Agent Carter kicked off its second season with a bit of a whimper. It’s difficult for a TV show to keep momentum up, though, when its setting and a number of its cast is changed. With Peggy’s move to LA and the introduction of new characters to the show, last week’s season premiere felt more like a pilot than a continuation of a story. Now, though, the jarring effect of having moved to the other side of the country has faded, Agent Carter has gotten its bearings, and the show is off and running. But what is it running to? Please see my spoiler-ful breakdown and review below:
Last week we were treated to the introduction of a few new characters. It appears that Calvin Chadwick, Whitney Frost (whose real name is Agnes Cully, apparently), Jason Wilkes, and Vernon Masters are all here to stay. As I mentioned last week, Whitney Frost and Jason Wilkes are both names that have appeared in Marvel comics from the ’60s and ’70s, Whitney Frost being an alias of someone that Peggy should definitely have her eye on. Along with these, though, a familiar face visited Carter and Sousa in LA this week, Chief Jack Thompson from the New York division of SSR.
This visitation serves the show by allowing the familiar combination of Carter, Sousa, and Thompson to reconnect and swap information on the leads they’re following. At the same time that these conferences serve to move the plot of the show along, both the familiarity of the characters and the way they interact with each other serve to help the audience reconnect with the show. In fact, familiar interactions were a theme throughout this week’s episode of Agent Carter. Not only was the audience treated to the trio of Carter, Sousa, and Thompson, we were also treated to a re-connection between Peggy Carter, Howard Stark, and Edwin Jarvis. And, although Jason Wilkes was added to the equation this week, there was still plenty of time to set off the familiar chemistry these three actors share in these roles.
Beyond just seeing old acquaintances reconnect, though, this week’s Agent Carter also delivered the goods when the audience got to see Whitney Frost’s special abilities at work. Her interaction with “Zero Matter” in last week’s episode appears to have left Frost with the uncontrollable ability to make people disappear when she touches them.
In terms of characters from Marvel comics that made an appearance in this week’s episode, the movie that the audience sees Howard Stark directing is based on Kid Colt. This mention is the closest the show has yet come to featuring a genuine Golden Age Timely Comics character, Kid Colt first appearing in Kid Colt #1 in 1948.
The unfortunate part about all of the above is that with these new story elements presenting themselves we can rest assured that any callback to last season’s shocking reveal of Arnim Zola will either be a long way off or never come at all. Instead of forging ahead with an interesting story of its own, Agent Carter seems doomed to rehash ideas from Marvel TV and ABC’s other property, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. This season of Agent Carter’s use of zero matter, which could be related to either the monolith that sent Agent Simmons to a distant planet or the goo that enveloped Dr. Franklin Hall in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the very tenuous connection between Hydra and Agent Carter’s Arena Club both seem to be evidence that this will be the trend.