Agent Carter Season 2 Premiere Recap: “The Lady In the Lake” & “A View In the Dark”
Did everybody watch the season two premiere of Agent Carter, including not one but two action-packed episodes? Strap in, folks — it’s time for a spoilerific recap!
The season premiere kicks off with Dottie in her best Agent Carter cosplay, holding up a bank. She looks good as a brunette, even if this is a stick-up. Except somehow Peggy is hiding inside the bank vault, with a shotgun: “Dorothy Underwood, you’re under arrest.”
Peggy’s got back-up from the SSR in the rest of the bank, but when it comes to fighting hand-to-hand with Dottie – well, that she can do on her own, and she completes that task before the opening credits crawl.
Next, we cut to Sousa in LA, complete with Hawaiian shirt and a palm tree background. A new character who seems to be Sousa’s colleague in LA tells him about the body of a dead woman found in a lake – that’s the episode title, too (“Lady in the Lake”). The body is also encased in a huge block of ice … except this is LA, shouldn’t it be a little warm for the lake to freeze? Seems as though some mysterious forces (e.g. dry ice) could be at work here. Sousa’s coworker believes it’s part of a string of mysterious homicides he’s been uncovering, although the ice aspect seems to be a fun new angle.
Back to Peggy vs. Dottie: Interrogation Room Edition. Dottie had possession of a mysterious lapel pin that Peggy seems to think is a key of some kind, although of course Dottie’s not going to open up about it. What’s weird is that Peggy seems to be playing good cop here, gently smiling and removing Dottie’s handcuffs, assuring her, “I am not afraid of you.” Seems like Peggy’s trying to lull Dottie into a false sense of security. Is that really going to work?
Meanwhile, Jack’s on the other side of the mirror, watching the interrogation and telling his colleagues to quick gawping at the two women on the inside. Sousa gives Jack a call from LA, which he answers.
Sousa reminds us, via exposition, that now he’s his own boss in LA – and that other character we met before was his police liaison. Sousa’s new office looks nice; I forgot he got a promotion, but hey, it’s been a while since the first season. Anyway, Sousa wants help with his first case, which is the dead woman in the block of ice. Jack mocks Sousa for instantly needing a hand, because toxic masculinity reigns supreme in this world. “I’m sure you can spare one guy,” Sousa reiterates. He stipulates “guy,” because he went to LA to get away from his feelings for Peggy, but of course Jack is going to send Peggy anyway, because Jack is a jerk. Also, Jack wants to get rid of Peggy because she’s always overshadowing him.
“I have just the man for you,” Jack tells Sousa over the phone, smirking. Then he pulls Peggy out of interrogation, to her horror, and tells her he’s taking her off Dottie’s case and putting her on another one. “No one knows Dottie like I do,” she protests – and she’s right, as usual – but Jack continues to be a dick anyway. He lies to Peggy’s face: “Sousa asked for you, and nobody else.” Ugh!
Jack claims he’ll be the one interrogating Dottie in Peggy’s stead. I expect the SSR to fall instantly, but we won’t see that right away, because Jarvis and Peggy just arrived in LA together. Howard Stark has arranged for them to stay at his LA property, but they’ll be stuck with a housemate named Bernard Stark – oh, also, Bernard Stark is a flamingo. Rich people, am I right?
Howard’s busy, because he’s opening a “motion picture studio.” Jarvis justifies his own presence as Peggy’s chauffeur, claiming that Peggy needs his help. When she points out that she definitely doesn’t, Jarvis admits that he only wanted to come along because he is “profoundly and exhaustively bored.” Heh.
Next up, we re-meet another character from the first season, although she might have a larger role this time around — it’s Rose Roberts, who used to help with the “phone company” front for the SSR. The new front for Sousa’s LA office is “The Auberbach Theatrical Agency.” Somehow, two over-enthusiastic tap dancers managed to find the place and have insisted on auditioning; Rose turns them down politely before showing Peg inside.
Peggy walks through an unexpectedly crowded office to meet Sousa. Are all of these other employees wildly untalented compared to her? I mean, probably, but it does seem a little odd that Sousa can’t find any local agent to help him and had to call Jack for help. Still, it allows for the awkward interaction between a hopeful Peggy, who was assuming Sousa had requested her specifically, and Sousa trying to get over his own bafflement that she’s there. Peggy realizes fast that Sousa didn’t ask for her, but Sousa tries to save the moment regardless, and he manages to do so with more grace than I expected from him.
Peg and Sousa next meet the police liaison, who also makes fun of Sousa for requesting extra help. Peggy instantly proves her value by pointing out that perhaps the mysteriously-frozen lake sections might not be related to the dead body that happened to get frozen as well. This blows everybody’s mind, because Agent Carter is the only one who can sort out a mystery on this show.
Everybody heads to the morgue, which is cold for reasons that aren’t adequately explained – sure, morgues are cold, but there are multiple heat lamps pointed at this one dead woman’s frozen body. So why is everybody shivering? Anyway, the body is still “frozen solid” in spite of the heat lamps, which is pretty mysterious. Also, the frozen body is glowing.
A lab tech informs them that the woman isn’t frozen, at least not in ice. It’s a mysterious blah blah science substance that makes her body glow and remain frozen in spite of having multiple heat lamps pointed at it. The lab tech also shames Agents Sousa and Carter for not respecting him, which is pretty funny, because I wasn’t paying any attention to him either.
Everybody heads over to Isodyne Energy, a local energy company that seems to be connected to that whole “glowing frozen substance” problem. This leads to the scene I remember from the first sneak peek – Peggy sneaks into Isodyne without a search warrant, which seems a little unrealistic, but Sousa distracts the secretary by flirting with her, which is cute. Speaking of flirting, Peggy Carter runs into Jason Wilkes in the hallway, and he invites her into his lab because he just discovered something and apparently wants to share it with any gal he bumps into in the hallway. I would quibble with the unrealism of this as well, but his excitement is infectious, so I guess I’d buy that he’d happily share his breakthrough with any ol’ passerby.
Apparently his breakthrough is … using his fancy test tube set to make a delicious glass of wine in record time? Peggy and Jason don’t hesitate when it comes to shameless flirting, but Agent Carter’s got a job to do; she shows Jason a picture of the frozen lady, and he recognizes her as Jane Scott, a former Isodyne colleague and particle physicist. “Let’s just say,” Jason says hesitantly, “That she had a very close relationship with the owner of Isodyne Energy, Calvin Chadwick.”
The secretary finds Peggy in Jason’s lab and kicks her out, at which point Jason Wilkes gives Peggy both his business and personal contact information and invites her to do the same (she doesn’t — ever the professional). We learn that Jason is a doctor, by the way. The police liaison later claims that Wilkes is a “janitor,” which is pretty messed up, because Jason was wearing a lab coat, but hey … racism! Doesn’t seem like this police guy is too interested in taking Peggy Carter seriously, either. It’s sort of weird that they esesntially invented a character to be the stand-in bigot, just so Sousa can look like the good guy in comparison, but I get why they did it this way — even if it is a bit heavy-handed.
Jarvis drives Peggy to his place, where his wife Ana Jarvis shows up, gives Peggy a hug, and then gives Jarvis a surprisingly sensual kiss, while Peggy looks askance. It’s pretty adorable.
Ana has some clothes to lend to Peggy – a disguise for her next operation, which is trailing Isodyne Energy boss Calvin Chadwick at a horserace. Ana also gives Peggy a special gift: a garter that is also a gun holster. Ana sewed it herself! This sort of thing should be standard issue at the SSR, except Peggy’s the only woman agent they have, so of course it isn’t.
As soon as Peggy and Jarvis arrive at the track, they see Calvin posing for pictures with his wife, a famous film actress named Whitney Frost. Peggy hasn’t heard of her, because she doesn’t watch movies apparently – which prompts Jarvis to ask, “What do you do for relaxation? Assemble rifles?”
Jarvis works his charm on Whitney Frost, claiming himself to be “head of production at Stark Pictures.” He might not even be lying – that is the sort of job that the impulsive Howard Stark might expect his butler to take on. Peggy Carter whips out an impressive American accent for Calvin, claiming to work in politics, then she catches him off guard by revealing that she knows Jane Scott – and that Jane is dead. Calvin is shocked enough by the sudden turn-about that he almost answers her follow-up questions … not quite, though. He seems surprised enough about Jane’s death that perhaps he’s not responsible, although it’s not yet clear what he knows.
Meanwhile, Jarvis has to invent a fake movie for Whitney Frost, since he’s pretending to cast actresses for it. “You’d be a female agent — tough as nails,” he promises. Ahh, I know where this is going! “So,” Whitney asks, “She doesn’t have a love interest?” Jarvis glances at Peggy. “We, um, haven’t found the right actor yet.” I assume you will by the end of this season, Agent Carter!
When Sousa, Carter, and Jerk-Police return to the morgue to check up on the frozen body, they find that it’s still frozen … the room is still freezing … and the morgue employee is now also frozen. When Sousa grabs the employee’s shoulder, the guy tips over, shattering into a gazillion icy pieces. I guess that’s why the room is still cold – whatever froze this woman’s body seems to be having a terrifying effect.
Meanwhile, back at the original SSR office, Jack begins to interrogate Dottie. He’s trying “bad cop” and threatening torture. I predict that it won’t work, in part because torture doesn’t work in real life, but also because Dottie is too smart for that posturing crap. She instantly overpowers him and then asks for Peggy. Tough luck, Dottie — she’s out of town!
Peggy Carter asks Dr. Wilkes to evaluate the two frozen bodies in the morgue. Meanwhile, the frozen substance infecting those bodies seems to be infecting the rest of the building as well; when police-jerk tries to drink some water from the water fountain, the stream of liquid freezes. But not before he touches it – meaning that police-jerk is probably about to die. So, he does what any reasonable person would do: he kidnaps Jason Wilkes (!!!), steals Jarvis’s car (!!??), and demands that the doctor “fix” him (!?!?!?!). At this point, I’m more than okay with this guy being the redshirt of the episode.
Meanwhile, Jack’s interrogation gets interrupted by some FBI staffers, who are taking over the case. “Tell Peggy I say bye,” Dottie says, a hopeful lilt in her voice. Jack looks annoyed.
Sousa, Carter, and Jarvis find the car pulled over to the side of the road – it’s frozen, and Dr. Wilkes and the policeman aren’t inside. When we see the pair of them, the policeman reveals that he was paid off to make Jane’s death look like it was part of an ongoing unsolved serial killer string, as opposed to what it actually was. We don’t know who killed her yet, but my money’s on Isodyne, because obviously. That’s probably why the police guy was upset that Peggy started solving it all so quick. Does this guy have a name? Do I care? He’s obviously about to die.
Peggy & co. manage to save Jason and save the day, like you’d think – how hard could it be to overpower a slowly-freezing radioactive policeman? He has a gun, but it’s too frozen to shoot. Why isn’t anybody worried about radioactivity on this show? How did Sousa and Peggy avoid getting frozen themselves? It seems like all you have to do is touch the magic ice and you’re doomed. Didn’t they touch the car? I don’t understand how this ice works yet. But I have a feeling main characters might be immune to its effects regardless.
Before ice-cube-police can reveal any important exposition, another nameless back-up police officer shows up and shoots him.
Meanwhile, Jack’s arguing with the FBI chief about Dottie Underwood. I can’t remember this FBI guy’s name either, but he seems familiar from the first season. He’s giving Jack some decent career advice about how the SSR is becoming irrelevant now that the war is over, and Jack should consider a new position. One that “befits [his] pretty face.” Uh … so he’s going to become a super model? My goodness, I hope so.
Back at the icy crime scene, Jason and Peggy continue to flirt shamelessly and be adorable, but when Jason finally asks Peggy on a date, she tells him she can’t date a “person of interest.” Okay, Peggy, I know you have to be professional, but come on!
Meanwhile, the nameless policeman who shot that other ice-policeman drives to a secluded location and gets a pay-off from Calvin, because Isodyne is covering up everything. I mean, I get it. Isodyne is paying off the police. I GET IT. We also learn that Whitney Frost is involved in the cover-up, since she’s there too, helping with the hand-off.
The first of the two episodes ends with Peggy watching Sousa leave the office and meet up with another woman; she looks sad about it, but not too sad. The final shot of the episode shows Jason in a lab, looking at some spooky dark matter. So … does Jason know more than he’s letting on?
Time for episode two of two!!
This episode opens with Jarvis lifting weights in a funny strong-man outfit. “I’ve begun a regimented fitness routine,” he explains. He challenges Miss Carter to a fight – a boxing match, to be specific. “I really don’t think you want to do that,” she responds, and then shows him exactly why he might not want to do that.
Ana walks in on Peggy and Edwin in a compromising boxing position, and she seems thoroughly unfazed, thereby inspiring a ton of threesome fan-fictions about this trio …
Rose and Sousa are heading to work together, and Rose is pressuring Sousa to tell Peggy that he has a new girlfriend. Once they arrive at work, Sousa discovers that Peggy and his girlfriend have already met – and they’re already getting along. It seems like the theme of this season is Peggy refusing to be competitive with other women, no matter what society may expect. And I LOVE IT.
Sousa’s gal invites Peggy to dinner with the two of them, in spite of Sousa’s protestations. We learn that her name is Violet.
Anywho, remember that frozen lady from the morgue? You’ll be unhappy to learn that a mysterious man in a suit – who, let’s be real, probably works for Isodyne – has recaptured that body. So I guess the SSR won’t get to study it further.
Calvin Chadwick, Isodyne boss, gets surprised at his country club with a meeting among a bunch of other old guys who call themselves “councilors.” The other guys tell him they’re going to shut down Isodyne. Calvin seems taken aback by both the meeting and the shutdown. This “council” seems a little pissed off that Calvin’s antics led to an FBI investigation and also a lot of mysterious deaths, plus radioactive bodies, a radioactive ice-car somewhere on the side of the road (did anyone reclaim that?), and so on.
Then one of the old guys uses his fingers to put out a candle. It’s pretty bad-ass. Except then every other guy does the same thing with the candles in front of them. All we know about this secret society is that they have a lot of money, and they like to put out candles with their fingers. I guess that’s … fine? Who am I to judge what a group of older men do in a room by themselves in order to feel cool?
Sousa and Carter discover that the frozen body got stolen from the morgue, and they’re predictably unhappy. But this does give them grounds to get a warrant to search Isodyne, finally. When they arrive, they learn there’s an all-too-convenient “containment leak” in the lab that prevents them from entering the building. They run into Jason Wilkes and try to get his help, but he refuses – however, he also manages to slip them a note with an address on it.
I think Dr. Wilkes has only just figured out that he might be working for a questionable organization, and now he’s on the side of the angels. Jason breaks into one of the other offices and steals a file that contains something that looks like a film reel, but some other doctor sees him do it, so that’s probably bad.
Sousa and Agent Carter discuss the address that Dr. Wilkes gave them tonight; it’s a hotel bar, and a “hot spot” for the “colored crowd” according to Sousa, who brags that he once saw Ella Fitzgerald perform there. But what about the part where Sousa and Violet had a date tonight – the date that Violet invited Peggy to attend as well? Yeah, that’s not gonna happen, because Sousa accidentally drops a small box with an engagement ring in it, and when Peggy sees it, she realizes that she probably shouldn’t crash that date at all. Yikesville.
Dr. Wilkes said “come alone” on his note, anyway, and Agent Carter can handle herself, so … it’s fine. Ana helps Peggy pick out her outfit for the evening, and almost immediately infers Peggy’s mixed feelings for both Agent Sousa and for Dr. Wilkes. Edwin Jarvis lends Peggy Carter one of Howard Stark’s more ridiculous cars – it’s a car that is clearly built for having sex in, because, well, you know Howard.
Since Jason and Peggy are meeting up at a bar, it does feel like a date, although Peggy reminds Jason that the stakes are too high for her to want to relax with a drink. Jason responds by telling her that a group of Isodyne lawyers have threatened him at work, since he’s been acting suspicious lately, so he’d “like to know a little more about the woman I’m trusting” before he chooses to turn informant on his employer. This is Dr. Wilkes’ excuse to get to know Agent Carter better, but it’s a damn good excuse. So, Peggy orders a whisky and opens up, sharing some anecdotes about herself – apparently Peggy was a rebellious young high school student, which makes sense as a background for a woman who now works as a spy.
We get a brief cut-away scene to Whitney Frost working as an actress on set for a movie; her director keeps treating her like crap, pointing out that she looks too old to still be playing the lead in a big picture. This seems a little inexplicable, although it does humanize Whitney a bit.
Meanwhile, Jason and Peggy share a romantic dance at the bar – and Jason tells Peggy that this Isodyne conspiracy is “bigger than you think it is.” Unfortunately, someone’s tailing the two of them, so when Jason and Peggy leave the bar, they’re not alone.
Back at the movie set, Whitney heads to her dressing room to wash off her makeup from a day’s work, and her husband Calvin’s waiting for her there with the bad news about the “council” shutting down Isodyne. Now, we begin to discover that Whitney’s the brains in this operation; she understands the value of the “zero matter” they’re developing, a form of energy that could be more valuable than “the steam engine” for society. She’s understandably upset about the council shutting down all of Isodyne’s hard work.
Calvin excitedly tells her that the council wants him to instead focus on running for Senate. Whitney smiles and tells him she loves him, that he’ll be a wonderful senator. But the smile doesn’t reach her eyes.
Jason and Peggy have climbed the stairs to a rooftop – of Isodyne Energy? Or the Dunbar Hotel? Or … Jason’s apartment complex? Somewhere?
Anyway, Jason tells her about growing up outside LA, among the orange groves, and how he had to work up from nothing. He started out scrubbing floors, saved up to go to college, then became a Navy engineer. Isodyne was the only company that was willing to hire a black scientist, out of all the places that Dr. Wilkes applied – so that’s why he’s reluctant to screw them over now, even if they are evil.
Jason and Peggy go inside and boot up a projector. (I think they might be in the hotel, perhaps in Jason’s hotel room, although … again, it’s not clear.) Dr. Wilkes shows her some filmed evidence of an atomic bomb test that went wrong – or, at least, resulted in a strange anomaly. It looks like a miniature black hole; the anomaly sucks in a truck and some men, none of whom were ever seen again. All that remains is a strange black substance, which Isodyne has named “zero matter,” and has contained in their lab. Dr. Wilkes believes it’s “more dangerous than anything we’ve ever known.”
Wilkes theorizes that Jane must have touched the zero matter; he thinks that’s what caused the icy effects. Peggy suggests they break into Isodyne and steal it – but before they can do any of that, a bunch of men show up and start shooting at them. Peggy flips an emergency switch in Howard Stark’s Sex Car while Jason covers for her, shooting back at the men, and then they both make a break for it. Peggy has to hotwire a different car and drives that instead of Howard Stark’s Sex Car. Anyway, the alarm she set off signals Edwin and Ana Jarvis.
Jason and Peggy manage to lose the car tailing them with relative speed. Peggy finds a lapel pin that looks exactly like one that Dottie had at the very beginning of Episode 1 – it has a strange symbol on it, and it looks a little bit like a key. I missed the part where Peggy managed to get this lapel pin, though, and even on re-watching the scene, I couldn’t quite tell when or how she got it. It seems like she just found it in the back of whatever car she stole. But … whose car is that, even?
Sousa goes to his office to pick up Violet, who’s been making small talk with Rose. The best part of this scene is Sousa quipping, “Who’s this clown?” Then gesturing to a literal clown who must have tried to audition for Rose earlier. Maybe Rose should try to actually cast some of these out-of-work actors. She could put on a play or something.
Right before Sousa and Violet leave for their date, Jarvis calls the office phone to let Sousa know about Agent Carter’s S.O.S. signal. Too bad, since it seems like last we saw, Jason and Peggy were pretty much safe, although they did have to abandon Howard Stark’s Sex Car. And also that other car.
Peggy and Jason stop by a convenience store to ask for change to use a pay phone, and they instantly have to deal with a racist, sexist store clerk. Between the two of them, they can’t seem to get anywhere. At first, the shitty clerk worries for Peggy’s safety, assuming the black man accompanying her must somehow be a threat to her. Once he realizes she’s in no danger, he judges her and doesn’t help either of them. Even when they buy something to make change, they soon learn that the nearby pay phone doesn’t even work.
A car goes by, prompting the two to duck back into the phone booth … and share a kiss. As soon as the car stops and the man gets out, Peggy decides to steal his car. Poor guy!
Sousa, Jarvis, and Rose try to track down Peggy, and they discover Howard Stark’s Sex Car had its tires slashed (which is why Peggy had to steal that other car — not that I understood that at the time – listen, this show moves fast). They also find a lot of bullet casings, and Sousa throws a tantrum at the thought of Peggy potentially being hurt or dead. His tantrum is a bit inappropriate, though, considering that Sousa is supposed to have a new girlfriend now. Losing an agent in action would be bad, of course, but Sousa seems a little too upset, if you catch my meaning.
Peggy and Jason take their stolen car to Isodyne, and Peg grabs a crowbar out of the trunk – “You used all my bullets,” she explains to Jason. They’re planning to steal the zero matter from Isodyne, which seems like a terrible idea, but it’s happening anyway. Somehow, Dr. Wilkes manages to get to it – or, at least, he initiates the process of moving the matter from its current container into a more portable one. I just started to wonder if this might be how Jane got killed … uh-oh.
Whitney Frost just showed up. Dr. Wilkes seems shocked to see her. “I-I’m a big fan of yours,” he stutters, baffled. “What are you doing here?”
It turns out Whitney is here for the exact same reason as Dr. Wilkes – she wants to steal the zero matter, too. Makes sense, since she knows this place is about to get shut down. She tries to take the zero matter from Jason, but in the ensuing struggle, they drop the container and it shatters. Bad, bad, bad, bad …
Agent Carter was elsewhere in the building, successfully beating up some unrelated bad guys, but when she hears the vacuum-like explosion, she runs towards the containment lab. She must know that the zero matter escaped – she saw that video, she knows what could happen next. Running towards the escaped matter seems like the worst possible idea, but she doesn’t go far.
Sousa shows up outside Isodyne with Jarvis and a bunch of other police. To everyone’s surprise, Peggy walks out of the building unscathed. Unfortunately, it seems that no one besides Peggy survived the explosion … meaning that Whitney Frost and Jason Wilkes are presumed dead. Hmm … seems unlikely to me.
Sousa goes home and his girlfriend Violet is waiting for him on the stoop to give him a kiss and a bear claw. She already ate half of it, but he doesn’t want the other half. This, above all else, is proof that he doesn’t love her anymore. Who turns down a bear claw, even a half-eaten one????
As the episode closes out, Ana and Peggy share a quiet cup of tea together. Peggy opens up about how upset she is that Jason Wilkes is dead – even though she only knew him a short time, she’s laid low by his loss. “It doesn’t take long to realize you’ve met someone special,” Ana says, telling Peggy that she had only known Edwin “a few weeks” before they fell in love.
The episode closes on a shot of Whitney in her bedroom, pulling back her hair to reveal that the zero matter has left a black mark on her forehead – she’s infected. Dun dun dunnnn! If Whitney’s alive, we can only assume that Jason must be as well – but if they’re infected, they’re not long for this world.
If they kill off Jason Wilkes that quickly … ohhh, I will not be happy. They better not! Reggie Austin’s chemistry with Hayley Atwell is so delightful that I can’t help but root for those two – I like their pairing significantly better than Carter/Sousa so far. I’ve never been a big fan of the Sousa/Carter pairing, though, so I’m happy to see Peg with someone new this season.
What did everybody think about the season premiere? The first episode felt a bit slow, but the second episode moved super-fast – perhaps too fast, although your mileage may vary. The real question is, when will Howard Stark’s Sex Car make another appearance?
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