Agent Carter Recap: The Edge of Mystery/A Little Song and Dance

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By Katie Hughes, @MsKatieHughes

 

This week’s double dose of Agent Carter found us welcoming the musical episode we never expected, discovering the fate of a newly beloved character, watching some epic double-crossing unfold, and getting set up for quite the finale next week.

 

2×8: The Edge of Mystery

 

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The episode starts with a flashback to New York 1946, the very same night Peggy Carter was defusing a bomb in the pilot episode of Agent Carter. Instead of focusing on Peggy, however, we get a glimpse of the usually pleasant domestic life of the Jarvises. Ana has returned home from her drawing class to a prepared dinner from Jarvis, but she’s not thrilled to overhear Jarvis talking about containment rings and blast radiuses to Howard Stark’s new associate. He attempts to distract her with the radio and promises that Peggy won’t be a disruptive influence on their lives, but the perceptive Ana warns him not to make promises he can’t keep.

 

Picking up again in 1947, a worn Jarvis is at Ana’s bedside, trying to keep up with their evening radio routine. When he can’t get it to tune properly, his frustration boils over and he smashes the radio. With Ana stable but still unconscious, Peggy helps in the best way she can, which is to support Jarvis by encouraging him to go pick up some fresh clothes, toiletries, and a new radio.

 

Jason Wilkes wakes up handcuffed in a warehouse with Whitney Frost nearby taking notes. She’s been experimenting (though perhaps needs a lesson in humane experimentation), and has found that Wilkes can uncontrollably absorb zero matter from her, even when he’s unconscious, and after the absorption, he can retain corporeal form for several minutes. Wilkes is distressed by his predicament and seems unsure of his next move, though he tells Whitney he wishes he could simply phase out into the zero matter void and not return. Whitney proposes working together to try to understand zero matter better, and asks if he can hear “the voice.” Wilkes nods, troubled.

 

A recently beaten but recovering Daniel Sousa is waiting at Howard’s estate when Peggy arrives. Peggy tells him she’s planning on offering Whitney a trade — the uranium rods Whitney wants for the return of Wilkes. She’s planning on trading fake rods instead of the real ones, though. They figure the best way to get the trade message to Whitney is through mafia boss Joseph Manfredi.

 

After punching their way through the dining room of Manfredi’s pizzaria (in a fabulous background shot), Peggy and Sousa sit down with Manfredi and his grandmother. Manfredi does not seem inclined to get a message to Whitney until Sousa threatens to lie to a soon-to-be-released criminal that Manfredi was the one who helped put him away (blackmail, Sousa? Tsk tsk).  Manfredi goes to relay the trade proposal to Whitney, while Whitney is encouraging Wilkes to embrace the zero matter. She tells him he can control it if he just stops fighting it and listens.

 

Off in London, Thompson, with a broken right hand (likely not so coincidentally corresponding to Sousa’s bandaged left brow) is palling around with an old school mate. The Brit is working at MI-5, and he gives Thompson a smuggled file. Thompson uses a special viewer on the heavily redacted file and smirks to see Peggy’s name implicated with a massacre of civilians during the war.  

 

Jarvis remains at Ana’s bedside, making her all sorts of promises if she’ll just wake up. She wakes (!) between a promised Bernese mountain dog and his undying protection, but continues to tell him not to make promises he can’t keep. The Jarvises are adorable. After a check-up from her doctor, however, Jarvis is informed that, due to her injuries, Ana will be unable to bear children. Jarvis declines having the nurse speak to Ana about it, and instead tells the doctor he will tell her himself. Jarvis, however, is not able to face Ana and tell her (such a disappointment!).

 

At Howard’s Estate, Dr. Samberly has delivered fake uranium rods that even fool a Geiger counter. He also promises that he can disassemble and reassemble Wilkes’ containment chamber. Jarvis encounters Peggy, Sousa and Samberly as they are going to pack up the truck for the exchange, and he insists upon being present at the capture of Whitney. Unexpectedly, Howard’s telex machine suddenly prints out design specifications for a Gamma Radiation canon  (hey there, Hulk shout-out) that could eliminate zero matter.  

 

As Samberly goes to build the canon, Thompson has arrived to speak to Peggy about the war crimes he read about in her file. Peggy insists the file is a forgery and that Thompson is too quick to accept the word of Vernon Masters.

 

As Manfredi is drawn to Whitney and her power, Peggy’s team arrives with the containment chamber and fake uranium rods. The exchange goes smoothly enough to get Wilkes, but then the rods are fumbled and dropped. On account of the sensitive rods not vaporizing LA as we were told they would if mishandled (which, I suppose, is just as well they weren’t real, then), Whitney and her gang are onto the play by Peggy’s team.

 

As Peggy and her team escape, she tells Wilkes about the gamma canon. He says the best course is to destroy the real uranium rods. When Sousa refuses to reveal the location of the rods, Wilkes leaves his containment chamber and threatens Peggy and Sousa with a shotgun. When Peggy still refuses, Wilkes uses the right leverage, and Sousas tell him that the rods are at the SSR to save Peggy. Wilkes then uses a new trick and phases through the truck to join up with the pursuing Whitney; he’s now, in fact, helping Whitney find the rods (oh, Wilkes, no!)  

 

At the SSR, Vernon Masters is pleased to peruse the file on Peggy delivered by Thompson. Thompson has his doubts about the authenticity of the file, but Thompson insists that, since it is an official document, it doesn’t matter if it’s true. Whitney then phones and tells Masters to get the rods from the SSR. Thompson goes to stop him, but by the time Peggy and Sousa arrive to stop Masters from getting the rods, Thompson has been hit with the memory inhibitor and doesn’t remember what was going on. The team finds that Thompson wrote down the coordinates given to Masters by Whitney as the location to bring the rods.

 

The team is heading off to track down Whitney, but not before Sousa tells Peggy that Wilkes can no longer be trusted; the emotional entanglements between Sousa, Peggy and Wilkes are making decisions difficult. Samberly has also arrived at the SSR with the canon in tow, and is talking to his crush, Rose. Jarvis is also there, and pulls Rose aside to ask if she will look after Ana in his absence. Jarvis provides Rose with Ana’s favorite recipes, blanket, mug, and what later turns out to be his last will and testament. Jarvis is not in a good emotional state.

 

In the desert, Whitney’s team has incorporated the uranium rods into a setup of the original Isodyne test that created the zero matter. When they set off the explosion, the zero matter crack has, indeed, formed in the sky. Whitney and Wilkes approach, but when they finally face the zero matter crack, Whitney can no longer hear the call. Wilkes, however, is drawn so strongly to the zero matter voice that he rises up into the rift itself to the cries of a rejected Whitney.

 

Some distance away, Samberly is setting up the gamma canon, which will only have one shot at the rift and may or may not close it. Being too far away, Jarvis realizes that Whitney can escape, so he goes after her. Peggy goes after Jarvis. Sousa, Thompson and Samberly line up the canon and fire. When the smoke clears, the rift is gone, and in the crater left behind is a still-living Jason Wilkes, his skin swarming with zero matter. Jarvis catches up with Whitney and shoots her square in the chest, but the zero matter heals the wound — Whitney can’t be killed by gunfire. When she comes to a moment later, she instructs Manfredi and his men to capture Peggy and Jarvis, as they key to controlling Wilkes is to control the people he cares about. Way for this episode to go out with a bang, but we’re heading right into the next episode!

 

2×9: A Little Song and Dance

 

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With Peggy knocked out from Whitney’s gang, we’re treated to the full-out musical number happening in her unconscious mind — yes, really.  Grayscale to color like the Wizard of Oz! Peggy’s dead brother Michael! The return of the one and only ANGIE! Dancing with Wilkes! Singing by Sousa! Jarvis surrounded by Dottie, Anna and Whitney in extravagant costume! Peggy’s own song and dance number!  Peggy Carter’s unconscious mind is prompting her to figure out what she’s going to do, and after perhaps being too influenced by the LA SSR office being hidden in the Auerbach Theatrical Agency, what a wild dream it is. Wow!

 

But back to consciousness for our heroine. After coming to, she unties herself and Jarvis while making it quite clear she is not happy with him and his recent reckless actions.  To escape the truck, Peggy pulls what seems to be an air-activated hot wire out of her belt that cuts through the chain locking the door (that’s some surprise handy gadget). They’re free of their captors, but left with nothing to do but walk out of the desert.

 

Thompson, Sousa and Samberly, having been abandoned when Whitney’s gang drove off with Peggy and Jarvis, are visited up by Vernon Masters’ SSR agents. Masters’ agents are sent to kill the remainder of Peggy’s team, but Thompson puts his fluid allegiances to good use and sets a plan into motion to, at least temporarily, keep them all alive.  Thompson gangs up with Masters’ agents and captures Sousa and Samberly.

 

Wilkes wakes up in the back of a car with Whitney and Manfredi driving. His eyes are completely blacked out with zero matter for a few moments, says he saw nothing in the void, and insists he is not safe and must not be taken to a public area. To coerce Wilkes into following her directions, Whitney goes to threaten Peggy and Jarvis, but finds they have escaped.  Manfredi sends men back to look for them, kills the unobservant driver who lost the captives, and a startled Wilkes heads back to the car.

 

Peggy and Jarvis continue walking, and their frustration has come to a rather explosive argument. Peggy continues to blame Jarvis for their current situation, his irritating behavior, and for shooting Whitney. Jarvis says shooting Whitney to assuage his conscience was not unlike Peggy risking their lives to rescue Dottie from Whitney. Dottie’s rescue attempt led to Ana being shot, putting Jarvis into his current state. He then hit her with the low blow of telling her in anger that everyone around her dies.  She, calmly, cuts deep in return, saying that Jarvis goes on missions with her for fun, not taking the same risks and not suffering the consequences of loss that she so often has.  Jarvis then confesses that he knows Ana cannot bear children and he has not yet told her. Peggy, taken aback, apologizes for her harsh words, and Jarvis apologizes as well. Manfredi’s henchmen then approach Peggy and Jarvis, and Peggy feigns a faint until she can take them both out. Leaving them in the desert, Peggy and Jarvis now have a ride.

 

At the SSR, Sousa and Samberly are locked up under Thompson’s watch. When Masters asks why they weren’t all killed, Thompson explains that Sousa and Samberly can repair the gamma canon and use it against Whitney. As all are in agreement that Whitney should be stopped, and Masters agrees to letting the agents live.

 

Manfredi has set up a lab with Isodyne equipment for Whitney in a waste management facility. The captured Wilkes is not doing well, trying to contain all of the zero matter he absorbed. Whitney says she’ll help him get rid of it, but her methods unfortunately involve a frighteningly massive syringe.

 

Peggy powers into the SSR and starts beating up Masters, demanding to know where Sousa and Thompson are. As it turns out, Sousa and Thompson are fine, and they get Peggy up to speed on the new plan. Samberly is recharging the gamma canon, and Sousa, Thompson and, indeed, Peggy, are now going to work with Masters to use the gamma canon on Whitney to stop her.

 

After some amount of time, Whitney still hasn’t been able to get any zero matter out of Wilkes.  She leaves him for a moment, as Thompson has come to talk to her, and, in fact, stall while Samberly finishes the gamma canon. Thompson, however, unveils a new play: he tells Whitney he’s willing to deliver her the canon and Masters in exchange for his own seat on the council.

 

When the canon is done, Thompson and Masters drive it off to Whitney. Peggy and Sousa go to follow, but the fuel line of their car has been cut. Thinking Masters has betrayed them, they go to borrow Samberly’s car, and Samberly explains that the gamma canon has instead been turned into a bomb at Thompson’s request, intending to take out Whitney, Masters and Wilkes all at once.  The bomb is on a remote trigger in Thompson’s possession, so Samberly is tasked to quickly build a frequency jammer.

 

At the hospital, Jarvis is fussing over Ana. She asks how Peggy and her team are faring, and after several attempts at diversion, Jarvis reluctantly catches her up to their statuses as he last knew them upon leaving the desert. Considering their troubles, she insists that he help them however he can. She can tell that he is still hiding information, though, and the scene pans away from what will undoubtedly be a difficult conversation.

 

Masters and Thompson have delivered the gamma canon/secret bomb to Whitney, as she intends to use it on Wilkes to somehow extricate his zero matter. Peggy has entered the improvised lab to save Wilkes while Samberly gets the frequency jammer working. Wilkes denies rescue, saying he can’t contain the zero matter much longer and that innocent people will be saved if he stays relatively isolated at the lab. While Peggy tries to save him anyway, he manages to lock her out of the building. Wilkes’ skin then begins to crack all over with zero matter. Thompson has meanwhile revealed his double-cross to Masters and leaves him at the mercy of Whitney.  He then leaves the building in order to execute his triple-cross against Whitney and attempt to blow up the entire building with the gamma canon bomb. Samberly has, however, managed to get the frequency jammer working, so there is no explosion.  Thompson confronts Peggy, Sousa and Samberly and gets the bomb detonator reactivated, but inside, before the bomb can detonate and before Whitney can absorb Masters, Wilkes stumbles in and the screen goes dark for the week on an explosion of Wilkes’ zero matter.

 

Extra Notes

 

Next week is the season 2 finale, and wow, have these episodes rushed by! We’re in for the showdown of everyone vs. Whitney Frost, who appears to have absorbed zero matter. Manfredi’s with Peggy’s team, Howard’s back, Wilkes’ status is questionable, and there’s another zero matter rift to tackle? We’ll have to see how this wraps up!

 

To wrap up this week, however, I’m thrilled that Ana Jarvis is okay! I’m rather disappointed in the handling of Ana’s infertility, though at least Jarvis did eventually ‘fess up before the episodes ended. Wilkes’ current status is not okay, we’ll have to see what happens there. Was he really willing to do whatever it took to get a handle on the zero matter? And Thompson is quite the deceiver, and while that debatably makes him a great agent, the only thing it’s looking like we can trust is his quest for power.

 

As for that musical number, which amazed my musical-loving heart, if we lived in a world where actor availabilities, contracts and money converged to give us nice things that we deserve, let’s be real, Steve Rogers should have popped up in that sequence as Peggy popped up in his mind-altering visions in Age of Ultron. But as it stands, that was a wild and wacky treat, (even if it was our only glimpse of Angie!) a little less out-of-left-field considering the head injury and the Auerbach Theatrical Agency she’d pass through on the way to work every day, and was just well-executed and a lot of fun. Congrats on your talented cast, Agent Carter!

 

With one episode to go, I’ll catch you all back here next week to wrap up what ultimately happens to our heroes at the end of season 2!  Let’s send out some cheers for Agent Carter!


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