Agent Carter 2.9 – A Little Song and Dance

I might have only said that tonight’s episode was more of the same double-crossing and double-dealing and not knowing who to trust but for the opening. It starts with a terrific little dream sequence staged like a musical dance number from the period. It is incredibly self-indulgent, but too much fun. I think it ran a little bit longer than our son really wanted, but I got a kick out of the change of pace. Peggy should get clobbered on the head more often if the results are this amusing.

Agent Carter 2.7 and 2.8

I feel like I can’t add too much to what I’ve already said about Agent Carter. This is so unpredictable and does such a great job in keeping me constantly surprised. I certainly wasn’t expecting Dottie to meet her match so thoroughly. I wasn’t expecting one character’s betrayal. I wasn’t expecting another to see the light. I wasn’t expecting one character to be so grievously wounded and I wasn’t expecting another to just start pumping bullets into a bad guy as though nothing was left to lose.

That last point caused me to exclaim out loud, which I try not to do when somebody’s in the next room asleep. My cold is mostly gone, but Marie has a stomach bug and went to bed early, and here I am shouting like a teenager over a TV show. Wow, if anything remotely this fun was on ABC when I was a teenager, I’d have never left the house.

But you know what was on ABC when I was a teenager? MacGyver was…

Agent Carter 2.6 – Life of the Party

Dottie’s finally back in this one. Since Whitney gave Peggy a pretty grievous injury last time, our heroes decide they have no choice but to break Dottie out and use her to get a sample of Whitney’s zero matter. Lucky for them Dottie’s being held in a facility in Los Angeles.

Nothing goes as planned for anybody in this episode. Kind of the through-line for this season is a conglomerate of the wealthiest and most powerful people being evil using patriotism as a cover for their greed and corruption. I’ve had a feeling that some of this lot would be meeting grisly ends at the hands of Whitney before the series finishes. I wasn’t wrong, but I was pretty certain that, of the three robber barons with speaking parts, one in particular would be the last to go. I was mistaken. He and half the council go down screaming as Whitney disintegrates and absorbs them. One reason I love this show is because nobody’s safe, not even a villain you thought would get his just desserts in episode ten.

What else? Thompson loses even more of his backbone, Daniel’s fiancée calls off their engagement, Peggy tears her stitches just opening a door, and Dottie loses her bid for freedom, waking up in a box all chained up and with a heck of a shiner, with Whitney Frost smiling down at her. Our son summed it up this way: “The two scariest women in this show… together!”

Agent Carter 2.1 – The Lady in the Lake

And so to Los Angeles, 1947, and the second season of Agent Carter. But before we get to California, there’s an old enemy in New York to handle. I figured we’d see “Dottie,” the villain played by Bridget Regan, again this season, but I didn’t figure we’d see her getting arrested in the pre-title sequence! But I still don’t think we’ve seen the last of her; Chad Michael Murray’s character, the chief of the New York office of the SSR, loses his prisoner in a tug-of-war with the FBI. Hmmm.

Over in LA, Peggy and some of the old gang are investigating a weird murder which has frozen a lake in the middle of the summer. They’ve got a powerful political enemy in California, and he’s shacking up with Whitney Frost, who I remember as Madame Masque from the comics. She’s played by Wynn Everett, and Reggie Austin plays a scientist who’s too good to be true, so it’s not a very surprising ending when he is seen experimenting with some weird shifty-shapey technology. I’d guess it was a symbiote, only those are from the Spider-Man comics, and I don’t think this production company had access to those trademarks in 2015.

One reason I enjoy this series: nobody seems safe. Other than Peggy herself, anybody in this program could be a traitor and/or toast. One fellow this week becomes both, and I thought he was going to stick around! I like a show that keeps me guessing.

Agent Carter 1.8 – Valediction

Well, this was just tremendously entertaining! I’m so impressed by how much plot they cram into these forty minute episodes, and I really enjoyed the villains. We’ve been watching one character who goes by the unlikely name “Dottie Underwood” and who is a product of the same program that would later develop the Black Widow. Her cover identity is that of an all-American sweetheart of a girl with big blue eyes and a line in “gee golly gosh, officer, was I speeding?” dialogue. She’s played by Bridget Regan, who has starred in several American dramas of the last decade, including a fantasy series called Legend of the Seeker and TNT’s The Last Ship.

“Dottie” finally gets a great climactic fight scene with Agent Carter in this episode, and I’m afraid that it ends in what I’m seeing lately is a Hollywood-approved way to end these sorts of scraps: by having the villainous female miscalculate a lunge and crash through a window. This made a little sense in, say, an eighties show like MacGyver, because it just wouldn’t do to have Richard Dean Anderson exchange punches with the female villain of the week, so he needs to stand in front of a window and let her screw up her way to death. That shouldn’t happen in this program, though. Happily, “Dottie” loses a lot of blood from the fall, but she gets away, and I suspect we’ll see her again in season two.

Also, I didn’t mention him very much before because I wasn’t sure where they were going with him, but the fellow we’ve known as Dr. Ivchenko, with the mind control powers, is actually Johann Fennhoff, a character from the comics usually called Dr. Faustus. He’s played by British actor Ralph Brown and has just been wonderfully entertaining. Another quibble, though: the heroes make their standard action program “we need to win this thing for Chief Dooley and Agent Krzemenski” speeches, referencing the characters who died in earlier installments, but they don’t spare any thoughts for poor Agent Yauch, who Fennhoff hypnotized and talked to death in episode six. I guess nobody in the office really liked him.

Unlike “Dottie,” Fennhoff is captured, thanks to an ingenious solution improvised by Daniel, and is seen at the end in a delightful tag scene – wearing his new proto-Lecter headgear to prevent him talking anybody else to death – with his new cellmate, Arnim Zola, who you might remember from the first Captain America movie. It’s a shame that the 1940s end of the Marvel Universe has such a small rogues gallery, but it was great seeing Toby Jones again. (See, there’s another reason they should have done so much more with Cap and the Howling Commandos!)

I was impressed by how well everything tied together, and impressed by the photography, lighting, and costumes, and impressed by Hayley Atwell as Peggy. She’s a really interesting character – although fun isn’t the right word for her, I’m afraid – and I was pleased by the reward that she and her friend Angie get to share in the end. She also gets to be the one to decide what will happen with the vial of Captain America’s blood. It was a very entertaining production from start to finish, and I’m curious what the producers came up with for her next story.

We’ll take a break from this show, but we will start watching season two in about three weeks. Stay tuned!