Agent Carter is back! Ana is back! Dottie Underwood is back! Chief Thompson is back! After last week’s heist episode, this week’s double episode showcase leaps forward with the plot and character development for everyone involved. Characters that have been absent for a while are back and there are scenes between characters that seldom interact and every one of them are fantastic. There is also a character or two who meets the end of their run and by the end of the episodes pretty much every single protagonist is in terrible, terrible shape. What a great couple of episodes!
The first episode, “Life of the Party,” starts with Dr. Wilkes (Reggie Austin) phasing back into reality after disappearing at the end of the last episode. He and Carter (Hayley Atwell) come up with a plan to stabilize him, which involves getting a sample of Zero Matter from Whitney Frost (Wynn Everett). After talking with Chief Sousa (Enver Gjokaj), it’s decided that in order to infiltrate the party for Frost’s husband Calvin Chadwick (Currie Graham) and obtain a sample of her blood, Carter must turn to an old nemesis, as no one else will be able to sneak into the party unrecognized to perform the deed. Meanwhile, Chadwick informs Frost that the council has agreed to hear her proposals on Zero Matter, during his senatorial fundraising party.
Carter infiltrates the cell of Dottie Underwood (Bridget Regan) in disguise as a Dr. Wexford. Not enough can be said about Regan in this role, really. She outshines everyone else in every scene she’s in with a cool detachment, treating every situation she’s in, no matter how serious, with a charming playfulness. This exchange between her and Carter is great as Carter explains that she needs her help and they both cut through the pretenses and admit to each other their true intentions. Carter plans on using Underwood before returning her right back to her cell. Underwood agrees to the plan, partially because she’s confident she can escape despite Carter’s preparation, but mostly just because it’ll be fun for her.
While everyone is getting ready for the party, Dr. Wilkes inadvertently worries Jarvis’ wife Ana (Lotte Verbeek) by being brutally honest about the mission and that Carter and Jarvis are basically going it alone. The introduction to the character of Ana was great. Unfortunately, in these episodes, that initial fire that was seen is quite a bit diminished by her concern for Jarvis, although, as we see later, she’s still just as strong. Elsewhere, Carter is explaining to Underwood that the necklace she’s wearing is a tracking device and also a safeguard, as it will administer a lethal toxin if it is broken or if Carter chooses to push the button. Underwood will be attending the party as the guest of Mr. Jarvis (James D’Arcy) and is delightful as she taunts him about having to go into the fray with her. She takes to calling him “Jeeves.” Underwood also enjoys herself equally while flirting with Dr. Wilkes, before becoming intrigued by his immaterial form.
When Jarvis and Underwood arrive at the party, with Carter and Sousa outside in a surveillance van, they find Chief Thompson (Chad Michael Murray) there with his friend Vernon Masters (Kurtwood Smith) hobnobbing the bigwigs there. Everything is going well for Thompson until he meets with Hugh Jones (Ray Wise), who chides him for being repeatedly outmaneuvered by Carter. Thompson resolves with Masters to get control of Carter for the sake of his political ambition. As Underwood follows Frost upstairs, there is a great exchange as Jarvis distracts Thompson and ends up attacking his blind ambition and tells him that he’s out of his depth with the present company.
Upstairs, Underwood is able to obtain a sample from Frost as they pass in the bathroom, but she becomes trapped hiding in the conference room as the Council of Nine enters to hear from Frost. Underwood watches as Frost demonstrates her powers on a rat for the Council. At that point, a couple of goons bust in and lasso Frost around the neck. The Council is obviously frightened of her power and wishes to subdue it in one way or another. In a display of power greater than any yet seen, Frost allows the Zero Matter to flow out from her, killing her would-be subduers and all of the Council except for four. Then she turns her attention to her husband Chadwick. She laments that she trusted him before killing him as well. So long, Currie Graham! It’s been fun! Underwood tells the rest of the Council that they belong to her now. After what they have just seen, they are all eager to comply, especially Jones.
After the meeting, Underwood is spotted upstairs and is attacked. Eventually, she’s surprised and knocked out by Thompson. As she’s taken away, no one notices the Zero Matter sample laying on the ground, leaving it for Jarvis to find as he searches for Underwood. At some point during all this, Carter and Sousa have a moment where they’re honest with each other and Sousa tells her about his fiance leaving him, because he still has feelings for Carter. Their near-kiss is interrupted however when a body tossed out of a window by Underwood lands on top of their vehicle. Jarvis appears with the Zero Matter as the party-goers are dispersing and he, Carter, and Sousa decide that they have to cut their losses and regroup.
After the party, Thompson and Masters meet with Jones, who tells them of the meeting with Frost. When watching this scene, take a moment to enjoy these two RoboCop veterans on screen together again. Further chastised about Carter, Thompson heads to Stark’s mansion to meet with her. When he threatens her, she basically quits, saying that she’s sure she’ll sort it all out ans come out on top. Thompson tells her that when she’s wrong, she won’t see it coming and pleads with her to just drop it and return to New York with him. He leaves disappointed.
The episode ends with Underwood being delivered to Frost.
This leads into the next episode “Monsters,” which opens with Frost giving a tearful press conference about the disappearance of her husband and several of his friends in a “boating accident.” After that, she meets with Masters who has failed to successfully extract any information from Underwood. Frost sends him to meet with Sousa, while she deals with Underwood herself. Underwood begins to manipulate Frost, but is quickly shut down by Frost, who tells her, “We’re not in the same boat. We’re not even in the same ocean.” Frost then gives her a little taste of her power, which leads to Underwood being truly frightened for the first time in the entire Agent Carter series. She tells Frost everything she knows about Carter and her plans. Frost is especially interested by the existence and current state of Dr. Wilkes.
As Carter, Jarvis, and Ana use the Zero Matter to keep Dr. Wilkes in solid form and stabilize him in a machine they’ve built, with Wilkes excitedly planting a big kiss on Carter, the transceiver in Underwood’s necklace switches back on. Recognizing that they’re walking into a trap, Carter calls Sousa, who’s unable to join them because he’s stuck in his office with Masters. This scene is great as Masters attempts to appeal to Sousa’s ego and ambition to manipulate him like he does Thompson and Sousa has absolutely no interest. Before Carter and Jarvis head out, he has a moment with Ana, where she shares her concern for him. Her strength shines through as she puts her concerns aside for the importance of the matter, the fact that Carter needs him, and the fact that he himself needs to do it.
Before mounting their rescue of Underwood, Carter and Jarvis stop the car for a moment to discuss her romantic problems, which she is reluctant to do. As Jarvis points out, she has gone from “famine to feast vis-a-vis quality suitors.” She acknowledges her confusion before they go forward with the mission. When they begin their infiltration, Jarvis attempts to use a device he’s borrowed from Stark which will send out a concussive wave, knocking out anyone in its path. It fails and they’re immediately captured. They’re locked up with Underwood who is pleased by this “nice surprise.” As they all untie themselves and escape, Underwood reveals that the trap wasn’t for them and that Frost is heading to Stark’s mansion where Ana and Dr. Wilkes are waiting. This is where everything gets bad for everybody.
Frost sneaks into Stark’s mansion, enjoying his genius inventions (including a palladium core in a nod to Iron Man). She kidnaps Dr. Wilkes and shoots Ana, who bravely tries to stop her. As Carter and Jarvis rush Ana to the hospital, they leave Underwood in the trunk of their car. She, of course, escapes. Meanwhile, Sousa is brutally attacked in his home and relieved of duty the next day by Masters, who takes over the SSR.
As you can see, this week leaves everybody in terrible shape in the most exciting way possible and it will be a struggle to last until next week’s double episode!