Week of February 26, 2023:

The Edge of Mystery (Agent Carter s2 e8) released February 23, 2016 (where to watch)
A Little Song and Dance (Agent Carter s2 e9) released February 23, 2016
Erik Bates | April 16, 2023

Edge of Mystery
Jarvis' love for his wife is very touching. She is an innocent bystander in this whole thing, and he has tried so hard to keep her out of the crazy world he's been (willingly) drug into.

Oh, Jarvis. Don't lie about that. Absolutely no good can come from keeping the inability to have children from her. NONE.

What a lucky coincidence! Howard Stark just so happens to have created a device that can solve all their problems! Something tells me that Stak would love being called deus ex machina. Hell, he'd settle for just shortening it to "deus."

So the rods were fake? But didn't they still set off the geiger counter? So it's not that they're fake, it's just that they're the wrong rods? I mean, they're still radioactive material, right? Still incredibly dangerous in the wrong hands?

One again, SSR security is just pure shit. Masters gets a confidential phone call which he takes in his office, but anybody else in the office can just join in from their desk phone? I mean, it's better than the unlocked window fiasco of last season, but not by much.

Erik Bates | April 16, 2023

A Little Song and Dance
I started watching this episode fearing that they were going to serve up a musical episode.

When the scene shifts and Peggy is bathed in green light, coupled with all the gammy ray talk and usage, I couldn't help but think that this was some sort of foreshadowing/Easter egge for the Hulk, which admittedly is still pretty far into the future. But still...

Oh shit. It is a musical episode? Maybe the show deserved to be cancelled after 2 seasons if they're resorting to musical numbers this early in the run.

I'm glad they stopped after one song. I was worried that this entire episode was going to be wholly unwatchable.

I agree with Peggy. Jarvis should never have come along and he has really messed things up for the team. And for him to then have the audacity to complain about her helping him escape? Get out of here, Jarvis. Get right out.

It was nice (bittersweet?) to see Peggy reference loss. I don't expect this show to be constantly referring to Captain America, but we wouldn't really have a Peggy Carter show if it weren't for that connection, and there hasn't been much reference to ol' Cap throughout the past 2 seasons that I can really remember. Even now, it's more implied, but I'm glad there's some reference to it.

For the record, I'm not letting Jarvis off the hook for not being truthful with his wife. That was still a shitty move, and he better (but won't) pay the consequences for it. If he manages to teller this episode or next, I predict that somehow he'll come across as the one who needs coddling, and his wife will be left to comfort him.

I can't figure Jack out. Is the council seat a real motivation? Was that part of the play to convince her?

(side note: Does Ana Jarvis' accent come and go? It feels particularly thick this episode)

Peggy comparing Jason to her brother again. He is well and truly friend-zoned.

What is this "image" that Frost is so adamant to rebuild the world in? I haven't understood her motivations since Day 1.

Scott Hardie | April 29, 2023

The Edge of Mystery: The broadly-written Joseph Manfredi character isn't working for me, but I did appreciate the battle in his restaurant as seen through the kitchen door while he talked; this show continues to have a playful way of framing background action after "Life of the Party." I also liked Edwin Jarvis shooting Whitney Frost as soon as he got the chance, which, objectionability aside, at last feels like someone on the show really trying to do something different instead of the endless chasing-each-other-around-Los-Angeles that these characters keep doing every week. And I loved Peggy Carter calling out Daniel Souza on his bullshit paternalism, doubting her ability to set aside her feelings on a mission just hours after he compromised a mission because he couldn't watch her be shot; now that's the kind of calling-out of sexism that this and certain other shows need to do much more often.

But overall, I'm getting a sinking feeling that this second season is out of time to recover from its mistakes, and has failed to turn out as well as the first. There are several problems, like an uninteresting romantic triangle, an underdeveloped cast of supporting characters, and the ominous sense that the writers keep bringing back dynamic characters like Howard Stark and Dottie Underwood to liven up the show because its baseline isn't exciting enough. But I think the biggest problem must be Frost's lack of motive. She only wants "more power!" without any explanation as to why she wants it or what she would do with it, and the lack of purpose for her actions results in plot instead of story. Plenty of things keep happening, but they don't have any meaning; the show isn't saying anything. Kelly mentioned that as a woman, she interpreted Frost's obsession as the result of a lifetime of powerlessness in the company of men, and the show has shown enough evidence of Frost feeling that way to convince me that Kelly is probably right (and that I'm probably not the primary audience), but I still wish that Frost's dialogue would draw that connection more explicitly, because I think we should hear it from her. The zero-matter rift is not the only big hole at the center of this series that's wrecking everything. (4/10)

Erik: I agree about Jarvis not telling Ana about her infertility; it's such a red line for the character to cross. And I agree about the improbability of Stark sending them the technical specs without being involved in person; it's so unlikely that even one of the characters on the show speculated (as did I) that it might be an enemy pretending to be Stark. My memory is a little hazy, but I think I remember the fake rods being manufactured by our team in or after "The Atomic Job" to be just radioactive enough to set off a Geiger counter without being dangerous enough to level the city.

A Little Song and Dance: I was expecting an entire musical episode from the title and thumbnail, which could have turned out anywhere from awesome to disastrous, but the so-so song that we got indicates that it was probably wise to quit after one number. Still, it was nice to see Angie Martinelli again; she is missed this season.

Satisfying moments this episode: Trust in Jack Thompson in the desert paying off. Carter beating Vernon Masters even after he turns against Frost. Jarvis accepting that he must have the painful but necessary conversation with Ana. Masters gloating that Frost has been defeated even though it'll mean his death too.

I lost track of how many times Thompson flipped (or pretended to flip) in this episode, but between him, Masters, and Jason Wilkes, the endless changing of sides gets a little tiresome, as it does in other shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that have to drag out their plots while delivering just enough twists to keep an audience's attention. At this point, I've lost all interest in who's "good" and who's "bad," because the show apparently could stretch itself out for another fifty episodes like this, just endlessly re-shuffling its cards. Can it just please wrap up now? (6/10)

Discussion topic: Jarvis is one of this show's most likable characters, but the attempted murder of his wife made him turn cold, brutish, and homicidally vengeful. I admire the show's willingness to go there with his character, even though I don't think it fully worked dramatically because it felt too contrived. Meanwhile, Phil Coulson was one of AOS's most likable characters, but the murder of his girlfriend made him turn cold, brutish, and homicidally vengeful. I do not like that show's changes to his character, in part because they came half a season too early (at least Jarvis's turn was in reaction to something; Coulson came back heartless from the summer break for no apparent reason), in part because they increasingly seem permanent, and in part because I don't feel like AOS is making much hay out of them. Whether you like or dislike Jarvis's several tense scenes with Carter in the wake of Ana's shooting, at least this show gave him something meaningful to talk about and a moral challenge to stew over and a chance for the actor to shine. AOS seems to be doing little with Jerkass Coulson beyond advancing the plot. Am I being too hard on AOS? Is it wrong of me to consider the changes in Coulson a failure while I consider similar changes in Jarvis at least a partial success?

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