Agent Carter: 207 “Monsters” Review
Reviewed by Ollie Gregory.
With its seventh episode Agent Carter begins to truly turn up the heat. Dr Wilkes (Reggie Austin) finally manages to find a way to turn himself solid, Whitney Frost (Wynn Everett) begins her reign of terror over the everyone in the council and proves her ruthlessness as she tortures Dottie Underwood (Bridget Regan), and Jarvis (James D’Arcy) and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) go on their most dangerous mission together yet. Oh, and Vernon Masters (Kurtwood Smith) goes around just sort of getting on everyone’s nerves. It’s an exciting time.
Back at the Stark residence (They keep saying his name, but he ain’t there) Dr Wilkes is starting to lose the plot with regards to his condition. He has a brief little outburst, exclaiming that Peggy has no reason to want to save Dottie so should let her die. Now, while he quickly apologises soon after, I think this is going to somehow tie in to how he ends up being eliminated from the love triangle because, let’s be real, Peggy is going to end up with Sousa.
Speaking of the love triangle, it is mostly put on the back burner this episode. There is, however, a terrific scene between Jarvis and Peggy where they sit in the car and Peggy explains the situation to him, showing that she can shrug off interrogations and incredibly dangerous missions, but being desired by two men has her shook. While the scene’s main function is to be humorous, which it fully achieves, it also serves as giving us a further look into how close Peggy and Jarvis are. Both Atwell and D’Arcy are great individually, but it is there chemistry with one another that is the driving force of the show, and it is on full display this episode. It’s impossible not to truly believe their friendship, which is a credit to both actors involved.
Also great this episode was Mrs Jarvis (Lotte Verbeek). While we still haven’t seen an awful lot of her, this week she got fully involved, and my goodness, she is such a sweet young woman. She stresses about Jarvis going out and fighting crime, but not in an annoying way, like every other love interest in superhero related properties (Other than Peggy Carter, obviously), but in a way which showed she cared for her husband dearly. Her concern did, however, seem to hint that Mr Jarvis may be in bigger danger than we think, but more on that in a bit.
While many previously under-utilised characters got a fair bit to do this episode, Daniel Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) got significantly less to do than usual. He spent much of the episode having to put up with Vernon Masters, who is supposed to seem incredibly powerful and manipulative, but only young boy Jack Thompson (who doesn’t appear this episode, much to the dismay of many I imagine) seems to treat him seriously. Sousa does get a cool moment towards the end of the episode, where he’s beaten up by masked thugs and then comes into work the next day looked terrible just so he could show Vernon Masters that he isn’t easily intimidated. It’s little moments like that which really give me an adrenaline boost.
This week truly belonged to Whitney Frost. After the great developments last episode, this episode we actually got to see her go full psychopath, and it was glorious. Wynn Everett was definitely the star of this episode, displaying her sadistic nature superbly. Over the last six episodes we have followed Frost’s descent into madness, and this week we finally got some payoff. The interrogation scene really sealed the deal, and Bridget Regan’s eyes of absolute terror really sold the horrific nature of Frost’s powers. Generally speaking, PG-13 torture scenes are pretty irritating, in the sense that the characters mention extreme brutality and then you cut back and the victim has a few cuts and bruises here and there, but his one was genuinely horrific. I’ve always found the use of Whitney’s powers a little unsettling, but when she’s using them slowly, trying to cause as much pain as possible, they’re even more disturbing.
One of the things I keep thinking whilst watching but not mentioning in my reviews are how great the stupid 1940’s gadgets are. Last week we had the weird magnet things and this week we had a giant hairdryer that you placed on the floor which blew your bad guys away with a huge gust of air (I think it was called a Scuttlebug?). My one complaint was that we didn’t actually get to see the Scuttlebug blow a bunch of guys away. We saw it blow furniture, and heard it blow guys, but we didn’t actually get to see a group of men go flying across the screen.
For me, the greatest thing the aptly named Monsters achieved was truly making you hate the villain. Not only was Whitney Frost on form, Joseph Manfredi (Ken Marino) returned, and this time he was actually great. While some villains are evil in the sense that they want to destroy the world or kill a bunch of people, Manfredi is evil in his mannerisms. I honestly believe that my biggest sense of satisfaction this season is going to be watching him get punched in the face, really hard.
But its the final sequence that really turns the audience against the dastardly duo. After luring Peggy and Jarvis into a trap, Manfredi and Frost travel to Mr Stark’s house in order to kidnap Dr Wilkes, in order to lure Peggy into another trap (Classic super villain logic). However, due to their evil nature, they can’t just walk in and do what they came to do. They travel to where Dr Wilkes is, try and get him to join forces with them, and after he understandably refuses, they verbally abuse him, using good old racism. Then, because the show decided that being a horrible racist just wasn’t quite bad enough, they decide to shoot Mrs Jarvis. Yup, while we correctly guessed that Jarvis was going to be hurt, we didn’t correctly guess how.
The terrific thing about this episode is that it maintains its wacky and fun 1940’s atmosphere, while still packing quite the punch. There’s a number of emotionally powerful moments, like Wilkes kissing Peggy and being amazed by the fact he feels like a person again and Peggy holding Jarvis’ hand to comfort him while his wife has surgery, but they’re not affected by the bizarre humour that we’ve come to know and love. Monsters pulls off the combination of humour and drama in terrific fashion and it deserves applause for it.
This has got to be the greatest episode of the season so far. It’s certainly the most emotive, and while the fact that another two episodes are going to be released this week is daunting, as it means I have to write two reviews (What do you mean I could just combine the two into one?!), this episode was so good that I’m thrilled we’re getting another double. Agent Carter’s natural fast pacing, and the fact episodes are being shot out faster than bullets from an automatic gun, gets me more and more excited as we race towards what will hopefully be a great season finale.