TV Recap: Agent Carter, ‘Life of the Party’ & ‘Monsters’

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‘LIFE OF THE PARTY’ & ‘MONSTERS’ PLOT SUMMARY:

Calvin (Currie Graham) arranges a meeting between Whitney (Wynn Everett) and the Council. Meanwhile, to keep Wilkes (Reggie Austin) in the physical world, Carter (Hayley Atwell) strikes a deal with an old enemy, Dottie Underwood (Bridget Regan), a decision that has unforeseen consequences for everyone.

Before I get into the two-hour “event,” I think it’s only fair to preface the review with a bit of news. Recently, it was reported that Hayley Atwell has been cast in a pilot for a legal drama titled Conviction. The network the pilot is being pitched to is none other than the home of Agent Carter, ABC. Now, while some actors have juggled multiple television shows in the past (Laurence Fishburne comes to mind), working on another series would definitely eat up a lot of Atwell’s schedule. Considering that Agent Carter almost didn’t get a second season, as well as the fact that another two-hour event airs next week, it’s clear that the show is in major trouble. I could very well be writing the last ever recap for the series in a few weeks, so I think it’s appropriate to mention it. Anyway, let’s get to the episodes.

After much speculation, Dottie is back and it’s like she never left. She brings an energy to the show that Whitney Frost could never replicate, despite the similarities between the two. It’s apparent in her very first scene with Peggy in prison. Still, the similarities between Frost and Underwood are what makes the proposition of bringing them together so enticing. This pairing does eventually happen, but besides a minor run-in in the first hour, most of it occurs in the second hour. And while the encounter starts out great, with an engrossing back-and-forth, it becomes obvious that Dottie is no match for Whitney much too quickly. The whole situation isn’t given enough time for the audience to really have fun with it. There’s no elaborate fight scene, which would have been quite entertaining.

Whitney’s formidability not only leads to her dominance over Dottie, but the demise of Calvin Chadwick. His death shouldn’t come as a surprise; it was telegraphed for a while. What did surprise me was Frost’s ruthless and cold-blooded assault on the Council. I’ve seen some pretty messed up things in TV and movies, but this ranks up there with some of the most disturbing.

Given the ambiguous nature of Zero Matter, however, it’s unclear what Frost actually does to her victims. She appears to absorb them, but she doesn’t exhibit any changes in her personality or anything you would expect. All that does happen is the black crack on the side of her face gets bigger every time. In reality, she might be sending these people to an alternate dimension or across the universe, similar (but unrelated) to the monolith in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. People might find something like this a cop-out, but it wouldn’t bother me. Either way, Frost is an intimidating villain, though I can’t help but feel a little tired of her at this point, maybe because I didn’t expect her to be the villain for this long. She could benefit from some new powers. And while Vernon Masters (Kurtwood Smith) is now in charge of the Los Angeles branch of the S.S.R., he’s not the season’s big bad like I expected. He’s much too afraid of Frost.

While Frost has remained the constant of Season 2, the season has been using many of the characters sparingly. While Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) showing up in only one or two episodes is probably for the best (Samberly too), it’s odd to see Thompson (Chad Michael Murray) and Ana Jarvis (Lotte Verbeek) show up at seemingly random times. I was ready to write off Ana as done for the season until this episode. Of course, Frost shooting her means she will be around for quite some time, ironically. Now that the love of his life is in the hospital, Edwin (James D’Arcy) has a personal stake in things, as he did Season 1.

Speaking of love, the show is focusing on the subject a little more than I might prefer. As I said last week, there is substantial evidence that Chief Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) is Peggy’s future husband. However, I imagine that most viewers don’t know about this evidence. Furthermore, Jarvis does have a humorous conversation with Carter about her romances. If this does prove to be the final season of Agent Carter, we might find out whom she chooses. Who knows?

There are still many questions that need to be addressed, and though my fatigue with this season is starting to set in, I still want these answers.

RATING: 7 OUT OF 10 (GOOD)

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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

Aaron Sarnecky is The Pop Break’s Television Editor and covers Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., among other things. He is a TV/Film grad of Rowan University and the fraternal twin of staff writer Josh Sarnecky. He probably remembers that show you forgot existed.