‘THE ATOMIC JOB’ PLOT SUMMARY:
When an increasingly power-hungry Whitney Frost (Wynn Everett) hatches a plan to steal an atomic bomb, Agent Carter (Hayley Atwell) assembles a special team to stop her.
Remember when I said that Agent Carter could introduce a character to replace Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) as the show’s science guy but that this character wouldn’t be as funny as Stark? Well, maybe you do, maybe you don’t. The point is that this is exactly what Agent Carter did this week. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Dr. Samberly (Matt Braunger), lab technician for the S.S.R.
Now, to be fair, Samberly actually appeared first in the season premiere, but he was undeniably forgettable in his debut. The same cannot be said for this week, as he takes up a good portion of the episode. Unfortunately, it’s an addition that doesn’t work well. It’s clear what kind of character Samberly is supposed to be; he’s that awkward nerd that no one likes until he proves himself. But while he’s not wholly unlikeable, his comic relief falls flat. A good comparison would be Jar Jar Binks from the Star Wars movies. Audiences don’t like to be told to laugh at things that aren’t funny. It’s a problem that extends to Rose Roberts (Lesley Boone), the team’s other surprise recruit. She’s not a bad character, but she works better as a minor friend of Peggy’s. But again, I get why she’s there; the team is a band of misfits. It just didn’t do it for me.
As for the actual plot, it’s pretty solid. Frost plans to recreate the conditions seen in the footage of the Zero Matter test. She decides to do this after Jane Scott’s corpse (AKA the Lady in the Lake) “calls” to her, a sensation that Dr. Wilkes (Reggie Austin) also feels. More and more it seems like Zero Matter is something less scientific and more supernatural, especially when considering Frost’s powers. Of course, the supernatural has been described as science we just don’t understand yet. In fact, that’s a recurring theme in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Still, expect something surprising.
Later on in the episode, we finally get our first direct confrontation between Carter and Frost. It is pretty short, like some other fights this season, but it ends with our heroine in a truly vulnerable position, something we don’t see her in all that often,. The episode makes good use of Violet (Sarah Bolger), Chief Sousa’s (Enver Gjokaj) fiancée, who happens to be a nurse. This, of course, leads to a moment that I honestly have mixed emotions about: Violet accuses Daniel of moving to Los Angeles to run away from Peggy. To her credit, she’s right. However, it comes at a strange time, considering that it’s easy to see that Peggy is becoming closer to Jason with each installment. But if you look at Peggy’s quotes from The Winter Soldier, you’ll find that she says that her husband was a soldier who faced a harsh winter during the war. Wilkes was a Navy engineer, whereas Sousa fought in Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. While Wilkes has palpable chemistry with Carter (and my seal of approval), the evidence points to Sousa being her future spouse. So, from the looks of it, Wilkes won’t survive this season.
The season, as it so happens, is moving quicker than the last, with a two-hour event slated for next week and apparently the week after as well. And while this week’s episode has its share of flaws (mostly involving the comedy), its exciting face-off leaves the show in a good position to shift into overdrive.
RATING: 7.5 OUT OF 10 (GOOD)
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