Marvel’s Agent Carter S02E03 “Better Angels” REVIEW
Airing in the UK on Fox TV, new episodes every Thursday
Writer: Jose Molina
Director: David Platt
Essential Plot Points:
- Peggy and Sousa continue to investigate the incident at Isodyne Energy. Searching Wilkes’s home for any clues, they come across planted evidence that he is a Russian spy.
- The pair decide to find out more about the Arena Club which is trying to blame the incident on Wilkes, but are soon told that the case is closed by Agent Thompson whose strings are being pulled by more powerful forces.
- Ignoring Thompson’s order, Carter teams up with Howard Stark and Jarvis to investigate the Arena Club further. Since the place has been trying to recruit Stark for years, he agrees to help.
- Peggy finds proof at the Arena Club that they are rigging the election in favour of Calvin Chadwick, but is unable to bring the proof back after a close-call with a member of the club.
- Carter discovers that she is being affected by a side-effect of Zero Matter. Stark helps to figure out why this is happening, and while using a chemical solution that makes the invisible visible, the group discovers that Wilkes is alive in a non-corporal state. He tells them that Whitney Frost was the one that confronted him at the lab.
- Peggy meets with Frost to try and get under her skin about the incident at Isodyne energy, but Frost isn’t easily swayed. After meeting Peggy, she suggests to her husband that they get rid of her for good.
Following on from last week’s episode, Peggy and Sousa are determined to find out what Isodyne Energy is hiding, and who is trying to frame Dr Wilkes for the disaster that took place there. Opening with the pair at Wilkes’s home they soon discover evidence that he is a Communist spy, but Peggy and Sousa doubt this is the case and soon they come across the sinister Arena Club.
Peggy enlists the help of Howard Stark to infiltrate the club in the hope of gaining incriminating evidence against them. Hilarity ensues as the world’s most famous womaniser floods the male-only club with beautiful women, and Peggy discovers the immense power and influence that the group has over Los Angeles.
“Better Angels” is a welcome return for Howard Stark, who has only been mentioned in passing in the last couple of episodes. He is playful, especially in relation to his friendship with Peggy, and also shows off his brilliant scientific mind when he decides to research the strange side effects the she suffers from after being exposed to Dark Matter. As if that weren’t enough, he then helps reveal Dr Wilkes’ non-corporeal form. Sometimes it is easy to forget that Stark is actually a genius as well as a billionaire playboy.
The dynamic between Stark, Peggy and Jarvis provides the most amusing moments of the episode. When the trio first reunite on the set of Stark’s new film, Kid Colt, the dialogue has a cheeky swipe at the current state of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which still has yet to make a film with a female lead. It is in these scenes that the banter is particularly evident. Thanks to writer Jose Molina’s excellent comedic timing and dry humour these scenes are a joy to watch. Even without the comedy the relationship between the trio is great to see once again, as the respect they have for each other is heart-warming.
While that chemistry works incredibly well, it is Whitney Frost that really stands out in this week’s episode. Previously we have only seen glimpses of Frost’s villainous potential, but “Better Angels” is where Wynn Everett is able to truly spread her wings and shine onscreen. Whether she needs to hold her own against Peggy’s questioning, or easily manipulate her husband into giving her what she wants by using fake tears and boosting his ego, Whitney Frost knows how to achieve her goals. Wynn Everett is very convincing as the frustrated actress, and now that her character’s ominous powers have been revealed it won’t be long until we can see her go all out against Peggy.
The only disappointing character, it seems, is Thompson, whose inability to stop being stubborn and see that Peggy has saved the day countless times before and is right once again is really frustrating. While the fact that his strings are being pulled by more powerful forces can explain why he is ignoring what is staring him in the face, it would be great to see his character develop in a different way. With any luck what he sees at the end of the episode will hopefully make him see clearly.
- Wynn Everett shines in this episode. She’s clever and knows how to manipulate those around her to get what she wants. Her confrontation with Carter was particularly thrilling.
- Howard Stark is back in all his womanising-narcissistic glory. His respect for Peggy, Wilkes, and Jarvis is great to see in the episode, as well as the teasing between him and Peggy.
- Stark, Peggy and Jarvis team up once more in the episode, and it’s a welcome return for the dynamic.
- “You want to play a sassy bar wench?” “I’d rather be the cowboy.” “I like it. I don’t think the audience is ready yet.” “But they’re ready for a movie based on a comic book? Sounds like a dreadful idea.”
- “You are so afraid of ruffling powerful feathers that you’re doing what you always do: burying an ugly truth and hoping someone will pin a medal on you.”
- “I have no desire to spend the rest of time as a disembodied voice.” Oh Jarvis, if only you knew.
- Thompson returns in this episode, but he is as frustrating as he has always been since he is too stubborn to see that Peggy is right. So far, Thompson has been the least impressive character of the series.
- How did Stark know where to spray the solution that makes Wilkes visible again? He may be a genius, but this seemed like luck more than anything else.
And the Random:
- Kid Colt, the character that Howard Stark is making a film about in the episode, is a pre-superhero Marvel character who first appeared in the comic Kid Colt #1 in 1948.
- Dr Wilkes’s invisibility and intangibility in the episode is a reference to the character’s appearance in Tales Of Suspense, where he tested an invisibility ray on himself and was unable to reverse the effect.
Review by Roxy Simons