TV Review: Agent Carter - Season 2 Episode 5 "The Atomic Job"
Join us each week as we review the latest episode of AGENT CARTER. Warning: the following review contains major spoilers for the newest episode of the show.
Episode 5: "The Atomic Job"
Synopsis: As Jarvis’ precision and quick-thinking skills are put to the ultimate test, Peggy must find a way to stop an atomic explosion that threatens to destroy all of California.
Recap: Agent Carter has an expanded second season of ten episodes compared to the debut run of eight chapters but, even with that slight expansion the showrunners managed to find a way to deliver an episode last week that felt like a filler story. This week's episode doesn't progress the narrative of the season very much but it does provide some moments of levity that play up the screwball, Hollywood noir theme that has come to define this sophomore run. Plus, we get to see Hayley Atwell don what could be the sexiest costume she has worn to date.
The plot of this week centers on the titular heist involving the retrieval of uranium from some Roxxon controlled nuclear weapons. Carter and Jarvis are informed by Jason Wilkes who realizes a sample from the body of Jane Doe from the season premiere is being drawn to him due to his exposure to Zero Matter. Whitney Frost has the same realization when she finds the corpse of Jane with Jarvis and Peggy watching from the vent overhead. Now, with a race against each other to find the weapons, Peggy has to infiltrate the office of Roxxon head, Hugh Jones (Ray Wise) and uses a memory wiping device designed by the goofy Dr. Samberly at the SSR.
What follows is one of the lightest and funniest sequences on Agent Carter. As Hugh Jones recalls Peggy despite her costume comprised of a sexy skirt and a Betty Page wig, Peggy wipes his memory which only works for two minutes. Jones proceeds to leave and come back multiple times, each time requiring Peggy to wipe his memory. The comic relief somewhat belittles the power Hugh Jones' wields as a part of the Council of Nine but it definitely put a smile on my face. It would not be long for that to happen again as the SSR has to assemble their B-Squad of agents to infiltrate Roxxon for the bomb. Peggy suggests recruiting SSR receptionist Rose who has been dying to be a field agent. They then need to bring Dr. Samberly along, who happens to have a crush on Rose. Along with Jarvis, the bumbling crew is complete.
Meanwhile, Calvin Chadwick is horrified by Whitney Frost's exposure to Zero Matter and is afraid of what she wants to do with access to the alien entity. Frost knows she will need to leverage some of her connections to try and steal the atomic bomb since her husband will not confront the Council, so they pay a visit to mobster Joseph Manfredi. Played by Ken Marino, the gangster is surprisingly not comic relief and represents a fairly stereotypical heavy you would expect in any number of old noir films. But, his purpose is solely to provide muscle for Frost's heist. I would expect he may return in a later episode this season otherwise it seems like a wasted bit of casting. As the two groups converge on the facility to steal the uranium, Rose and Dr. Samberly are able to show what they can do. Samberly ends up locking Jarvis in a room where Souza needs to walk him through the bomb defusing while Rose shows she can hold her own in a fight much like Peggy can.
In the end, the SSR is able to get away with the bombs but not before Peggy and Whitney Frost have to face off in a brief duel. Peggy gets some good punches in but Frost's Zero Matter enhanced physiology allows her to absorb the blows. Peggy tries to offer Whitney help from the SSR to cure her, something her husband pleads for, but she begins to affect Peggy with her powers before knocking her off a ledge. Hanging, Frost delivers a cheesy one-liner before Peggy falls, landing on a piece of rebar that pierces her abdomen. Souza finds Peggy and the team rushes her to Souza's fiancee who uses her medical knowledge to save Peggy. But, she also notices how Souza looks at Peggy and asks him if he is in love with her, leaving a cliffhanger going into next week. Chadwick also seems to be done with his wife's transformation. She accosts him and belittles his manhood which leads him to call an emergency Council session to find a way to stop her once and for all.
While we got some progress of Whitney Frost's development into Madame Masque and the revelation that Souza is not over Peggy, the rest of what happened in this hour didn't really need to happen in it's own episode. The goofy nature of the Peggy versus Hugh Jones scene and everything involving the B-Squad was enjoyable and fluffy entertainment, but not much more than that. Again, this is Agent Carter and is never going to be a gritty Marvel experience, but this episode felt a lot lighter than the better hours we have seen to date. To call this episode a waste would be a bit harsh, but it didn't really do much but fill another hour of the second season. On it's own, this was a fun episode, but there really isn't much else here.
Marvel Universe References: Joseph Manfredi's Marvel Comics counterpart is known by the alias of Blackwing and has the ability to control bats.
Next on Agent Carter: "Life of the Party" airs February 16th - When Peggy realizes she cannot save Wilkes on her own, she turns to her most unexpected adversary for help while Whitney makes a move to control the deadly Zero Matter.