Whitney and Peggy race against the clock to unlock the secrets of Zero Matter. And Jarvis saves the day!

By Andrea Towers and Gina McIntyre
February 09, 2016 at 10:55 PM EST
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EW was so excited about Agent Carter that two staffers — Gina McIntyre and Andrea Towers — decided to recap Peggy’s L.A. adventures together. Below, a discussion about tonight’s episode.

GINA MCINTYRE: Well! If last week’s episode was centered largely on revealing important elements of both Peggy and Whitney’s (Agnes) backstories, tonight was all about action — Agent Carter, the Mission: Impossible edition. Of course, breaking into Roxxon’s top-secret facility, which was housing the nuclear weapons Whitney was seeking in order to recreate the Zero Matter tests, didn’t turn out to be impossible, really, for either Peggy and her team or for Whitney. Clearly, Peggy will need to marshal extra resources to defeat our budding Madame Masque, however, given her advancing understanding of her Zero Matter abilities. This time, Peggy only had to impale herself (!) to escape. Surely, the stakes are going to be higher next time.

ANDREA TOWERS: First of all – Roxxon shoutout! I love how this company is really getting its own little backstory and history not only in the Agent Carter world, but basically throughout all of Marvel TV (there are references to it in Daredevil, too). And it makes sense that Roxxon is playing a part, since Howard was involved in helping it become notorious. Also, I’m not going to lie about the fact that I gasped out loud at the moment Peggy was impaled. And Peggy might be all bravado and she might walk things off, but she can get hurt. I love that Agent Carter wasn’t afraid to show us that Peggy can also be vulnerable, and that she’s not Steve Rogers The Super Soldier. She’s human. And hey, at least she has Violet to patch her up.

GINA: Next time, though, it looks like Violet might not be around to patch her up. Sousa adorably fumbled his way through that proposal at the beginning of the episode, but I had the feeling that maybe he wasn’t going to make it all the way to the altar. I did think, though, that his engagement to Violet might last a little longer than it did, but kudos to her for realizing that Daniel still was harboring some pretty serious feelings for his comrade in arms (not that anyone could blame him, though Violet did seem like a pretty special gal). I think it was the right call for Violet — she deserves a fella who’s smitten only with her — and, I’d wager, for the show. The romantic tension between Peggy and Sousa is terrific and really lends a certain quality to the episodes.

ANDREA: Oh man, that proposal — I had a feeling things were going to go from bad to worse once Sousa actually proposed, but how cute was that whole moment? I really do adore Violet, and I felt terrible when she realized where Sousa’s true feelings lie. I’m glad at least they didn’t make this a long and drawn out love triangle, because I was a little worried about that — and from what we saw of Violet, she seemed like she had too much of a head on her shoulders to be that kind of girl. (Plus, she loves being friends with Peggy!) But I have to wonder if this is the end for Violet or if we’ll see her pop up again before the series is over. I’d hate to see her fall into the hands of Whitney in some way, but I can also see our Madame Masque realizing just how she can get to Peggy… or Vernon realizing just how he can get to Sousa and the SSR (remember that threat from last week’s episode?)

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GINA: And speaking of disappearing! Poor Jason. He’s now literally floating out somewhere in the Zero Matter realm, after briefly regaining his tangible, physical form thanks to absorbing the Zero Matter contained in the sample of Jane Scott’s tissue (science!). And naturally, he vanished just as he and Peggy were enjoying a moment in her room while she was convalescing. It’s worth noting that both Wilkes and Whitney talked about being drawn to the Zero Matter in a powerful way, and clearly, Jason could no longer resist that call. It will be interesting to see when, and in what form, he’ll return. I’m willing to bet that Howard will venture back to the States next week and help summon Jason from his journey into the great beyond.

NEXT: Here comes the sun…I mean, the SSR

ANDREA: Howard had better return. We need Wilkes back in his tangible form! We definitely got a little insight into how powerful Zero Matter is. It apparently signals some sort of psychic trigger — both Whitney and Wilkes knew where Jane Scott’s body was immediately after Zero Matter “alerted” them. And remember Whitney’s declaration when she finally got to Jane’s body? “It called me here, it wants to be let out.” And that’s before she absorbed the Zero Matter out of Jane’s body! (At least Peggy finally saw what happens to those who get too involved with Whitney.) I’m curious if this means Zero Matter is universally connecting both Wilkes and Whitney, and if this means Wilkes will be drawn to Whitney in some way, even though he obviously doesn’t want anything to do with her. There’s so much we still need to learn about this crazy substance, including how it supposedly might tie into Doctor Strange, and we’re just halfway through the season.

GINA: Maybe Rose (Leslie Boone) will have all the answers? Delighted to see her enjoy a bigger role in the story line, what with Peggy having successfully lobbied Sousa to allow a capable agent some time in the field. There’s no question she can hold her own — no wonder the other new member of the squad, Samberly (Matt Braunger), is so very awfully sweet on her. She’s not only skillful at subterfuge, but also at taking down assailants who come her way. Right on, Rose!

ANDREA: Oh, man. Can I please talk about how much I love Rose? Another way that Agent Carter is kicking patriarchy in the butt. I love that they’re not playing around with Rose — they made her a smart, competent, and sassy (!) lady, who definitely deserved every moment of the screen time she got tonight. Like Peggy, she learned to use her gender to her advantage, which we see happening too much in this show but it’s also, sadly, the only way women were going to be able to get anywhere in a “man’s world.” But she goes all in, unafraid and totally gung-ho. It’s so great. AND Rose was the one who gave Samberly a boost of confidence when he was trying to get the door open so he could free Jarvis. I’m gunning to be the President of the Rose Fan Club and also gunning for Rose to be another agent in the SSR right now, because she definitely has the smarts and skills. Sousa may have not thought she was cut out for the field at first, but she soon proved him wrong. (Psh, Sousa, who are you — Thompson?! We’ll give you a pass for probably trying to protect her from getting hurt.)

GINA: Here’s hoping that more screen time for Samberly might also lead to newfangled gadgetry such as the memory inhibitor. That little device provided the night’s most overtly comedic sequence — with Peggy going undercover as a red-head at the office of Hugh Jones (Ray Wise) in order to find the key to Roxxon’s weapons repository, which just so happened to be hidden inside his belt buckle. (Way to be a leech, Hugh — maybe if this Roxxon thing doesn’t work out, there will be a job waiting back in New York at the Sterling Cooper offices?) Peggy zapping Jones again and again, and him returning and making yet another pass at her took on a silly comic rhythm. The punchline? When a confused, disheveled Hugh wandered out of his office and his receptionist asked if he had had a nice lunch: “I must have.” For me, the scene was another ingenious example of the way Agent Carter routinely cites, then skewers, the sexism of the era.

ANDREA: There were so many humorous moments in this episode that proved how the show can take us on intense missions, but still keep things light without losing sight of the true personality of the characters — such as when Jarvis accidently got locked in the room with the bomb. We knew everything would probably end up okay, but still, watching Jarvis freak out and try to dismantle a very dangerous weapon in an enclosed space should have made us totally nervous. And it did! But thanks to James D’Arcy’s brilliance, it was also a really amusing sequence to watch. (And it may be “that was nothing like making a souffle” but, hey, now Jarvis can add “Edwin Jarvis, Bomb Diffuser” to his resume. Along with “Butler” and “Ninja Master.”) Also: Sousa, Peggy and Jarvis sitting in the car while Rose and Samberly handled the stake-out and arguing like school kids? Classic. I’m predicting a few S.H.I.E.L.D. agents will do the same thing on a mission some years down the line…

Notes from the L.A. Bureau:

  • We learned Peggy sleeps with a gun under her pillow. If I were her, I probably would as well.
  • Violet suggests her co-worker who called in sick might be faking it to stay home and enjoy the latest technology. “Rumor has it her husband surprised her with one of those televisions.” Oh, the 1940s.
  • When Sousa asks Peggy whether she had enough vacation days to remain in L.A. indefinitely, her reply: “I haven’t had a day off since Pearl Harbor.”
  • Jarvis has the cutest bathrobe.
  • “Isn’t that why you wore your recreation tie?” Jarvis DOES dress for adventure, and it’s delightful.
  • The slo-mo Beatles walk of the SSR’s finest with Peggy, Jarvis, Sousa, Rose, and Samberly was classic, and we need a GIF of that right now. And maybe a poster, if Marvel is feeling generous.
  • Calvin Chadwick standing up for himself when Whitney demanded more Uranimum to run additional Zero Matter tests actually made me nod in agreement at the screen. Good job, Chadwick. Whether or not you end up good or evil in these chain of events (because you’re certainly no hero to write home about yet), here’s to taking a stand… because you’ve finally realized just how unstable your wife really is.
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    Marvel’s second TV series on ABC tracks the exploits of Agent Peggy Carter, played by Hayley Atwell, last seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
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