Written by Christopher Markus, Stan Lee, and Jack Kirby
Directed by Craig Zisk
When a bad idea looks good, you know you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel, and it would seem Peggy might be doing that in this episode. It does build the characters well and adds a lot to the story while drawing on history, but I felt like someone was being needlessly brought back. That is, of course, unless there was going to be a point to her presence by the end of the season.
Jason Wilkes (Reggie Austin) seems to be phasing in and out of existence. Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) deduces that the zero matter that was in Jane Scott’s body helped make him tangible again, so they need to get their hands on more. The only problem is the only known zero matter currently in existence is in Whitney Frost’s (Wynn Everett) body.
Peggy starts to recuperate at the Stark Mansion but insists on getting up and going to the lab. This puts Mrs. Jarvis (Lotte Verbeek) in a bit of distress, as she watches her husband help Peggy. With Chief Sousa (Enver Gjokaj), Peggy plans to crash the upcoming fundraiser for Calvin Chadwick (Currie Graham) and get a sample out of Whitney’s body. Sousa points out that both Peggy and Jarvis (James D’Arcy) are too recognizable to Whitney and Calvin. Peggy comes up with the “terrible idea” of using Dottie Underwood (Bridget Regan).
Mrs. Jarvis is working with Jason when he details just how dangerous what they are doing is. She begins to have misgivings about all of the “adventure” her husband is enjoying.
At the Chadwick fundraiser, Jarvis and Dottie spot Jack Thompson (Chad Michael Murray). If he recognizes Dottie, they are finished. He distracts Chief Thompson while Dottie follows Whitney to the bathroom. Dottie thinks about escaping and hides in a closet in a room while Whitney demonstrates what the zero matter has done to her. The Council attempts to reign Whitney in, only to find out the hard way that she cannot be controlled by them.
Having observed all of this, Dottie contemplates what to do with the sample she collected.
Peggy must step back here, due to her injury, and it’s hard for her. She and Daniel have a heart-to-heart where he confesses that Violet (Sarah Bolger) broke off the engagement because she thinks Daniel is in love with Peggy. They are interrupted by a body landing on top of the surveillance van. Vernon Masters (Kurtwood Smith) tells Jack Thompson this all has to do with Peggy and she needs to be discredited and disgraced to invalidate the work she’s done.
Thompson orders Peggy back to New York with him, but Peggy refuses, indicating she will quit her job first. He warns that she’s going to lose and not see it coming. Whitney, meanwhile, has captured Dottie.
This is mostly a character-driven episode, although it does have moments of intrigue. It’s setting up that Sousa and Peggy can’t trust anyone outside of their own circle. Viewers have sent that with Jack Thompson’s interaction with Vernon Masters. For this reason, Peggy turns to Dottie when they need help. Hey, she’s a psychopath, but at least they know what they’re dealing with here. I can’t imagine there wasn’t someone else they could have used. Wouldn’t it have made sense to use Jarvis and his wife to go to the party together? Bringing Dottie in makes me think all the more there are others like her involved in this season that haven’t been revealed yet.
Ana Jarvis’ evolving reticence about what her husband is involved in is good. She’s the only one who seems to grasp the gravity of what they’re involved in, while her husband seems to see it all as a lot of fun. She wants to support him, but at the same time, she’s afraid he’s in over his head and going to get himself killed. It’s a good perspective on their relationship as she’s accepted everything at face value up until now, and not been the least bit jealous of Peggy, but recognizes the danger they are up against.
There’s also a lot of intrigue surrounding who is actually pulling the strings. It is looking like Masters made sure he had someone at the head of the SSR whom he can manipulate. He baits Jack Thompson with the possibility that his underlings are working around him and out of his control. At this point it’s whether Jack will choose political advantage over his country, and it’s definitely not obvious which way he will go.
Whitney is descending into pure villainy. Is it the zero matter inside her doing it? Or is this her true self coming out? The Council tries too late to reign her in, and suffers the monster they let loose on the world. It’s a betrayal of the worst kind to her, and Wynn Everett is excellent as she starts to fall apart, but then rectifies the situation. This whole episode is filled with stellar acting.
Life of the Party contains some great character development and enough intrigue to make it interesting. It also pushes Peggy to the side a bit and gives the other characters a chance to be featured and develop. Bringing Dottie in may be far-fetched, but I’m hoping for a good payoff to that plot twist. It uses all of the characters very well and has a number of moments grounded in reality for a story that seems to ask us to suspend disbelief a lot.
Previous episode of the series (link): Agent Carter – The Atomic Job
Next episode of the series (link): Agent Carter: Monsters