Synopsis: Lives hang in the balances and loyalties are tested when Whitney Frost’s plan kicks into high gear, and the fabric of this dimension literally rips apart. Also there’s dancing.
In the penultimate two-episode block before the season finale, Agent Carter was not even in the vicinity of messing around. The themes are dark, the arcs press on and people lose.
While Jarvis is inconsolable over Anna’s shooting, his grief and guilt crystallizes into a consuming desire for revenge against Whitney. Meanwhile, Whitney uses the now-captive Jason Wilkes as a sounding board and guinea pig for learning about Zero Matter.
She agrees to trade Jason to Peggy in exchange for the Uranium rods, so she can replicate the original zero matter experiment, and Peggy manages to come up with counterfeit rods in order to get Jason back without giving Whitney nuclear power.
Whitney discovers the trick, but it doesn’t matter – she has convinced Jason to turn on Peggy in favor of letting Whitney help him get control of his condition. He’s prepared to kill Peggy if she doesn’t give up the real Uranium, and Peg is prepared to die to keep them out of Whitney’s hands, but Sousa folds, unwilling to watch Peggy die.
It’s actually a small scene, but it serves perfectly to show us Jason’s changed mental state, Whitney’s complexity, Sousa’s feelings, and opens the opportunity to prove that Vernon is Evil. Whitney calls him to fetch the real rods and he readily agrees, a conversation that is overheard by Thompson, who stops him, while realizing that the “dirt” Vernon asked him to dig up on Peggy was mighty convenient, and, as Peggy tried to tell him, untrue.
Thompson agrees to help Peggy, Jarvis, and Sousa follow Whitney and her goons into the desert to stop them from opening the rift again. They’re too late though, and Jason is sucked into the rift, to Whitney’s frantic envy and fury, only to be spit out when it closes, his skin bubbling (?). In the midst of it all, an enraged Jarvis shoots Whitney Frost – to no avail. The Zero Matter revives her instantly.
Speaking of Jarvis, I have a big, BIG problem with his refusal to tell Anna that she can no longer have children. The doctor told him, was prepared to tell Anna, Jarvis insisted on telling her himself, and instead acted like everything was fine. I appreciate the significance of the scene, and that he didn’t plan it, he just didn’t have the heart to tell her, especially when things we’re so bad, but actively hiding medical information and full bodily autonomy from someone just because it’s sad and you don’t want to tell them – when you literally just stopped the doctor from doing it – is unacceptable under all circumstances.
Jarvis knows – and tells Peggy – that Anna can’t have children when Anna herself doesn’t even know. He feels awful about it later, and ultimately tells her, but I’m furious that the writers thought it was in any way okay, and had the gall to try and make us feel bad for him after the fact.
But in the end he and Peg get whacked on the head and tossed into the back of a truck…
…at which point it becomes a musical? While unconscious, Peggy dreams up a major musical number that involves all the important moments and characters from her life. Her late brother, Daniel and Jason, Dottie, Jarvis and even Angie! The number basically signifies that Peggy is at a major crossroads. In her career, in her love life, in her motivations – it’s all a big question mark and she’s got several big judgement calls she’s going to have to make.
Now I will freely admit, I LOVE musicals. A lot. But I’m also not always a big fan of throwing musical numbers where they don’t fit. And, to me, this one didn’t feel like it fit. It was funny and lovely and enjoyable, but not enough to warrant it’s presence there. It didn’t feel like Peggy’s bonk on the head – something that happens to someone at least twice on just about every episode – was a distinct enough event to trigger a dream sequence that landed so far afield of the genre. Especially given the very apparent doctoring and dubbing on the singing voices. It didn’t advance the plot, it didn’t have enough of a surreal quality to play as a believable crazy dream, and it wasn’t really good enough to be in there in it’s own right.
Having said that, It’s pretty clear that the cast and crew were just super into doing a dance number because it’s really, really fun and they like each other enough to make it happen, so they found a way. I respect that.
Peggy and Jarvis escape custody, and wander through the desert, fighting. And not just bickering. It’s ugly and personal and they basically agree to never see each other again.
Whitey sets up a secret gross lab to experiment on Jason, who has woken up from his jaunt in the rift, but is bursting with Zero Matter and extremely volatile. She stabs him with a giant needle to try and extract the Zero Matter, but it doesn’t work.
Meanwhile, the gang at the SSR comes up with a clever plan to stop Whitney. They manage to work together long enough to convince her that Thompson wants to be on the council, to get him close enough to set off a bomb and evaporate the whole situation. Realizing this, Peggy tries to stop him, and encounters Wilkes, who refuses to be saved.
Instead, he forces Peggy outside, and while she and Thompson have it out about the bomb, Jason walks up to Whitney and Vernon and, to their horror, explodes into pure Zero Matter.
Zero Matter is known, thus far, for reacting in unpredictable ways, so who survives and what they will become – we’ll just have to wait and see.