In the wake of the two hour duel episode premiere, Agent Carter is back this week in full swing leaving us with more questions than answers. Let's recap shall we? Warning - SPOILERS AHEAD!
First, real fast, can we take a quick moment to appreciate how awesome the cinematography is in this show? You really feel like you're in the 1940's. It is incredible. I just had to say that. Now on with the recap!
We pick up seemingly right where we left off with Carter and Sousa investigating the apartment of the thought-to-be deceased Isodyne scientist and Carter crushin' fella, Dr. Jason Wilkes. With ease the team finds enough solid evidence to convict Wilkes as a Soviet spy, even locating the gun used to kill the SSR agents that were transporting the frozen body in last week's episode. This of course isn't going to fool Peggy. She points out that it is clearly someone trying to frame a good man, one she feels responsible putting him in the line of fire to begin with, and she is determined to clear his name.
We jump to a movie set, perhaps setting us up for more of Whitney Frost, the actress who was left with a pulsing black tar mark on her forehead after the explosion at the lab, but instead we are hit with a surprise! Why, it is Mr. Howard Stark! Gracing us with his presence and delivering the most comical scene of the night when he asks Peggy if she wants to play a bar wench in his movie. "I rather be the cowboy," she rebuttals. "I like it. I don't think the audience is ready for it yet," says Stark.
However, turns out he is pioneering film in another way, adapting a comic book into a feature film. "...a movie based on a comic book? Sounds like a dreadful idea," counters Carter. I applauded your meta tones Agent Carter, you got a laugh out of me.
Moving on, we learn that Howard isn't here for just comic relief. He can help our hero in many ways, including solving the riddle about the mysterious key Dottie was after in episode one. Turns out, it grants access to a gentlemen's only club, The Arena Club; one that has been begging Stark to join, and could hold some answers for Carter. But, like most tropes in this series - NO GIRLS ALLOWED. The pin/key was found among Jason Wilkes' items, which comes as a surprise to Howard since the club isn't exactly forward thinking when it comes to including those of a darker skin color. "They keep their ranks male and pale," he states. In addition to the key, Peggy shows Howard the footage of our biggest mystery, Zero Matter. He goes into full science mode upon seeing the footage and is ready to aid in figuring out what this could all be about.
Meanwhile, we find Whitney Frost trying to hide her dark mark from her husband. She is a hard character to read, does she understand what is happening to her? What is her motive? Like every woman in this series, she is heavily underrated by the men in her life, including her own husband who thinks she just wants to quit acting so she can make him babies.
Back at the office, the west coast branch of SSR is paid a visit by their jerk face boss, Jack Thompson. Surprisingly no one noticed those giant puppet strings attached to him as he forcefully tried to close the case on Carter and Sousa. His ego putting up all the walls when Peggy tries to question him about what happened with Dottie back in New York and why he isn't willing to see that something fishy is happening with this whole ordeal. After they leave we are left with a shot of Peggy's desk... and a few articles are magically floating. Uh oh.
What Peggy and Sousa don't know is that Thompson is facing some difficult times that give the audience a reason to both hate him and yet sympathize with him. He is paid a visit by Vernon, the FBI big wig who met up with him during the premiere episode. He pressures him about something that was stolen the night of the explosion and urges him to give up anything they dug up. Having watched the video himself, Thompson is questioning who is right and who is wrong and at the end of the day he leaves us cringing as he hands the footage over to Vernon.
We get another fun comedy mixed with spy antics when Peggy and our favorite rich inventor and butler duo put forth a plot to infiltrate the Arena Club. Causing a "Code Pink", Stark manages to cause chaos by bringing his lady friends into the men's only establishment. This allows Carter to slip away undetected to discover the true inner workings of the Arena Club which is a cover up for an elite organization... ghez that doesn't sound familiar at all!
We learn that this apparently evil group of old white men are busy blackmailing members of the senate so they can take hold of powerful positions within the government. They also have control of the newspapers, as Carter suspected from the start of the episode. Peggy almost gets caught bugging the area with some advanced tech that Stark has provided her with, all of which failed due to some sort of interference. She thankfully gets away with the help of Jarvis and good ol' chauvinistic cliches about how stupid women can be. "Books confuse me!"
This causes a chain of events which gets Peggy kicked off the case (because she didn't have a warrant to plant those bugs and she didn't snag one of the newspapers that was proof of the blackmail). And if she wasn't having a bad enough day as it is, they also notice things float around Peggy... could this be Zero Matter at work? Time to ask Stark.
The comedy trio is back again, working to figure out what exactly is causing things to float whenever Peggy steps into a room. I'm not even going to try to understand how they explain this is even feasible, but with a large stretch of the imagination Howard makes a potion that when sprayed near Peggy, Dr. Wilkes magically appears! And talks! But is also ghost-like because you can't touch him... yeah, it is confusing, but the whole point is - he's still alive!! Sorta. He explains what went down that night and clue our heroes into the twist we all saw coming... this has something to do with Whitney Frost.
As the episode starts winding down we get a few more intense moments. Peggy confronts Whitney but is interrupted before she could finish. Whitney shows her acting and manipulating talents when some fake tears convince her husband to exercise his powers to get a hit on Carter and end her questioning once and for all. We get an awesome fight scene between Carter and the hitman, Mr. Hunt, and her BFF Jarvis who comes in to aid the fight - getting a shot in Mr. Hunt's hand before he flees.
Wilkes and Stark are pulling all nighters trying to figure out how to make him whole again, which sends Stark on a red eye to Peru to get some help from an old professor, Abner Brody. There is an elephant in the room most of the episode while both Sousa and Jarvis show affections towards Carter... but what does the lady want? It seems for right now she wants Wilkes to stay, and while he admits he doesn't want to put anyone in danger anymore, he'll stay for her. Awwww.
In the final events of the episode Sousa learns that "Whitney Frost" is actually a stage name and the woman who claims to be an expert on Zero Matter isn't lying, she is in fact the real brains behind Isodyne Energy. Meanwhile, Thompson is treated to drinks by his new FBI buddy at the (surprise, surprise) Arena Club and learns that Peggy was telling the truth after all.
The show closes with Whitney Frost getting a visit from her agent. He tells her she isn't going to make it much farther in this business the older she looks but he is such a good guy he is willing to fight for her. He then proceeds to hug her a little too long for comfort and brush her hair back noticing the black gooey crack on her forehead. He freaks out, she freaks out, and it ends with her projecting the Zero Matter from her body and absorbing him completely... her temple throbbing as the crack grows in size.
The episode finally gets us deeper into the plot for this season. I enjoyed the comedy even if the science was greatly questionable. Some components were predictable but there are still plenty of questions remaining and I am sure not all is what it seems in classic Agent Carter way!
Are you enjoying Season 2 of Agent Carter? Share your thoughts in the comments below!