With Whitney Frost growing stronger, an injured Peggy needs to keep her from acquiring more power. So how do you do that after having a life-threatening injury? Hello, Bridget Regan. This is “Life of the Party.”
The episode begins with Jason still in Peggy’s room, but seeing things differently, as if the world is coming apart around him. He can still hear Peggy’s voice when he suddenly spots her. He tells her that he was somewhere else- he’s losing control and is at the whim of some dark force.
Peggy tells him that his work in containment can be used on himself, but Jason has no mass. There’s still Jane Scott’s tissue matter. If he could replicate that, could he build a containment chamber for himself? It’s possible, but he’d need more Zero Matter. There’s only one place in the world to find it.
Calvin finds Whitney muttering to herself- she’s not okay because of the catastrophe and Peggy Carter’s constant interference. Calvin tells Whitney that he’s arranged for the Council to meet her. He hasn’t been giving her proper support and this is his way of fixing the mistake. Even though the Council doesn’t meet with outsiders, Calvin tells her that she’s worth it.
She’s better than him, so she should speak about the potential of Zero Matter. Everyone will be in attendance for tonight’s fundraiser. When the Council sees what Whitney can do, Calvin believes that they’ll give her whatever she wants.
The next morning, Ana watches Edwin stitch up Peggy, who is still in pain. She’s still planning to go to the lab, as there’s no rest for the weary and wounded until the job is done.
Peggy enters the lab and finds a weary looking Sousa. She explains that they need a solution to anchor Wilkes to this world- as he’s the centerpiece for the case against Isodyne. So yes, they need him. Peggy intends to get the Zero Matter sample from Whitney Frost, and to do so, she’ll need to infiltrate one of Calvin Chadwick’s campaign events. Jarvis has two tickets secured- courtesy of Howard Stark- and the two can use a gadget to get a sample of Zero Matter.
Sousa doubts that Peggy can handle this due to her injury and that Whitney will anticipate another attack. Rose isn’t around, Sousa won’t go as Jarvis’ date, and there’s no telling who to trust at the SSR. What the two need is a highly skilled, unknown face that won’t mind getting in the thick of it. Peggy has a terrible idea.
As if on cue, we cut to Miss Dorothy Dottie Underwood, who is set to receive a psych evaluation from Dr. Peggy Carter. Yes, Peggy is now a doctor. She tells Dottie that there’s no contact from the Soviet government or anyone affiliated with Leviathan calling for Dottie’s release.
It takes more than six walls to hold Dottie, though- they’re in a cube. Dottie is glad to see her- after all, Peggy came in disguise, so she doesn’t want this visit on the record. This means that Peggy is going behind someone’s back. So if this isn’t about interrogation, Dottie figures that Peggy needs her help.
Back at the lab, Jason and Ana work on the containment chamber. Wilkes is concerned, but Ana believes that there will be reinforcements. Jarvis swings by and asks about his cufflinks, as he needs to look his best when in the thick of action. Upon hearing this, Ana grows concerned and rushes out of the room.
Peggy shows Dottie the lapel pin and asks why she wanted it. There are many reasons: maybe she was hired to steal it, maybe the pin unlocks every decision made in America. Or it matched her blouse. Peggy offers to break Dottie out and negotiate terms later. Peggy is aware that Dottie will try to run, but Dottie knows that Peggy’s deportation offer is bullshit. Well, at least they’re agreed.
So Peggy hands Dottie a device and tells her to go right when she’s gone. When she leaves, Dottie opens the device, which actually works to unlock her cell. She escapes and grabs the guard’s keys, but Peggy, unsurprisingly, snagged his gun.
Outside, Dottie goes not right, but left and right into Sousa’s net, which also has an electric shock. Peggy gives her a second shock. You can never be too careful. See, Dottie, this is why you go right.
Dottie awakens and finds herself strapped to a chair and with a blow dryer on top of her hair. Peggy explains the situation and shows Dottie a diamond necklace that not just complete her ensemble, but it’s equipped with a tracking device so Peggy can monitor her location. If Dottie attempts to break it, she’ll be injected with a neurotoxin that will kill her in less than a minute.
Jarvis asks what kind of her firearm he’ll be taking, but Peggy figures Dottie would just take it from him. Just to prove her point, Dottie even managed to snag his wristwatch. Peggy turns on the fan so she and Jarvis can pantomime argue. It’s actually quite funny, as he requests a cane with a sword inside of it.
Whitney asks Calvin to reschedule the meeting, as she doesn’t want to be seen in public, but the Council does not reschedule. Calvin gives her a purple bow and frock to put in her hair. It works and covers up the black cracks on her face. Whitney promises to properly thank Calvin later.
Peggy fills Dottie about her target- Whitney Frost. Dottie is unfamiliar. She’s more interested in Jason Wilkes, but Dottie is to receive a blood sample from Whitney and not make physical contact with her. Jason explains how to use the device to draw blood from Whitney. To finish the set, Peggy also gives Dottie a bow. Whitney asks Jason to explain how the device works, but she’s surprised when he walks right through her hand.
So it’s time for Peggy and Sousa to do surveillance while Jarvis and Dottie dance. The two spot not just Calvin and Whitney in attendance, but Jack Thompson as well, who speaks with the couple and Vernon Masters.
Calvin sees a future for men like Thompson in the growing war against Communism, while Whitney would love to star with a face like Thompson’s in her next picture. Dottie offers to kill Thompson, while Sousa thinks the mission should be aborted. Peggy maintains that the two complete their objective without being spotted by Thompson. Jarvis can do it, but Dottie is already gone.
Vernon tells Thompson that this room is filled with powerful men who have great influence in the country. These are the men who keep the world spinning and they’re starting to learn Thompson’s name. There’s one stain on his record. That’s when Hugh Jones enters the frame and remembers that SSR ruffled his feathers. Thompson learns about the raid and stolen Zero Matter- Peggy Carter is the suspect named.
But Thompson claims to know nothing about it. Vernon tells Thompson that Carter is disobeying his orders. He can’t let a female subordinate make an ass out of him as he climbs the ladder of influence.
New plan: Jarvis is to keep Thompson distracted. Jarvis demands that Dottie fall in line and obey orders- in the best way that Jarvis can, anyway.
At the bar, Thompson talks with a woman, but he’s interrupted by Jarvis. He’s in attendance because Howard Stark is a contributor, but that doesn’t explain why Jarvis is suddenly wearing glasses.
Thompson doesn’t think that Carter isn’t present and wants to secure the perimeter, but Jarvis accuses Thompson of doing Chadwick’s bidding. Thompson believes he’s working to protect the country, but Jarvis gives him a word of advice: he’s out of his depth and these waters are full of sharks.
In the powder room, Dottie sort of runs into Whitney but still managed to get a sample. When Sousa and Peggy call in, they get no response. Dottie has removed her rose and left the sink running. You don’t leave the sink running.
Dottie slips into a room and hides in a cupboard just as the Council enter, along with Calvin and Whitney, to begin their meeting. Whitney talks of being an advocate for Zero Matter, but she was wrong. The mistake she made was in thinking that the discovery was about energy. It’s not- it’s about the kind of power that can bring the world to its knees. But why just tell when she can show.
And that’s when Whitney removes her bow and reveals the crack on her face. She opens her gift box, removes a lab rat, and absorbs it into her body. The Council and Dottie both are equally shocked. The Council thanks Calvin for bringing this to their attention and know how to proceed. Then two men enter and put ropes around Whitney’s neck, but she makes quick work of them.
You wouldn’t like Whitney when she’s angry, as she demonstrates by absorbing a few Council members. The cracks on her face expand as she faces her husband. Upset as his betrayal, Whitney then disposes of Calvin while Dottie continues to watch. Whitney calls the meeting to order. She tells Jones that she needs unrestricted access to Roxxon resources and he should bring Vernon Masters up to date on this administration change.
The papers will run a story on the sudden disappearance of the now dead Council members. Whitney has chosen the remaining men to contribute to her Council and as long as they remain loyal and of use to her. In return, she will bring them unlimited power unlike anything this world this has seen. Hugh is excited about this collaboration and seeing where Whitney will lead them.
While Jarvis searches for Dottie, Peggy wants to go in, despite her injury, but she ends up popping her stitch trying to open the door to the truck. For Sousa, it helps to learn to put your faith in others to get the job done.
When the new Council adjourns, Dottie slips out of her hiding spot and smiles at the blood sample. She then comes face to face with Vernon Masters and Thompson, who give chase.
Peggy would like a follow-up with Violet, and Sousa isn’t subtle at showing that there’s a problem. Violet broke off the engagement. He admits that he messed up and how she broke it off because she thinks that Sousa is in love with her. Peggy doesn’t think this is fine- as she came and mucked up his life. She apologizes for that. Before the two can have that cliché kiss, an agent falls on their truck.
Upstairs, Dottie takes out agent after agent before Thompson manages to subdue her. Dottie ends up losing the blood sample in the process.
Downstairs, Jarvis joins Peggy and Sousa. He managed to snag the blood sample. The receiver was crushed with the gear, so there’s no chance of getting in touch with Dottie. The party is already over and Sousa doesn’t want to blow their cover, so retreat is their best solution. The three decide to fall back.
Hugh explains the new situation to Vernon, with Thompson nearby. Vernon figures that this situation is Peggy Carter’s fault- who else would be reckless to spring Dottie Underwood loose? After all, Jack did see Jarvis, but Thompson wants to see the bigger picture. Vernon orders Jack to take out Peggy. Killing would make her a martyr. Vernon more wants Jack to discredit her so this work becomes invalid.
That presents a new side of problems. Vernon believes that Carter must have something on Thompson. He says that the best way to fight leverage is with leverage since everybody has secrets. Vernon says that if Thompson won’t do this, he’ll have to question whether he’s suited for this position in high government. Thompson says that there is no question.
Jason, meanwhile, thanks Sousa and Carter for retrieving the sample that could save his life. They’re more preoccupied with finding Dottie Underwood.
Then they receive a visit from Jack Thompson. He knows all about her fake cover to spring Dottie free and wants her to return to New York. There’s no place in his office for agents who can’t follow orders. He tells her that she’s chasing boogeymen and that it’s okay to be wrong. Peggy counters that she’s not wrong. Thompson tells her that she’ll not only lose, she won’t see it coming. He bids her farewell.
Dottie, now chained and boxed, has a brief face to face with Whitney Frost.
“Life of the Party” had a lot going on and the episode managed to juggle a lot of elements very well, given the urgency of stopping Whitney Frost from gaining more power and influence.
While it’s far from Peggy’s smartest idea, bringing Dottie into the fold serves as a good curveball since Whitney has never met her before and Dottie sees this all as one big game.
I’ll take any reason to have Bridget Regan back, and Dottie’s wry smiles, the constant sarcastic barbs, and need to stay one step ahead of everyone, you could tell she was not taking this seriously.
Dottie is as unpredictable as she’s ever been. Imprisonment hasn’t deterred her and Peggy knows that she could betray the mission at any moment. Credit to the show, Peggy acknowledges beforehand that enlisting Dottie’s help is a bad idea, but with Whitney Frost growing stronger and the Council’s widespread influence, Peggy doesn’t have many options.
Another credit to Agent Carter, Peggy isn’t in any condition to be in the field. In many television shows- Chuck being the first one that comes to mind- the protagonists may receive a grave injury while on the job, but they’ll miraculously be fine by the next episode or, hell, even after the commercial break.
Here, Peggy’s injury from her fight with Whitney Frost is turned into a plot point. She wants to stop Whitney at any cost, but she can’t do it herself. And though Peggy is always prone to push herself, she realizes upon popping her stitch that she’s only going to make the pain worse. It’s refreshing that Peggy isn’t back up and ready to fight within one episode. She’s forced to take a backseat this time.
This gave her time to talk with Sousa over the broken engagement with Violet and the two sort of discussing their feelings. The show has taken its time in telling us what happened in-between seasons, but here, Peggy admits that her being involved with the mission has jeopardized Sousa’s relationship, even though she still has feelings for him. It was no accident that Dottie interrupted their kiss when she did.
This episode ramped up both the action and plot as characters raced to stay one step ahead of each other. Dottie tries to get the slip on Peggy and Sousa multiple times, Whitney is trying to keep Peggy from making another attack, and Thompson is trying to keep himself from getting sucked into Vernon’s web.
Again, Thompson’s priorities perplex me. He still wants the glory of a coveted position within the agency and is willing to follow orders to get it. He’s still pompous, no doubt, but he also wants to see the bigger picture and isn’t willing to just throw Peggy under the bus because she’s a woman and supposedly undermining his authority.
If I’m wrong, I’ll accept it, but I buy Thompson’s plea to Peggy towards the end to give up this chase because she doesn’t fully grasp who she’s going up against in this battle. He may not like Peggy, but he seems to at least respect her abilities as an agent. So he’d want to protect her not to be her savior, but out of necessity. Peggy, naturally, maintains that she’s right, but even her plans aren’t foolproof, given that she’s trusting Dottie of all people.
Whitney has continued her growth in acquiring power and taking reins of the Council by showing her true power. She’s done with letting a group of men call the shots and now she’s demonstrated she has the authority and power to take control away from them. I wager that being betrayed by Calvin was the final straw in her asserting herself atop the Council. And a foolish mistake for Calvin to even think he could try and tame Whitney.
Unlike “The Atomic Job,” I think this episode did a better job of blending humor and action with things like Dottie toying with Peggy or Jarvis’ frantic search for her while trying to maintain his cover. The comedy didn’t feel forced or overdone. Rather, it fit into the scenes much more than Peggy zapping Hugh Jones over and over again.
“Life of the Party” is a pretty entertaining episode that had both parts drama and fun. Bridget Regan’s return to the series is a welcome one and throwing Dottie into the mix is a nice wild card for Peggy’s mission. There’s some stuff with Ana and Jason as well, but as this episode aired coupled with the following one, we’ll touch upon that next time.