As the half way point of the season passes by Agent Carter takes a moment to check in on all the supporting characters and accelerate further towards its inevitably dramatic conclusion.
Peggy is still severely injured after being impaled last week, leaving our title character barely able to make it across a room without haemorrhaging her stitches. She’s forced to look to others for help in a rare moment of vulnerability and finds her friends are now rather competent sleuths.
Still the writers determine there’s nobody like Carter, except her Soviet doppleganger. Out of options, the gang break Dottie Underwood out of prison and recruit her to their scheme. There’s a fantastic one-on-one dialogue scene with Peggy beforehand, and a striking one with the group after that. Her riffing with Jarvis is also on point – as though it were a normal episode watched through a circus mirror.
The reason for Dottie’s recruitment lies in Dr Wilkes’ disappearing at the end of last week’s episode. He has another Frodo-looking-into-the-eye moment before snapping back to reality, more shaken than ever that whatever is calling him is sinister in nature. The plan is multi-episode, but requires retrieving the series villian’s blood to stabilise Dr Wilkes in reality for a short period of time, during which he will establish a housing unit to keep him permanently on this plain of existence.
Building the unit is next week’s issue: for now, the mission is for Dottie to substitute as Peggy to retrieve the blood. The highly-trained agent completes this with ease, but naturally other obstacles rear their head.
Jack Thompson, New York SSR Chief and Peggy’s actual boss, arrive at the villain’s husband’s campaign fundraiser. After being caught up on Carter’s recent misadventures he runs into Jarvis and searches the building for his holidaying employee. No luck there, though he did run into his supposed prisoner Dottie Underwood amongst a skirmish and rightly apprehended her. Carter and her team have no idea of Dottie’s location, though thankfully they were able to retrieve the blood vile from the hotel to keep their mission’s timeline on track.
It’s a delight to see Dottie on screen again. Villians come and go, but Dottie has engraved a frenemy status that endears her to the audience. She is wholeheartedly evil – Black Widow before she reformed – but she’s a blast to be around. Not often, though sometimes Agent Carter can be caught up in the propriety of the times. Dottie snaps it back to ruthless spy games, regardless of the era.
Now she is at the mercy of Jack Thompson, a man still between a rock and a hard place. His agents are giving him nothing and the shady government-types continue to extend good fortune in return for favours. He’s a bastard, but a more sympathetic one. The episode also takes thirty seconds to interject a romantic angle for him, which may foreshadow something down the line.
Speaking of romance, the series skims across a vital scene with little fuss. After Sousa’s fiancé left him last week he’s dishevelled but determined to continue with the mission. Carter notes his odd behaviour and he confesses, begrudgingly, that his lover abandoned him for his supposed love for our title character. Dr Wilkes, the third point of our love-square-turned-triangle, witnesses this and features a concerned expression. There’s still a capacity for evil within him yet.
Right now all the evil is square on Whitney Frost. The scientist-turn-actress petitions the council of evil folk to devote research into accelerating her powers even further. They respond by attacking her and the villain genesis is spectacularly completed. She kills half the council and her husband before assuming control of the entire operation. There’s no coming back from this. Whitney Frost is irredeemable.
A plot thread for later on? Dottie Underwood witnessed it all in secret.
Agent Carter continues to deliver. Hayley Atwell has been cast as the lead in a sprawling flagship crime show for the same network which means that, combined with mixed ratings and critical reviews, this series may be the last. Personally I suspect not, if not for a love of a trilogy and Atwell’s dedication to the trilogy. It would be a shame to lose Agent Carter, but I am grateful that it illuminated another corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The seventh episode of the series was broadcast immediately after. The review will be online Thursday evening.