Dang, after few Marvel references last week, this episode was chock full! More Marvel Villains, allusions to Captain America: Civil War, and major revelations about the threat to Team Carter!
Definitely enjoyed this episode – more fun romps like this would be welcome!
Sorry for the delay gang, though due to my TV troubles, I may be posting Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter recaps on Wednesday nights instead of Wednesday mornings from now on.
The story thus far: The SSR is compromised and Whitney Frost has some major hudu going on, so Agent Carter and Chief Sousa have to figure out who they can trust to evil plots that could threaten the world!
Connecting Comics Universe to Cinematic Universe
As the show opens, we learn Peggy always sleeps with a gun because of course she does, then Jason Wilkes demonstrates his attraction to Zero Matter (or vice versa) which briefly makes him corporeal. This allows him to track murder victim Jane Scott’s Zero Matter-filled body to the County Cold Storage Building that belongs to Calvin Chadwick’s Arena Club buddy Thomas Gloucester. Can I just take a moment to smack myself on the head for not pointing out that Chadwick, Gloucester, and even Taurey all appeared in the comics before? They were members of the “Elite,” which was of course part of the Secret Empire. Chadwick was a mad scientist experimenting on “inferior” people, by the way. The whole debacle began because an ancient ancestor of Captain America fought with an ancient ancestor of the Secret Empire’s leader. Captain America and the Falcon got involved when Henry Kissinger assigned them to fight mutated freaks, psychic bombs, and murderous roller derbiers. Jack Kirby was a great man.
Anyway, Sousa finally proposes to the nurse who is not named Nellie, who has a co-worker named Regina (still not Nellie). Though by the episode’s end, Violet realizes Sousa might still have feelings for Peggy (but if he does, why did he run away from New York?).
Frost, meanwhile, continues to creep out her husband by mumbling in tongues while sleeping (dark spirits of the Darkforce, maybe?). Like Wilkes, Whitney is drawn to the Zero Matter-filled corpse, and getting there before Peggy and Jarvis (who we learn is scared of spiders), Whitney has an overwhelming desire to find an atomic bomb to recreate the original Zero Matter experiment. When Chadwick calls her mad, she says that Galileo was called insane. While this is true, in the Marvel Universe, Galileo Galilei was an immortal science wizard, ran the secret cult that founded SHIELD, and he fought Galactus in 1582. Insane or not, the man was impressive – at least until the similarly immortal Isaac Newton killed him.
Both good and bad guys realize the nearest available bombs are housed at a Roxxon facility run by Howard Stark’s business rival Hugh Jones (who appeared previously in the Arena Club and briefly last season). Apparently Roxxon created some bombs in 1946 and has them just lying around a few miles outside of Los Angeles (under heavy guard, but still). In the comics, Hugh Jones founded the modern version of the evil Roxxon Corporation (and may-or-may-not have been responsible for Howard Stark’s supposed death), and briefly tried to rule the multiverse, kicking off what could have allowed ancient snake god Lovecraftean apocalypse on the Marvel Universe.
Peggy, still technically on vacation, turns to Sousa for help taking on Jones. They turn to SSR scientist Dr. Aloysius Samberly, who briefly appeared in the first episode this season. Samberly hands Peggy a handy memory-eraser that he’d previously tested on fellow scientist Jerry. This comes in handy as Peggy’s disguise as the redheaded Wanda doesn’t fool Jones for more than a few seconds. After noticing a poster with a cartoon crow, Peggy figures Jones keeps his atomic bomb key in his massive belt buckle. Okay, so Jones’ rather cowboyesque buckle makes sense, as comic book Jones’ comes from a Texas ranch/oil baron family. Redheaded Wanda feels like a nod to Avengers’ member Scarlet Witch (though that may be a stretch). The memory-eraser seems like a precursor to Men in Black‘s flashy thing, and MiB is a Marvel property. And hey, a cartoon crow, let’s look at Marvel’s funny animals. In the late 40s (when Agent Carter takes place) Marvel was producing fewer and fewer superhero titles, but they did have romances, westerns, crime comics, and funny animal strips like Super Rabbit and Krazy Krow. The more you know.
Frost goes to visit Joseph Manfredi, high-ranking member of the Maggia crime family. Manfredi has some kind of unspoken past with Whitney Frost, and naked animosity towards her husband. He agrees to help Frost’s heist job of Chadwick’s Arena Club buddy’s keep the mafia out of the newspapers (something they could totally do). To drive the point home, he beats the snot out of one of his own men in front of a crowded restraint just because he can. In the comics, Whitney Frost is even hirer in the Maggia than Manfredi, but Manfredi also rounds around causing trouble as the villain Blackwing. Dang, another supervillain in this series!
Peggy also seeks backup. Since last episode revealed the Arena Club had their claws in the SSR, Peggy and Sousa seek out trustworthy agents, like Rose, who runs the SSR front company, the Auerbach Theatrical Company, and Samberly, who has a crush on Rose and is annoyed Sousa doesn’t remember recruiting him. So that means Peggy’s elite, pre-SHIELD team includes Peggy (who everyone overlooks), Rose (who even people who respect Peggy overlook), Dr. Samberly (who everybody hates), Sousa (who people make fun of due to his bum leg), and Jarvis (a butler). Agent Coulson, eat your heart out.
Team Carter arrives at Roxxon in a red Civil War Antiques truck because of course they do, and after some quick-thinking role-playing between the love-smitten Samberly and the dedicated Rose, Samberly uses an electric stun grenade thingy to get everyone inside. Samberly’s quick thinking takes care of the rest of Roxxon’s security, allowing the men to work on neutering the atomic bombs while the women beat up Manfredi’s mob enforcers helping Frost and Chadwick. Interestingly, Rose takes out her opponent instantly, while Peggy takes a few hits taking down her thug. Due to some crossed wires, Jarvis is forced to do Sousa’s job: handling the radioactive bomb cores.
With the bombs no longer a threat, Peggy goes after Frost, barely escaping Frost’s Zero Matter-grip, but is thrown off a ledge onto metal rebars. Ouch. Rather than risk Arena Club members at a hospital, the team takes Peggy to Sousa’s fiancée, and after some amazing first aid, they take her to Stark’s house to recuperate. There Peggy sees Wilkes fade away again, but this time Stark isn’t around to help him out. Before he disappears, Wilkes mentions the “dark” place where Zero Matter comes from… sounds more and more like Darkforce.
In the evil mansion of Frost and Chadwick, Frost belittles her husband and orders him to stand up to the Arena Club Council. He grows a brief backbone, but she scares it out of him. That night, however, he calls an emergency Council meeting to deal with everything, showing initiative for the first time.
Next time: Peggy’s biggest rival is back – and working for Peggy?