Finally, thanks to OnDemand, and ABC rerunning the first two episodes of “Marvel’s Agent Carter” the other night after “Galavant,” I was able to see and review the second episode. No thanks to Comcast, meet me after the jump for my thoughts on “A View in the Dark.”
Agent Peggy Carter has gone to Los Angeles to help now Chief Sousa with a strange case of a corpse that radiates intense cold. Clues lead them to the obviously evil corporate entity of Isodyne Energy, who are willing to kill to protect their secrets. Luckily Peggy has a friend on the inside, Dr. Jason Wilkes.
Notably the one thing that escaped my eyes last time is painfully obvious in the scenes from the last episode. The pin that Dottie Underwood was after at the bank bore the symbol of ancient Hydra, and the symbol of the mission that sent Will Daniels to the planet Maveth over in “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Or is it?
The opening sparring sequence between Peggy and Jarvis brings back some last season’s chemistry that was missing from last episode. Lotte Verbeek’s Ana gets more likable by the moment. And James D’Arcy’s Jarvis looks so much younger in his fighting gear that his regular butler outfit, maybe we could get a bit more of that?
Sousa’s not-so-secret girlfriend Violet is out of the bag when she and Peggy make friends. His awkwardness is painful as he’s obviously still carrying a torch for Peggy. As one character noted, Sousa’s got a very special kind of worry for Peggy. It’s double-time awkward when Peggy discovers the engagement ring Sousa was planning to give Violet. It’s a good thing Agent Carter has other things to worry about.
Head of Isodyne Calvin Chadwick is called into a meeting with the Council. In attendance in bad guy Hugh Jones, Roxxon Oil muckety-muck perfectly played by Ray Wise. This is the Council of Nine, also known as the Council of Twelve, the unseen corporate illuminati-like white guys who really run the world, or at least think they do. They’re called the Secret Empire, and the symbol on the pin is theirs.
The organization was once a low tier part of Hydra but grew into its own entity. Employing many super-villains as their enforcers over time, the Secret Empire ran afoul of Captain America in the 1970s, where its leader revealed himself to be the President of the United States himself. Yeah, this classic Steve Englehart storyline was one for all the conspiracy nuts, as it came out during the Watergate scandal and hearings. This TV version is shutting down Isodyne and its secret project.
Date at the Dunbar
As I said last time, as season one of “Agent Carter” addressed the social position of women of the time, season two seems to be taking aim at race relations. Peggy and Jason have a rendezvous at the Dunbar Hotel to get to know each other better, and for our heroine to get inside info on Isodyne. The Dunbar is described as a swanky dance place, but also to use the vernacular of the time – a colored club.
After trading stories of their respective youths and sharing a dance, Jason decides he can trust Peggy and takes her to Isodyne to show her what the corporation is up to. Not The Monolith as I suspected last time, it’s called zero matter. Rumor has it this is actually the darkforce that shows up often in Doctor Strange comics, and may link to the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe film with Benedict Cumberbatch in the titular role.
The Woman with the Golden Face
Cut to Hollywood for the introduction of a major player in both this season and the comics of Iron Man – Whitney Frost. Also known as Madame Masque, in the comics she is the daughter of Maggia crime lord and later super-villain, Count Nefaria. After a plane crash disfigured her face, she took to wearing a golden mask, and became the sometimes-lover and sometimes-enemy of Iron Man.
Like the Secret Empire, Whitney Frost has been placed into this post-war 1940s setting. Here, she’s an aging actress performing in a film slyly called The Woman with the Golden Face. The director makes nasty comments about her age, weight, and wrinkles, giving additional possible motive to the wearing of a mask in her future. Oh yeah, and she’s also working with Chadwick on Isodyne’s secret project.
Jason shows Peggy a film of Isodyne’s atomic tests, especially the detonation that resulted in the zero matter. After the mushroom cloud, a black crack remained, not unlike the crack from “Doctor Who,” but behaving very much like The Monolith so I’m not throwing that theory out yet. It imploded and pulled trucks and men into it, perhaps to somewhere else (the planet Maveth maybe?). It was Wilkes’ job to contain it.
Peggy decides they have to steal it. That would be the best end to her and Jason’s wild night on the town as they dodge men with guns, racist clerks, and all-too-brief kisses. While Peggy kicks serious butt on the bad guys outside, Jason goes in to collect the zero matter – only to be confronted by actress Whitney Frost.
Even though we all saw it coming, I was still surprised when it happened. Frost and Wilkes struggled with the zero matter, and the container broke, exploding and imploding, leaving no trace of either of them. When Peggy got to the scene, all she found was a hole. It seems as though Ms. Frost did get away however, with a black zero matter crack in her forehead… Things are just getting started…
Next: “Better Angels”