to use the memory-erasing amnesia device from a previous episode. Jack gets Eternal Sunshine’d.
A serious stretch of a plot point (that happens a lot in this episode, but somehow that doesn’t dull the fun) yields Whitney’s location—the desert, to recreate the Zero Matter experiment. Jarvis is determined to go—because wants revenge for Ana’s injuries, which mean she cannot have children—but leaves Rose to take painstaking care of his wife. It’s touching.
But the experiment in the desert does not as anyone planned. Whitney, frothing at the mouth for more power, throws a Veruca Salt-like fit that Wilkes gets sucked into the Zero Matter. She’s been hearing a voice and following it, which explains a lot. Daniel, Jack, and Samberly shoot off the Gamma Cannon (sadly, there is no Hulk), leading to all the chaos. Jarvis shoots Whitney who, oops, can’t die (the black matter heals her). So, she grabs Wilkes—throwing Jarvis and Peggy into the back of a truck to use as leverage over him. I mean, that seems like a poor plan, considering he had tricked them not that long ago, but hey.
The second episode opener is the most charming and delightful musical number. Is everyone really singing? Because I hope so. It’s focused on Peggy’s love life, but even Angie Martinelli makes an appearance! And I snorted when Dottie appeared amidst the sexual tension between Peggy, Daniel, and Wilkes. Because, to paraphrase, she’s always in Peggy’s head. Is it too late to ship those two?
Upon waking, Peggy’s still quite furious at Jarvis, but she manages to burn through the chains holding the back door of the truck closed. (That hot wire was a bit…random?) As they’re walking through the desert, Peggy admonishes him for his reckless, selfish actions, working her self-righteousness into such a lather. For a bit, Jarvis matches her blow for blow, until it comes to a head. Peggy: “Unlike you, Mr. Jarvis, I’m not a murderer.” Jarvis: “And yet, everyone around you dies.” Ouuuuuch. Below the belt entirely. And she utterly deflates once Jarvis apologizes and reveals the extent and implications of Ana’s injuries. They make up, which is good, because no one likes it when they’re on the outs with each other. Through some clever antics, they hijack a truck and make their way out of the desert.
Meanwhile, Daniel, Samberly, and Jack do the same, end up at the SSR, team up with Vernon to repair the Gamma Cannon and defeat Whitney. The cross, double cross, re-crossing, and reversing during this episode was effective, if a bit dizzying. My favorite part, though, is when Peggy marches through the SSR and starts beating the tar out of Vernon, because she’s worried about her people. *cough* Daniel *cough*
In a rather stereotypical portrayal, Joseph sets Whitney up at a waste management plant. Her new lab looks like something that Victor Frankenstein would’ve thrown together in a rush, its parts never really amounting to another more than a table, a giant syringe, and poor Wilkes functioning as her human lab rat. She wants power, and she’s willing to pull it out of him by any means necessary. Meanwhile, he’s about to explode. Literally. It’s unseemly.
Peggy slipped inside the plant, trying to save Wilkes—who does a curious thing: admits his actions were his own, not the influence of Zero Matter. He then locks Peggy out of the building, just as Jack leaves the Gamma Cannon (now a bomb with a remote detonator) with Whitney and Vernon. Wilkes has the last word, so to speak, because he bursts in before a) Whitney can kill Vernon, and b) before the bomb goes off—and promptly makes a mess of himself.
This episode was a bit plot heavy and full of people switching, or seeming, to switch sides. What I enjoyed most was Jarvis by Ana’s bedside, as she gently confronts him for leaving Peggy alone and for keeping things from her: “Who does Peggy have? Only you. I will not debate this will you, Edwin. You must try and render any assistance you can. … Now, what else are you not telling me?” I love that Ana sees Jarvis so sharply. I did bristle at the fact that he doctors told her husband about her issues before her and that, if hospital staff were to inform her, a nurse would do it and not a doctor. I know it’s a facet of the time, but grr and ARGH.
I’m curious to see whether or not Jack’s on Team Carter for good now. I’m hoping that Peggy and Daniel kiss soon, because they were making googly eyes at each other in the beginning of the first episode. I love that the show isn’t centered around romance as a vehicle for character growth, but I wouldn’t mind if this were a kissing book.
Wait, that’s not right. Ah, well. As you wish. Until next week, darlings.