Marvel’s Agent Carter S02E01 “The Lady In The Lake” REVIEW
Airing in the UK on Fox TV, Thursdays, 9pm
Writer: Brant Englestein
Director: Lawrence Trilling
Essential Plot Points:
- Peggy Carter is back, and just after capturing Dottie Underwood she is sent to LA to join the SSR’s West Coast branch to help Daniel Sousa investigate the death of a woman found in a frozen lake.
- The woman, Jane Scott, worked as a particle physicist for Isodyne Energy and her death raises many questions.
- Jason Wilkes is a scientist that works for the company, and takes an instant interest in Peggy, offering to help with the investigation in any way he can.
- While looking into the death, Peggy meets the owner of Isodyne energy Calvin Chadwick and his wife Whitney Frost, an actress with dark intentions.
Agent Carter is back, and this time she’s set to take on Hollywood to solve the mystery of “The Lady In The Lake”. Playing on the familiarity of the first season, the episode opens in New York with a woman in a red hat walking through a sea of grey-faced men. It seems safe to assume that this is Peggy, given the similarity between this and the defining sequence of the first season. Of course that would be too easy, and it is quickly revealed that it isn’t Peggy but Dottie Underwood, who has returned to commit a bank heist.
Soon thwarted by Peggy and the SSR, the confrontation between Peggy and Dottie is the most action-packed of the episode, the fight ending with Dottie being hit on the head with a bag of coins. It is great to see that the series isn’t pulling any punches – sorry – with this opening sequence.
Despite having finally made a break in the New York case, though, Peggy is quickly taken out of the interrogation by Agent Thompson to join SSR’s West Coast division in LA. Working with Agent Sousa once again, Peggy must figure out the mystery behind the death of a woman found frozen in a lake.
The move from New York to LA is a welcome change, since Peggy is finally out of the deeply misogynistic environment of the former city. While LA isn’t completely free of misogyny in this episode, it is significantly less frustrating than what has previously been seen in the series. This is not the only change that we’re presented with in this episode. There are more women noe. One of these welcome additions to the cast is Lotte Verbeek, who is the mysterious Mrs Jarvis that we have heard so much about over the first series. From the get-go, Ana Jarvis is friendly with Peggy and is also surprisingly mischievous. The dynamic between the two is so good that even though Ana is only seen in one scene she is immediately loveable.
Another intriguing new female character is Whitney Frost, played by Wynn Everett. While we are only given a glimpse of her character in this first episode, it is clear that she has much darker role to play in the series and the potential is exhilarating. The introduction of Jason Wilkes, a possible new love interest for Peggy, is also interesting not only because he is the first leading character to be a person of colour in the series, but also because of the actor that plays him. Reggie Austin is great as the quirky yet charismatic scientist, and the chemistry between him and Peggy is fantastic to see.
While Peggy is solving crimes in sunny California the episode does periodically return to New York to focus on Thompson and his potential new career path. While these scenes will probably lead to something more significant later on, they do feel a little out of place here. This may be due to how dislikeable Thompson is, or, more likely, because the scenes don’t involve Peggy. It’s no secret that Hayley Atwell steals the show for her incredible performance as Peggy – she is quick-witted and resilient as she takes charge of any situation presented to her, so when she is not on screen it is noticeable that something is missing.
Of course, it is not possible not to mention James D’Arcy’s return to the series as Howard Stark’s butler Edwin Jarvis. Much as in the first series, Jarvis is charming to a fault, and the relationship between him and Peggy does provide some of the funnier scenes in the episode — driving around with a flamingo in the back seat, anyone? The chemistry between D’Arcy and Atwell is also one of the best parts of the series, so it is good to see the pair back together in LA.
Peggy’s new adventure is undeniably fascinating, and while there are many questions left unanswered by the end of the episode it is clear that there is a lot to be seen as the series goes on. For now it is great to see Agent Carter return in top form.
- The opening action sequence between Peggy Carter and Dottie Underwood is a great way to start off the series.
- Now Peggy is finally free from the deeply misogynistic environment in New York, let’s hope she doesn’t have to deal with this as much as in the first series.
- The long-awaited reveal of Mrs Jarvis does not disappoint, as Lotte Verbeek is immediately likeable as the butler’s mysterious wife. Giving Carter a garter with a gun holster in it? This friendship is a match made in heaven.
- The relationship with Peggy and Jarvis is just as fantastic as it was in the first series.
- Jason Wilkes and Whitney Frost are welcome additions to the series, and their potential future in the show is exciting.
- Howard Stark has made Jarvis buy a pink flamingo, and has named him Bernard Stark. He should remain a part of the series.
- “Aside from Danger, my middle name is Charm.” Oh Jarvis, you’re such a smooth talker.
- Once Peggy is away from New York, the storyline about Agent Thompson and his potential new career seems a little out of place.
And The Random:
- The episode’s title “The Lady in the Lake” is reference to Raymond Chandler’s detective novel of the same name, where women go missing and the main character changes location – much like Peggy – to solve the case.
- Tales Of Suspense, one of the films that Jarvis mentions Whitney Frost has starred in, is a reference to the Marvel comic book series of the same name where the character is first introduced. James Wilkes is also featured in the series.
Review by Roxy Simons