A Look at Agent Carter- Season 2, Episode 9: “A Little Song and Dance”

Oh hey, Angie’s back, so it’s time for a song and dance number.  Does it add anything of value?  Well, no, but luckily, it’s not for long as we have more pressing matters on the penultimate episode of Agent Carter’s second season.

A Little Song and Dance- Peggy in a black and white world

The episode begins with no color budget as Peggy awakens in the now black and white world.  At first, she finds Michael in the chief’s office and berates him for getting her in this whole mess by putting her up for the SOE position and then getting himself killed so she would take up his flag.  True as that may be, Michael counters that Peggy is only doing what she wanted.

A Little Song and Dance- Angie appears in Peggy's dream sequence

We then see the lights of the familiar L&L Automat as the show retrieves its color budget.  And it’s here that Peggy runs into a very familiar Angie, with Lyndsy Fonseca briefly reprising her role.  Peggy doesn’t know what she wants, so Jason suggests himself.  Indeed, the two begin to dance when Sousa arrives.

And then we get a song and dance number.  Well, it’s the 1940s, so I suppose this is appropriate.  Even Dottie pops in for a bit, as she’ll never be out of Peggy’s head, and Peggy takes center stage, realizing that this is all up to her.  She’s gotta make her mind about who she’ll choose.  Also, Jarvis has a top hat.  It’s time for Peggy to wake up already, so Rose tells her that she’s not right for the Auerbach Theatrical Agency before punching out her lights.

A Little Song and Dance- Peggy awakens in the back of the truck

Well, that was a dream sequence.  Peggy awakens in the truck next to Jarvis.  But this is Peggy, so she’ll be out of her binds in no time.

A Little Song and Dance- Thompson, Samberly, and Sousa still in the desert

Still in the desert, Samberly, Thompson, and Sousa wonder when the others will return.  Strolling through a cloud of radiation isn’t ideal and the nearest town is a day’s walk, but then they spot Vega and Blackwell approaching in an SSR vehicle.  Thompson has a plan.

Back in the truck, Jarvis maintains that Whitney deserves to die, but Peggy will hear none of it since this mess is apparently his fault.

A Little Song and Dance- Blackwell and Vega come to apprehend Thompson, Samberly, and Sousa

Sousa orders Blackwell and Vega to apprehend Thompson, but they instead turn their guns on him and Samberly.  Apparently, the SSR agents were ordered to kill whoever pulled the trigger.  They point their guns at Jack, but his defense is that he followed Peggy Carter all the way out in the desert to stop her.  The men haul in Samberly and Sousa.

A Little Song and Dance- Peggy and Jarvis escape the truck

Still in the truck, Peggy uses the hotwire on her belt to melt the lock on the door.  They jump out of the truck and keep quiet long enough for the vehicles to not notice anything.  And yet, they’re in the middle of a wasteland, so it’s time to walk.  Even as Jarvis rants, Peggy keeps walking, so he may as well get to walking, too.

A Little Song and Dance- Whitney's crew takes a break, finds out that Peggy and Jarvis escaped

In the Convoy of Evil, Jason awakens and feels something wrong.  Well, for starters, his eyes look like two eight balls, according to Manfredi.  Jason tells Whitney that he only saw blackness in the rift.  Given the Isodyne footage, there’s no explaining why he’s the only one to come back from the rift.

He doesn’t want to be taken to a populated area, as he’s not safe around normal people, so Whitney takes him out of the car for a breather.  They then notice the truck doors ajar and Manfredi executes the driver for poor management.

Now, the following scene that takes place could be my favorite moment in all of Agent Carter, and obviously my favorite moment of this episode: Peggy and Jarvis’ argument.

A Little Song and Dance- Peggy and Jarvis argue

An hour into the walk and still no sign of others, but Peggy doesn’t want or need Jarvis’ opinion on how they proceed.  She trusted him to behave, so she won’t make the mistake of bringing him on a mission again.  Jarvis, though, doesn’t apologize for trying to kill Whitney.  Yes, he risked everyone’s lives for on a personal vendetta, but Jarvis counters that Peggy also put lives at risk by freeing Dottie Underwood.  And Ana paid the price.

Peggy’s defense is that leaving Dottie to Whitney Frost would be tantamount to murder, and she’s not a murderer.  And yet, as Jarvis counters, everyone around Peggy dies.  Valid, but harsh.

Carter uses this opportunity to rail on Jarvis, reminding him that he begged her to let him join on adventures, since that’s all they are to him.  When they’re all over, though, he goes to Howard’s mansion and indulges in his self-imposed ignorance.  When something goes wrong, he blames her for choices he made.  Yes, there is a cost, one that Peggy has paid many times over, but Ana will at least live.  Jarvis will live on, knowing nothing about loss.

Peggy elects to keep moving, saying that once this is done, the two of them can escape each other forever.

And that’s when Jarvis reveals to Peggy that, due to Ana’s injuries, she’s no longer able to bear children.  Peggy then apologizes for her words, as she didn’t know, but as Jarvis points out, no one knows.  Not even Ana because she’s married to a coward.  He admits that what he did was inexcusable and apologizes for his actions.  They then spot a truck coming their way.

A Little Song and Dance- Two men stop to confront Peggy and Jarvis

The men pull over and one takes Jarvis to the back.  Peggy springs into action and knocks out one man while soon confronting the other.  The two commandeer the vehicle, though Peggy tells Jarvis that he needs to be with his wife.

A Little Song and Dance- Vernon wants to know what Thompson has planned for Sousa and Samberly

At SSR, Vernon demands to know why Sousa and Samberly aren’t dead, but Vega says that he was acting on Thompson’s orders.  Thompson explains that the gamma cannon can be repaired, but Vernon knows that Whitney can fix it herself.  True, but then Vernon won’t be able to use it on her.  Vernon is all ears.  Thompson offers to bring the cannon to Whitney and use it to blow her away.

Vernon is concerned about whether Sousa will come after him, but Sousa agrees to keep quiet and help if they can all take down Whitney.  Samberly also agrees to help as well because he didn’t get to say anything.  Thompson will take care of Sousa and Samberly while Vernon goes to make a deal with Frost.  When Vernon leaves, Thompson frees the two, glad that their plan has gone as well as it did.

A Little Song and Dance- Whitney speaks with a restrained Jason

Manfredi and Frost arrive at a waste management facility that Manfredi’s men fixed up as well as they could, even bringing in equipment from Isodyne.  It even comes with a complementary, restrained Jason Wilkes.  Jason wants to be taken out to an isolated location, but Whitney plans to take the Zero Matter from him with a huge-ass needle that she sticks right into him.

A Little Song and Dance- Peggy does not want to work with Vernon

Peggy arrives at SSR, storms into the chief’s office, and proceeds to beat the hell out of Vernon, demanding to know about Sousa and Thompson.  Luckily, aren’t far.  They can’t kill Vernon because he’s integral to the operation.  Peggy considers this plan ludicrous.

If this works and Vernon stops Whitney, Peggy figures that he’ll still come after them, but he won’t kill her because he won’t have to.  If someone tries to take down Vernon, he’ll take them with him.  This is a stalemate, and the only way out of a stalemate is together.

Sousa is on board with teaming up alongside Vernon if it keeps people safe.  Peggy and Sousa will be back-up at the extraction.  Samberly needs another hour, but Whitney wanted it an hour ago.  This sort of news is best delivered in person, so Thompson volunteers.

A Little Song and Dance- Thompson speaks with Whitney

Manfredi worries for Jason’s health, so Whitney stops the extraction.  She’s been unsuccessful at extracting Zero Matter anyway.  Thompson soon arrives and turns on the charm, much to Joseph’s anger.  He heads out, leaving Whitney to deal with Thompson herself.

Whitney demands to know about the cannon.  Thompson explains that he’s here to buy time before delivering said device, but then he spills about Vernon’s plan to use the cannon on her.  He offers to turn over the cannon and Vernon Masters to Whitney, but he doesn’t want Vernon’s job.  He wants a seat on the Council of Nine.

A Little Song and Dance- Samberly gives Thompson the gamma core

But, as we later learn, this was all a ruse so Whitney would trust Jack, who Vernon didn’t think would make it out alive.  Samberly delivers the gamma core to Thompson, telling him to handle it with extreme care.  Peggy, meanwhile, knows that too many things can go wrong.  Sousa figures that Peggy is more focused on getting rid of Whitney Frost.  Before Sousa can head off, he and Peggy realize that the fuel line from their vehicle has been cut.

A Little Song and Dance- Samberly explains that Thompson plans to turn the core into a bomb

So they realize that Vernon is setting up Thompson, but Samberly reveals that Thompson’s plan is to turn the core into a bomb.  The remote trigger is on a radio frequency, so Samberly can block it by building to send out an EM wave.  This, he can do in two minutes.

A Little Song and Dance- Ana and Edwin in the hospital

At the hospital, Edwin cares for Ana, who asks if Peggy has located Whitney Frost and of Jason Wilkes’ whereabouts.  When Jarvis elects to go on holiday, which he detests, Ana realizes that something is amiss.  Jarvis tells her about the situation and Ana tells him to go out and help Peggy.  Not like Ana won’t have help from doctors.  Peggy just has Jarvis.  She tells him that he must render any assistance to Peggy that he can and then asks what else Edwin isn’t telling.

A Little Song and Dance- Samberly only had two minutes

At the warehouse, Samberly’s two minutes to build the jammer weren’t enough and yelling won’t help, so Peggy heads in to retrieve Jason.

Inside, Thompson explains how to use the cannon, while Whitney tells Vernon that she plans to use the cannon on Wilkes to retrieve the Zero Matter.

A Little Song and Dance- Peggy finds Jason

Peggy finds Jason, who is unable to control or hold back the Zero Matter.  He tells her that he doesn’t deserve her help, saying that his actions were of his own accord, not Zero Matter’s influence.  Even still, Peggy refuses to just leave him.  She’s stubborn like that.  As Peggy heads out, Jason seals the door behind her.  His body begins to show dark cracks, just as Whitney’s did.

Outside, Samberly manages to block the bomb.

A Little Song and Dance- Thompson tells Vernon that plans have changed

Vernon tries to reason with Thompson, claiming that he can’t trust Whitney.  Thompson appreciates what Vernon did for him, but the biggest lesson learned is to not let a good opportunity to pass by him.  He leaves Whitney to take care of Vernon herself as he heads out and activates the detonator, but nothing happens.

A Little Song and Dance- Thompson wants to activate the bomb

Thompson still wants to need to do what should be done, but Peggy prefers that Vernon be brought to justice.  Thompson orders Samberly to unblock the bomb, and he does, but before Thompson can activate the bomb, Peggy points her gun at Thompson, ordering him to drop the trigger.

Whitney begins to absorb Vernon, who smiles when he realizes that the bomb may still go off.  Indeed, it is active, but before she can stop it, Jason Wilkes comes into the room as black energy surges all around his body.  So…Black Power?

A Little Song and Dance- Peggy in black and white

So let’s start with that opening dream sequence.  It was a fun departure from the more serious moments of Agent Carter, but at the end of the day, didn’t add much, if anything, to the story, other than reinforcing that Peggy has to make a big decision.  Which we’ve already known.  If I sound like a sourpuss, then so be it, but I just wish the sequence lasted long enough to actually be of value instead of filling time.  But I now have a strong desire to see Hayley Atwell in black and white films.

A Little Song and Dance- Angie returns

I’ll admit, it was nice to see Lyndsy Fonseca briefly return.  When the plot for Season Two first surfaced, one of the items mentioned was a Wizard of Oz dreamlike sequence where Angie would appear.  Well, we finally got it and short as it was, it was nice to see her again.  Though, in hindsight, I wonder- Angie wants to be an actress.  Howard Stark is a sort-of director this season.  Maybe Peggy could have put in a good word for Angie?

Steve's dream sequence from Age of Ultron

Also, I do have one small complaint about the dream sequence: where the hell was Steve Rogers?  I mean, it was a dance number and Peggy never did get her dance with Cap.  I get that Chris Evans is a busy man, but two minutes would have been nice.  Or, hell, splice in Steve’s dream sequence from Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Claire Temple in Jessica Jones

This is a slight issue I have with some of these Marvel shows outside of Agents of SHIELD, where they name drop bigger MCU players all the time, by not some characters appear on shows where it would make sense.  Obviously I’m not asking for any Avenger to pop up on Agents of SHIELD, but Agent Carter, within the context of the dream sequence, would be a great spot for Steve to pop in for a minute.

That’s more wishful thinking on my behalf since part of me would like to have seen  Steve Rogers or Scott Lang appear in Jessica Jones, but that’s just based off of the interaction the two each had with Jessica in Alias, less so how it would serve the show’s plot.  Plus, hey, schedules are different.  And now I’ve mentioned Jessica Jones again.

A Little Song and Dance- Whitney stands over Jason

But back onto the episode, it continued the themes of desperation and personal sacrifice in order to get the job done.  Whitney Frost is closer than she’s ever been to attaining more Zero Matter and she’s already survived one attempt on her life.

A Little Song and Dance- Thompson orders Samberly to make the bomb active

So what’s the best solution?  It’s not just black and white like the opening of the dream sequence and there isn’t an ‘All of the Above’ option to try and accommodate every possible angle.  While the characters try to take more time to craft out the best option, they understand that each decision comes with a huge negative attached.

It can be easy to slap a quick Band-Aid on a problem and call it fixed, but it’s after the dust has settled that you realize the consequences of your actions instead of just considering them.  What may seem like adventures or classic tales of good versus evil carry real weight and have had devastating impacts on our characters.

A Little Song and Dance- Jarvis tells Peggy that everyone around her dies

And that’s the heart of Peggy and Jarvis’ argument.  It’s not just because of the strong acting between James D’Arcy and Hayley Atwell or the emotional weight behind their arguments.  It’s because both of them had a real point.

A Little Song and Dance- Peggy tells Jarvis that he chose to join her on adventures

Peggy was right.  Since she arrived in Los Angeles, Jarvis has asked to accompany her on as many missions as possible, but they’re more of a game to him.  When the fun ends, Jarvis has a wife he can come home to and pretend that all is right with the world.  Carter, meanwhile, still has to contend with problems on the job and dealing with Whitney Frost.

Now is Not the End- Peggy grieves over Colleen's death

What’s more, despite Peggy’s tough exterior, she has lost a lot.  Hell, she lost Colleen because someone was looking for her.  She’s vowed to keep people out of danger, but there have still been casualties.  Even though Peggy wouldn’t leave Dottie to Whitney, and while she acknowledged early on that it was a bad idea, it’s still a decision that she made.

A Little Song and Dance- Peggy still doesn't want to work with Vernon

Peggy is prideful, but she has a hard problem admitting when she’s wrong.  She bears the weight of the world on her shoulders and though she accepts help from others, more often than not she has to have the last word.  These missions aren’t a joke.  They’re serious times where she can be and has been injured, but she keeps going because it’s what she does best.

A Little Song and Dance- Jarvis won't apologize for shooting Whitney

Even still, that doesn’t mean others can’t and won’t call out her lack of professionalism or rational thinking.  Jarvis isn’t one to challenge Peggy with as much force as he did in this episode.  In fact, the one person who tends to challenge Peggy is Thompson.  Jarvis is just along for the ride, but with Ana’s injuries, it became personal.  When he said that everyone around Peggy dies, it felt like it came right from the gut.

A Little Song and Dance- Jarvis joins Ana in the hospital

Jarvis and Ana won’t know what it’s like to have children because Ana was a casualty in the war against Whitney Frost.  He blames Peggy for her decisions that led to this, but he then accepts his failure to protect Ana and his own cowardice through keeping secrets and trying to kill Frost.  I don’t think that Jarvis went too far with his remarks.

In fact, I wish he hadn’t walked back his apology because he was resolute in his decision to try and kill Whitney.

A Little Song and Dance- Jarvis apologizes to Peggy

But like Peggy freeing Dottie, it’s not until after he goes through the act that he realizes the consequences of his bad decision.  It does show his commitment to put everything on the line for Ana, as he left his will to Rose and was prepared to die in an attempt to keep her safe.  So even if Jarvis sees these missions more as adventure, even he’s capable of making hard choices when the time comes.

A Little Song and Dance- Peggy and Jarvis notice a truck approaching

It’s a testament to the bond between Peggy and Jarvis that their friendship remains intact, despite the heat of their argument.  And even though Peggy thought she had Jarvis figured out, she realized that he felt and understood the pain of loss just as much as she does.

A Little Song and Dance- Ana talks with Jarvis

Brief-aside, given what happened to Ana, I think the show could show how she reacts to this news since it affects her just as much, if not more, than Jarvis.

A Little Song and Dance- Jason apologizes to Peggy for his decisions

Like Jarvis, Jason also accepts blame for actions of his own accord because he’s slowly losing his sense of self due to the Zero Matter.  Like Jarvis, Jason appears to be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to save himself and prevent someone like Frost from acquiring Zero Matter.  And similar to Ana, Jason never asked to be brought into this entire situation, but having seen its capabilities and been exposed to it, he wants it eliminated.

A Little Song and Dance- Thompson is ready to detonate the bomb

Thompson wants to go one step further by getting rid of all problems at once: Zero Matter, Vernon Masters, and Whitney Frost.  And like Peggy freeing Dottie, he understands that there can and will be dangers of his decision, primarily Jason Wilkes being caught in the crossfires.

As with the previous episode, Thompson’s loyalties were still all over the place.  It looked he was willing to double cross everyone to further himself, but it was all to gain Whitney’s trust.

A Little Song and Dance- Thompson tells Peggy that Frost bought his ruse

Once more, Thompson was more willing than Sousa to challenge Peggy.  They all know the dangers of Zero Matter and how people will be hurt in their line of work.  He’s taking the ultimate extreme to eliminate every issue and put out one large fire instead of slowly getting rid of smaller ones.  Plus, given how Jason has survived previous incidents where he should have died, Thompson probably figured that he could live through another one.

“A Little Song and Dance” was a very strong episode of Agent Carter and the series in general as it had some of the strongest performances yet from Hayley Atwell and James D’Arcy.  It ramped up the action and light hearted moments very well, even if I wasn’t a fan of the dance number.

With Jason appearing to giving it all he has to take out Whitney, it remains to be seen what happens next and how our team will handle Frost once and for all as we head into the season finale.

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