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AGENT CARTER Recap: The Problem with Zero Matter

Warning: The following information is classified. Spoilers are ahead for the two-hour season two premiere of Marvel’s Agent Carter.

Peggy Carter is back, and she’s as fabulous and kick-ass as ever. Season two of Marvel’s Agent Carter debuted in style with two episodes back-to-back. “The Lady in the Lake” and “A View in the Dark” set the stage nicely. Chief Jack Thompson sent Peggy to the Los Angeles branch of the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR) to help Chief Daniel Sousa/to get her out of the way, and there, she encountered a new mystery. A couple of things were apparent within the first ten minutes of season two: Peggy’s peers treat her as a peer (finally!), and Peggy is more confident, more sure of herself. You can almost see some of the baggage she carried in the first season–Steve’s death, the constant proving herself and working behind her co-workers’ backs to do so–is gone. The difference is visible and immediately apparent.

Dottie showed up in the beginning of the episode with a fun flip on Peggy Carter’s entrance last year. However, our time with Dottie was brief. We didn’t revisit New York after Peggy left, and I hope the future brings a jump to the East coast or at least a phone call from Thompson to give us more of that plot.

But for now, there are so many new things to focus on. Let’s discuss the most charming addition to Agent Carter: Ana Jarvis. Lotte Verbeek is a delight, and she positively brightened the show whenever she was on screen. Ana had to be something different–Jarvis wouldn’t be so madly in love with just anyone–and they gave Ana enough room to breathe in the first couple of episodes that you can easily see why her and Jarvis work. There wasn’t the slightest hint of jealousy towards Peggy from Ana either. It’s obvious Jarvis and Ana are confident Peggy isn’t a threat, and I’m thrilled to see Ana step in as a friend. Without Angie around, Peggy needs more female friends.

Jarvis was back to form. It was interesting to see how he’s become bored with being a butler for Howard. Working with Peggy to stop Leviathan seemingly gave him a taste for adventure, and now he’s more into in helping her than chasing flamingos. He’s changed, and I look forward to seeing how his eagerness to help Peggy will play out in the weeks ahead. Whatever path he takes, it’s good to see Jarvis and Peggy again at last. James D’Arcy and Hayley Atwell are so at home in these roles and handle every nuance of Jarvis and Peggy’s relationship so damn well. Their training session was utterly endearing, and not only because of Jarvis’ outfit. And the bit with Howard’s tricked-out vehicle? Come. On.

On the work side of things, Peggy didn’t waste any time diving in once she arrived in Los Angeles. She reported to Sousa, and the awkwardness practically hung in the air. Since they’re professionals, they didn’t let it get in the way of the job and moved quickly to investigate the mysterious case. They worked alongside a Los Angeles Police Department detective who wasn’t as confident in Peggy’s skills as Sousa but soon learned to keep his trap shut.

Their investigations led them to Isodyne Energy and to Jason Wilkes. The character is new, and he and Peggy instantly had a spark. It was weird to see her be open to romantic connections since she wasn’t anywhere near that head space last season–weird but refreshing. I’m proud of Peggy for opening the door. It’s terribly unfair the first person she let past her guard, maybe second if you count Sousa, was taken away so soon. The loss of Wilkes can’t be encouraging.

As with the first season, the issue at hand has a wide reach. We saw it spread outward to include the police, Calvin Chadwick, and his wife Whitney Frost. She’s intriguing. She’s an actress but also secretly a scientific genius. It appears as though she’s working behind or through her husband to exert her power. Calvin owns Isodyne, but I’d argue Whitney keeps the lights on. She demonstrated her knowledge about zero matter, and she’ll surely play a key role in the season. I’m not just saying that because we know she’s Madame Masque and set to be the primary foe.

Whitney is on equal footing with Peggy. In some ways, she might have more to overcome because others are so hung up on the way she looks. It’s an additional hurdle to get past besides being a woman. The disguise works in Whitney’s favor. Whatever she’s up to, she’s able to work in the background and off the radar. People only have certain expectations from her, and those expectations have nothing to do with Isodyne or zero matter.

Zero matter seems like a massive problem and has the potential to easily last the whole season. They’ve already established a number of people are attached to the secret, and I have a hunch the SSR will have their hands full putting the case to rest. Season two of Agent Carter is off to a fine start. It’s snappy, layered, and poised to dive into greatness.

Favorite quotes:

  • “If you’ve brought me all the way up here for the view, I’m going to be very cross.” – Peggy Carter
  • “It doesn’t take long to realize you’ve met someone special.” – Ana Jarvis
  • “It’s a real burden being everybody’s favorite agent.” – Jack Thompson

What did you think about Peggy Carter’s return? Head to the comments and let me know or come talk to me on Twitter.


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