Agent Carter is Back, and Better than Ever with Her Season 2 Premiere

Wednesday, 20 January 2016 - 10:19AM
Marvel
Agent Carter
Secret Wars
Wednesday, 20 January 2016 - 10:19AM
Agent Carter is Back, and Better than Ever with Her Season 2 Premiere
Oh how we've missed you Peggy Carter. Our favorite S.H.I.E.L.D. founder came back with an inevitable bang last night, in a double episode event that took last year's runaway success to the sunnier climes of Los Angeles, California. The double feature provided a wonderfully bizarre cocktail of ominous corporations, luminous frozen bodies, new love interests, and unruly flamingos, meaning that both Peggy and her fans had a lot to get used to with their new setting.
 
This new season is set six months from where we left off, and we learn that the S.S.R. now has a west coast branch, helmed by Agent Sousa. A lot has changed since last season, and with the time jump there was a lot to take in at once, hence the need for a double episode to kick things off.

In a nutshell, Peggy is called to LA to work a case involving frozen corpses and some mysterious world-threatening elements being studied at Isodyne Energy. With the help of scientist (and potential new love interest) Jason Wilkes, Agent Carter learns about a dangerous and possibly extraterrestrial material being held by Isodyne called Zero Matter (aka Darkforce). The dangerously unstable substance has shown up before in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and will also tie into the upcoming Doctor Strange movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the main role. As Agent Carter and her accomplice attempt to steal the Zero Matter from the Isodyne facilities, it's accidently released causing an explosion in which Wilkes goes missing. Also caught in the explosion was Whitney Frost, an actress, socialite and brilliant inventor who also happens to be the wife Isodyne Energy chief, Calvin Chadwick. After seemingly absorbing the Zero Matter, Frost is on track to assuming the identity of Madame Masque and becoming this season's superpowered villain.
 
Back in NYC, Dottie (Peggy's formidable foe from last season) makes a spectacular return by posing as Agent Carter and robbing a vault in an attempt to get her hands on… a lapel pin. However, for those who watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, the design on the pin instantly tells us that Dottie isn't just a big fan of mundane trinkets, and is instead diving into the Hydra mythology. Based on this, it would be safe to speculate that the group of powerful rich white men that meet to discuss the future of Isodyne are also connected to Hydra.
 
With the move to the West coast, the show changed direction rather rapidly. The choice to air the first two episodes back to back ensured that the show kept a decent pace and introduced the changes without cramming too many new elements into a 45 minute window. Any momentary doubts or confusion regarding the new story arc were mostly cleared up by the end of a solid second episode.
 
Moving the show to LA and making abrupt changes to the main cast was a risk, and it certainly changes the tone of the show. The combination of noir and supernatural-esque elements were a fitting addition, but not all aspects of the transition went as smoothly. Angie was a main supporting character last season and (given that last season ends with her moving in with Peggy) it was strange that her absence went unmentioned in the first two episodes of the season. Hopefully this will be addressed more thoroughly later on, as their close-knit relationship was one of the highlights of the show. At the very least, we can expect Angie to appear in a dream sequence later this season.
 
The good news is that Peggy still has Jarvis, and now that his wife has been formally introduced it looks like we'll have a brilliant new addition to the dynamic duo. Ana Jarvis seems like she might very well be the new upbeat and vivacious influence this season, which I'm more than ok with. After tonight's introduction to her character included Ana sewing her new friend a garter gun holster, I'm inclined to agree with Peggy- she's pretty fantastic.
 
One of my favorite things about the show is that it keeps an excellent balance between lighthearted and deadly, and rests on the solid foundations of an outstanding and talented cast. But even while succeeding at this delicate balancing act, the show manages to tackle deeper issues. Whereas the first season deftly addressed the struggle of women in the workplace, so too has this season already started to explore similar struggles felt by people of color. Wilkes's mission to become a respected member of the scientific community should be a prominent feature of this season, as should any potential relationship between he and Peggy. 

So far it looks like this season will continue to excel at meshing the dark themes of the thrilling world of espionage with endearingly witty characters and a clever story arc. After a fairly strong start to the season, I'm excited for next week's installment and full of questions about the season to come. What powers will Frost gain from the Zero Matter? Assuming he's not dead, what actually happened to Wilkes in the explosion? And most importantly, will Jarvis ever get Stark's flamingo into its enclosure? 
 
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Marvel
Agent Carter
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