Looks like last episode was a blip and Agent Carter is continuing to move up and produce better episodes. This episode was pretty much the strongest one I have seen so far this series and I found myself enjoying and wanting to watch it again. This would have been an episode that would have been what I expected from Series One Agent Carter and it just might be that the show is going to give us a very good second half. This episode has certainly encouraged me a lot. While it is not without flaws and I do have some criticism for it, I certainly have a lot less than usual, and that is a good sign.
My main problem with this episode was that Thompson’s motivations are not obvious at all. We’ve seen him be concerned with the Council, yet he is willing to do Vernon Masters’s bidding with almost no strings attached, then one scene later he decides to warn Peggy about this. I don’t understand what his game is. I suspect that the show is trying to make him appear to be a weak person who wants to climb the greasy pole but still has a part of him that wants to do the right thing, but the show needs to make that a lot clearer because right now it seems like he is a distraction at best and a deus ex machina at worst.
The best part of this episode was unequivocally Dottie Underwood. Her return from Series One, now fully as the Soviet Spy/early Black Widow means that while there is no more mystery, we can revel in what a fantastic character she is. Watching her pretty much get an episode to herself, which she seemed to enjoy was fantastic. Whether it was her banter with Peggy, or teasing Jarvis Bridget Reagan was clearly having a good time. Furthermore, it was also good that the show had Peggy leaning on someone else for support, especially after her injury. Many shows have characters being injured and then just appearing in the next episode fully healed. I am glad that Agent Carter understood that a piece of rebar going through someone’s abdomen would take a while to fix and brought in another character, who we liked, and did something good with her. That makes a lot of sense.
I also really enjoyed how Whitney Frost managed to up the stakes in this episode by very nicely assassinating the Council. The Council itself was not a really interesting part of the story, just a plot device to get us to the real fight between Whitney and Peggy and it was good to see that the show was not dragging their presence out. Having them all die means that Whitney now has a huge amount of power. Furthermore, it was a great way to show her ruthlessness, with her killing her own husband for his betrayal. It was clear that this was something she wanted to do, having been relegated to being the brains no one recognised, the mastermind behind Calvin Chadwick, but getting no credit and having her decisions, the ones she knows are the best ones, being overruled. The betrayal by the Council was just the catalyst she needed for her to defeat these people who had scorned her and take the revenge she so dearly wanted. It was good to watch.
Finally, I really enjoyed the dynamic between Dottie and Peggy and Jarvis. Dottie clearly finds Peggy to be a kindred sprit and someone who she truly respects as she is willing to work together (after trying to escape of course). The fact that the two women are equals means that there is always a challenge and while Peggy accepts this in order to further her goals, Dottie relishes the chance to try and outsmart her captors and prove that she is better. Even when she gets caught or outsmarted we see that Dottie is happy and actually impressed that Peggy is capable of doing so. With people like Thompson, she clearly thinks of herself above them, but Peggy was the one who stopped her in New York City, which is why she respects Peggy so much and that dynamic shows. Additionally, watching her work with Jarvis was great, since it shows that Jarvis, despite his intelligence and love for those close to him, is still not quite an agent. The ease by which Dottie managed to lose Jarvis and oversee Whitney Frost’s rise to power was great and her mocking of him by calling him ‘Jeeves’ demonstrated how she was in control, despite being the captive, which was always great to see, and mirrors Romanoff in the modern MCU.