Spoilers ahead for [Marvel's Agent Carter](tag:1119765) season 2, episode 2.
Jarvis the unlikely Judoka
In contrast with last week's high-stakes heist opening, 'A View in the Dark' begins with Peggy finding Jarvis lifting weights by the pool in his back yard - and if that's a faintly surreal sight, it's nothing compared with the butler poke-provoking Peg into a physical fight.
Unsurprisingly, she has him on the ground in no time. Surprisingly, he responds with a slick move of his own.
"I've actually developed into quite a dangerous Judoka," he boasts as Ana Jarvis serves up refreshments. "How many butlers can say that?", quips Peggy. The friendly chemistry between these two thrills me every time.
What does Wilkes know?
As it's loaded into the van headed for the morgue, Jane Scott's body is intercepted and the coroner's assistants shot by an unidentified henchman. All in all, it's not been a vintage week for the coroners of Los Angeles.
Chadwick arrives at his company HQ to find a meeting of the board is underway - his invite, presumably, got lost in the post. The board want the Isodyne project shutting down due to the interest of the SSR. Each of the board members rather theatrically extinguishes a candle with his fingers, for reasons I am quite unable to decipher.
Chadwick appears to take the news lying down - which almost certainly means that a huge platter of vengeance will be served cold in the very near future.
Ana gets Peggy appropriately dolled up for a clandestine meeting with Wilkes. Before they get down to business - so to speak - the scientist convinces Agent Carter to dance with him. Seriously, this guy is one smooth operator. Tips would be appreciated if you're reading this, Wilkes.
Halfway in, and with sharp writing, zippy pacing and a considerable dash of intrigue, 'A View in the Dark' is already shaping up to be one of the series' best episodes to date.
Wilkes explains Zero Matter - that black mass of energy from the Isodyne labs - to Peggy, showing her video footage of exactly what the mysterious energy is capable of. "Could be extra-terrestrial... could be extra-dimensional". Zing zing! Sound the Easter Egg klaxon folks, because this one is a direct connection to Doctor Strange.
"Zero Matter will make atomic energy as obsolete as the steam engine!", Whitney Frost chastises Chadwick when he admits his failure to regain the board's trust. Given that this episode takes place in 1947, and the steam engine was still in widespread use across the world until the '60s and even later, her argument feels a little off (#thingstraingeeksknow).
One thing is apparent: the pressure of her cover as an actress - being told by middle-aged directors that she's not skinny enough - seems to be getting to Frost. This villainess has her weak spots.
Ambushed by the armed actress
Wilkes and Peggy head to the lab to take the specimen of Zero Matter before the project is shut down, but inside Wilkes find himself ambushed by Whitney Frost, who has a gun so tiny that if it ever met Peggy Carter's military-grade shotgun it would probably just disintegrate.
Speaking of which, the Zero Matter sample smashes to the ground during a tussle between Wilkes and Frost. When Peggy reaches the lab, it looks as though a miniature Hiroshima has struck Isodyne - and both scientist and actress are gone.
Wilkes is dead, or so it seems... but back at Chadwick's place, Whitney Frost, alive if not exactly well, examines a scar on his face. In the comics, Frost crashes an aeroplane and adopts a golden mask for vanity purposes. Are we witnessing the birth of her transformation into Madame Masque?
And finally, the lapel...
The same lapel pin we saw Dottie caressing last week is discovered by chance in this week's episode by Peggy in the bad guys' car.
Showrunner Michele Fazekas already confirmed that the pin is not adorned with the symbol of Hydra, despite the visual similarities, but in fact references the Council of Nine from the Marvel comics universe. It seems the Council, or some variant thereof, will be the true puppetmasters of Agent Carter season 2...
Episode 3, 'Better Angels', airs next Tuesday, January 26 - check out the promo above. If it's even half as terrific as this episode, we're in for a wild ride.