Written by Brant Englestein, Sue Chung, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Stan Lee, and Jack Kirby
Directed by Lawrence Trilling
After an excellent first season of this series, the second season marks a number of changes. The location shift from New York to Hollywood is the major one. Was it easier for filming? I don’t knw the reason for sure, but overall this location works. It also brings new challenges to the cast that viewers have already been acquainted with.
The second season of Agent Carter opens with Dottie (Bridget Regan) dressed like Peggy Carter and attempting to rob a bank. The SSR is one step ahead of her, though, and was lying in wait. This leads to a good fight scene between Peggy (Hayley Atwell) and Dottie when she is apprehended.
Agent Daniel Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) , meanwhile, has been transferred to Los Angeles. The SSR there is called in to a case of a woman frozen in a lake on a warm, sunny day. He calls Jack Thompson (Chad Michael Murray), the new chief of the New York office, and asks for someone with experience to be sent out to help. Jack chooses to send Peggy, despite the fact that she’s in the middle of interrogating Dottie.
Jarvis (James D’Arcy) greets Peggy at the airport and extends an invitation to stay at the Stark mansion, along with a flamingo named Bernard. Howard (Dominc Cooper) is in the middle of opening a movie studio. Jarvis asks if he can drive Peggy around as he’s bored in Los Angeles.
When she meets with Agent Sousa, he is surprised to see her. Peggy was under the impression he specifically requested her, and he was under the impression he was being sent a male agent. There is some tension as it seems Sousa was dodging her once he was transferred to Los Angeles. Peggy suggests the first thing they need to do is determine whether the Lady in the Lake occurred at the same time as the lake freezing. She thinks the body may have been dumped there earlier but wasn’t found until the lake froze.
They visit the coroner’s office where the coroner has been unable to do an autopsy as the body is frozen through. Despite having heat lamps on her, the body has only begin to thaw. When he turns off the lights, the body glows. One of the scientists states that the only thing he can think of that would possibly cause what they’re seeing is being near a particle accelerator. There’s one nearby in Pasadena at Isodyne Energy.
The receptionist at Isodyne Energy isn’t very helpful. Peggy sneaks into a secure area and, literally, bumps into Doctor Jason Wilkes (Reggie Austin). When Peggy shows him the photograph of the Lady in the Lake, he recognizes her as someone who worked there and was very close to the owner, Calvin Chadwick (Currie Graham) and his wife, actress Whitney Frost (Wynn Everett). Calvin Chadwick is running for the Senate and a wealthy industrialist.
Viewers are finally introduced to Jarvis’ wife, Ana (Lotte Verbeek). She’s not at all like Mr. Jarvis, and she and Peggy are soon friends as well. Jarvis accompanies Peggy to the race track where Chadwick has a horse racing. Peggy drops the name “Jane Scott” to Chadwick and he is immediately cautious.
When Peggy returns to the SSR office, they find the coroner frozen to the body of Jane Scott. He falls over and shatters into millions of pieces. Peggy summons Dr. Wilkes to the coroner’s office and he agrees to cooperate with them. Detective Henry (Sean O’Bryan) isn’t feeling well, and when he leans over the drinking fountain to get some water, it freezes up. As Peggy and Sousa are looking at the official autopsy report, they realize that Jane’s death was staged to look like the Lady of the Lake killer. Detective Henry, meanwhile, has kidnapped Doctor Wilkes, wanting him to “fix” whatever is going on.
Where the previous season focused on the misogyny of the post-World War II era, this one seems to be heading to tackle the racism. Jason Wilkes is African-American and a brilliant physicist. When Peggy wants to go after Chadwick based on what they’ve been told by Wilkes, Detective Henry refers to him as “some janitor.” In his mind he can’t see an African-American as anything other than menial.
There’s tension between Peggy and Sousa right from the start. Peggy seems to be making it clear she’s interested in him, while he seems to be stumbling over himself around her. It doesn’t seem to make sense when it was obvious last season he had something of a crush on her, but by the end of this episode we get a hint why. And that’s good because there’s a balance with potential love triangles. It seems that there’s some chemistry between Jason Wilkes and Peggy as well.
The friendship between Peggy and Jarvis continues. They are a fun team together and truly just friends. The introduction of Jarvis’ wife rather than having her be an off-screen character is very refreshing. Ana is the opposite of what viewers were expecting from the character. Thinking she’d be reserved and “proper,” much like Jarvis himself, she is bubbly and outgoing. She welcomes Peggy with open arms and doesn’t get catty about the friendship between Peggy and her husband. She’s a confident woman who’s secure in her relationship with her husband and has no reason to be threatened by her. It’s great for Peggy to finally have a real female ally in her corner.
This episode serves to set up the second season, by telling viewers where the characters are and what they’re doing. It’s well-done, with a great balance of humor and drama. Peggy is still the strong female character we’ve come to know, even as she’s starting to open up a bit more to friends and co-workers. She doesn’t cultivate relationships easily, perhaps because she’s not what’s expected from a woman of this time. Jarvis is the perfect pal for her, with his stodgy demeanor that really craves some action. The two of them together are a lot of fun, even while some serious stuff is going on around them.
All in all, it’s a solid beginning to the second season and well worth investing time in.
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