Week of February 19, 2023:

Life of the Party (Agent Carter s2 e6) released February 16, 2016 (where to watch)
Monsters (Agent Carter s2 e7) released February 16, 2016
Erik Bates | April 16, 2023

In case these reviews of mine feel disjointed, let me explain: I take notes in realtime as I'm watching, so for the most part, what you see here is my in-the-moment reaction. That's why, frequently, something I say early is completely contradicted by something I say later. On with the show...

Life of the Party
Hey everyone! Dottie is back!

When Jason disappeared, did anyone else expect him to see the Eye of Sauron when he reached his hand out? No? Just me? Alright...

I think there may be some trouble brewing between Jarvis and his wife, though I suspect it will be something easily dismissed and never spoken of again.

Isn't Dottie back on the East coast? Considering that Peggy isn't working officially, I'm assumimg she flew back commercially? I can't imagine that's easy to do quickly in the 1940's, and isn't time of the essence right now?

If Peggy was going to just knock out the guard, why couldn't she just open the door for Dottie, too?

I think the show would be better served by not trying to use humor. It just doesn't work. Again, the slapstick comedy just feels out of place. Jarvis is a capable sidekick, but his awkwardness just feels forced.

Jack continues to be an unknown entity for me.

Oh no! Underwood betrayed the team! Nobody saw that coming!

Oh no! Frost killed the entire council! Nobody saw that coming!
(Ok, so it wasn't the entire council. I did write that as a sarcastic prediction moments before she entered the chamber, so I'm still taking it as a win)

Erik Bates | April 16, 2023

I'm liking Frost much more in this episode. The control she has on her powers is fantastic. And I'm glad someone is calling Carter out for her motivations - she's' trying to saver her own ass because she's the one who got Dottie into this situation by breaking her out of prison.

Ana is a saint dealing with all the shit Jarvis gets himself into. Somehow I suspect that her getting shot won't change much, other than him feeling bad for getting into trouble more than usual.

I want to know what Dottie said to the cop to get him to open the trunk. I'm guessing we're just playing it off to "idiot cop didn't listen to the pretty girl agent" mentality. It would make sense considering this show and this era we're portraying.

I'm certain that Ana will pull through.

What's the difference between Wilkes and Frost? Now that he has more Zero Matter in him, is it still temporary? Seems that he's potentially on the same field as Frost now - but with more orals to maybe keep it from impacting his decisions negatively. My prediction - epic battle between Wilkes and Frost resulting in Carter having to do something that winds up killing them both. Carter gets sad. Sousa gets sad. Season ends with no resolution.

Scott Hardie | April 16, 2023

Life of the Party: The best part of watching this series with Kelly is that, every time Vernon Masters finishes talking to someone, she adds a "Dumbass!"

The excuse to bring Dottie Underwood back onto the show is flimsy, as is the budding friendship between her and Peggy Carter, which feels merely like a result of the show not developing any social life for Carter outside of her spy work. The same goes for her romantic attraction to Daniel Souza, which is professionally inappropriate (he's her boss!) and ill-advised (they've both been accused of misconduct! they both struggle to be taken seriously by colleagues!). The more time that each episode spends on the dull Carter-Souza-Wilkes love triangle, the less interesting I find the series overall.

But there's some fun in this hour, too, mostly at the party. Edwin Jarvis snatching Underwood away in the background behind Jack Thompson was a great sight gag that made me laugh out loud. I enjoyed Jarvis's ever-nervous rambling to the team as he searched the building, which was just a variation on his usual nervous rambling to himself. And the scene where Whitney Frost took over the council, albeit lacking wit in the dialogue (I wouldn't buy her clumsy half-baked pitch either!), delivered a good dose of horror as she "consumed" the men opposed to her. (6/10)

Erik, great point about knocking out the guard. That didn't even occur to me. :-) I generally appreciate the humor on this series, since it would be quite a chore to watch if it took itself too seriously, but the humor doesn't always work, as with last week's weird atomic-storage field trip with the lab tech and receptionist.

Monsters: Howard Stark using movie stars' bust sizes as a machine access code is a funny idea, but I'm confused. Didn't Jarvis successfully fire the "Jitterbug" as a demonstration using the same code just a short time earlier?

While I normally don't care for the tired genre trope of the worried wife who wants her husband to give up his dangerous adventures, Ana Jarvis's anxiety became palpable and sympathetic. This might be because it was mostly unspoken, but I give credit to actress Lotte Verbeek for doing a lot with a little. It's also getting harder to believe that Jarvis would continue his voluntary involvement in these mysteries given how devoted he is to his wife.

The torturing of Underwood was a similar genre trope, one that desensitizes us to the inhumane cruelty of torture. It culminated in the truly disgusting image from above of Underwood screaming as her body is overtaken by Zero Matter, showing the black goo gurgling in her mouth. That's quite disturbing. I wrote before about David Cronenberg directing a Hulk movie as body horror, and now I can't help but imagine him directing a Venom movie and giving me nightmares for a week.

I enjoyed the race between Carter and Underwood to escape from their bindings, each one more competent and confident than the captors expect, and the ensuing banter between them. But in Underwood's eventual escape from the hospital parking lot, she kills a cop. If the show continues to soften her, will that act be forgotten? Should it be? And shouldn't Carter bear some responsibility for it? (5/10)

Scott Hardie | April 16, 2023
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