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Agent Carter Recap – “Monsters”

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Did you know that there were two episodes of Agent Carter that aired on February 17th? You probably did. But I didn’t, which is why this one is a few days late. Sorry, everybody! Time for another recap. Spoilers, spoilers, spoilers.

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Whitney Frost has found yet another fashionable way to hide her zero matter facial scars – in this case, a widow’s veil, worn to a press conference about her husband’s unexpected death. Reminder: she’s the one who killed him.

That’s not the official story, of course. Calvin Chadwick and several of his colleagues “perished at sea,” according to Ms. Frost. No one go looking for the bodies, okay?

Peggy Carter and Daniel Sousa, who are both in attendance at the press conference, don’t believe a word of it. Still, they didn’t witness Whitney doing any murdering — unlike Dottie, who did get to see it all go down firsthand. Speaking of Dottie, we saw last episode that she ended up in Whitney’s clutches, but Peg doesn’t know that – although she seems to suspect it, since Dottie hasn’t turned up anywhere else. Meanwhile, romantic tensions remain high between Sousa and Peg. (I guess Violet won’t be back, then … which is too bad, because I liked her.)

Remember last episode, when Vernon reamed Jack Thompson out for letting Dottie escape? Well, Vernon’s got Dottie back now, thanks to his involvement with the Council (now led by Whitney, of course). Vernon doesn’t seem to be in any big hurry to deliver Dottie back to her original jail cell, though – he’d like to get some torturing done first. But Dottie isn’t like those other girls that Vernon’s tortured in the past. She knows Vernon is not only afraid of Peggy, but also of Whitney – whom Dottie dubs “that pretty blonde monster holding your leash.”

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Ana Jarvis and Jason Wiles are back to working on the containment chamber together. Peggy checks in on them; romantic tensions between Peg and Jason seem to have stalled, to Jason’s dismay (and mine). Meanwhile, Jarvis has fixed the transponder for Dottie’s tracking device. Unfortunately, Dottie’s signal seems to be out of range, which leads Peg down another distracting rabbit-hole. Jason interrupts, as he’s fed up that Peggy seems more interested in preserving the life of a fugitive than caring about his situation – especially since he’s facing something that he describes as “worse” than death. But what, exactly? He refuses to elaborate; he doesn’t seem to want to let anybody in on what he knows about zero matter and how it’s affecting him.

Back in the makeshift interrogation chamber, Vernon learns that truth serum has no effect on Dottie – and she’s already proven she’s not intimidated by any of the other forms of physical torture that Vernon can perform. He’ll have to try emotional manipulation instead. He brings up Dr. Fennhoff, the nefarious Russian hypnotist from the first season; Vernon reminds Dottie that Fennhoff’s personal vendetta against Howard Stark made him a “huge embarrassment” to Leviathon, and that Dottie got blamed as well, given that she helped Fennhoff carry out his goals. Now, she’s been cast off by Russia – Vernon calls her “a girl without a country, an assassin without a target.” “Bet I could find a target,” Dottie smirks.

Ken Marino walks in! I already forgot his character’s name. Mobster Mobman? Nah, it’s Joseph. Joseph takes Vernon out to the pool, where Whitney awaits him with a new task, since she doubts he’ll be able to get a word out of Dottie. Whitney tells Vernon to get back the uranium rods that Peggy Carter stole. But, Vernon asks, can’t Isodyne just make new rods? No way — Ms. Frost needs the exact same rods that were used in the original experiment to create zero matter.

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Joseph brings Whitney a drink and compliments her loveliness – facial scar and all. (Are these two getting back together?) Meanwhile, Whitney decides to take over questioning Dottie.

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Dottie actually looks scared of Whitney – that might be a first for her. But, then, Dottie has seen Whitney’s powers in action. Whitney explains that she has disabled the tracking device in the necklace that Peg gave to Dottie – “so don’t expect Peggy Carter to come and rescue you.” Then, Whitney starts choking Dottie with her zero matter powers – but holds back right before Dottie suffocates.

Dottie tells Whitney everything: about the zero matter sample she stole from Whitney for Peg, about Jason (who is still alive, to Whitney’s surprise), and about Jason’s ghostly form (“molecular intangibility,” Whitney calls it). It’s weird to see Dottie crack under the pressure of a zero matter attack, but Peg did call it the worst pain she’d ever experienced, so it must be pretty bad. Anway, Whitney still doesn’t kill Dottie, even after learning all that new info. Instead, Whitney seems to think Dottie still poses some use to her – perhaps as bait for Peggy? Time to re-activate that tracking device.

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Back at Stark’s estate, Jason hops into his containment chamber and Jarvis turns it on. Peggy gives him the zero matter sample; he absorbs it into his hand so he can become tangible. It seems as though the chamber works – but is he stuck inside it for life? He reaches his hand through one of the gaps to grasp Peggy’s hand – then pulls her in for a kiss. Yayyy!

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Peg doesn’t seem quite as happy about the kiss as Jason, though … but Jason’s too excited about his new corporeal form to be put off by that. He’s also starving – since he hasn’t eaten in days — so Ana rushes off to make him a meal.

Meanwhile, Jarvis and Peg hear the transponder for Dottie’s tracking device going off. Peg calls up Sousa and tells him they’ve located Dottie – and that Jason is back in the material world again. Both important pieces of information that might elicit some mixed feelings! Sousa can’t respond properly, though, because Vernon’s standing in his office doorway, listening in. After Sousa gets off the phone, Vernon walks in and starts grilling Sousa about the theft of uranium from Roxxon.

Jarvis points out to Peg that the “sudden and inexplicable” signal from Dottie’s tracker seems a bit strange. Peg agrees: “we’re walking into a trap.” Not that it’d stop her! Jarvis grabs one of Howard Stark’s devices to take with them – it’s a little metal turret that emits a huge shockwave blast, theoretically capable of knocking a bunch of assailants off their feet.

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Before Peg and Jarvis head off, Ana runs outside and gives Jarvis a darker jacket (the better for spying) and a firm hug. The couple then has the crucial conversation that they should have had earlier: Ana reveals that she is worried for her husband’s safety, but she understands how much he’s enjoying his work with the SSR, so she doesn’t want to prevent him from going. I do realize Jarvis won’t live forever, but I sure hope that these conversations aren’t some form of dire foreshadowing …

At the SSR’s LA office, Sousa and Vernon continue to bandy about the topic of the Roxxon uranium. Does Vernon know that Sousa was part of the group that stole the rods? Perhaps … he sure is spending a lot of time buttering Sousa up, though. Seems strange that Vernon would waste his time on that. Perhaps he thinks he can flatter Sousa’s ego just as he did with Jack and persuade Sousa over to the ways of the Council.

On the way to investigate Dottie’s transponder signal, Jarvis makes idle conversation with Peg about the kiss she exchanged with Jason. Peggy gets angry at the personal question, and Jarvis backs off … but not before pointing out that the situation creates “a bit of a sticky wicket in regards to Chief Sousa.”

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Not that it’s any of Mr. Jarvis’ business, of course! At length, Peg admits that she has no clue what to do when it comes to choosing between her two “suitors”. I guess it’s a tough call, especially since it’s not entirely clear whether Jason can actually leave his new containment chamber. It could be pretty tricky to date a guy who lives inside a cage. (Unless you’re into that.)

Night has fallen by the time Jarvis and Peg reach Whitney’s secluded mansion. The pair head inside and manage to set up Howard Stark’s ultrasonic turret in time for several baddies to show up — except then the device doesn’t work. Uh-oh! Our heroes put their hands up and allow themselves to get captured. When they reach the basement, Dottie mocks them right off for botching her “rescue.”

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Ana and Jason share a huge dinner together, as well as a toast over their significant others’ dangerous exploits. It looks like Jason managed to fit a chair and half a table into his cage. Ana opens up to Jason about how worried she feels over her husband’s new “adventures” with Miss Carter. She misses the days when he downplayed the extent of the dangers involved. The two bond over some very expensive bottles of wine from Howard Stark’s stores.

In Whitney’s basement, our heroes have all gotten tied to chairs and/or ceiling beams. After a bit of a struggle, Peggy manages to escape her ties. Then Dottie does, too. Are the bindings loose on purpose?

Peggy notices that Dottie seems a little spacier than usual – side-effects from the zero matter attack she endured, perhaps! Not that Peg knows about that yet. Meanwhile, Jarvis has managed to escape his restraints, and he figures out that the code he entered into Howard Stark’s turret resulted in a delayed detonation, as opposed to the instantaneous one as originally planned. Right on cue, the turret blows up above them, with most of the baddies getting caught in the resulting blast. Luckily, Peggy and company aren’t anywhere near the device when it goes off!

Peggy ties Dottie up and drags her upstairs, past several conveniently unconscious bodies. Dottie keeps experiencing brief bouts of pain from her encounter with zero matter, but she refuses to admit to Peg why she keeps doubling over and groaning. She tells Peg that Vernon questioned her, but she doesn’t mention Whitney at all, nor does she admit that she cracked under Whitney’s interrogation. Peggy guesses what happened anyway, at which point Dottie relents: “You knew this was a trap, but it wasn’t set for you.” Uh-oh …

Jason and Ana are sitting ducks back at Howard Stark’s, without Peggy to protect them. Whitney gets inside and manages to outsmart the newly installed security systems. She heads straight to Jason’s containment chamber and gives him a shock (emotionally, not physically – yet, anyway).

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Whitney tries to use her zero matter powers to re-absorb the “stolen” matter that Jason used to make himself tangible – but Jason has zero matter too, so he can fight back. He manages to throw Whitney off, which impresses her.

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Jarvis and Peg and Dottie drive back as fast as possible to Stark’s estate. Dottie notes that she’s never seen them so “scared” before. (You’re one to talk, Dottie, since Whitney Frost just made you crack for the first time – they’re scared of Whitney, too, just like you.)

Re-absorbing Whitney’s zero matter seems to have made Jason strong enough that now he can leave his containment chamber. But, as Whitney points out, that effect won’t last. They both need zero matter in order to survive (maybe?).

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Whitney starts giving Jason a pep talk about how the pair of them could rule the world together – and how they deserve it, since they’ve both been “marginalized” and therefore underestimated in their careers and lives. “I simply want to change things for people like us: people that have been ignored, held back, ground up.” Sounds persuasive, except Whitney manages to be insulting and condescending  at the same time, telling Jason that the only reason he got hired at Isodyne was because of affirmative action. First of all, there’s no shame in that, since Jason worked way harder to get that job than any of his colleagues. And second of all, he’s super-smart, so … whatever, Whitney, you’re the worst!!

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Ken Marino, a.k.a. “Joseph,” walks in the room and instantly says something racist. Jason lifts his hand as though he’s about to use his zero matter powers on Joseph (!!), but Whitney stops him, telling him that Joseph is on her “associate”. As Joseph distracts Jason with more assholery, Whitney knocks Jason out.

Sousa calls the Stark house; Ana picks up and tells him she’s worried that Jarvis and Peg haven’t come back yet. Sousa tells her he’ll head on over. Right after hanging up, Ana looks out the window and sees Joseph and Whitney carrying Jason’s unconscious body outside to their car. Meanwhile, a bunch of masked thugs beat up Sousa before he can leave his apartment (?!!).

Ana runs outside and confronts Whitney and Joseph. Presumably she has no idea who they are or how dangerous they might be. Joseph lifts his gun to shoot Ana; Whitney stops him, saying, “We’re not monsters.” Ana tells them to let Jason go, and that he won’t survive if they take him. She also tells them Peggy “won’t stop coming” for them. This, apparently, is enough to motivate Whitney to grab Joseph’s gun and … shoot Ana. NO!!!

Just before Whitney fires the shot, Peg and Jarvis pull into the driveway — but they don’t make it in time to stop her. Whitney and Joseph escape in their car, with Jason in tow. Jarvis dashes out of his car to find his wife bleeding out on the ground.

Jarvis and Peggy take an unconscious Ana to the hospital (finally, someone going to an actual hospital on this show). Dottie’s been relegated to the trunk of the car. Peggy turns her in to a nearby police officer, who doesn’t look like he believes Peg’s story about Dottie being a fugitive. Nonetheless, Peg follows Jarvis inside the hospital, where several doctors wheel Ana into surgery.

As soon as Ana gets whisked into an operating room, a guy runs up the hallway shouting that a police officer has been shot. So … Dottie’s escaped again, huh?

Sousa shows up to work the next day with several mysterious injuries, due to the armed thugs. Do we know who sent those guys over? Apparently it was Vernon, not that he directly admits to having done it. Instead, he heavily implies that he sent the men in order to motivate Sousa into finding the Roxxon materials. Okay, Vernon, your intimidation methods could use some work! This is Daniel Sousa we’re talking about. A beating isn’t going to scare him off.

Vernon decides to demote Sousa as well, announcing that he’ll be taking over the LA office until Sousa gets “back on [his] feet.” Ugh.

Peggy calls Sousa from the hospital, but when Vernon picks up the call, she hangs up without speaking to him. She then sits down next to Jarvis, who looks like a wreck. He tells Peg that Ana is still in surgery. I just realized that the two of them might not realize that Jason has been kidnapped – do they know that yet? Doesn’t matter quite yet, since Ana’s situation seems a lot more dire … Peg reaches out and grabs Jarvis’ hand just before the credits roll.

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Damn … that’s a rough cliffhanger, huh?

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Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (relay.fm/isometric), and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (robotknights.com).