Delivering another round of excitement, surprises and a better balance of humor, this week’s installment was another highly entertaining effort. While the 1940s time frame may throw some Marvel fans off, Agent Carter embraces what it is and confidently makes good on that each episode.
This week was aided immensely by the return of Dominic Cooper reprising his role as Howard Stark. Cooper is so much fun as he simultaneously channels Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark portrayal and Hugh Hefner.
Stark is in Hollywood to try his hand at directing. That’s the kind of inspired premise I never knew I needed to see that only this show can provide.
At times the Jarvis humor can be over the top, but with Stark, the writers know when to pull back from making him too silly while maximizing the lighthearted potential with the good-natured, smarmy genius. My favorite scene had Stark complaining about the old-boys club being dull, which Jarvis translated due to its lack of female members and their subsequent crashing of the club.
Stark loves a good time, but his loyalty to Peggy made him obsessed and sleep-deprived with finding a way to make Wilkes corporeal again. Wilkes clearly couldn’t be dead with Whitney running around, and we learned the side effect of his exposure is he’s become a ghost … and somehow is in a better position than Whitney. Even with one intangible, the chemistry with Peggy and Wilkes continues to be a surprisingly welcome development. The race now is on for Stark and Wilkes to figure out a way to counter the effects of the Zero Matter and stop Whitney.
I’m enjoying the Whitney/Calvin dynamic. Calvin is an unknowing pawn for whoever talks and winds him up next, but he’s got that sense of unbridled privilege he doesn’t realize he’s not the mover and shaker he assumes. Whitney, we learn, is actually far more than a starlet and was a brilliant strategist during World War II under a different name. That’s a cool twist and made me wonder which seemingly harmless actor today could be part of an insidious conspiracy plotting to overthrow society. Will Ferrell? Adam Sandler? Kim Kardashian?
While Peggy and Sousa further investigated the incident at Isodyne, Thompson arrived in town to help sell the smear job that Wilkes was a Communist like his comic namesake. It seemed a bit unnecessary to this current story line to bring up the Cold War as that could be a great season theme down the road. Thompson again is the most frustrating character. He seemed to have a turning point from annoying, chauvinistic SSR poster boy to a more three-dimensional character who begrudgingly appreciated Peggy.
Now he’s back to being the thickheaded authority figure Peggy has to work around to accomplish anything. Thompson might have smartened up as he didn’t reveal he watched the film reel with the Zero Matter incident and realized Peggy’s “far-fetched” theory about Calvin being involved is true. But knowing Thompson, he’s still going to be more obstacle than help for Peggy.
Peggy didn’t need further convincing as an assailant came after her coincidentally following her confrontation with Whitney. Later as Jarvis was assembling a security system, he had a nice line about not wanting to be a disembodied voice for the rest of his life. That was a fun bit of foreshadowing his future role as Tony Stark’s computer assistant turned Vision. [Order the Hot Toys figure here: Marvel Vision Marvel Sixth Scale Figure]
The scene where Whitney absorbed her slimy movie director was fantastic in a bit that paid homage to the 50s and 60s era creature horror features. And I loved that her Zero Matter mark further expanded across her face making the need for her Medusa mask all the more necessary.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Howard Stark’s appearances are always fun and the threat of the Zero Matter made for another tremendous episode that’s set this season up to be a very exciting ride.