Monday, March 07, 2016

The Edge of Mystery / A Little Song and Dance

I've fallen behind. Here we are, a week after the season finale of Agent Carter, yet I haven't written anything about the two-hour installment from the week before that. So hop with me into the wayback machine to revisit those two episodes, "The Edge of Mystery" and "A Little Song and Dance."

The first hour saw Whitney Frost corrupting Doctor Wilkes with vague promises of what he could do if he gained control of the zero matter within him. This story line felt a little backwards to me from what would have made the most sense. Wilkes has been a basically incorruptible character throughout the season, and if he'd suddenly felt the pull of the "dark side" after his sudden infusion of zero matter at the end of the episode, I think I'd have believed it more. Similarly, Frost has been rigidly scientific and concerned with acquiring power for herself throughout the season. If she'd suddenly been throwing everything into making Wilkes her willing henchman after he'd absorbed the zero matter, I'd understand her sudden interest. But as it all played out, I sort of questioned his sudden lack of morals and her sudden distraction from her own condition.

The material involving the rest of the characters worked much better for me, though. I liked the writing choice to not actually kill Ana, but still exact some price -- the loss of her ability to have children. Yes, it did but Jarvis on the predictable vengeance path, but actor James D'Arcy did a great job handling the emotional swings. There was also that nice moment where Sousa refused to let harm come to Carter, and his challenge to her that she would have done the same thing had the roles been reversed. And finally, Masters attacking Thompson (using the mind wipe device; nice callback) seemed to get Thompson out of the grey area and onto the team.

The second hour opened with Carter's bizarre dream sequence, which felt a bit hit and miss to me. I liked the moments where the characters in her vision actually had something meaningful to say. But mostly, it seemed like an excuse to let the writers go wild -- bringing back Angie from season one, letting Sousa throw away the crutch (and letting actor Enver Gjokaj sing and dance), showing Dottie one more (last?) time. It kind of felt like padding to an episode that was running short, fun though it was.

Once things got rolling though, there were lots of good "buddy cop movie" style scenes between Carter and Jarvis as they sniped at each other, and then reconciled, on their escape from the bad guys. Thompson had good material throughout the episode, working to help our heroes while still clearly working for his own best interests first; it felt honest to his character, without making him cartoonishly blind to some serious evil.

I'd say the first hour was worth a B, while the second deserves a B+. Together, they set things up nicely for a big finale... which, of course, those of you who care have likely already seen. But we'll get to that soon...

No comments: