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PopWrapped | Recaps

Marvel’s Agent Carter: 02×04, Smoke & Mirrors

Lisa Marsella | PopWrapped Author

Lisa Marsella

Updated 02/8/2016 9:36am
Marvel’s Agent Carter: 02×04, Smoke & Mirrors | Smoke & Mirrors
Media Courtesy of denofgeek.com

Greetings, Carter fans, and welcome to this week's recap. It was an interesting episode that filled in a lot of backstory for both our hero and our villain this season. Lots of flashbacks and glimpses into the forces that drive our characters. As always, be warned, SPOILERS AHEAD!

We start the episode with a flashback of a young girl dressed as a knight, playing pretend and saving her princess doll. An older boy enters and antagonizes her until the pair are interrupted by a screaming mother.

We learn this girl is Peggy (Margaret Elizabeth Carter to be exact) and the boy her is brother, Michael. She gets a lecture from her mother (setting off a motif for every flashback in this episode).   “One of these days you’re going to have to start behaving like a lady!" she scolds, before the scene cuts to a now adult Peggy Carter chowing down and spilling food all over some papers that she and Jason Wilkes are looking over.  

The two share some sexual tension as their conversation reminds all of us that Wilkes is still some type of weird ghost man who doesn't need to eat, apparently, but still has...urges (if you know what I mean). Aside from the whatever is happening between these two, the subject falls onto Whitney Frost and Peggy refers to her as a genius. "No, I'm a genius." Wilkes reminds her, "Whitney Frost...She defies categorization." I just LOVE how talented, smart, and powerful these female characters are! Thank you, Marvel!

The scene cuts to the notorious Whitney Frost, who appears to be up to something unusual when her housekeeper brings her a suspicious box from Isodyne, and whatever is inside is moving. Turns out to be a cage full of lab rats. Uh oh.

We end on that note and hop back to Carter and Jarvis, who are staking out Chadwick. They catch him getting into a car with a rather burly man who has an unusual bandage. "He's got the same wound you inflicted on that attacker," Jarvis so adorably points out in his naive way.

They put two and two together and go seek out who this big fella really is. They learn his real identity and decide a little payback is in order and that he could be full of useful information. How do they bring such a man in for questioning? Jarvis suggests they take him down using a tranquilizer gun, which he apparently has because Howard Stark's koalas are actually the fabled "drop bear," or so Jarvis alludes. The two buddies agree that committing a felony is well within their morality range and they set off.

We return with another flashback of a young girl. She's different than our first; she has a screwdriver and seems to be fixing a radio. It is easy to assume this must be a young Whitney Frost (Also known as Agnes.)

We see a lot of parallels with our first flashback with Peggy. Whitey's mom comes around the corner and sees her tampering with the radio (which she has successfully fixed) and gets frustrated. She gets a lecture for her lack of stereotypical lady like hobbies and we are introduced to "Uncle Bud", who seems to support the two ladies financially, even with Whitney's clear disdain for the man. "You'd be a lot prettier if you smiled," he tells her. Oh, girl, I would hate his guts too.

We come back to present day Whitney and she is playing with our rat friends again. She stares at the zero matter still pulsing on her forehead. She scribbles in a notebook about this being test number one and picks up a rat. She tries to make him disappear like she did with her director from last week's episode, but she's having no luck.

The test gets interrupted by her hubby. He rambles on about her missing director (oops) and his campaign, and how she's is going to be the prettiest first lady, and finally reminds her to show up for a Life Magazine photo shoot tonight. "Don't be late!" He rushes off and Whitney turns back to the rats.

This time, the little bugger bites her and she is able to control the zero matter to get back at the rodent. Her forehead splits even more... she will eventually end up flaking on this photo shoot in exchange for absorbing every last rat she has and gaining a massive black mark on her face. This can't be good. Keep that up and pretty soon you might have to wear a mask to hide it... *cough Madame Masque cough*

Meanwhile, Peggy and Jarvis deliver one of the best scenes of the entire episode. My favorite part of any episode this entire season is whenever Peggy and/or Jarvis do American accents. It makes me giggle with such joy. We get blessed with another one of these moments, and Jarvis stands outside Mr. Hunt's apartment pretending to be the police. Mr. Hunt runs (as planned) and Peggy are waiting outside with the tranquilizer darts.

It takes two darts and an awesome fight scene to bring the guy down and even after they get him stuffed into the trunk, he still manages to get a dart in Jarvis' arm. When Peggy asks if he is alright, he musters out in a daze, "Jarvelous!" before passing out himself. I must figure out how to use this line in my everyday life.

Peggy drives the unconscious men back to Howard's estate, only to pull up to Sousa waiting. He mentions her vacation time has been approved, which is how they are explaining she is still around, even though Jack took her off the case last episode. Sousa notices she is acting funny and questions exactly what is going on. While most bosses would be a bit more upset their employee committed an unethical kidnapping, he seemed more worked up that Peggy didn't invite him along to help. He tells her they are in this together and the two go off to question Mr. Hunt.

We flip around to another flashback. This time it is Peggy again and she has a fancy ring. Turns out she is engaged. While showing off the rock to coworkers at a code breaking agency, she gets called into her boss's office.

She has been selected to join a new spy organization, the S.O.E., as a field agent. So that's how this all came about! While she seems hesitant about the job, we all know something has to go down that pushes her to join. We won't find out just yet, though, because it is back to present day.

Sousa and Peggy are interrogating Mr. Hunt, which doesn't seem to be going so well. It takes a pretty clever ruse, but they manage to trick Mr. Hunt into thinking he was injected with a fatal illness that will kill him in 20 minutes unless given the antidote.

While that isn't exactly the whole truth, he doesn't know that and our big tough guy finally spills the beans. He dishes that everything they need to know is hidden at the Arena Club because they record all the meetings. He then warns them that he's already dead no matter what happens because those men have their hands in everything. Everything. HINT HINT.

Cut to another flashback. This time, it is Whitney again. Uncle Bud is leaving them for a younger lady and her mom blames Whitney. If only she smiled at him every once in awhile, maybe they wouldn't be in this situation. She points out a rejection letter from a college Whitney had applied to. She scolds her that women aren't meant to do science, and if she she wants to go anywhere in this world she needs to focus on her looks.

Back in present day Hollywood, Sousa and Peggy are getting ready to raid the Arena Club. They have all they need to bust down the doors when Vernon Masters, the fishy F.B.I. guy (also a secret member of the Arena Club himself), shows up to stop the raid. Turns out he has a surprise audit on this office and they can't do anything until it is finished. He pulls an angry Peggy Carter aside, saying he is eager to meet her, and she starts putting up a fight about stopping the raid.

When Vernon seems a bit too uncomfortably interested in WHO gave them their intel, Peggy starts to get suspicious. Vernon warns her to back down and alludes to the fact that he has power she can't even begin to understand and he'll take down everyone she cares about (he gestures to Sousa) and label her a communist spy. Ouch.

As the episode starts to wind down, we get our final Peggy flashback. At her engagement party, we learn her brother is in the war and home for the first time to meet the soon-to-be hubby. He tells her that it was him who suggested her for the S.O.E. job; that she is meant to be a fighter and it isn't too late for her to back out of the wedding.

Still not convinced, we later see Peggy's mother helping her try on her wedding dress when an unexpected knock comes to to the door. Michael has been killed in war. It was Peggy's final push to realizing she is so much more than what she has allowed herself to be, and she must follow her brother's advice and fight back. She ends the engagement and sets off to become an agent.

We are once again back in 1940s Hollywood, where Peggy and Sousa are still dealing with the audit. She warns him about Vernon, but he tells her he got the same lecture and he isn't scared. He's in this with her until the end. Awww.

He also tells her there is no point in raiding the club anymore; they clearly have it figured out by now, with plenty of time to hide the evidence. They should have listened to Mr. Hunt. They are going to have to come up with another way to figure out what is actually going on. Sousa lets Carter in on the fact that he was able to snag some evidence from the auditors and that it is time to let Mr. Hunt go. They allow him to think he escaped, planting a bug on him knowing he would find his way back to Chadwick's place, and perhaps they could get some answers that way.

This leads to our cast of heroes meeting up again--Carter, Jarvis, Sousa, and Jason Wilkes. Poor Wilkes wasn't around much, he and Jarvis were focusing on trying to make him whole again, but he keeps getting pulled out of reality, seeing strange openings in the universe that no one else can see.

He confides in Peggy that he is miserable. He can't eat, sleep, and it takes all his strength to not just give up and let the world take him. The two share an emotion moment where she tells him to keep fighting, because that's what they are - fighters. Sousa sees this moment and you can tell it ruffles his feathers a bit.

We get one final flashback, and this time it is of Whitney again. She is an adult, clearly hurting for money when she can't find a quarter to go see a movie. The kind cashier recognizes her and gives her a free ticket. On her way into the theatre, she is stopped by a creepy man who tells her, "I bet you'd be pretty if you'd just smile." Oh punch him, please. She breaks out a forced smile and he tells her he could make her famous. A model perhaps, or even an actress. He asks her name, and when she tells him it is Agnes, he cringes.  "Well that will have to change," he says. Looks like a star is born.

In our final scenes, our heroes are listening in on the Chadwick household as Mr. Hunt confesses to them about what he told Agent Carter. Chadwick is furious and begins to threaten him, but Mr. Hunt knows secrets too. However, Whitney seems pretty laidback and you realize she has something up her sleeve. She interrupts the fighting men, puts a gentle hand on Mr. Hunt's face.

"We all make mistakes..." she says - right before she shoots out her zero matter and disintegrates him right in front of her husband. The last words Carter and the team hear are the screams of, "Whitney, what are you doing?!"

The episode ends with Chadwick looking horrified at his wife. Her black tar scar is now down the whole side of her face and she has an eerie calm. "What are you?" Chadwick gasps in fear. "Whatever I want." She replies, sending chills to audiences everywhere.

We got a lot of back stories in this episode; two incredible ladies who took very different roads in life, but both pushing out of the boundaries society has set for them. It will be interesting to see what each one does with the talents they have. What did you think of this week's episode? Share with us in the comments! See you next week!

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