Agent Carter Dices with Death and Love Triangles in 'Atomic Job'

Wednesday, 10 February 2016 - 11:18AM
Marvel
Agent Carter
Secret Wars
Wednesday, 10 February 2016 - 11:18AM
Agent Carter Dices with Death and Love Triangles in 'Atomic Job'
With every episode so far we've learned a little more about Zero Matter through Wilkes and Frost's developing abilities, as well as their struggles with its decidedly inconvenient side effects. This week focused on how strongly Wilkes and Frost are drawn to the Zero Matter, deepening the mystery of the substance, and suggesting what they could both be capable of if they got their hands on more of the substance.
 
Wilkes realizes that with more Zero Matter he may be able to restore himself to solid form. Wilkes somehow senses where to find more Zero Matter, but as the unseen bond between the pair intensifies, it seems that Frost also senses the same thing. Both Wilkes and Frost feel the Zero Matter calling them to the body of Jane Scott, the frozen woman pulled from the lake during the series premiere. After beating Peggy to Scott's corpse and absorbing the matter contained within it, Frost soon becomes hungry for more power, and plans to commandeer an atomic bomb in an attempt recreate the accident that led to the Zero Matter anomaly.

Having already fathomed Frost's next move, Agent Carter and Chief Sousa set about assembling a new S.S.R. squad to snatch the bomb before Frost and her hired goons can get to it. Because of the mission's unclassified and highly sensitive nature, Sousa and Peggy need to ensure that their team only includes members of the S.S.R. that haven't been bought out by the Council of Nine. Apart from Jarvis, Peggy's first pick is the S.S.R's gatekeeper (and star baker), Rose, who has gone through all the same training as the other Agents, but has never been given the chance to do field work. Sousa's casually sexist misgivings are overcome when he witnesses exactly what Rose is capable of as she takes down an armed assailant with breathtaking ease.  

With the squad now up to three, the trio attempt to look Agent Samberly's lab in the hope of finding gadgets that could help them infiltrate the facility in which the bomb is stored. The goofy, and oft-neglected Samberly eventually finds his way onto the team after revealing his lifelong desire to work in the field is the reason he chose the S.S.R. over the many other high profile suitors for his employment.  Frankly, I'm not much of a fan of Samberly myself and I would have rather had Ana Jarvis or Howard Stark join the team, but ultimately, Samberly was needed for his technological expertise, which were regularly underplayed in favor of his bumbling goofiness.



Prior to the bomb retrieval mission, Samberly's mind-wiping device provided a satisfying comedic skit in which Peggy repeatedly wipes the memory of the lecherous Roxxon CEO Hugh Jones. With Peggy donning a pin-up style wig to infiltrate Jones's office, she's forced to shrug off his incessant sexual advances by way of frequent 'mind-wipes'. Enduring such advances proves worth it, as Peggy is able to secure a key to Roxxon's atomic facility, giving her squad the best possible chance of reaching the bomb before Frost. 

There was a nice moment in the build up to the 'Atomic Job' mission in which the writers had fun with that well known movie cliche, the slow-motion walk. The motley crew of S.S.R agents emerge from HQ with the help of a slow-mo sequence that only served to heighten the sense that this is not your normal crack squad of secret agents. If parallels with Melissa McCarthy's Spy weren't already apparent with the introduction of Rose, they certainly were now. And that's totally OK with us.



After infiltrating the Roxxon facility, Sousa guides a reluctant Jarvis though the process of disarming an atomic bomb– as Jarvis politely informs us, this is nothing like making a souffle. With the bomb on its way to being disarmed, Peggy went to intercept Frost while Rose handily took down her hired goons. As Peggy pleads with Frost to seek help, it becomes clear that she has no desire to be "fixed" and instead is relishing the power the Zero Matter has given her. Because we're only about halfway through the season, it was clear that Peggy's confrontation wasn't going to go as planned, and thanks to the augmented strength given to her by the Zero Matter, Frost swiftly gains the upper hand.

Something that was a surprise in this showdown was Peggy's getting dramatically skewered by an iron rod. With Peggy in mortal danger (even more so than usual), Sousa's unresolved feelings are once again brought to the forefront. With a hospital not a safe option with for fear of links to the Council of Nine, Sousa rushes Peggy to the only person he can trust, his fiancée, Violet. After just getting engaged earlier in the episode, Violet soon sees that Sousa is still in love with Peggy, throwing a wrench in their romantic plans for the future. It was heartbreaking for her to find out this way, but her deductive skills were spot on. Sousa has been running from Peggy, and although Violet has been a charming and likable character, the engagement was bound to go sour until he confronted his feelings. Thankfully, for Peggy's sake, Violet is able to maintain her focus and nurse our hero back to health, saving her emotions until after her patient is out of the woods.



So far the love triangle has been handled with some class, and much of that is owed to Violet's nature as a kind, caring, and considerate individual. Rather than resorting to being catty or spiteful about the situation, she confronted Sousa in private and forced him to be honest with himself. The writers have yet to disappoint when it comes to writing female characters and relationships, and Violet was no exception. Her easily likable traits and her immediate acceptance of Peggy as a friend evoked more empathy from the viewers than if she had fit the simple and lazily written cliché of the jilted girlfriend.  It's difficult to know what direction the show will take but, for the moment, Sousa has yet to confess his feelings to Peggy, and Wilkes… well he's still incorporeal. 
 
Aside from love triangles, the show has plenty to focus on with the main story arc of Whitney Frost's decent into Zero Matter madness. With every episode so far, Frost has become an increasingly formidable adversary complete with some very surreal superpowers. After her unsuccessful attempt to obtain more Zero Matter Frost threatens her husband, seemingly keeping him alive out of personal convenience. His connections and status as a member of the Council could still be of use in her quest to obtain more Zero matter and increase her abilities. Her lust for power isn't the only driving force though, as it seems the Zero Matter itself has a significant pull over anybody it comes into contact with. Wilkes mentioned that the substance calls to him, and it's clear that Whitney Frost is similarly drawn to the substance. 
 
The 'Atomic Job' plotline didn't go off without a hitch, and neither did the episode as a whole. While 'The Atomic Job' certainly had its moments, it wasn't quite up to par with the previous episodes of the season. Despite that, it has to be said that this week the supporting cast was allowed to shine in their roles. It was especially nice to see more of a focus on Rose who has been with the show since the start without much chance for character development. Ana Jarvis was noticeably absent from the episode, continuing a disappointing trend that would suggest she won't be as much of a feature of the season as we were initially led to believe. Although it would have been nice to see more of Ana, Rose has developed more of a presence this season as Peggy's occasional moral support and now partner in crime. With all the new characters being introduced, Angie seems to have been all but forgotten, and before the season is over that fact deserves a proper explanation.
 
After this week's mind-wipes, corporate espionage, and atomic bomb heists, Agent Carter will return next week in what looks to be a fantastic two part episode event. Dottie is back, this time working with Peggy to confront glamorous, superpowered genius, Whitney Frost.
 


Best lines:
 
"Oh, this is bringing back terrible memories." "What to the last time you stole a corpse?"
 
"This is a bad plan" "It's a horrible plan." "It's a solid plan."
 
"They're going to die." "We're going to die." "They're going to be fine."
 
 "Just like taking a soufflé out of the oven.  Probably. "
 
"Please, do not do that again." "Get impaled?"
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