Agent Carter returns for a second season of post-World War II adventure as a fill-in while Agents of SHIELD is on break. As in the real world, now that the Nazis (and in their case, Hydra) has been defeated, the enemy is Communist Russia. Or at least, that’s the big one they’re talking about. There’s more going on behind the scenes.
Carrying on from last season, Carter first clashes with Dottie Underwood. Dottie was one of her foes last season and is a graduate of the Soviet Red Room, making her a sort of forerunner to Black Widow. They have an ugly fight with some improvised weapons before Dottie of course gets captured, since it’s Carter’s show. Dottie, amusingly, is dressed in one of Carter’s signature outfits. Dottie was after, among other things, a pin with a very strange symbol on it.
Out in Los Angeles, Sousa is running the new West Coast office of the SSR. They are spreading out nicely, which makes sense since the eventually become the global SHIELD. Sousa gets involved in a really weird murder case. Since the field office is new, staffed with largely inexperienced agents, Sousa calls back to New York for help. Thompson, Chief since Dooley’s death, gets snotty and sends Carter out to LA.
Carter isn’t pleased to get pulled off interrogating Dottie, but gets overruled and outranked. She gets picked up at the airport (nice period piece that it’s a TWA plane) by Jarvis. Jarvis is out in LA because Howard Stark is now dabbing in movies. We pick up a flamingo for comic relief, and finally get to meet the legendary Mrs. Jarvis, who is a really cool character.
The murder itself resembles the methods of a never-captured killer from a few years ago, but with one major difference- in the middle of a heat wave, the lake they find the body in is frozen solid, as is the corpse. Definitely strange enough to be an SSR case. Sousa’s local liaison, Detective Henry, worked the original case. He also is the stereotypical press-obsessed Angeleno.
In New York, the SSR hid behind a telephone company. Now in LA, they use a talent agency as a front. Rose, the woman from the telephone company, took the transfer to come out to LA. I suspect random people auditioning are going to take the comic relief slot that the silliness at the Griffin Hotel did last season. So far it seems to be funnier and less intrusive.
Also back in New York, Chief Thompson doesn’t deal with Dottie anywhere near as well as Carter was. He’s nowhere near as clever as he thinks he is. Dottie literally turns the tables on him. Later, Thompson is tempted when political considerations about his future start turning up.
There’s been some tension between Sousa and Carter since she made it out to LA. He wasn’t returning her calls from New York, and now doesn’t seem comfortable around her. We’ll eventually learn more about that, but for now it’s just another element for the two to get through.
The dead woman eventually proves to be Jane Scott, a particle physicist working for a man named Chadwick. Chadwick is rich and powerful. He’s also married to movie star Whitney Frost, a name familiar to fans of Marvel Comics, although transplanted to an earlier era.
Chadwick runs a company called Isodyne, which has the only particle accelerator on the West Coast. Carter manages to sneak in. She doesn’t learn a lot on this first trip, but she does meet Jason Wilkes. Wilkes is an endearingly geeky scientist who immediately seems to be stepping into the role as Carter’s new love interest. Carter is stunningly attractive, but considering what happened to her last beaux, I’m not sure that’s something I’d want to do.
The coroner working on Scott’s body doesn’t so much find out what caused her to freeze, but does show something else about the effect. It doesn’t go well for him. With their expert dead, Peggy Carter brings in Wilkes, which was a bit questionable. “Hey, you work for the bad guy, why don’t we bring you in on this?”
Scott’s body goes missing, and then so does Detective Henry. The SSR isn’t doing well. Wilkes get dragged into some danger himself before they manage to work out what’s actually going on. An accident prevents Carter and Sousa from getting the information they hoped to get, but later it’s revealed there might be something else to the “accident.”
The episode wraps up with a few surprises, as they tend to do. Carter gets a hint as to what’s going with Sousa, after turning down Wilkes for a date. Carter’s going to be staying in LA for a while, since the murder still hasn’t been solved. And Wilkes is looking at something that certainly doesn’t belong in 40’s Los Angeles. It actually looks a lot like something from Agents of SHIELD.
What I liked: Carter is a lot of fun. She’s great to watch, especially in the fight scenes. I liked Rose’s expanded role, too. Mrs. Jarvis was worth waiting for. Jarvis is some amusing comic relief.
What I didn’t: While I like the character, I don’t see Sousa doing field work with a crutch, especially in the ‘40’s. Similarly, Wilkes’ academic achievement is unlikely for that era. There were a lot of 40’s villains in Marvel/Timely Comics, I’m not sure why they needed to steal Whitney Frost (no relation to Emma Frost, the White Queen, for those wondering).
Overall, I liked the first part of the opener. It had a few flaws, but was fun, which is really the point. I’ll give it a high 3.5 out of 5.