Agent Carter: 209 “A Little Song and Dance” Review
Reviewed by Ollie Gregory.
Oh my goodness gracious!
The ninth episode of Agent Carter’s second (and probably last) season starts with one of the most amazing opening sequences I’ve ever seen. No, it isn’t an action sequence. No, it isn’t a fantastically written interrogation sequence. No, it isn’t a flashback sequence that reveals crucial details in a really clever way. It’s a musical sequence…
Say what you will about Agent Carter, but it clearly isn’t afraid to try something a little bit different. While other superhero TV shows might joke about having a musical episode, or maybe have a scene where karaoke takes place, Agent Carter decides that if you’re going to do something you have to do it with gusto. As soon as the episode begins you realise that what you’re watching is a dream sequence of Peggy’s, but that doesn’t make it any less fun. Admittedly, the admission of Captain America (remember Peggy was in love with him), and the fact the whole sequence went on just a little too long caused it to begin to fall a little flat towards the end, but it was a fun way to address the love triangle without it plaguing any other parts of the episode.
As the sequence draws to a close we’re reminded of what’s actually going on. Peggy (Hayley Atwell) and Jarvis (James D’Arcy) are sat in the back of truck after being captured by Whitney Frost (Wynn Everett) and Joseph Manfredi (Ken Marino) as a means to get Dr Wilkes (Reggie Austin) to do exactly what they want. Meanwhile, Daniel Sousa (Enver Gjokaj), Jack Thompson (Chad Michael Murray) and Dr Samberley (Matt Braunger) are stranded in the middle of a hot desert with their only hope of getting home relying on them being in the back of a car owned by Whitney Frost. Generally speaking, if you’re a good guy you’re having a bad time, and vice versa.
The highlight of this episode was undoubtedly the heated confrontation between Jarvis and Peggy, with James D’Arcy and Hayley Atwell pulling the scene off superbly. It was a heartfelt scene full of brutal honesty between the two and after watching the two buddies grow and bond over numerous episodes only to see Whitney Frost’s antics seemingly push the two apart, the scene was all the more emotional. Fortunately, for Peggy, Jarvis, and us at home, the two say what needs to be said, with Jarvis admitting that he’s a coward and Peggy realising exactly what Jarvis is going through, and then seem to make friends again.
One of the things that made this episode stand out more than others though, was that it was really really funny. Matt Braunger was absolutely superb this week, putting on a great performance both this episode and last, and making Dr Samberley one of my favourite characters. Ken Marino also got a couple of chances to use his comedic chops, despite being a largely more serious character, something that has been long overdue.
But, as the season heats up and things take a more serious turn, Agent Carter’s classification limitations come into play. I know that not everything can be as dark and gruesome as the likes of Daredevil and Jessica Jones, but the show needs to know its limitations. If you’re not allowed to show any blood, don’t show a man being shot at point blank range. Not only does it look ridiculous, it undermines just how dangerous and ruthless guns are. Have a shootout by all means, and have people punch other people, but don’t have something as horrific as someone being shot in the face if you’re not able to show how horrific such events are. Last episode, when Ana was shot, the show did it perfectly. There wasn’t masses of blood but there was enough to make you feel slightly uncomfortable and realise the severity of what just happened.
Speaking of Ana Jarvis (Lottie Verbeek) she literally cannot become any more likeable. She’s such a cutiepie and her interactions with Jarvis are always exceptional. Considering her limited screen time, Verbeek has done a phenomenal job this season, and has become arguably the character I’ve grown to care about the most. As much as I hate talking about feminism and the likes, the fact the show has such a strong and unique female supporting character is really commendable.
Where the episode really excels is in its second half, where a makeshift team is thrown together to try and stop Whitney Frost for once and for all. To see Vernon Masters (Kurtwood Smith) teaming with the good guys was a really fun dynamic and the fact that he’s been portrayed as fairly weak so far turned out to be a good decision in the long run. There’s nothing I love more than a bunch of misfits being forced to team up despite not really liking each other, and Agent Carter did it fantastically.
Jack Thompson’s ability to lie to everyone was another fantastic part of this episode. This guy may seem to suck at pretty much everything, but he is pretty fantastic at lying to people. His endless lies to different people of different allegiances to work himself into a position where he could do what he wanted to do (and what I think was the best thing to do) was wonderfully well written, leaving the audience almost as confused as the characters as to what Jack Thompson was trying to achieve
Imagine if my review just ended there. No rating, nothing. That was what this episode was like. There’s action left right and centre. Peggy rushes in to save Wilkes and he tells her that she has to leave him here as he is too dangerous. Peggy refuses so Wilkes locks himself in. Meanwhile Whitney has Masters and is using her disgusting powers on him while Thompson is about to set off a gamma bomb. Sousa and Samberley just about stop the bomb so Thompson points a gun at Samberley. Peggy runs over and points a gun at Thompson. We see Wilkes staggering about with cracks forming all over his body and then POP… Agent Carter.
Oh my goodness gracious, what on Earth just happened. Did Dr Wilkes just literally pop like a balloon? Is he dead?
As odd as this ending was, with this episode never really concluding, you have to give credit where credit is due. It certainly left me anticipating the season finale, and you can’t ask for much more from a penultimate episode. If news outlets are to be believed, Agent Carter is on its way out, which is a shame for everyone involved. A Little Song and Dance highlighted a number of things that make the show so great, and ticked all the boxes that an episode like this needed to. The idea that we might only have forty minutes left with these characters is a little soul destroying, so lets enjoy it whilst we can.
On a positive note, a certain billionaire might be back next episode!!!