Let’s Talk About: “Better Angels”
In which Sarah Tompkins and Annie Meagle contemplate the power of a good Bloody Mary and Agent Chad Michael Murray comes out to have a good time and is honestly attacking everyone.
Sarah: Hey, Annie! Have you heard?
Annie: Heard what, Sarah?
S: Howard Stark is back in town!
A: Thank all that’s holy. Or in Howard’s case, unholy. Man, I’ve missed that slutty lil rascal.
S: I always forget how boring and untawdry the world is without Howard and his particular zeal for life (and women). It’s amazing, though, how my affection for him grows every time I see him – not unlike his own passion for fondue.
A: Agreed. I think Howard is often written off as a wildcard, which I mean, he is. But he is also the closest thing Peggy has to family these days – I mean, they are total siblings – and he’s extremely loyal to her and supportive. He takes care of her even when she doesn’t ask for it, he jumps to help when she does. He appreciates and loves her for being Peggy, and for that, I will forever love him. I also relate to him on a spiritual level about the importance and necessity of Bloody Marys.
S: There was this great moment where he and Jarvis meditate on how great Peggy is, and I loved it for Peggy, but then, also for Jarvis. Howard essentially said if Jarvis wanted to quit and become an agent, he’d be more than supportive. Peggy and Jarvis are the most important people in his life and he loves them, even if he does make them catalogue the clothing he wears when abducted by gorgeous Russian spies.
A: Well someone’s got to keep track for him, his brain is rather full these days with formulas for helping invisible people reappear. Which of course brings us to the return of Dr. Wilkes. Were you shocked?
S: Not remotely shocked. As you pointed out last week – no body usually means no death. Hell, even a body on a sci fi show doesn’t preclude death. I was more shocked at the sloppy cover-up job by Evil White Dudes Anonymous. For a sophisticated organization, just throwing a Russian passport under a floorboard seems half-assed. Then, maybe I am severely underestimating the power of the Red Scare. All that said – I’m glad they’ve kept him around. Now we have someone telling Peggy that despite what she perceives as her fault (in this case Wilkes “death”), her actions are always for the betterment of, well, humankind. I feel she probably still places a lot of blame on herself for Steve’s “death.” Not to mention – Old Timey Science Bros!
A: Old Timey Science Bros for the win! I loved the Wilkes/Howard interactions. It was another reminder of why Howard Stark is truly great: if you are a smart cookie, he could care less what you look like. He just appreciates and respects smart. This was lovely to watch Wilkes realize, that in a world so against him just because of the color of his skin, that there were people out there that would appreciate him for his mind and skills. I could totally see him being quite successful at Stark Enterprises.
A: But what about the other Zero Matter survivor, ole Whitney Frost? Is she really the big baddie of the season? Her credentials are impressive so far – expert coder in the war, smart, the real brains behind Isodyne, and well, now all that destructive antimatter literally seeping out of her pores…thoughts? Is it too soon for such a reveal? Is there another shadowy figure waiting in the wings?
S: You know, I was wondering the same thing, but then there was this line from Future Senator Cal, telling Whitney that once he won the election, they could move and she could have all the babies she wanted. Now, maybe she has always wanted children, but the line sure didn’t read that way. All this to say: maybe it’s not the fact that she’s the baddie that will change, but her perceived motivations will change? Here we have someone with, well, not all that different credentials from Peggy. Incredibly intelligent, respected for her work during the war… then kind of screwed over once the men return home. And that was something that women in the U.S. in particular were actually struggling with post WWII. All Rosie the Riveter sentiments were thrown out when men wanted their jobs back – and women back in the household.
S: What I guess I’m saying is, Whitney: bad but sympathetic, perhaps? Misguided, but originally with good intentions? …Then again, she did, um, ingest? osmote? her director.
A: Well, to be fair, he was beginning what looked to be a lovely bout of sexual assault. I can’t blame her too much. But I agree with your point, I think there is a larger game afoot still, and Whitney is a bit of a red herring in terms of villains. There is still this mysterious Council of Evil White Dudes who hang out in that Old Man Land Club. Speaking of which, Howard Stark’s entrance there. Cackles. All the cackles.
S: Seriously. It was like the Republican National Convention up in there. They should be so lucky to have the likes of Peggy Carter in their midst. Also Jarvis and his glorious 1/16th Turkish self. Again, we saw the dream team in action.
S: But it was interesting to see her learn about the election rigging – and it was pretty status quo for Agent Chad Michael Murray not to believe a word Peggy says. WHO INVITED YOU TO L.A., CHAD.
A: NO ONE. NO ONE INVITED HIM. Well, that’s not true, I suppose. Shifty shady FBI Agent Red Foreman invited him to further his own agenda. I mean, is Agent CMM really that thick? Or is he really just that pathetically desperate for any sort of power? Probably the latter, I guess. But I will say, there were moments last night when I know he started realizing what’s happening, that he started realizing not only are there HUGE things at play but that he is being used. I could have sworn I saw a flash of proprietariness over the SSR when FBI Agent Red Foreman was dogging it, but I’m sure it was just my imagination. I’m sure he’ll be as predictable as the sun and sell them all up the river for a promotion.
S: I detected something, too, when Red informed him that Wilkes had stolen secrets that were potentially a threat to national security. I suppose we’ll see if he drinks some of that tea Peggy served him nice and hot.
A: OMG that tea was PIPING hot.
S: “You’re being a coward! You are so afraid of ruffling powerful feathers you’re doing what you always do – burying an ugly truth and hoping someone will pin a medal on you.”
A: Man, this show is just constantly providing quotes that I want to embroider onto pillows.
S: Of course, Chief Sousa (may he get his head about him on matters of the heart), was first in Team Peggy Camp, waving his little pennant. These two – despite where their romantic entanglements may or may not take them – will never bore me with their support for one another. It’s not blindly done, but they do trust each other so implicitly it’s beautiful.
A: So beautiful. I also continue to love when he does call her out when she steps out of line. Because we all need that sometimes, and it only really works when it comes from someone we respect. It was sort of how Peggy needed that chat with Wilkes to assuage her guilt a bit over what happened. Too often we get so caught up, we need a little shake back into reality.
S: Precisely. And then, Agent CMM tried to have that conversation with Sousa about his intentions in his move out West – promotion or heartbreak. It almost felt genuine? But…Agent CMM.
A: I actually do think it was genuine, to be quite honest. Shocking, I know. But I think that there is mutual respect there, and some semblance of a friendship. Sousa has never let CMM walk on him, and I think Agent CMM respects that. Plus, they’ve always been quite bantery. I think they enjoy it on some level. Now, would Sousa would ask him to be his best man? Probably not. But I’d like to think there is just enough there to maybe help Agent CMM surprise us all and stay loyal to the SSR. A fool’s hope, I’m sure.
A: We also need to discuss the multitude of Marvel nods last night, because MAN were they coming fast and furious. Jarvis’ disembodied voice (*sob*). Peggy and the punching bag. Comic book movies being ridiculous.
S: Yes! They were fantastic. I laughed at the comic book movies line, but appreciated that Peggy wanted to play the cowboy instead of the bar wench (and Howard’s approval but: “the world isn’t ready for that” – we’re still waiting, Howard…) I also was a huge baseball nerd for a hot second, when I spotted a Brooklyn Dodgers cap behind Sousa in his office – which is fitting. A team that moved from NYC to L.A. (just a few years down the road for the Agent Carter crew). Lovely touches on this show that really make it fun to watch.
S: Okay along the Marvel Cinematic Universe line – what about that pin? We saw it with Dottie, and then we saw Agent Red Foreman giving it a lot of attention…
A: Well, and I think we were chatting offline about this, but from what I’ve learned over on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this season, that symbol is [adopts Oprah voice] HYYYYDRAAAAAAA. Or at least a faction of it. AOS is playing with portals and other worlds this season, and that symbol just so happened to be what they discovered to be Hydra’s early space exploration program. I won’t get into the nitty of AOS plots, but suffice it to say, the connection CANNOT be a coincidence. Peggy Carter was too heavily involved in fighting Hydra in the war for it never to come up on Agent Carter. I’ve been waiting with bated breath, in fact.
S: It makes a lot of sense, and it has me thinking that Cal and Evil White Men Club are some arm of that operation. Perhaps Zero Matter is, in some part, an aspect of their space program? Of course, we saw Cal and Agent CMM getting a little buddy buddy at the end there – and we also saw that CMM recognized the headline on the newspaper Cal was holding as the same headline that Peggy claimed to have seen in the club – verbatim. Will Agent CMM join their league? Will he be an inside man and finally, truly join the good fight?
A: Like I said, I hold onto a fool’s hope by the thinnest of threads for Agent CMM. I do think that Zero Matter will prove otherworldly and spacey in some way though. How that will fit in with everything, I don’t know. But I think that club just has to be up to darker deeds than just rigging elections. Which, if they are some form of Hydra, they most definitely are.
S: Okay. Final question time: Flirty French Hickey Sousa or Cranky Are You Going to Tell Us the Answer Professor Sousa?
A: What is this, Sophie’s Choice?
A: What about Science Nerd They Call It the Strategic Scientific Reserve for a Reason Sousa?
A: Nope, dammit, I refuse to choose. I am greedy and demand all.
S: Yeah, I think we’re just going to have to go with All for 500, Alex. Please, thank you.
A: My turn to pose a Sophie’s Choice to you: favorite Peggy outfit of the episode?
S: Oh god. Why would you do that to me…errrr…ahhh…Bloody Nora. Let’s go with green sweetheart neckline outfit? I just loved that color on her, and the cut, too.
A: Yes, yes, yes, I adored that one. Emerald is a fantastic color on Hayley. The navy and red was also fantastic. I think I would have to go with her undercover floosie florals, I am such trash for anything floral. But really, I need her entire wardrobe. And her new purpley lipstick??
S: Ugh. I need her everything. God bless her holiness.
S: Also a Bloody Mary – can I have one of those?
A: I would literally be Howard if you dangled one in front of me right now.