Agent Carter’s troubles in California continue in “The Edge of Mystery.” This is one of the more serious episodes, and a lot happens. There were some interesting twists along the way, most of which caught me by surprise. I thought it was a good episode. Rumors about cancellation are still in the air for the show, but there is no confirmation that I can find anywhere. If it does get cancelled, it would be the first failure of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, if you can apply that term to something that lasted for two seasons.
After a quick flashback to Season One involving Jarvis and Ana, they return to the story’s present. Ana’s in the hospital after being shot by Frost last episode. She’s in serious condition, and Jarvis is understandably worried. Carter, after reassuring him, makes a run back to Stark’s place to get some things for Jarvis, who looks like hell and isn’t leaving Ana’s bedside.
Wilkes is not in a good situation when he wakes up in Frost’s custody. She’s really become the obsessive scientist, not understanding that he might not be feeling cooperative when he’s been kidnapped and handcuffed. She compares notes with him on their mutual experiences with Zero Matter, and she has some disturbing differences. She might well be on her way to Mad Scientist.
There are several good moments with Carter and Sousa. He’s examining the blood stain in the driveway when Carter gets home and tells him about Ana. One nice thing about the show– they are remembering they don’t have the instant communication of the modern era with computers and cell phones and such. They end up devising a plan to exchange Wilkes for the uranium rods from the first Zero Matter incident, using the gangster Manfredi as a go-between. There are some really amusing scenes with him when they find him and his grandmother.
Over in London, Chief Jack Thompson falls even further in my estimation. He’s gone so far as flying across the Atlantic to dig up dirt on Carter, and using a friendship to do it. Thompson is making improbably good time in his travels from Los Angeles to London and back, which sort of counters the credit I gave them about the communication issues of the time.
Wilkes is interested despite himself in Frost’s research. He does, amusingly, call her a “mass murderer of rats.” Frost wants to find a way to control her powers from the Zero Matter, where Wilkes is simply trying to get rid of his. They clearly don’t see things the same way. Manfredi shows up and interrupts, bringing word of the proposed trade with Carter.
Back at the hospital, Ana finally wakes up. She and Jarvis are very good together, and it’s a very touching scene. The doctor delivers some bad news to Jarvis, and I don’t think he handles it well at all. I’ll also point out that it’s unlikely they had an Asian doctor in 1947 California.
The episode starts building momentum from here on. Thompson is back (Does he have one of the Avengers’ jest, or a timelost Quicksilver?) and tries to blackmail Carter into being a good girl and coming back to New York. You can imagine how well that went. Even in the midst of this, Carter finds some good words to say about Thompson, which is more than I would by that point.
The team calls on Aloysius, their pet SSR scientist, to help with the exchange. Originally, he’s supposed to provide some fake uranium, but he ends up getting drafted for more than that when Howard Stark sends a message with designs for a new gadget that might end the Zero Matter issue. Of course, he’s working from plans from one of the smartest men on the planet, and it’s never been done before, so this isn’t exactly a sure thing.
The exchange itself goes badly. The team ends up getting betrayed, and it was something of a surprise to me how it happened. No one comes away from the swap happy, but things are getting worse as we go. Thompson gives the blackmail file to Masters, and then gets a dose of what Masters is really like. It’s not great for Thompson, but it does make him more inclined to help out the SSR.
Jarvis goes to find Rose and asks her to watch over Ana while he’s dealing with Frost. It’s both a sweet and ominous scene. Rose, a trained professional, figures out what Jarvis isn’t quite telling her.
With Thompson and Aloysius, Carter, Sousa and Jarvis take off to stop Frost from recreating the Zero Matter’s first manifestation. It’s a tense scene with some good lines (“DO WHAT CARTER SAYS!”- Sousa and Thompson). The end results of it all don’t go as predicted for anyone. Jarvis tries to avenge Ana, Carter tries to shut down the Zero Matter portal, and Aloysius tries to keep Stark’s new gadget working. Things go poorly for everyone, and the episode ends on a bad cliffhanger for at least some of our heroes.
What I liked: Jarvis’ love for Ana is very clear here, and gives the episode its best emotional scenes. Aloysius is largely comic relief, but it’s well acted. Sousa is determined to do the right thing, even when it’s hard. Frost is an at least somewhat understandable villain. Manfredi (and his grandmother) are entertaining. I liked Rose, and her scene with Aloysius was amusing.
What I didn’t: Thompson just doesn’t seem to learn. He was on the wrong side of things season one, and then seemed to grow a bit. Now, he’s on the wrong side again. Remind me not to take horse racing tips from him. He also moves intercontinental distances ridiculously quickly.
It was a decent, not great, episode. I’ll give it a 3 out of 5.