Last week Peggy Carter was back at work uncovering dark conspiracies, this time in the all-new glamorous setting of Hollywood. The season started off strong and "Better Angels" continues the trend with another thrilling episode.
The effects of the Zero Matter on Wilkes and Frost were the main focus of the episode, taking the show to new heights with its unsettling and unpredictable nature. Also revealed was the real extent to which dazzling genius Whitney Frost calls the shots behind the scenes of Isodyne. Her acting talents keep her true intentions and capabilities under wraps and she runs the company through manipulation and a powerful intellect. As Peggy points out, Frost's role as an actress is the perfect cover: "Every eye in the country on her, and no one sees her."
Frost, aka Agnes Cully, was also responsible for framing of James Wilkes as a Soviet Spy and blaming him for the explosion at Isodyne. What the budding supervillain didn't know is that Wilkes survived the explosion- he's just invisible now. With the help of Howard Stark, Wilkes is brought back into the visible spectrum but remains incorporeal. As Wilkes and Stark attempt to find a way to reverse the effect, we get to see the two geniuses working together. It'll be interesting to see how Wilkes deals with the Zero Matter, and hopefully this means that he and Stark will work together more often. With the combination of their unwavering respect for Peggy and their intellectual prowess, the two would make the perfect scientific team to aid Agent Carter
as she faces up against Frost.
Thompson is also back (an "appalling surprise" indeed) and up to his usual insufferable and patronizing ways, but there was also some intriguing new character development. After taking all the credit for Agent Carter's work last season, Thompson has been taking cues from his mentor in the FBI - the same mentor with ties to the Arena Club and its nefarious political plans. Peggy justifiably accuses him of being too afraid to ruffle the feathers of those in power while "burying the ugly truth and hoping someone will pin a medal on you." With the SSR becoming obsolete and changing gears post-war, Thompson is a bit desperate for some solid ground. Despite that, after witnessing the reel of the Zero Matter explosion and learning that the Arena Club is controlling the elections, he's beginning to have some misgivings. As dick-ish as Thompson can be, it's clear that he has a moral code and a conscience. He is often motivated by his own self-interest, but ultimately he seems to want to do the right thing. And after this week, he seems unsure that the "Arena Club" has the world's best interests at heart.
Speaking of the Arena Club, apparently the organization isn't an early Hydra sect, but the Council of the Nine- a version of the Secret Empire. While not technically Hydra, the Secret Empire initially had ties to the organization. According to the writers, the Council is an entirely different "group of rich white guys who control everything." Either way, hopefully this season will focus more on the adversarial relationship between Peggy and Whitney Frost, aka Madame Masque. Frost is set up to be the main villain at the moment, and through a combination of cunning manipulation and newfound powers she's already proven herself to be a powerful and dangerous opposing force. By the end of the episode, Frost discovers the extent of her powers and claims her first victim (her sexist pig of a director). Although the incident was accidental, her strong feelings of resentment and thirst for power have her set on a course to become the antithesis of Peggy, and this season's supervillain. After absorbing her director, the vein of Zero Matter that Frost has been working to conceal grew larger. At this rate, we may get to see Frost don the mask sooner rather than later.
There was still no mention of Angie this week, which seems a bit odd, so the sooner that's addressed the better. Ana Jarvis was also missing from the episode, as was Bernard Stark- the newest and pinkest member of the Stark family. So much happened in the episode, though, it's probably better that the show didn't have an excess of plotlines. This way there could be more of a focus on the new characters of Whitney Frost and James Wilkes, both of whom are also directly connected to the Zero Matter story arc.
It was more evident than ever in this episode that the show is taking a lighter tone now that Peggy has been able to move on after Steve's abrupt and tragic death. The colors are brighter, the humor is lighter, and the science elements have gotten more strange and surreal. The show has a lot to live up to after a fantastic first season, but if the first few episodes are any indication, there's a chance that this season will be even better than the last.
"…a movie based on a comic book? Sounds like a dreadful idea."
"Security, we have a Code Pink."
"Oh, I'm so sorry. I get really confused around books"
"I speak Hollywood now."