[Warning: there are spoilers below for the Agent Carter episode, "The Atomic Job"]
Editor At Large Aaron Sagers and Contributing Editor Tara Bennett talk about “The Atomic Job,” the fifth episode of Season 2 of Agent Carter, where Carter, Sousa and Jarvis expand their crew and our favorite agent goes mano-a-mano with baddie Whitney Frost.
Aaron: That was a sadistic and zany episode of Agent Carter! This installment saw our crew adding Rose Roberts (Lesley Boone) and cranky scientist Dr. Aloysius Samberly (Matt Braunger) to their misfit ranks for a little Roxxon heist. While this is an overall good, but ultimately disposable, episode, I still had fun watching Peggy and Sousa lead a Bad News Bears of the SSR in a scheme against Whitney Frost and the Council of Nine. That hero shot of the five of them heading off on a mission, before Jarvis realizes he parked the car around the corner, was a spot-on piece of levity and poked fun at heist flicks.
Tara: That was indeed the greatest, wonky power shot ever captured for the Marvel Universe. It was a master comedic moment, and each of the actors had me rolling with their subtle fumbling, and rooting for that endearing cluster of misfits. In fact, it was the assembling of the Z-list SSR team, and watching them in action, that made the episode for me. Carter certainly works well as an island, but the team building of like-minded allies this season has me more invested in the adventures and what they each bring to the table in support of Peggy. Tonight was a great example of that as everyone from Sousa to Samberly had their moment to shine. Hell, even poor Violet showed off her healing skills, and that makes for a richer viewing experience each progressive episode.
Aaron: Yes, the heist sequence had that strong balance of humor, tension and action. As Sousa coached the locked-in Jarvis on how to dismantle an A-bomb, Samberly dealt with his own insecurities and ineffectiveness with a pesky electronic door lock. Meanwhile, Rose proved her mettle by disarming a mob thug with a knife, which she kept (“I’ve seen bigger”) and Peggy fought one mob muscle before the first of what I hope is many fights with Whitney Frost – and, despite being clever, she doesn’t really win (see: impaled on a rebar moment). The entire act was fast-paced and fun without spreading itself too thin.
Tara: There were some great, quiet moments with Jason this week. Kudos to Reggie Austin for doing so much with the tough role of non-corporeal exposition guy. He can't touch or interact, or be an actionable member of Carter's pack in the field, but he's winning the war of making Peggy, and us, really care what happens to him by the arc's end. His nasty phasing out of Peggy's room doesn't bode well for the scientist.
Aaron: I also enjoyed Sousa’s marriage proposal to Violet after having been interrupted previously in that effort by Peggy, and it contrasts Frost’s cool, aloof marriage to Calvin Chadwick. Sousa makes dinner and passes out before his nurse girlfriend gets home. He stumbles into his proposal after having lost his engagement ring, and the scene is charming, like something out of a big-screen rom-com. Meanwhile, Violet comes back into play later, not missing a beat and setting out to patch up Peggy. I hate to mention it, but does Violet seem too good to be true? Especially considering that look of longing Sousa gives Carter. Don’t fret, shippers; I think there’s still hope for these two.
Tara: Oh, I'm calling it....Violet doesn't make it down the aisle with Daniel. She deserves a good life but she's looking more and more like collateral damage because of Sousa in the near future. Losing a love dramatically would certainly tie him to Carter's own experiences even more.
Aaron: Nice to see Ken Marino as gangster Joseph Manfredi (the secret identity for a villain known as Blackwing in Marvel Comics). Marino plays Manfredi as a constant joker and sociopath, like Joe Pesci in Goodfellas. Is he a clown for our amusement or a killer? Probably both.
And P.S. I’m certain all eagle-eye fans noticed the Civil War Antiques van Peggy, Sousa, Samberly, and Rose rode up in? Who knows if it's connected to the big Marvel event film coming out in a few months, but it was still a nice touch.
Tara: That was some cheeky MCU suggestion there....well done.
Aaron: I found the Jason Wilkes character to be in the way. He is an occasional ghost, stuck in one plane, and his character is not being developed or given enough to do. He reminds me of an A.I. like Robert Picardo’s Doctor in Star Trek: Voyager, but with less substance.
Tara: As I said above, Jason is working for me because of Reggie. I'm less impressed by milksop Calvin Chadwick at this point. Yes, he's a pawn politician who has been ably controlled by both the Council of Nine and his wife, but outside of that, there's not much to grab onto with the character. Right now, there's no edge, snark or even tempered machinations percolating under the surface to make him interesting. When Whitney grabbed his gob and warned "Watch your tone," I felt no sympathy for the mug at all. I'd like to feel something, even cathartic glee at his comeuppance. Instead, I'm still firmly "meh."
Carter Kicks A** Moment
Aaron: Peggy in that wig at Roxxon? All kinds of yes. Aside from that, the spy kicked ass in a different way by being a sadistic sort, using Samberly’s potential brain-damage-causing Memory Inhibitor gadget (a pre-cursor to the Men In Black neuralizer) repeatedly against Ray Wise’s Roxxon president Hugh Jones. The scene was played for comedic effect against the womanizing executive, but it also belied Peggy’s willingness to break some eggs to make an omelet. Hugh was an obstruction which she dealt with – by taking off several items of his clothing (all while chanting, “You’re saving the world, you’re saving the world, you’re saving the world.”).
Tara: I wholly agree. Carter in disguise and willfully frying Jones' brain cells was darkly brilliant. And she did give me a moment lying there impaled on that rebar. Lady is cool as a cucumber even when bleeding out.
I'll also give my love to Carter's recruit, Rose, who owned that field mission with her enthusiasm, quick thinking and Samberly-whispering in the clinch. And how about Rose's right hook? She took out that thug with a glint in her eye. That's the way to know your value!
Best Jarvis Scene Stealing
Aaron: Jarvis had multiple entertaining moments with Sousa this episode. But my favorite moment was when he and Peggy were in the air ducts, trying to retrieve the body of Jane Scott, the lady of the lake. An anxious Jarvis rambles on, while the two are trying to be stealthy, about the environment bringing back memories of: “Apricot preserves. My granny’s house. In the cellar. Cramped and teaming with spiders…”
But the Jarvis anxiety and one-liners (“No, but he does have a Woody.”) were usurped by Samberly’s enthused and flummoxed reaction to Rose’s pie-making abilities: “That was your pie? Your pie was in my mouth? I like pie. Pie is good.”
Tara: Jarvis get the win in my book for his deadpan, post uranium reaction to Sousa, "That was nothing like making soufflé."
Aaron: It is not a particularly revelatory episode, but “The Atomic Job” is nonetheless an entertaining caper for our heroes. Plus, it does further Whitney Frost’s journey to full-blown power-mad, world-dominating villain hungry for more zero matter. And she is shaping up to be a big bad (I wonder when she’ll finally kill Calvin?) to a level that maybe even Peg can’t stop her.
Tara: Energetic, feisty and, at times, heart-tugging, tonight's episode opened up Carter's world a little more and it absolutely worked. She's becoming the patron saint of the fringe hero and exploring the unexpected characters is where MCU or MTU stories are crafting the most interesting stories these days.
Was this a standout episode for you? Tell us your thoughts below...