TV Recap: Agent Carter, ‘Better Angels’

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AGENT CARTER, ‘BETTER ANGELS’ PLOT SUMMARY:

In the aftermath of the Isodyne Energy incident, the S.S.R. labels Carter’s ally, Dr. Wilkes (Reggie Austin), a Communist spy. Convinced that this is an obvious set-up, Peggy (Hayley Atwell) enlists her old friend Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) to find out what’s really going on at the Arena Club.

Despite starting out pretty routine, to the point that I was afraid the show was going backwards, things got interesting this week on Agent Carter. Zero Matter. Gravitational fields. Rigged elections. There’s a lot to go through. But I think the best place to begin is with none other than Howard Stark.

To my surprise, we didn’t have to wait long for Howard to return. I figured that he wouldn’t appear until later in the season. But, fortunately, that is not the case. It would be easy to dismiss Stark as a one trick pony, but while his playboy exploits do feel tired at times, he’s mostly a device to move the plot forward. It makes more sense than introducing a new character out of nowhere to explain everything. And he’s still likely funnier than that character. His antics at the Arena Club prove that. Honestly, what good is a private bar if it doesn’t allow in girls?

It’s his mind that makes Howard a valuable member of the team. And he certainly does a good amount of science-ing in this episode. It’s a subject that some people might find boring, which I get if we’re talking about geology or botany. But because Zero Matter has a number of unique properties, it’s actually quite intriguing. Best of all, it’s tied into the setting of Hollywood, and a good twist. While many viewers probably predicted part of said twist, it has ramifications for the story going forward. I’m curious how the gang will figure it all out it.

Besides introducing some cool physics and chemistry, this episode escalates the conflict in a big way, culminating in a short but tense fight scene. More importantly, it looks like we’ve got a new supervillain on our hands, or should I say supervillainess? I’m eager to see Peggy and friends take on Whitney Frost (Wynn Everett). Other than Red Skull, Peggy’s never had to deal with someone with superpowers before, as far as I can remember. Even then, Cap was the one who fought Red Skull. My one gripe is that Frost is a little too similar, especially in appearance, to Peggy’s arch-nemesis, Dottie Underwood (Bridget Regan). Let’s face it; Dottie’s bound to show up again this season. She’s connected to the Arena Club and the Council of Nine, after all.

Speaking of the Council of Nine, we learned more about their operations this week. Not only can they rig elections, like the senate race, Jack Thompson’s (Chad Michael Murray) friend Vernon Masters (Kurtwood Smith AKA Red Forman in That ‘70s Show) is a member. It’s definitely not a good thing to have someone in the Department of War also in a criminal organization. However, I am glad that this is the case, because Thompson flying over to L.A. to undermine Carter’s investigation only out of jealousy would be too much of a retread of what Peggy had to deal with in Season 1. That’s what it feels like early on. Luckily, even Thompson seems to understand that something is not right with Masters. I suspect it’s only a matter of time before he spills the beans to Carter.

Despite continuing similarities to Season 1, which it’ll need to subvert or tie in, I couldn’t help but enjoy this week of Agent Carter. The episode has a few clever twists, good humor, and it ups the stakes. I’m excited for next week.

RATING: 8 OUT OF 10 (GREAT)

AGENT CARTER AIRS TUESDAYS AT 9PM ON ABC

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Aaron Sarnecky is Pop-Break’s television editor and covers Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter, among other things. He is a graduate of Rowan University with a degree in Television and Film. He probably remembers that show you forgot existed. Follow him on Twitter: @AaronSarnecky