Spoilers ahead for [Marvel's Agent Carter](tag:1119765) season 2, episode 1.
Will the real Peggy Carter please stand up?
In a sea of grey hats headed one direction, a lone red hat moves against the crowd, and in one shot we're reminded of why Agent Peggy Carter is a woman worthy of her own Marvel series.
Except, wait — that's not Peggy! It's Dottie Underwood (whom we hate!), and she's about to pull off a massive bank heist.
BUT WAIT! Who should be in Vault 143 waiting for her, but the real Agent Carter, armed with a shotgun so large that every four-legged animal in a 100-mile radius has gone into hiding? The ensuing fight is pretty brutal, and ends, appropriately, with Dottie getting knocked out by a bag full of gold.
"I like your hat," Peggy quips. Oh, how we've missed you.
Meanwhile, in the City of Angels...
Daniel Sousa is in need of an extra pair of eyes to get to the bottom of a murder seemingly committed by the legendary but dormant "Lady in the Lake" killer, and Jack Thompson dispatches Peggy to LA, despite her will to stay and interrogate Dottie.
"They eat avocados. With everything!" a bemused Jarvis tells Peg as he shuttles her — and a flamingo — from the airport. To be fair, if you must travel with a bird, a flamingo is a solid choice.
Peggy and Sousa have an emotional reunion at the station which positively screams "UNFINISHED BUSINESS!"
A visit to the coroner reveals that the frozen body from the lake is glowing — uranium exposure from a particle accelerator will do that to you. At the HQ of Isodyne Energy, lab scientist Jason Wilkes, a colleague of the dead woman, reveals that her name was Jane Scott — and, not entirely surprisingly, she was a particle physicist.
Peggy wants to go after Calvin Chadwick, a wealthy industrialist who's running for Senator, which has police chief Detective Henry yelling sentences that begin with, "I don't know how you do things in New York, but here..." in the vain of every 1950s detective movie ever written.
Before their day out at the races, Peggy meets Jarvis's wife, who it turns out is big on PDAs and even bigger on garters doubling up as gun holsters. Just like that, I am completely sold on Ana Jarvis.
Chadwick is rattled when Peggy confronts him at the racetrack, but gives away nothing about the death of Jane Scott. Meanwhile Jarvis distracts his wife, screen actress Whitney Frost (the gorgeous Wynn Everett), with chatter of a fictional movie role which sounds remarkably like the life of Ms. Peggy Carter.
Rest in Peace, Dr. Melzer
Back at the coroner's office, Sousa and Carter are shocked to find Dr. Melzer standing over Ms. Scott's body looking decidedly frozen.
At a touch, his body disintegrates into dust — turns out exposure to the radioactive substance that froze the lake was also responsible for Jane's death, meaning the stab wound was a cover-up from somebody with insider knowledge of the case...
Detective Henry kidnaps Wilkes, but before long Carter and Sousa are on the scene with armed back-up. Just as Henry begins to succumb to the radiation, an officer shoots him.
Wilkes is saved, and he reveals himself to be one smooth MF:
Peggy: "I make it my policy not to socialize with persons of interest."
Wilkes: "Of course... but it's nice to know you find me interesting."
The episode's big reveal? Calvin Chadwick paid off that trigger-fingered officer to kill Detective Henry before Peggy could get anything out of him, and Whitney Frost seems to have masterminded it. With that, the trail goes cold.
Finally, in the Big Apple, Jack isn't making much progress with Dottie Underwood, who's oddly keen to organize a face-to-face with Peggy. Whether Jack can step up and make progress without a woman stepping in to save the day remains to be seen, but his ego is looking terribly fragile right now.
Episode 1 was pretty light on Easter Eggs, but one big one was highlighted in the creepy closing scene, which saw Dr. Wilkes return to the lab, where he eyed up a black, bottled substance which looks very much like the Darkforce also seen in Agents of SHIELD and several Marvel comics.
How this mysterious energy manifests itself in destroying human chemistry remains to be seen, but I'd put good money on Chadwick and Frost looking to get their hands on it as Season 2 plays out.
As re-introductory episodes go, 'The Lady in the Lake' was killer. In the finest noir tradition, all that LA sun seems to be a mask for much darker forces operating in the shadows. I'm so on board for the ride.
Check out the promo for episodes 1 and 2: