Agent Carter keeps things serious as Peggy and friends continue their quest to save Jason Wilkes and stop Whitney Frost. We ended on a darker turn last time with Ana’s fate up in the air, so let’s see how she and the others have progressed since then. This is “The Edge of Mystery.”
The episode begins in New York, 1946, in the middle of the Season One’s “Now is Not the End,” with Ana arriving home. She overhears Jarvis speaking to Peggy Carter on the phone about the volatility of the orb she found. Ana learns that Peggy is different from Howard Stark’s other associates in that he respects her. Jarvis assures Ana that Peggy won’t interfere with their lives. She, in turn, tells him to not make promises he can’t keep.
In the present, Ana rests while a bloodshot Edwin tries to get the radio working. He ends up hitting it because he hates radios. Peggy comes in and consoles Edwin, telling him that Ana needs him at her side right now. Peggy’s going to go home, pick up one of Howard’s radios, and bring Jarvis some things so when Ana wakes up, Jarvis will look like himself again.
Jason awakens cuffed to a tractor while Whitney studies him to learn what happens when he vanishes. He offers to write down the formula for the containment unit, but Whitney figures that he’s stalling. She also doesn’t think that Jason truly wants to vanish from this world after he’s spent so much time trying to stay alive. Her option is that the two work together. She then asks if he can hear the voice, as if it’s coming from his thoughts, but somewhere else deep. He does indeed hear it, so Whitney isn’t going crazy.
Peggy meets Sousa at Howard’s mansion and the two swap tales of their less than great nights. Sousa shares that his beatdown was Vernon’s attempt to find the uranium rods for Whitney Frost. Peggy suggests giving them to her. Or at least let Whitney think they will. Sousa believes that getting in touch with Joseph Manfredi is a good place to start.
We then cut to a restaurant where Peggy and Sousa deliver a beatdown message to Manfredi’s men while Manfredi himself argues in the kitchen. When he finally hears the commotion, he realizes that there are two customers for lunch.
Over in London, England, Thompson gets sloshed with a British agent who doesn’t believe that Jack got his hand injury from fighting a Russian assassin. The agent hands Thompson a confidential file containing information about a massacre and the name of one Agent M. Carter.
Peggy and Sousa speak with Manfredi about Whitney and her associates, as his relationship with her isn’t exactly secret. They want Manfredi to get a message to her and Sousa threatens say that Manfredi turned state’s evidence against Tommy Fontana, who is being released next week. Now it’s not true, but as Sousa says, Tommy don’t know that. Indeed, Tommy don’t know that. Who the hell is Tommy?
Jason and Whitney continue to bicker on Zero Matter, with her wanting to control this gift and him, well, not. If he accepts it, Whitney says, he can control it. She again asks if he hears the voices. If Jason listens, the voice will guide him. Manfredi suddenly arrives- that was fast- with Peggy’s message: hand over Jason Wilkes unharmed and she will deliver the uranium rods. Whitney agrees to the terms.
At the hospital, Edwin goes lengthy list of promises to a still sleeping Ana. Above all, he promises to always protect her if she’ll awakens. She soon does and again tells him to not make promises he can’t keep. An elated Jarvis goes off to get the physician. While Edwin delivers the good news to Peggy, he then receives some bad news from the doctor.
You see, the surgery was difficult and Ana was almost lost several times. Though it was successful, there were complications and irreparable internal damage. More to the point, Ana will no longer be able to have children. She doesn’t know this yet, so Edwin plans to deliver the news himself. When Edwin returns to the room, he instead gives Ana news about prescriptions and nothing more.
Dr. Samberly presents some fake uranium rods to Peggy and Sousa. He’ll be driving the truck, Sousa will provide cover, and Peggy will make the transaction. To everyone’s surprise, Jarvis suddenly enters and wants to know how Peggy plans to save Jason. When Peggy refuses to say he can accompany them, Jarvis presses for an answer, as Whitney Frost must pay for what she’s done.
Then they receive a telegram with design specifications for building a gamma radiation cannon that fires a pulse of high-energy photons. Such photons could eliminate Zero Matter, cure Jason Wilkes, or, as Jarvis suggests, kill Whitney Frost. Because Samberly needs time to prepare, Jarvis will be the new driver.
But then there’s Thompson, who wants to speak with Peggy about the file. He again wants Peggy to return to New York, saying that her apparent war crimes were a lot worse than his. Now this is Peggy we’re talking about, and she knows that not only did Vernon put Jack up to this, but he found discrediting and forged information about her in no time. Despite Jack’s actions, Peggy reminds him that he’s better than someone who tries to cut corners to get ahead.
Whitney doesn’t like Manfredi calling her gorgeous, but he means it. While she’s still embarrassed about her appearance, he doesn’t care about the mark on her face, as it’s power. That’s what makes her beautiful in his eyes and, to him, she should never have to hide it from the rest of the world. With that, he removes her scarf. Before the two can smooch, they spot a truck arriving.
Jason is brought out for the exchange while Peggy and Whitney realize that two powerful women shouldn’t be standing on opposite sides. Peggy hands over a briefcase and Manfredi scans the rods. They pass muster, so Whitney hands over Jason. In cartoony fashion, one of the henchmen drops the briefcase and the rods spill out, yet don’t explode. Realizing that the rods are fake, Whitney’s men open fire while Peggy and the others escape.
You know, Thompson referred to Sousa, Peggy, and Jarvis as The Three Stooges in the previous scene, but that would have been more applicable here.
So a slow car chase ensues. Peggy tells Jason the gamma cannon will help them beat Whitney. Jason, though, feels the rods should be destroyed. Everyone soon realizes that Whitney isn’t making much of an effort to pursue them. In his desperation, Jason readies a shotgun and demands that Peggy and Sousa tell him the real location of the rods.
Realizing that he won’t kill Carter and seeing Sousa’s feelings for her, Jason points the gun at her, saying that he’d pick his own life over hers. Sousa eventually admits they’re held at the SSR, so Jason hops out of the truck and into one of the following cars.
While Vernon looks over the file, Thompson questions the validity of it. Vernon maintains that what happened and what’s true are different. It’s an official document, so it’s true regardless of what others think. That part, Thompson gets, but his gut tells him something else.
Per television show convenience, this conversation is stopped by a telephone call by someone who knew the access code. While Vernon takes the call, Thompson picks up a phone in the office and overhears his Vernon telling Whitney that he’ll hand over the rods.
So Jack confronts Vernon as he tries to open the safe, which is hidden behind a chart of the Periodic Table. With his gun at the ready, Thompson is prepared to make his move. Not long after, Peggy and Sousa enter and find him in the lab with the memory inhibitor on the ground. Peggy asks Thompson about the last thing he remembers, which is the phone call. Peggy then finds a note with coordinates that should lead them to Whitney Frost.
The two don’t completely trust Thompson right now to accompany them, as he did try to frame Peggy, but right now, he’s here with them. In the name of honesty, though, Sousa wants to make sure he and Peggy are squared on the mission. Right now, Jason is a hostile instead of a hostage.
Sousa knows desperation, as he’d give anything to walk again. The two need to be dispassionate, given Peggy’s apparent feelings for Wilkes. This prompts Peggy to call out Sousa for being dispassionate since he gave away the location of the rods instead of letting Jason shoot her. Though she’s unable to answer when Sousa asks if she’d do the same if the roles were reversed. If it makes any difference, Thompson would have let him kill them both. I can agree.
Rose asks Samberly if the gamma cannon will kill Whitney Frost. Just because he invented it doesn’t mean this mission won’t be dangerous. Jarvis soon enters and asks Rose to look over Ana, giving her some of Ana’s favorite possessions and a letter. Jack, Peggy, and Daniel soon come downstairs, ready to take another shot at Frost.
The two groups meet in an open field, with Whitney telling Jason that the two will absorb Zero Matter when the rift opens. She’s confident because the whisper in her head says this plan will work. The explosion goes off as the rift does indeed begin to materialize. Everyone is in awe, though now only Jason is able to hear the voice. He finds himself suddenly lifted into the air, but not Whitney. I guess the rift was For Coloreds Only.
Samberly and the agents unveil the gamma cannon, which Samberly isn’t too sure about whether it could close the rift. It’s not unreasonable. He is being asked to determine the usefulness of a device he’s never used. Jarvis, meanwhile, is more concerned with Whitney Frost. As the cannon has only has enough for one batter charge, Jarvis speeds off and Peggy goes after him. When Samberly asks what he should do, Sousa and Thompson order Samberly to do what Peggy says. Good words.
The three charge the Gamma Cannon and fire it at the rift. It hits its target and the rift vanishes, leaving Wilkes on the ground.
Over at the hospital, Ana awakens to find Rose at her side. Rose tells Ana that Edwin will be back shortly and she’s to keep her company until he returns. The two bond over a game of hangman. Inside, we see the letter is Edwin’s Last Will and Testament.
Jarvis goes right for the killing blow and fires a bullet into Whitney’s chest. However, the Zero Matter in her body absorbs the bullet. Before Manfredi and the others retaliate, Whitney tells them that Jason has what she wants. And the key to controlling Jason is controlling those he loves, so the men instead knock out Peggy and Jarvis.
If there’s a constant I noticed in “The Edge of Mystery,” it’s desperation. Not just the race against the clock to keep Whitney Frost from attaining more Zero Matter, but individuals having little time to make split second decisions.
When the odds are against us, people can be forced to make reckless choices in order to save themselves or the people around them. How’s the saying go? Desperate times call for desperate measures? That’s the case here with Peggy and company because they aren’t making the best of choices, just the ones they hope will produce quick results, but little thought goes into whether they’re making wise decisions.
And Samberly ended up being the one to point all of this out. Samberly isn’t a field agent, he’s a technician. Only he points out the futility of being asked to come up with a concrete plan of action in little time. And it doesn’t help that he never had time to test the gamma cannon, but now he needs to create a working weapon with no guaranteed of success. It’s a reckless series of events that led to plans going awry for Peggy.
It doesn’t help that Jason turned on her. As he said, he’d protect himself over anyone else. He’s motivated by self-preservation, but also allowing Whitney’s words about Zero Matter get to him. He never wanted to be in this situation or have this strange ability, and he sure as hell doesn’t want Whitney to grow more powerful.
So he’s willing to put everything on the line to stop her, even if it means betraying Peggy. But again, Jason is jumping to the extreme conclusion because Peggy won’t. He chastised her for keeping Dottie alive instead of killing her, so if she won’t do what needs to be done, he will.
The same applies to Edwin. I’ll get more into this in the next episode, but for here, Jarvis’ decision to make a risky move is out of both desperation and tragedy. He wasn’t able to keep his word to Ana about keeping Peggy’s life from interfering with theirs. He wanted to be back in the field with Peggy and he finally got that chance, but it came with the grave cost of Ana being injured and now unable to bear children.
Once again, James D’Arcy shows that he’s plenty capable of delivering good, dramatic performances and can do more than be comic relief. The bloodshot eyes, the list of promises he would keep if Ana lived, and taking out his anger on the radio show that his is a broken Jarvis unlike anything we’ve seen yet on Agent Carter.
He’s a man in love, but also a man who doesn’t want to take the proper, diplomatic route. That he walked right up to Whitney Frost and shot her at point blank range was cold for him, but from his perspective, he’s doing what Peggy won’t: put Whitney down before she can cause any more harm. However deep Edwin’s bond is with Ana, it’s still an irrational move motivated by revenge because he still attempted murder.
If Frost didn’t possess Zero Matter, Jarvis would have killed her and there’d be blood on his hands. He wouldn’t have done the right thing, but what he felt was necessary, because Peggy won’t cross that line now, and that’s why she won’t just kill Dottie.
Even Peggy is susceptible to making bad decisions in the heat of the moment. She maintains this tough exterior and acts as if nothing bothers her, but we’ve seen that she can be harmed and slowed down in the line of duty. It’s not unrealistic that her emotions may get the better of her at times. Not to the extent that someone like Thompson would deride her for, but Peggy knows that she puts the people close to her at peril.
Which is why she calls out Sousa for telling Jason about the uranium rods, even though she had no response when he questioned whether she would have done the same if the roles were reversed. When you get down to it, Peggy’s a bit of a hypocrite. She refuses to let her emotions cloud her judgment- refusing to see Jason as a hostile- and takes issue with those who do, but at the end of the day, she knows that she isn’t heartless. She is prone to making bad decisions, though.
As is Thompson, and while I’m ever conflicted on his allegiances, it looks like he’s at least turning around and siding with Peggy. She was right when he said that he would do what it took to get a promotion, but she also knows that Thompson isn’t the same man from last season. He’s not one to cut corners or shame Peggy for his own ego, and I’m glad he’s still one of the good guys.
“The Edge of Mystery” kept up the more serious tone these last few episodes have brought in as Peggy and pals make one desperate move after another to stay ahead of Whitney Frost. Jarvis shooting Frost was a dark turn for him, but didn’t feel out of character. With the seriousness of the situation, these people are willing to anything it takes to protect those close to them. Noble people, they are. Foolish and desperate at times, but noble.