This was the tale of two strong women, both meant for bigger things than what the world tried to pigeonhole them into becoming.
After a long wait, Marvel's Agent Carter Season 2 Episode 4 finally gave us a glimpse into the back story of our heroine, along with that of her current nemesis, Whitney Frost.
We learned that Peggy has always been a tough girl. Peggy's mother discouraged her rough play, but her brother, Michael, encouraged her love of adventure.
On the other side of the pond, Agnes was also a tough girl, with humble beginnings and a less than desirable living situation with her mother.
Agnes had only herself to rely on. She was smart, with scientific ambitions, but no one to encourage her dreams. This young girl would be emotionally abused by her mother, and forced to believe that her face was the only thing people would care about.
Michael: This isn't what you want.
Peggy: What is that you think I want?
Michael: The same thing you've wanted since you were a little girl...a life of adventure.
Peggy: I've grown up. My dreams changed.
Michael: No, you've just let everyone else drum them out of you.
It's hard to believe that Peggy would have had a love story with anyone besides Steve Rogers prior to when we meet her, but there it is.
With the proposal to become a field agent at her fingertips, as well as a marriage proposal from a gentleman named Fred, it seems like an easy choice for her to make, based on the Peggy we know and love.
But this isn't the same Peggy.
Pre-war Peggy was living every mold that she fought so hard to break out of early on. She wanted the husband who would take care of her, the safe life, where she would be reliant on someone else. Pre-war Peggy wasn't cut out to be an agent.
At least, that's what she allows herself to believe.
Peggy let the world take away her dreams of adventure and her fiance, Fred, did nothing to encourage her to be anything more than a wife. It took the death of her brother in war to wake Peggy up and give her the strength to fulfill her destiny of becoming an agent.
No one cares what's in your head. If you're half as smart as you think you are, you'd fix on this. [Grabs Whitney's face] This is the only thing that's gonna get you anywhere in this world.Wilma (to Whitney)
And Agnes? Well, she grew up and at least escaped the life her mother had. She left rural Oklahoma in favor of a place where she could be anything she wanted to be. She quickly discovered that science wouldn't take her very far. Her smile, on the other hand... (that was definitely a nod to Jessica Jones, right?).
"Smoke & Mirrors" did an incredible job of taking everything we already know and love about Peggy Carter and making her that much deeper and her story more compelling, and the same goes for Whitney Frost.
By the hour's end, I found myself completely enamored by Whitney and proud that she bested her awful mother.
There was also a lovely irony in the way that this episode was framed. We watched Peggy embrace the very thing she didn't think she was cut out for, while Whitney, who believed she could be more, gave up her own career dreams.
The fact remains that Whitney is becoming more and more dangerous since her run in with Zero Matter, and I almost get the sense that even she isn't entirely sure what she's capable of.
I'm a genius. Whitney Frost? She defies categorization.Jason
There's an air of legitimate fear in Whitney Frost's face as she conducts Zero Matter experiments on innocent lab rats, but that fear quickly fades into fearlessness as Whitney embraces her ability to obliterate and absorb others with just her touch.
Whitney's secrets are out to Calvin, and thanks to a conveniently placed bug, the SSR as well. She absorbed Rufus right in front of Calvin to "clean up" his mess.
Calvin is obviously afraid of his wife, but will that stop him from using her as a weapon? Or will he end up just as Rufus, another mess to clean up? I'm leaning toward the latter as of now.
The effects of Zero Matter on Whitney are becoming quite obvious, but what they are doing to Jason is less easy to pinpoint. He's seeing the Matter and the letters on the board swirling about in a black mass. And he seems to feel like he's slipping away.
My brother used to say to me that I was meant to fight. I believe you are cut from the same cloth, Jason. We will fix this, I promise you, but you can't let go. You must hold on.Peggy
Jason and Peggy are experiencing a weird Ghost-like story. They can't touch, but they can share these intense flirtatious moments. He's left an impression on Agent Carter that we love seeing, but I also don't want to see him have a fate that will upset Peggy.
She's been through so much loss when it comes to love. Someone needs to stick around for her.
Daniel's faith in Peggy never wavers, a dynamic that is both sweet and comical. He's willing to do anything for her, up to and including giving a scary hit man a very intense cold. I love the bond these two have.
We don't discover very much about the Arena Club, or the Council of Nine, but another smarmy villain foiled Peggy and Daniel before they could raid the club.
Vernon: A tidal wave is coming, Agent Carter, and you are going to have to work very hard to stay afloat.
Peggy: I'll manage.
Vernon: Maybe so but your friends could still drown.
Vernon is obviously in someone's pocket, it may even be the Council. He's doing his best to brainwash Jack and here in Los Angeles he tries those same mental tactics on both Daniel and Peggy, but he doesn't have nearly the same level of success.
I also have to wonder how Dottie will fit into this equation when she makes her return. She's obviously a part of the Arena Club, or at least, she has access to it. Why was Vernon so eager to get her into FBI custody and away from the SSR?
It's challenging to tell who the real villain right now. There are a number to choose from.
Peggy: Mr Jarvis, are you alright?
Jarvis is such a wonderful source of comic relief, but even more so, he continues to be an excellent, albeit mismatched, partner for Peggy. Watching them fire tranquilizer darts meant for killer koala bears and taking several attempts to stuff a man in a car trunk brings my heart joy.
- Violet who? Daniel didn't propose...yet. But come on. Does ANYONE actually think he's going to?
- What are the other exotic animals Howard Stark is acquiring that Jarvis needs THAT many tranquilizers? Those could not just be for koalas.
- Jarvis brought Peggy a button to wear. I wish she had put it on. Just for a second.
- Was anyone else completely charmed when Peggy's mayonnaise blob hit the desk?
What did you think of "Smoke & Mirrors"? Hit up the comments below and share your thoughts!
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Be sure to come back next week for Marvel's Agent Carter Season 2 Episode 5, "The Atomic Job" when Peggy races against the clock to stop an atomic explosion!