If there’s anything that this rather entertaining two hour block of Agent Carter proved, it’s how much season one baddie Dottie Underwood (Bridget Regan) has been missed. She’s by far the most charismatic baddie this show has had, and tonight was all about bringing her back into the fold in a big way. You see, Peggy still hadn’t recovered from her stab wound (which for the Marvel universe, is refreshingly realistic) and as such, needed even manpower in her fight against Whitney Frost. Dottie might not have been the ideal choice, as she tends to betray and murder anybody who walks in her way, but frankly, there might not be a single SSR Agent for old Peg to rely on.
“The Life Of The Party” almost entirely revolved around Dottie’s attempt to steal zero matter from Whitney at a campaign event for Chadwick. Beforehand, there was a fun sequence where Peggy spared Dottie from capture, which contained some of the sharpest dialogue of the season so far. Having both parties be completely aware of the others’ lies was rather entertaining, as was the continually flirtatious dynamic between the two. Peggy might have two men vying for her attention, (more on that in a second) but it just might be Dottie who she has the most chemistry with in a twisted, gallows bond sort of way. Once we got to the party, Dottie got to team up with Jarvis to try to get to Whitney undetected, which encountered a bit of a hitch when Jack Thompson and Mr. Evil Boring Bald Man (I really cannot stand Vernon) showed up. It’s always a riot to watch Jarvis try to stall anybody, since the man has the worst poker face this side of Johnny English, but seeing him become progressively more and more done with Dottie’s crap was even better. The moment where he looked deep into her eyes and said “you are a nuisance” is perhaps one of my favorite adorable Jarvis moments, and watching him bumble around looking for her was even better. Unfortunately, after an all too brief fight scene that reinstated Dottie’s awesome fighting skills from the Black Widow program, she was captured by Frost.
Speaking of Frost, what an episode this was for her! I’ve been salivating for her to finally kill off Chadwick, her idiotic boy toy, for weeks now, and boy was it satisfying to watch her melt a few members of the silly council. I’m not particularly sure what Chadwick was thinking would happen when he lead her into that trap of a meeting, but I’ll take whatever I can to be rid of him. Crazy how some institutional sexism evaporates in a second when lives are in danger, and it seems as though Whitney will be running The Bookcase Brothers for the rest of the season, thank goodness.
After Daniel’s finance broke off their engagement for touching Peggy’s hand last week, he found himself in a bit of an awkward position this week. Full credit to Enver Gjokaj for making those conflicted emotions very understated until the scene where Peggy and Daniel actually discuss what is going on. It made the confession feel all the more genuine, with a ton more weight than any moves that Dr. Wilkes has been pulling so far. It’s a shame that Dottie threw a dude on top of their kiss before they could have it, because I’m sure we’ll be beating around that bush again for a while. I guess you could say I’m team Daniel, but frankly, why this show needs a love triangle is beyond me.
“Monsters” was a more personal, character driven affair. Most compellingly, Jarvis was finally given a bit more to do than just be the comic relief, and as always, James D’Arcy was wonderfully up to the task. A great deal of the episode was spent between Peggy and Jarvis, as they went to investigate the distress signal from Dottie’s tracking device. However, it was on the road trip there that we got a great scene where the two discussed Carter’s romantic woes. This could have easily come across as trite, but the chemistry between Attwell and D’Arcy really sold it. Their adorable friendship off screen absolutely radiates on screen, so in moments such as when Jarvis refers to the situation as a “sticky wicket” to Carter’s bewilderment, it feels completely authentic even if it is slightly exaggerated. It was very touching to hear Jarvis tell Peggy that she “underestimates her allure,” which she will hopefully stop doing so we can get out of this subplot. Jarvis also had some nice scenes with his wife Ana, who finally returns from the premiere. She started to worry about the danger her husband was in, despite his assurance that Peggy more than had him covered. This provided a nice dramatic twist at the end of the episode, with Whitney shooting Ana (although she’s likely not dead), and giving Jarvis a personal stake in this fight.
Dottie also found herself in an interesting predicament here, being tortured by Vernon (you and me both, honey). We learn that there is essentially nothing that can break her, as she’s “burned [her] own skin off” before. This lead to Whitney, who thankfully is now backed by Ken Morino’s Joseph Manfredi, being the only one who could break her. Now, I don’t quite buy just how intensely and quickly Dottie broke from one dose of Zero Matter, but then again I’ve never been suffocated by the black goo myself. It did lead to some interesting contrast later though, as Dottie calls Peggy out for being scared for the first time, even though she’s pretty damn scared herself. That said, it was pretty silly for Peggy to leave her in the trunk of a cab with one random cop watching her at the hospital, so her escape was fairly predictable.
Also, I suppose we still need to talk about Dr. Wilkes, although he is another character that wears on my patience. He seems to have found himself back in human form now that he’s amassed enough Zero Matter and used a containment field, but can still only speak in wistful complaints, or deadly serious monologues about how dangerous Zero Matter is. Whitney drawing Peggy to Dottie only to kidnap Wilkes from the Stark house was pretty clever, although hopefully she runs out of use for him soon. That kiss between him and Peggy after he took human form, nope, I’m not biting.
While these two episodes were perhaps not as solid overall as “The Atomic Job,” they each contained what the other didn’t. “Life Of The Party” was another entertaining caper, and “Monsters” brought some much needed drama into the mix. Personally, I hope that Ana doesn’t make it through surgery, as I would be fascinated to see how a grief stricken and angry Jarvis would change the stakes. Throwing Dottie into the mix is yet another notch on this season’s quest to recapture my interest, I’m genuinely invested now. We should start to see some of the final fireworks next week, and with the way this show has been building, I expect them to be something to behold.