In the aftermath of our last episode of “Marvel’s Agent Carter,” the presumably late Doctor Jason Wilkes has been blamed (or is that framed?) for the explosion at Isodyne Energy, and evidence has appeared making him out to be a Russian spy. Can Peggy find out what really happened? And what of The Council, Dottie Underwood, and Whitney Frost? Meet me after the Cold War jump for my thoughts on “Better Angels.”
Howard Stark Knows
Dominic Cooper’s Howard Stark re-enters the picture as Peggy goes to him for help. They really are pushing the Howard Hughes template with this character as he’s gone to Hollywood and become obsessed with filmmaking. I love the fact that his current project is a historical drama, or a tax write off if it fails – Kid Colt, based on the Marvel (then called Atlas) comic Kid Colt Outlaw. Seriously, it’s about time Marvel started mining their Western heroes for the screen.
Peggy goes to Stark for help and he does. He knows what the pin is about, the one Dottie was after and the one Wilkes found – the Arena Club – an elite social organization of rich white men (as Stark says, “male and pale”) who assumedly want to run the world. As noted last time, it’s also awfully close to the symbol plaguing the folks at “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” in the present day.
Isodyne’s Calvin Chadwick and Whitney Frost have done a good job of making Dr. Wilkes look like a commie spy, by planting evidence, alerting the papers and poisoning public opinion. Even the SSR is in on it. Chief Thompson has come in from the east coast and falsified Peggy’s reports on the incident, noting that her gallivanting about town with a man of color was bad for the organization’s reputation.
Agent Carter is determined to clear her friend Jason Wilkes’ name, with or without the SSR’s help. As it turns out however, Thompson’s motives in the cover up are not all just him being a jerk. Vernon Masters is behind him pulling his strings. I told you that guy was not only coming back, but bad news. Masters wants the zero matter.
The Arena Club
The Arena Club has always been after Howard Stark to become a member, so to help Peggy, he gives them a chance. Stark does it with style, by bringing a dozen or so women, including Peggy, into this white men only club. While trying to plant bugs, which are sadly ineffective, she discovers the meeting room of the Council, and sees the newspapers.
These are two Los Angeles Tribune, both with tomorrow’s date. One suggests a sex scandal for Chadwick’s opponent and the other that he steps down, both result in Chadwick running unopposed. The Council isn’t predicting the future – they’re making it.
Ghosts and Witches
Thompson, of course, under the thumb of Masters, doesn’t give Peggy’s story any credence. Before that subplot can move forward, Peggy notices small objects floating around her. A quick examination by Stark reveals exposure to zero matter, or more precisely, exposure to someone exposed to zero matter. It’s the invisible intangible Jason Wilkes. It’s an interesting analogy to interracial relationships of the time that now Peggy’s man of interest is truly untouchable.
In the meantime, acting on Wilkes’ info, Peggy pays a visit to Whitney Frost. She’s as cool as her name but Agent Carter’s accusations freak her out. She gets her husband Chadwick to sic someone named Mr. Hunt on Carter. Peggy deflects easily, but meanwhile Sousa makes a major discovery about Frost. Just as Stark is channeling Hughes, the showrunners have channeled Hedy Lamarr for Frost – as she’s the scientific genius behind Isodyne Energy.
This episode ends with a double-decker cliffhanger. First, after taking possession of the film reel of the nuclear test that birthed the zero matter, Vernon Masters takes Thompson out for a night at the Arena Club. There he meets Chadwick, who Masters introduces as Senator Chadwick and shows him a newspaper that Peggy told him about. Talk about a told-you-so.
Then there’s Whitney Frost’s agent who just saved her from getting fired from The Woman with the Golden Face. She’s thankful, but it seems he wants a little more than a thank you when they hug. Fortunately or unfortunately the zero matter sucks him in before it can go much further. And now the crack in her face is much bigger…
Next: Agent Carter goes rogue!