The Lady in the Lake
Last night’s episode of “Agent Carter” titled The Lady in the Lake (Agent Carter Season 2 Episode 1) introduced a ton of amazing new mysteries for its second season. They brought back Black Widow baddie Dottie Underwood, they teed up the mystery of a frozen, radioactive woman, and they revealed a secret society that looked way too much like Hydra. Now it must be stated upfront that while I expected Dottie to be back at some point this series, I didn’t expect to see her so soon! Carter as I mentioned in my previous reviews doesn’t waste time and while the short seasons somewhat contribute to that, I expect another reason is the lessons learned from Season 1 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D which just dragged.
Season two of Marvel’s Agent Carter begins the same way season one did: with a sassy brunette in a red hat. But this time the brunette is Russian super-spy Dottie Underwood (Bridget Regan) dressed like everyone’s favorite SSR agent — Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) — and she and her goons are robbing a bank. Just when you think they might get away with it too, Peggy pops out of the safe with a shotgun and gets into a showdown with Dottie and while we don’t have one of the epic fight sequences that May made famous in S.H.I.E.L.D we still do have a quite exciting showdown between the two girls. The brawl ends when Peggy smashes a bag of coins into Dorothy’s head, and having the bag burst as it smacks Dorothy accentuates the impact of the finishing move, using the explosion of coins as a visual representation of the force of Peggy’s hit. Managing to capture Dottie, Peggy is in the midst of her interrogation … and you can tell that things have changed at SSR as the other agents obviously hold her in extremely high esteem which Thompson is not too appreciative of.
The SSR’s new west coast chief Daniel Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) is in Los Angeles, and let me say that he’s never looked better. The SSR gets called in to help the LAPD because there’s a frozen lake in the middle of a heat wave and a dead girl at the bottom of it. But Sousa is the only agent in LA and he wants backup for what he thinks will be a huge, high profile case. Thus the east coast chief, Jack Thompson (the very angry Chad Michael Murray) sends Peggy to the west coast, interrupting her Dottie interrogation. The main reason he does is because he thinks this will annoy Sousa and Peggy, which doesn’t give me much confidence in his leadership abilities. And then he proves incapable of interrogating Dottie — whose lipstick remains perfect while in custody — before the FBI swoops in and takes her away, so all in all, not a great day for him.
Meanwhile, everyone’s favorite sassy butler Edwin Jarvis (James D’Arcy) has also moved to Los Angeles because Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) has decided to start making movies. Unlike Sousa, Jarvis has not changed his wardrobe at all, and he’s annoyed that Californians “eat avocados with everything.” Never change, Edwin. When Jarvis brings Peggy to the Stark mansion, Peggy finally meets his wife, Ana Jarvis, who last season seemed to maybe be a figment of his imagination. Those expecting a dowdy housewife for Mrs. Jarvis will be surprised by Ana’s effervescent disposition, and her personality carries over to her bold wardrobe of dresses in brightly colored floral patterns. She’s a housewife that has clearly spent her free time keeping up with the latest fashions, and Ana’s expertise comes in handy when Peggy needs help getting ready for a date with Dr. Jason Wilkes (Reggie Austin), a scientist working for the company directly connected to the murder Peggy is investigating.
Peggy Carter is relocating to Hollywood for Agent Carter’s second season, but it’s far from the only big change for the series. As expected from the new setting, the visuals are brighter and the fashion is more glamorous, but there’s also an influx of new female characters, a love interest of color, and a story that pulls Peggy away from the workplace misogyny that defined so much of the first season. But back to our Jane Doe, who’s not only frozen, but glows in the dark. The dumb LAPD detective Sousa and Peggy work with keeps trying to stop them from following leads, as his main investigatory strategy is to leak the story to the press. This is so ridiculous it’s clear that he’s up to no good. Later he’s outright racist toward hot black doctor James Wilkes (Reggie Austin), so you can tell he’ll be gone soon.
Right, racism! Season one (rightfully) faced criticism from fans for its very white cast, but this season adds hot Dr. Wilkes, a scientist at Isodyne labs, where the dead girl — he tells us her name, Jane Scott — worked. Rumor has it she was sleeping with the boss, Calvin Chadwick (Currie Graham), who’s also running for Senate. It’s clear from his first moment on screen that Wilkes is supposed to be her new love interest, but Peggy seems sort of uncomfortable about it. It’s unclear if this is because, as Peggy says, he’s a person of interest, or if because Peggy might be a little racist herself.
Peggy and Jarvis go to feel out Chadwick and his wife, actress Whitney Frost (Wynn Everett) at a horse race, where Jarvis poses as an executive at Stark Pictures Productions and Peggy impersonates an American. I love when British people do American accents, so this was great. Chadwick gets defensive very quickly, joining the other characters doing a bad job hiding their evil intentions & Carter realizes immediately that he’s somehow involved. When the dumb LAPD detective gradually starts to freeze also, he decides that the only person who can help him is Dr. Wilkes – perhaps he knows something? – and kidnaps him. Peggy and Sousa are in immediate pursuit and while they are able to corner, him, he is shot by another police officer – one who claims that he didn’t hear the no fire order. It looks like team is left with very little to go on now, although they’re going to dig further into Isodyne that’s for sure!