Agent Carter’s fifth episode (“The Atomic Job”) is full of hilarity, heartbreak, and hijinks. Plus, at one point, Jarvis rants about spiders, and he’s never so charming as when he’s adventuring. To be fair, he was crawling in an air-conditioning duct at the time, and spiders are a world of NO.
Wilkes, discovering a siren-like connection to Dark Matter, relays where Jane Scott’s body is. His hope is that the Dark Matter in her body can make him permanently corporeal. Unfortunately, for him, Whitney Frost has other plans and, rest assured, they are evil. Peggy and Jarvis (wearing his “recreation tie”) break into the Cold Storage facility housing Ms. Scott’s corpse. But so do Calvin and Whitney. She absorbs the Dark Matter and gasps that she needs an atomic bomb. Because things weren’t complicated enough.
Whitney’s strength, aside from the Dark Matter, is in the way she easily sways people to do her bidding. She convinces Cal that they need the bomb to make more Dark Matter, and when he protests about the council, she offers this: “If we obtain more Zero Matter, Cal, than the council answers to us.” (She really means her, but whatever.) There’s a casual sharpness to her evil efficacy, and she’s convincing—even when she suggests they lean on some of her “connections” to acquire the bombs. More on that in a bit.
Meanwhile, Daniel fumbles the ball, sweetly, on so many levels. He sneaks into Violet’s house, prepares a fancy meal, falls asleep on her couch, and nearly gets hit by a baseball bat. He then goes on to lose the engagement ring in said couch and propose charmingly, but so awkwardly. She accepts, and someone has blown a hole in my ship. *starts singing Dido’s song* What was particularly lovely about that scene was that, if Peggy weren’t in the picture, I would’ve been shipping those two. Violet is fantastic, but Ms. Carter is unparalleled.
The next day at the SRR, everyone is celebrating Daniels’ engagement—with cake that Rose made—and it reminded me of the dullness of Peggy’s engagement party from the previous episode. It’s representative of everything a person is supposed to do in life, not necessary what he wants. When Peggy suggests breaking into the office of Hugh Jones, who owns Roxxon, the lab that has the nukes, Daniel worries that Jones will recognize her from last year because he can’t fathom how anyone might not remember her. It was sweet and angsty, which is just how I like my ships. *ahem*
A bit of slapstick comedy ensues, wherein Peggy adopts a wig, another flawless American accent, employs a memory inhibitor, and steals the key to Roxxon’s elevator from Ray Wise, who will forever be The Devil from Reaper to me. She uses her resourcefulness to get what she needed—the key—just as Whitney does, with her old friend (read: some kind of boyfriend), Joseph Manfredi. He’s ragingly stereotypical Italian mobster type (Sigh. Yawn.), whose mere presence makes Calvin look as if he’s swallowed an angry goat. Manfredi has a quite a temper, but Whitney practically purrs and charms him into good humor, and he promises her a handful of men to retrieve the bombs. If there was any reference to Manfredi previously, I missed it. I think I would’ve liked a bit more build-up there and less of a one-note mobster, but I adore Ken Marino, so.
My absolute favorite part of the episode was Rose (Lesley Boone). Peggy, championing her fellow female, lobbies Daniel to take Rose along to the lab. They can only afford to enlist people they trust, on account of the Evil League of Evil (the council) having their evil tentacles in everything—and the FBI fake audit is still ongoing. I reallllly liked the scene in which Peggy calmly points out that Rose has been trained just as all the other agents have and that she sweetly insults Daniel perfectly: “It’s funny, I’m seeing Daniel Sousa, but I’m hearing Jack Thompson.” Buuuuurn.
Rose is such an expected asset from there on out. She charms Dr. Samberly, the SSR’s tech genius, by mentioning her pie, and he babbles, clearly hopelessly smitten: “That pie was you? Your pie was in me? I like pie. Pie is good.” I relate to this on a spiritual level, dude. You, me, and Dean Winchester. Of course, Dr. Samberly insists on going with them, because he can’t explain how to use his equipment.
But Rose? Rose is awesome. Once they’re at Roxxon, she confronts one of the men Whitney borrowed and totally kicks his tail. She takes him by surprise, and when he brandishes a knife, she sneers, “I’ve seen bigger.” Extremely well done innuendo and an effective fight scene. I absolutely adore the fact that the show is taking on sexism in the workplace, because hey—it’s still relevant today!
Peggy dashes off to find Whitney, while Jarvis has to dismantle the bombs, after getting locked in the room with them. He’s as nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof, during a lightning storm. But Daniel walks him through it, likening it to cooking a soufflé. Sadly, Clara Oswin Oswald does not show up, but Jarvis does manage to remove the Uranium cores, and Dr. Samberly eventually reopens the door.
Unfortunately for Peggy, her confrontation with Whitney goes rather poorly, because Whitney has a distinct, evil advantage. Peggy gets away by falling onto a pile of cinder blocks and some questionably placed rebar. Daniel scoops her up, and they bring her to…Violet’s. Because nothing says “Danger, Danger Will Robinson” like bringing the woman you love to your fiancée’s house for life-saving.
If you guessed that Violet is another spectacular bit of awesome in this episode, you’re right. Not only does she spring into action and save Peggy’s life, but she catches on to Daniel’s idiot shenanigans. After Jarvis whisks Peggy home, she confronts him about his feelings for Ms. Carter, and man, the guilt on his face is artfully done. It’s clear that Daniel isn’t a jerk, but it’s also clear that he was, as Violet pointed out, running away from Peggy/his feelings when he came to California. I felt for both of them in that scene, but I was glad that Violet wasn’t in the dark anymore.
The episode ends with more questions. Firstly, is there really a car called a Woody? (Yes. There was. I checked.) And yes, I giggled like a 13-year-old when Jarvis declared that Stark did have a woody. Secondly, that emergency council meeting Calvin snuck out of bed to call about—did Whitney really not hear him? And are we supposed to believe he’s finally grown a spine? Because when Whitney threatened him, he looked sufficiently cowed. I loved Frost coming into her own, suggesting that he watch his tone. That was a gender role reversal, since she spent so much of her life watching what she said—and how she said it. (Please let her tell him to smile more at some point. Please.) This show is excellent about, directly and subtlety, interrogating gender roles and sexism. Each in their own way, Agent Carter has a wealth of strong women. And, next week, we get the return of another: Dottie Underwood.
I, for one, cannot wait.
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