Agent Carter: Life of the Party/Monsters Recap

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By Katie Hughes, @MsKatieHughes

 

For the most part, things did not go well for our heroes this week.

 

2×6: Life of the Party

 

2x6-life-of-the-party

 

When we last left Agent Carter, Dr. Jason Wilkes had vanished in front of Peggy’s eyes. Picking up immediately in this week’s first episode, we see Wilkes is still in the room, but we’re treated to something of a zero matter view — gray, fuzzy, faint and echo-like. Wilkes is called to a massive zero matter crack, but he snaps out of it, and is visible back in Peggy’s bedroom. He’s panicked about the call of the zero matter and starts to think he can’t actually control being drawn to it. But the recently injured Peggy Carter takes charge and helps him realize that, if he can get more zero matter, he can perhaps have physical presence long enough to contain himself like a specimen and keep himself from slipping back into the zero matter void. They’ll have to confront Whitney to get zero matter from her.

 

Whitney is coming across rather frazzled after losing the uranium rods she needed to make more zero matter; she’s talking to herself. She lashes out at Chadwick, but he calms her by explaining he got her a meeting with the council to explain her zero matter needs. The meeting will take place during his Senate campaign fundraiser the next evening.

 

After getting fresh bandages from Jarvis while a concerned Ana Jarvis looked on, a refreshed Peggy (looking far more fabulous than someone should having been impaled the previous day) heads down to the lab to find Sousa (looking probably about as unhappy and disheveled as someone who had a fight with their fiancee should).  Peggy explains Wilkes’ requirement for zero matter, and how the best chance of approaching Whitney is at Chadwick’s fundraising dinner. With tickets acquired from Howard Stark’s political financing and a modified vacuum syringe from the SSR to grab zero matter from Whitney, the plan is set, except for the agents. Jarvis needs a plus one, and as the injured Peggy can’t go, Rose is dealing with a sick family member and other agents can’t be trusted, Peggy has what she herself cites as a terrible idea — using Dottie Underwood, former Black Widow graduate and current SSR criminal captive.

 

Peggy shows up in disguise as Dottie’s psychiatrist to a presumably unobservant staff, as Dottie indicated the expected Dr. Wexford was a man. (I believe the last thing we knew, Dottie was being held in New York; I should note that I’m unclear if Dottie was transferred to LA, or if Peggy and Sousa traveled to NY to retrieve her. I believe the former, but if it was mentioned in a previous episode, I missed it.)  Dottie quickly deduces that Peggy needs her help. Peggy offers Dottie a deportation deal in exchange; Dottie sees through that, but latches on the chance for her escape and takes the deal.  Peggy gives her magnetic tools to unlock the door and subdues the guard with some Sweet Dreams knockout lipstick, as seen back in Season 1. Dottie makes an immediate escape attempt, but Sousa and Peggy are waiting around the corner with a very spider-web looking electric net to take her down.

 

At Howard’s estate, the intangible Wilkes is having Ana help him build his containment unit. Ana is not keen for her husband to be on the front lines; we don’t know if she would feel better if Jarvis was equipped with some of his denied weapons, such as a gun, knife or sword cane. Dottie has also been styled for the event: dress, hair, and a diamond necklace with a tracking beacon and neurotoxin injection should she try to remove it. Peggy specs out the mission for Dottie, giving her a radio fascinator and the vacuum syringe. While there, for better or worse, Dottie spots Wilkes and discovers that he is intangible (and handsome).

 

Whitney is also getting ready for the dinner, but is having trouble hiding her zero matter facial crack with her hair anymore. Chadwick calms her and provides a facial-covering fascinator (one wonders why she even had that headpiece if not to wear with this outfit? To be fair, Whitney’s color palette is purple, so maybe she has other complimentary pieces).

 

When the dinner arrives, Peggy and Sousa are outside in a surveillance van, communicating through Dottie’s radio fascinator and Jarvis’s radio glasses. They spy Whitney and Chadwick, and then also spot New York SSR chief Jack Thompson, a guest of Vernon Masters. Thompson and Chadwick politically schmooze, though Whitney says Thompson ought to be in pictures. Masters introduces Thompson to the council elite, including wall street banker Thomas Glouchester and newspaper editor Mortimer Hayes and reintroduces him to Roxxon’s Hugh Jones. Masters informs Thompson that Peggy stole Roxxon’s uranium cores a few days prior; Thompson did not know, and Masters tells Thompson that he needs to get a handle on Peggy if he hopes to continue climbing the ladder.

 

After already losing and rediscovering Dottie once, Jarvis is sent to distract Thompson while Dottie goes to get the zero matter sample from Whitney. His presence tips off Thompson that Peggy is likely around somewhere, but he keeps Thompson occupied for long enough. Dottie easily gets the sample with sleight of hand between the syringe and the pin on her dress, but before Peggy and Sousa can find out if she was successful, Dottie has ditched her radio and is off for her own gain.

 

Dottie finds herself hiding in the armoire in the council’s meeting room, and is thus privy to the upcoming secret meeting. Whitney proposes that zero matter is best used as a manipulation of power, as opposed to her original intentions of using it as an energy source. She shows the shocked council her zero matter face crack and her ability to absorb creatures, in this case, another mouse. The council thanks Chadwick for bringing this to their attention, and they agree to their course of action: men come in to capture Whitney in a double-cross by Chadwick.  Whitney’s powers have grown, however, and she is now able to absorb anyone near her, not just touching her. She absorbs her two captors, half the council, including Glouchester, and in fact, her husband Chadwick. The council is now only four, including Jones and Hayes, and Whitney is in charge. Having just successfully achieved quite the coup, Whitney demands complete Roxxon access and a fabricated news story about the disappearance of Chadwick, Glouchester, and the other council members.

 

Now knowing what zero matter can do, Dottie may have her own plans for the sample she acquired. Masters encounters her in the hallway and sends his guards after her. While Jarvis searches for the missing Dottie, Peggy offers to go in as backup, but pops her stitches. Sousa insists she take it easy, and while Peggy may need another medical check-up, Violet may not be the best option anymore since she broke off her engagement with Sousa. When it comes out that it was because she thinks Sousa is in love with Peggy, the two have a near-kiss moment, interrupted by Dottie tossing one of the guards out the window onto the roof of the van. Thompson manages to take out Dottie, but not before she loses the zero matter sample. Jarvis recovers it before he is kicked out of the building at the end of the party. With the receiver crushed by the man falling on the van, Dottie can’t be tracked. The agents retreat with Dottie on the loose.

 

Hugh Jones gets Masters up to speed with Whitney’s council takeover and indicates he should deliver a “package” to Whitney. Masters then has another chat with Thompson, threatening him to handle Peggy: not kill her, but fully discredit her. Thompson is going to need some powerful leverage to discredit Peggy, or else he is not going to rise in the ranks.

 

With Peggy and Sousa intent on repairing Dottie’s tracking device, they brush off an excited but increasingly frustrated Wilkes, who is looking forward on starting work on his containment device, and also taking notice of Peggy and Sousa’s interactions. Peggy is called away by the arrival of Thompson. She fakes vacationing, but Thompson isn’t buying it. He tells Peggy she needs to drop the case and come back to New York, but Peggy holds her ground. Thompson warns her she’s going to lose, and she’s not going to see it coming.

 

In the last few seconds of the episode, we see that Whitney got the “package” Masters spoke of: a bound Dottie Underwood, delivered right to Whitney.

 

2×7: Monsters

 

2x7-monsters

 

A heavily veiled Whitney Frost is holding a press conference at her film studio to air her grief to the press. Calvin Chadwick and other council cronies reportedly died in a boat accident, but Peggy and Sousa, listening at the back of the crowd, aren’t buying the act. While they didn’t see or hear what Dottie (and the audience) saw, they’re sure enough she killed them. They still suspect that Dottie is alive and on the run, though, so they’ll have to find her.

 

Vernon Masters is laying out torture implements for a captured Dottie, but Dottie’s not batting an eye — she cites that she has, in fact, done some tortuous things to herself, and no tools or truth serum or threats from Masters will intimidate her into telling him what Peggy Carter is up to.

 

At Howard’s estate, Ana is just about finished building Wilkes’ containment unit while he struggles with staying corporeal. Jarvis finishes repairing the transponder connected to Dottie’s necklace, but it’s not picking up a signal. Peggy plots ways they could regain the signal, but Wilkes is openly frustrated. He tells her to just trip the neurotoxin release, and when she refuses and tells him he’s upset because he’s under strain from his condition, Wilkes says he is facing something worse than death (just how badly is the zero matter affecting Wilkes after all?)

 

Masters is called to speak to Whitney. He contests her leadership a bit, questioning her employment of Manfredi and his goons as council security and suggesting she use freshly manufactured uranium rods, but Whitney knows what she wants and will not be swayed. She also goes to speak to Dottie directly. Dottie, who has never broken to this point, seems frightened of Whitney, and though she puts on what would be a passable show of normal behavior, Whitney’s a force to be reckoned with. After Whitney almost absorbs her, Dottie is genuinely scared and gives in, telling her that Peggy is trying to save the ghostly Wilkes with zero matter.

 

Wilkes’ steampunk-looking containment chamber is complete, and after switching it on and absorbing the sample of Whitney’s zero matter, Wilkes is tangible again. First order of business: kissing Peggy. That achieved, Ana goes to make Wilkes some food, and Peggy and Jarvis find that Dottie’s necklace has been reactivated. Peggy knows the signal is a trap, but she’s willing to consciously walk into it, especially with the Jitterbug, a concussive device from Howard that strongly knocks out opponents. Ana, though worried, gives Jarvis her blessing to go.

 

Peggy calls Sousa to get him involved, but Masters is at the SSR office to confront Sousa about the uranium theft from Roxxon. Masters tries tactics similar to the ones he used on Thompson to get Sousa to give up information, but Sousa isn’t in the mood for the games. Masters recognizes that Sousa is in Peggy’s corner.

 

On the drive to the Frost-Chadwick ranch, Jarvis ventures a discussion with Peggy about her romantic interests with both Sousa and Wilkes. Peggy is reluctant to discuss it at all, but when she does, she honestly admits she doesn’t know what she’s going to do about the love polygon in which she’s found herself. Jarvis put it well: it’s a sticky wicket indeed.

 

Peggy and Jarvis’s fortunes do not improve when they arrive at their destination and the Jitterbug device doesn’t work. They’re captured and placed in holding with Dottie. As they work their way loose, Jarvis realizes he input the Jitterbug code (measurements of actresses, of course, Howard) for the delayed detonation. Peggy and Jarvis are escaping with the weakened Dottie when they realize the trap wasn’t for them; it was to get them out of the way so Whitney would have access to Wilkes.

 

Unfortunately, Whitney is on her way to break up an adorable dinner with Ana, darling and lightly drowning her concern about Jarvis with wine, and Wilkes, containment-bound, hungry and in a change of clothes. Ana is off getting another bottle of wine when Whitney confronts Wilkes. WIth Wilkes rapped in his containment chamber, Whitney contains her scientific curiosity and tries to absorb the zero matter back from him. Instead, however, it is Wilkes that absorbs the zero matter from Whitney. With the new zero matter, Wilkes is able to stay corporeal long enough to leave the chamber. Whitney tries to get Wilkes to come with her voluntarily by stating that she is trying to give power to those marginalized by society. Wilkes isn’t buying it, so Whitney knocks him out.

 

Then everything goes terribly wrong. Sousa calls and finds out Peggy and Jarvis aren’t back yet, so he heads out to help. But before he can leave, he is assaulted by masked assailants. Ana goes to confront Whitney and prevent the kidnapping of Wilkes as Peggy and Jarvis arrive. To stall them tailing her, Whitney shoots Ana (No!). When Jarvis and Peggy get Ana to the hospital, Dottie, who was still in the trunk of the car, escapes again, this time without the tracking necklace. When an injured Sousa goes into work the next morning, a suspiciously smug Masters asks Sousa if any new info came to light about Roxxon. When Sousa says no, Masters informs Sousa that he will be taking over control of the SSR in LA.  Back at the hospital, Peggy discovers that Sousa has been uprooted as chief, and Jarvis has no news on Ana, who is still in surgery. All they can do at the moment is wait.

 

Extra Notes

 

Well, this all seems horrible!

 

I’m really upset about Ana! This is an unhappy ending, be okay, precious Ana Jarvis! It’s of course also no good for kidnapped Wilkes, injured and overthrown Sousa, Dottie on the lam and emotionally compromised Jarvis and Peggy. Yikes! In the time it’s taken me to write up the recap, that all still packs a nasty wallop!

 

Wading through the emotions, it is absolutely worth noting that, in both these episodes, all the ladies got to play both strong and weak roles, and it was so dynamically excellent. Brava, ladies, and cheers to the creative crew. I’m distraught — therefore, good job?  Also, I appreciate that Peggy is as stumped with her romantic relationship status as I am as a viewer; I’m certainly here to watch how it plays out, though.

 

New comic references are a bit light, though Dottie found Howard’s blueprints for a palladium core: the same element that will later go into Tony Stark’s arc reactor. Dottie also hinted that Peggy doesn’t know how far deep conspiracies might be going in the SSR; it obviously takes decades for more of the scope of Hydra’s infiltration to come to light.

 

We’re in for another double episode next week! Peggy’s off to find Wilkes, Jarvis may be looking to get revenge for the injured Ana, and was that a desert test I spotted in the commercial? Maybe we’re in for more zero matter. In the meantime, perhaps I suggest all viewers indulge in some imaginary hand-holding with Peggy and Jarvis (and me!) until next week!


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