As “Life of the Party” (Episode 6) ended, Agent Carter needed to find Dottie Underwood, who disappeared in the midst of assisting the SSR after Peggy broke her out of prison. Both Chief Daniel Sousa and scientist/genius Jason Wilkes clearly had feelings for Peggy, who seemed to have genuine feelings for both men. Meanwhile, Whitney Frost continued her rise to power after taking over the Council of Nine.
For Episode 7, “Monsters,” the intensity is turned up as Carter and Jarvis attempt to apprehend Underwood while Frost goes after Wilkes. Sousa, all the while, continues to run into problems with Vernon Masters, the corrupt FBI agent who now answers to Frost. Also, it is clear that Joseph Manfredi will become a regular part of Agent Carter.
Joseph Manfredi in Marvel Comics
Because Marvel’s Agent Carter takes place decades before most of the films and television included in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, many of the characters pulled from the Marvel canon for this specific TV series have to be re-imagined. According to his history in the comics, Joseph Manfredi was the son of supervillain Silvermane. Manfredi had the ability to control bats, joined the Ringmaster’s Circus of Crime and repeatedly battled Daredevil as Blackwing, whose ability beyond bat control includes little more than a suit that allows him the ability to fly/hover for short distances.
So far, in Agent Carter, all that we know is he is a criminal leader who specializes in security (in charge of security for the New Council) and supplying manpower for criminal operations. He was also connected directly with Hydra in the comics, and thus fought against Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D., which could very easily play into Agent Carter as a background to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Prior to Carter, there was no direct connection between Whitney Frost/Madame Masque and Joseph Manfredi/Blackwing.
From the very beginning of the episode, it was clear that Peggy was wrestling with the developing love triangle between herself, Sousa, and Wilkes — and was avoiding talking about it with either of them. However, after Wilkes successfully manages to become corporeal again, he immediately kisses Agent Carter — who does not hesitate to kiss him back — in front of Edwin Jarvis and his wife, Ana. When Dottie Underwood’s tracker inexplicably turned on again, Jarvis expressed his concern to Carter. She seemed less worried.
“It isn’t inexplicable, Jarvis. We’re walking into a trap.”
While her initial plan didn’t work out exactly as she had hoped, Carter, Jarvis, and Underwood eventually escape Frost’s capture — but not before Peggy opens up to Edwin about her conflicting feelings about Wilkes and Sousa. Just as she closes in on Frost, who has kidnapped Wilkes with the assistance of Manfredi, Ana takes a bullet and she must be taken to the hospital. When Carter tries to check in with Chief Sousa, she learns that Vernon Masters has taken his post.
Vernon Masters and Chief Daniel Sousa
At the beginning of the episode, Masters is interrogating Underwood, trying to get from her what it is that Carter wants from Frost and why she stole the uranium rods. When he fails, Frost tells him his new focus is to find the rods and get them back.
Masters approaches Sousa to let him know that since Roxxon is now missing the zero matter that was stolen from evidence, it was Sousa’s responsibility to find it. When Sousa makes it clear that he won’t help Masters, Vernon has him beaten and then temporarily removed from his position with the SSR. Until Sousa can get “back on his feet,” Masters will be in charge of the SSR headquarters in Los Angeles.
At the beginning of the episode, Wilkes is struggling to remain visible, much less corporeal. After suggesting that Carter simply kill Underwood, he admits that he “isn’t thinking clearly.” And while he is once again tangible, he can’t leave the machine he built to regain that physical status. When Whitney Frost shows up and tries to take the zero matter back from inside of Wilkes, he manages to pull back, absorbing some power from the encounter and temporarily gaining the ability to leave his zero matter machine.
For anyone who loves scientist geek-speak, Frost earns the MVP of this episode. She discovers that zero matter has given Wilkes “molecular intangibility” and marvels at his zero matter work when she finds him at Howard Stark’s mansion.
“Isometric heat waste regulators, kinetic force stabilization, mobile sort energy collectors… what, is he constructing a palladium core?”
While she tries to convince Wilkes to join her and help her develop new ways to harness the power of zero matter, Wilkes declines. Since he won’t go willingly, she knocks him out and Manfredi carries his limp body to the getaway car. Frost learned everything she needed to know about Wilkes by demonstrating to Underwood what she could do to her using her zero matter powers.
— Agent Carter (@AgentCarterTV) January 26, 2016
When Vernon Masters suggests that Isodyne Energy can simply make new uranium rods, she expresses her disapproval of the idea.
“No! I need the same rods from the original test. Do you understand me? This is your priority, Vernon. You can use any and all means necessary.”
Frost’s facial scar continues to grow, and her romantic relationship with Manfredi (which we learned about in “The Atomic Job“) is being rekindled.
Underwood’s place in the pecking order was more clearly established in this and the last episode. Despite his extensive military background, Vernon Masters failed to get any information from Dottie. However, once she felt Frost’s power, Underwood gave up everything she knew.
While she is capable of alluding a character like Jarvis, she is nearly as capable of a villain as Carter is a hero. While clearly not one of the good guys, like so many from the Marvel world, her morality is flexible and is capable of assisting the heroes — when necessary.
Edwin and Ana Jarvis
Throughout this and the last episode, Ana is continually shown be extremely skilled in terms of doing things with precision. As Carter plans to recapture Dottie Underwood, Edwin reveals a new weapon.
“Allow me to present ‘The Jitterbug’ — a non-lethal concussive device with a blast field of 170 degrees.”
The weapon is explicitly “non-lethal,” because this is Agent Carter, after all, and not Deadpool — but it would be interesting to see how Peggy Carter and Edwin Jarvis would work with Deadpool if the opportunity presented itself, wouldn’t it? The Jitterbug doesn’t go off as planned, but when it accidentally works with a significant delay, it provides just the opportunity for Carter, Underwood, and Jarvis to escape the basement in which Frost was holding them.
After Frost shoots Ana in the abdomen, the show ends in the hospital with Jarvis struggling to even say the words that they aren’t sure if his wife will survive.
With Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. set to return on March 8, ABC will be featuring another two-hour special (i.e. back-to-back episodes) of Agent Carter next week, as the season finale will air March 1.
Where To Watch
ABC airs Marvel’s Agent Carter Tuesday evenings at 9/8c while Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is on a mid-season break. Highlights of this week’s episodes of Agent Carter (“Life of the Party” and “Monsters”) are available at ABC’s website. Beginning Wednesday, replays of Agent Carter can be streamed on-demand with a Hulu Plus Subscription.
[Image via ABC]