Agent Carter: 205 “The Atomic Job” Review
Reviewed by Ollie Gregory.
With its fifth episode of season 2, Agent Carter turns up the wackiness and comic book fun, while also exploring the now completely evil Whitney Frost (Wynn Everett). It also managed to make the love triangle between Peggy (Hayley Atwell), Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) and Violet (Sarah Bolger) genuinely interesting, so props to them for that.
The episode opens in a rather odd fashion, with Dr Wilkes (Reggie Austin) standing in Peggy’s bedroom (It’s a bit weird how often he’s in there) and waking her up in order to show her something he thinks is interesting. There’s a funny moment where Peggy, being Peggy, quickly wakes up and puts a gun through Wilkes’ head, before going with Wilkes to see whatever he has discovered. It turns out that people who have ‘Zero Matter’ already inside them, have an urge to absorb even more. It is this fascination to absorb even more of this magic putty that drives almost all of Whitney’s actions this episode.
One of the things that was a really pleasant surprise was how great the scenes between Sousa and Violet were. Their chemistry with one another is absolutely superb, and they’re both really likeable people. Over the past two episodes Sousa has become a character who I really really enjoy. Despite being drop dead gorgeous, he’s surprisingly relatable. Little nuances like losing the ring and accidentally falling asleep make him into someone you actually care about, and you begin to develop feelings for him. Sarah Bolger is also given a chance to actually do stuff this episode, and she’s fantastic as Violet. She completes the impossible task of playing a female character someone could believably pick over Peggy.
Atwell (if my computer could stop adding an extra ’t’ to her name every time I write it, that would be great!) was as fantastic as always, conveying Peggy as both powerful and determined, but if this episode belonged to anyone it would have to be James D’Arcy as Jarvis. That guy is just perfect as Peggy’s well spoken butler, and whether it be when he’s making great witty comments, stressing about defusing a bomb, or expressing how much he cares for Peggy’s wellbeing, the guy always elicits an emotional response. I swear to God if they kill off Jarvis I’m gonna cry!
Again, however, the humour sometimes got a bit too silly. They definitely need more Howard Stark (Can someone please confirm whether he is back this season or not?) as none of the other supporting characters quite pull the show’s goofy yet classy humour off. I still can’t decide how I feel about either Rose (Lesley Boone) or Dr Samberly (Matt Braunger) as while they have some funny moments, almost all the humour that doesn’t land is due to them.
I also can’t decide how I feel about the villainous duo (or trio if you include the disappointingly cliched mobster Joseph Manfredi, played by Ken Marino) who cause all the trouble this episode. While both Whitney and Chadwick (Arthur Curry) have some good moments, they also have some terribly cartoony ones. I guess that might be what the show was going for, but I can’t help but feel like they could both be so much more. I did enjoy the end of the episode, where Chadwick phones up the council, betraying his wife (I hope Whitney comes at him with a Z6 riot control baton).
But while some of the humour fell flat, the times where the show blended humour, action and tension were absolutely fantastic. The short scene involving Peggy and Jarvis breaking into a storage facility was a lot of fun, as was the espionage scene a short while later where Peggy repeatedly wipes Hugh Jones’ (Ray Wise) memory. Despite this scene being a little silly, and repeatedly wiping the memory of a man, rather than just clocking him over the head with something, probably isn’t the most efficient method of stealing something from him, the sequence was pretty fantastic. Both actors make the most of absolutely everything they’re given, and things like Peggy reassuring herself she’s saving the world while she unbuckles Hugh’s belt or Hugh waking up, visibly dishevelled with no memory of what just happened, and shrugging it off as if to suggest this isn’t an uncommon occurrence, make the whole sequence work to perfection.
The final action sequence, however, from the moment the team of misfits do the classic slow walk towards the camera, to the moment Peggy falls through a fence and gets herself impaled on some sort of spike, was an absolute thing of beauty. It was incredibly fun, with all five characters getting a chance to have their moment in the comedic spotlight, it was incredibly tense, with the character with probably the lowest dexterity rating (Yes, I play D&D, leave me alone) having to defuse an atomic bomb, and it was incredibly exciting, with there being some great fisticuffs. Oh, and it almost ends in utter tragedy. It was glorious!
Although Peggy getting impaled was never going to be as tragic as the show wanted us to believe it was, given that she is the titular character and there’s still a number of episodes left the season, and that we’ve seen an older version of her in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the closing moments of this episode did have quite the emotional impact, as Violet became aware that Sousa was in love with Peggy.
It was a surprisingly poignant moment which affected me way more than I could have ever imagined it would. The fact, it seemed, that Sousa genuinely wanted to love Violet, and almost wished he didn’t like Peggy so he could marry Violet and spend the rest of his life with her, was utterly heartbreaking. Violet was distraught, but not that angry at Sousa, showing that she understands him, and knows he genuinely thought he loved her. The relationship between these two really served as the emotional spine of this episode, and against all odds, it didn’t disappoint.
While this episode is possibly the least serious of this season, it’s still incredibly entertaining and engaging. Next episode should see the stakes start to build and build as we get closer and closer to our season finale.