This post will contain SPOILERS for Agent Carter Season 2 that you may prefer to avoid.
Last year I wrote an overview of Agent Carter Season 1 and the time has come again for me to look back upon the series. I've already said it, but just so you can't shout at me there is a good chance that spoilers will occur. So if you're in the UK and haven't seen it yet, you'd best click elsewhere for now (though come back once you've seen it all).
Still with me? Good - let's look back at the series.
Once again I was extremely impressed with the series as a whole. Agents of SHIELD has been getting better and better throughout its run and once again, I found myself at a crossroads wondering what to watch in the mean time. Agent Carter proved itself a worthy replacement once more and showed that it definitely deserves a third series (are you reading this ABC/Marvel??).
So, What's New?
This time around, Peggy no longer had to gain the respect of her SSR colleagues, they were all well aware of what she is capable of after season 1. She is also in a much better place emotionally as we saw her finally let go of her feelings for Steve Rogers in the season 1 finale, though there were hints towards potential romances through the series.
We know that Dottie Underwood, the original Black Widow, is still at large and she poses a serious threat to the SSR. It therefore seems fitting that we are thrown straight in to the action with Dottie (who is dressed in Peggy's now iconic red hat and blue coat) attempting to rob a bank. As she breaks in to the safety deposit boxes she finds that this was all an SSR set up and Peggy was waiting for her, armed with a shotgun of course.
Instantly, we are reminded why we love the show with Peggy orchestrating her nemesis's capture, and at the same time we are given a nice nod to events in Agents of SHIELD with the tie pin that Dottie steals (eagle-eyed viewers will note that the Arena Club logo was very similar to the logo of the fake space programme Will was sent to Maveth by on Agents of SHIELD).
Other changes include a change of location. Breaking away from Marvel's main superhero base of New York, we are introduced to 1940s Los Angeles. Peggy is assigned to SSR LA by new Chief Thompson after Sousa calls him asking for assistance - he knows just "the man" for the job. She flies across the country and lands in LA to work once again with Sousa and of course, we all know there was a potential romance in the offing there - and we all know that the relationships are a key part of the show.
Peggy's supporting cast play an even bigger role this time around and each character is given their chance to shine. Enver Gjokaj (Sousa) in particular is able to flex his acting muscles a lot more. When we first meet up with Sousa in LA we find that he has seemingly moved on from Peggy and started a relationship with the adorable Violet. However, as the series progresses we see that in fact he has not moved on at all and still harbours strong feelings towards Peggy. While Sousa tries to fool himself, Violet is perceptive enough to figure out Sousa's feelings and, not wanting to be second best, breaks up with him. This ultimately leads to Peggy and Sousa discussing their feelings and, finally, kissing.
A romantic rival, and one of the new characters introduced in Season 2, is Jason Wilkes. Wilkes is a scientist who finds himself caught up in the middle of Agent Carter's adventures. He works at Isodyne Energy and is thrust into the thick of the action as he finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Whitney Frost (more on her shortly) returns to claim her Zero Matter just as Dr Wilkes arrives seeking the same thing. He is then seemingly killed by the release of the Zero Matter. We later discover that he is alive, he is just intangible, and after many (admittedly very cool) scientific discussions, he finds a way to return his physical form. Peggy meets Dr Wilkes early on in the series and the two instantly bond which makes his apparent death hit her much harder than she thought.
Wilkes turned out to be a hugely important character in the whole series as his exposure to Zero Matter would prove vital. His character went through quite a journey, he started off as a normal scientist who was excited by the prospect of helping the SSR. Then after his return from the dead he becomes quite depressed as he wonders if he will ever return to his tangible body. Once he finds a way to return he is tricked by Whitney Frost into helping her and ends up pointing a gun a Peggy, it seems the Zero Matter, or Darkforce as it comes to be known, has a strange effect on people...
A Hero's Story is Only as Good as the Villain
Agent Carter Season 1 had Dottie Underwood and Dr Ivchenko, Season 2 has Whitney Frost. In the comics, Whitney Frost is the alter ego of Madame Masque, an occasional love interest of Tony Stark who has been horribly disfigured. In the MCU, Whitney Frost is a genius who is the brains behind Isodyne Energy, however due to being female nobody takes her seriously. She instead works as an actress who Howard Stark reveals has won 2 Oscars. Throughout the series Whitney is told that she is getting old and needs replacing with a younger woman in her films. Once she absorbs the Zero Matter into her body she starts to go mad. She seeks to release the Zero Matter into the world which of course would be a very bad thing.
Whitney absorbs a great deal of Zero Matter into her body during the confrontation at Isodyne with Dr Wilkes. She survives but is left with a small mark on her face. As she learns of the abilities that the Zero Matter has given her the mark grows and covers more of her face. As an actress who relies on her looks this pushes her over the edge even further. Eventually, she figures out that Dr Wilkes is linked to the Zero Matter as well and she searches him out. Her madness is finally realised in the finale when she locks herself in a room and covers the wall with mathematical formulae. When Peggy and the SSR finally draw her out they do so by opening the rift into the Darkforce's dimension. Whitney appears and tries to release the Zero Matter into the world, but using Howard Stark's science the SSR are able to close the rift and rid Whitney of the Zero Matter, though she has completely lost her mind.
Leaving her alive is a great idea in my opinion, Whitney was a truly formidable villain in the series. She was feared by all of her followers and her control of the Zero Matter was a great threat. As the leading expert in the world on Zero Matter is also allows her to appear later as the Darkforce will surely be alluded to in Doctor Strange. Phase 3 of the MCU will include different dimensions such as the ones we have already seen in the Quantum Realm in Ant-Man so who is to say that the Darkforce's dimension will not make another appearance?
New Location, Same Old Jarvis
Once again, Edwin Jarvis was a particular highlight of the series for me. James D'Arcy clearly has a ball playing the character and he is written beautifully. We also see a different side to Jarvis as we are introduced to Ana Jarvis in this series. Ana is almost the mirror image of Edwin, she is very happy and bouncy while Edwin is a lot more serious in his personality. Ana is a delight in the series and when she is shot by Whitney Frost the anguish in her husband's face is clear to see.
Jarvis and Peggy also have quite a serious argument towards the end of the series when both say some choice words to each other. Jarvis tells Peggy everyone she knows dies while Peggy lambasts Jarvis for treating their missions as adventures. After they both get these things into the open things initially seem quite tense for the two, but by the end of the series it is clear to see that they have a very strong bond. Peggy is mortified when Ana is shot as she feels as if it is her fault. Jarvis tells her that their adventures are the highlight of his days, he would much rather assist her than look after Mr Stark's latest devil in pink (Bernard, the flamingo). James D'Arcy is able to demonstrate both his humorous and more serious side in the part and I for one hope that we see more of him.
Marvel, PLEASE Commission Season 3!
All in all, I once again loved Agent Carter, the series offers something different to the MCU as a whole. With Peggy's adventures taking place in the past of the MCU we are given insights into how the world evolved. The series did not rely on connections to Captain America and was able to build on the solid first season and expand it. An odd musical number aside (it was a dream, but it was still a tad odd), Season 2 was a hit! I know Hayley Atwell has been cast in another ABC series which has thrown Agent Carter's future into doubt but I feel there is still much more to tell. We need to meet up with these characters again!
What did you think of Agent Carter Season 2? Let me know in the comments! :)