My main complaint about last weeks episode of Agent Carter, “The Atomic Job“, was that it lent a little too heavily onto the “mission of the week” structure that the show has been using, delivering three different missions in the space of about 40 minutes when one longer, more detailed heist would have been more satisfying. It wasn’t a massive issue really, just one that limited the episode from being anything other than just good enough – but I’m pleased to say that “Life of the Party” doesn’t make the same mistake.
The entire episode revolves around organising and then carrying out just one vitally important mission, in this instance to steal a sample of Whitney Frost‘s blood in order to attempt to cure Dr. Wilkes of his non-corporeal condition. However, Peggy is still badly injured from her fall in “The Atomic Job”, so they have to turn to the only other woman they know who is as capable as Peggy is… and that just so happens to be Dottie Underwood, still currently being held in SSR captivity.
One of the things I liked most about “Life of the Party” is the way it allows Peggy to take a back seat in the proceedings, her injury forcing her to rely on others for the first time. She clearly isn’t comfortable allowing others to fight her battles for her (which is completely in character with the independent and resourceful agent that we know by now), and it gives other members of the cast a chance in the spotlight, as well as acting as a convenient excuse to bring Dottie back into the proceedings.
I really like the working relationship that Jarvis and Dottie form in “Life of the Party”. Forced to work together thanks to the nature of the mission at hand, it is up to him to ensure that she both completes the mission and doesn’t escape while doing so, and although he isn’t entirely successful as a chaperone it is amusing to see him take on a stern, scolding tone in order to keep her in line. As always James D’Arcy is simply brilliant as Edwin Jarvis and owns the episodes funniest moments, and I hope we get to see these two very different character interact again soon.
My only real complaint with “Life of the Party” is that despite the entire episode revolving around trying to cure Dr. Wilkes, I really feel as if he is just in the way of the show moving forwards now. Obviously I don’t know what they have planned for either the character or the story of the season moving forwards, but I now find him and his story to be the least interesting aspect of the show. Give me more of Whitney Frost and the Council of Nine or more of Jack Thompson slowly being compromised or more of the growing “red scare” that the show keeps hinting at – all of these are more interesting than the Dr. Wilkes story, which has been floating around for far too long at this point.
But it’s a minor flaw in an otherwise fun, engaging episode, one that genuinely surprised me at one point with the direction that Agent Carter has chosen to take. With just four episodes left to go in what may well end up being the final season of Agent Carter, it’ll be interesting to see if we get a definitive ending to this pre-SHIELD period of Peggy Carter’s life – I’d like nothing more than to see her found SHIELD at the end of the season finale, a graceful bowing out of sorts. Either way though, I’m sure the rest of the second season of Agent Carter will continue to be as good as what we have seen so far, and although I’ve seen some critics slowly tire of the show, I remain firmly on board.
Image from joblo.com