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Peggy is joined by Howard Stark as they try to figure out the effects of Zero Matter on victims of the lab explosion.


Season 2, Episode 3: Better Angels

Still reeling from losing Dr. Jason, Peggy summons all her British stiff upper lip-ness during this episode as she carries on with her investigation. The police turn up some very obvious evidence that Jason was a Soviet Spy. Peggy, knowing that Jason was the most competent man she’s known since Steve Rogers and wouldn’t be so stupid, says it’s clear he was framed. Despite Peggy’s best efforts to clear his name, it winds up all over the papers. Adding insult to injury, Jack shows up in LA, ready to stifle Peggy’s best efforts just like his stupid ties and squint eyes stifle any handsomeness he might possess. He calls Peggy emotional when he steamrolls her case, even though it’s his cowardice and fear that are getting in the way. They have a confrontation in Sousa’s office, and Sousa almost backs up Peggy until, remembering that he’s defined himself by his incompetence, he stops. Peggy leaves the office, and no one notices the office supplies floating above her desk after she’s gone. Because they are incompetent as ever.

With nowhere else to turn, Peggy and Jarvis to go Howard Stark, who is directing a comic-book movie called Kid Colt. This is a real Marvel hero, and a fun li’l Easter egg in an episode that keeps getting heavier and heavier. Howard recognizes the symbol on various accessories from last week’s episode as belonging to an exclusive LA club – the same one where we saw Chadwick meeting with his shadowy cabal last week. Howard helps Peggy infiltrate it by pretending he wants to join and dragging a cadre of ladies in with him. Peggy can’t get his recording devices to work, but she does see the next day’s paper, already printed and ready to go, with an incriminating headline implicating Chadwick’s opponent in a scandal. These guys are the real deal, as far as shadowy cabals go! She narrowly escapes one of their security team with a last-minute assist from Jarvis and some delightfully silly American accent work.

Back at the SSR office, she tries to tell Jack and Sousa what she’s seen. Of course they don’t listen, and Jack demands that she leave Los Angeles the next day. He also hands over the film with the Zero Matter tests that Jason gave Peggy to the Vernon Masters of the FBI, who is clearly up to no good. When Sousa and Peggy have a chance to talk on their own, Sousa notices the floating office supplies. They go to Howard immediately, worried Peggy might have been infected by Zero Matter.

It turns out, she was not. But something is disrupting the gravitational field in her presence. Howard uses an emulsion, similar to the silver nitrate that imprints light images to film, and they discover that it’s Dr. Jason! He’s non-corporeal, but Howard thinks that with his general genius-ness and resources combined with Dr. Jason’s expertise on Zero Matter, they can possibly restore him. Good for us! And for Peggy!

While the science bros sort that out, Peggy goes to Whitney’s studio to, as she puts it, poke the beast. That’s probably not something she should say to Whitney, who is pretty sensitive about her looks. Anyway, Whitney pretends to know nothing, but she and Peggy are both of aware of the fact that she’s a skilled actress. It’s a fun scene. Peggy shines when she has other clever women to verbally spar, even if Whitney is super evil and responsible for the death of her potential boyfriend.

After their confrontation, Whitney convinces Chadwick to sic his goons on Peggy. A beefy bro tries to kill her in Howard’s backyard, but she fights him off, once again with a last minute assist from Jarvis. Jarvis installs a security system Howard created that uses his voice. He makes a crack about Howard needing to update it so he doesn’t spend the rest of his days as a disembodied voice. Little do you know, Jarvis! But I guess even disembodied voice Jarvis got a body eventually. James D’Arcy will just evolve into Paul Bettany, like some kind of pasty British Pokemon. I am so okay with that.

Howard leaves to find a scientist that can help restore Dr. Jason’s body, and Dr. Jason threatens to leave to keep Peggy safe. That is obviously dumb, because Peggy already knows too much, and everyone thinks Jason is dead. But Peggy doesn’t use logic on the scientist. No – she uses love. She wants Jason to stay, so he agrees. And we rejoice.

Sousa proves that, despite his incompetence, he sometimes gets things right. He had been doing some late-night research at the SSR offices, even turning down drinks with Jack, and he discovered that Whitney Frost is actually an incredible scientist (“Marie Curie of the Mid-west) named Agnes Culley! Her research is the backbone for Isodyne’s work on Zero Matter, so she definitely knows way more than she’s told anyone, all while hiding in plain sight.

While Sousa was doing his job, Jack is getting drinks with Vernon Masters of the FBI and Chadwick at the Super Secret Boys Club. He sees the headline Peggy described and realizes his arrogance has gotten him into some serious trouble. Because he, like the rest of the non-Peggy SSR, is incompetent.

That night, in her dressing room, Whitney’s director tells her that the studio wanted to fire her, but he stood his ground. She gives him a hug, and he tries to take it too far. When he brushes her hair like a creeper, he discovers her little black scar from the Zero Matter. She grabs his arm and absorbs him. I guess he wound up inside her after all! Muahaha! The little scar grows larger, but Whitney seems less worried about it.

This episode covered a lot of ground, taking us further into the Zero Matter mystery and everyone’s individual secrets. It also brought back Dr. Jason, which made me quite happy. He’s such a great character – a “rare bird trying to do right in the world,” as Peggy says. I hope they can make him solid again.

As usual, Howard Stark shines, but not enough to make up for the absence of lady friends for Peggy. There’s no Anna, no Violet, not even Rose. And of course, no Angie. Seeing Peggy go toe-to-toe with a lady villain is great fun, but it feels less meaningful without a positive female relationship to counterbalance it. Jarvis also had very little to do except make allusions to the future of his character, although his last-minute save in Howard’s backyard nicely paid off the fighting skills he showcased last week.

It’s hard to call it a bad episode, especially with so many great mysteries afoot, but I hope things get more character-oriented next week.


Directed By: David Platt

Produced By: Tara Butters, Louis D’Esposito, Chris Dingess, Michele Fazekas, Kevin Feige, Alan Fine, Stan Lee, Jeph Loeb, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Joe Quesada

Written By: Jose Molina

Starring: Hayley Atwell, James D’Arcy, Enver Gjokaj, Chad Michael Murray, Reggie Austin, Bridget Regan, Kurtwood Smith, Lotte Verbeek, Dominic Cooper

Network: ABC

Date released: January 26, 2016

Run time: 42 minutes

Rating: N/A

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