Marvel’s Agent Carter 2×8 & 2&9 Review: “The Edge Of Mystery” & “A Little Song and Dance”

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This show is so lovely. It’s unashamedly genuine in a way I wish more comic book adaptations were and it never fails to make me smile. At the same time it’s attempts to diversify have been less than impressive and considering it’s fantastic female lead Agent Carter doesn’t do a particularly good job in it’s representation of women.

Every time I sit down to review it there’s a tug of war inside my head where I try to accept the fridging of Ana Jarvis because the emotional scene between Peggy and Jarvis in “A Little Song and Dance” was phenomenal. I love this show, and it’s good parts are everything I want, but sometimes I just wish it were more.

“The Edge Of Mystery” picks up where last week left off. Ana Jarvis is recovering from a gunshot wound to the stomach and Dr. Wilkes is being held captive by Whitney Frost. The goals set out at the beginning of this episode are actually achieved fairly early on. Ana wakes up, and Dr. Wilkes is rescued. But both positive outcomes have tragic consequences. Ana is no longer able to have children, and Dr. Wilkes in his desperation has joined forces with Whitney Frost, he even turns a gun on Peggy! Once both twists have been revealed the characters are set on a different and even more dramatic paths.

ac2Jarvis is hell bent on revenge, he’s determined to kill Whitney Frost for what she did to Ana. Dr. Frost is working with Whitney to recreated the atomic explosion that created Zero Matter in the first place. At the same time Peggy and her team of boring men are working on a weapon that can destroy Zero Matter. Again all parties achieve their initial goals, but they don’t work out the way they expected. Whitney has to watch as Dr. Wilkes is taken up by the Zero Matter instead of her and while Jarvis finally gets his chance at revenge his victory is short lived when Whitney quickly recovers from the gunshot wound on her chest. By the end of the episode all our heroes are in bad place, which is exactly where you want them in the lead up to the season finale.

“A Little Song and Dance” is either the best episode of the season or the worst depending on where you’re sitting. It begins with a fabulous dream sequence song and dance number where Peggy contemplates which of her two suiters she should choose (obviously she should choose Angie). She wakes from her dream to find herself trapped in the back of a van with Jarvis. She escapes easily because she’s Peggy Carter. There’s an amazingly heartbreaking scene between Peggy and Jarvis as they walk through the desert together. They turn their witty repartee into a weapon against each other and it’s brutal. In the end Jarvis goes back to his wife and Peggy goes on to be the hero.

There’s a convoluted series of lies that rely on Jack Thompson’s moral ambiguity. It’s honestly the most interesting Agent Thompson has been for the whole season. It all ends with everyone pointing a gun on somebody else as the Zero Matter infected Dr. Wilkes throws himself at Whitney Frost in an explosion of black goo. All in all it’s pretty exciting and I cannot wait to see what happens next.

Let’s just get this out in the open from the very beginning. What happened to Ana Jarvis pretty much sucked. It’s not automatically bad when a female character is injured but in a show that’s all about a woman trying to fight against the patriarchy it’s really not good form to injure a female character to give a white guy mangst. That’s what happened here, Ana was shot so that Jarvis could learn a lesson about the dangers of being a secret agent. James D’Arcy’s performance in both these episodes was phenomenal I just wish it hadn’t been motivated by such a boring and sexist cliche.

ac3The moment when Jarvis just walks up and shoot Whitney point blank in the chest is brutal and such a wonderful moment for a character that has been largely comic relief this season. Then the scene in the desert, as Peggy and Jarvis throw emotional punches at each other and Jarvis eventually breaks down because he knows how horrible it is that he’s keeping Ana’s diagnosis from her. That was brilliant! A perfect example of why these two characters and their relationship is the core that holds this show together. It just would have been so much more powerful if they hadn’t hurt one of the few fleshed out female characters on this show to do it.

Then there’s Dr. Wilkes, who in the least shocking turn of events ended up turning on Peggy. This show has made it very clear that Sousa is endgame for Peggy, they want her to pick him, she is going to pick him. While I think their relationship has been incredibly bland and a little confusing I have accepted it’s a done deal because this show is not subtle. Still I was disappointed that they took this route for Dr. Wilkes. The only POC on this show and he’s been relegated to prop for most of the season. This week he got some action but still spent most of the two episodes waiting to be rescued by a team of mostly white men.

Peggy Carter is an amazing character, and the fact that she has her own show is fabulous but those two facts do not automatically make this show progressive. Angie’s appearance in the dream sequences really highlighted her absence from the rest of the season. Ana Jarvis is incredibly likeable but she hasn’t really had much to do except get shot for Mr Jarvis’s manpain. Rose is a much needed addition but she was sidelined again this week despite the fact that she proved she is an excellent field agent. The female villain’s are definitely one of this show’s biggest assets but constantly pitting Peggy against other women is really not a very good way to show feminist solidarity.

I feel like I’m nitpicking. That I shouldn’t expect this show to do everything. But at the same time I don’t think it’s particularly unreasonable to hope that Peggy might add another woman to her regular team, which at the moment consists of Edwin Jarvis, Daniel Sousa, and Jack Thompson. All I want is to see Peggy show some solidarity for other women. I love that she fights for herself and for her own advancement and she’s worked hard to get to where she is but it would use her position to help other women.

Author: Undie Girl

Undie Girl (aka Von) has a BA (Hons) Major in Cultural Studies. The title of her honours thesis was “It’s just gay and porn”: Power, Identity and the Fangirl’s Gaze. She’s currently pursuing a Masters of Media Practice at University of Sydney. Von’s a former contributor The Backlot’s column The Shipping News and a current co-host of The Geekiary’s monthly webcast FEELINGS… with The Geekiary.



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