Let’s Talk About: “The Atomic Job”
In which Sarah Tompkins and Annie Meagle praise, curse democracy, and readjust their squad goals.
Sarah: Annie. First, I would like to go on record as saying: Democracy is great and important and you should vote and all of that. But I would like to follow it up with saying: Thanks a lot New Hampshire primaries for pre-empting my broadcast of Agent Carter and delaying this discussion.
S: How would Captain America feel about all of this??
Annie: Cap would definitely support the fine and noble workings of our our fair democracy, but he would throw that beautiful red, white, and blue shield right in the face of whatever news director thought it was ok to pre-empt his Peg.
S: I thought so. It was probably all Samberley’s idea. That guy.
A: Nobody likes Samberley.
A: (Except maybe Rose? Am I crazy to think that wasn’t all an act on her part to get him to work with them?)
S: I mean, I don’t think it’s out of the realm of imagination. Rose totally needs someone as smart as her to keep up. Every Damsel needs a prince to rescue.
A: Too right. Too right, Miss Tompkins. Which brings us to, well, is it too soon to talk about our new total and complete #SQUADGOALS or what? I’m probably getting ahead of myself. But. *bounces in seat*
S: No. It is NEVER too early to talk about Our Clique. The greatest motherflipping clique to grace the small screen – or all screens. Our Squad? Our squad respects street cleaning day.
A: Our Squad is so badass but also sometimes has a little trouble not tripping whilst walking but it’s also still hella squad because they help each other back up and then it’s just pause *BAM* hero shots. I wasn’t upset over that Sousa profile and Peggy looking out majestically towards the Squad’s bright future together.
A: But I think my real favorite part was it was basically Daniel and Peggy and their kids. Two of SSR’s best agents, and then their rag-tag (yet very talented) group of field newbies. And civilians. And Jarvis. I loved Peggy’s utter and complete faith in Rose’s abilities, as well as Sousa’s obvious worry over her getting hurt. I loved their clear exasperation with Samberley, but the knowledge the they needed his awesome brain, and that, well, Sousa did promise him a chance to be in the field. And I love that Jarvis is just part of the trio now, no questions other than where did you park?
S: It was just an excellent example of what this show does so well – it takes something that is perhaps a bit campy, but makes it so honest that it’s truly funny. It’s a comic book sketch done with love and executed by a stellar cast. I laughed through the entire ordeal – from Rose taking down a one-man, lederhousened band to Samberley’s memory loss device (sorry, Jerry). Pure fun in a way that only this show seems capable of accomplishing.
S: Not to mention, the sheer amount of times Sousa sighed in exasperation/resignation. A beautiful, beautiful thing.
A: He even rolled his eyes at Peggy. How many people do you think can get away with rolling their eyes at Peggy Carter and not taste her swift right hook? Hint: not many.
A: I also like how it was a nice character flow for both Peggy and Daniel, two characters who have often been overlooked in their respective careers for various reasons (disabilities and, you know, boobs), immediately give two fellow SSR personnel a leg up and a chance to grow when they wanted one. Just warmed my cold, black heart.
S: Leg up? Really, Annie? (I kid.)
S: But agreed. It was great to see them being field agents together, while also being intrinsically themselves. They may have that team out of necessity (moles and whatnot), but they also have the most loyal people around them. Good begets good. It’s refreshing.
S: Before we get to the actual mission – maybe we should back up a bit. We learned a whole lot of very disturbing things about Zero Matter in this episode. From Wilkes, Whitney, and dear, departed Jane Scott alike. Zero Matter “calls” to those “infected” with it? It controls said vectors? Is it sentient?
A: Yes! That was quite a disturbing revelation indeed. I am still quite confused about it, because Wilkes also described it as a place almost? Or at least a state of mind. That is cold and dark and painful.
A: I will say though, I’m getting nervous about Wilkes. Even before his disappearing act at the end, you can tell his desire for Zero Matter is growing, and I’m not all that convinced it’s just to be whole again. It feels like he’s losing himself a bit to it.
S: Oh yeah, things aren’t looking Aces for Jason. Not only was there his sudden wobble out of the corporeal world, but there was the moment the Zero Matter took over him – possession complete with crazy eyes and full exorcist terror. Then, of course, there was his connection to the Zero Matter that allowed him (and Whitney) to know the exact location of Jane Scott’s body. What will that mean for the future? What does it’s utter and inter-connectedness mean for the people infected – for the substance itself?
S: I love (well, maybe love isn’t the best word) that thread of nuclear threat that has been pulled through this season. Again, anchoring it to reality while being pretty incredible science fiction.
A: Very much agreed, it is so perfect for that time period, when everything was nuclear holocaust and lurking Commies. And we also learned another very important lesson this week: disarming nuclear warheads is nothing like baking a souffle.
S: We also learned that Chief Daniel Sousa has very steady hands. *Lucille Bluth wink*
A: As if my mind didn’t fly immediately into the gutter. This show knows exactly what it’s doing, and dare I say, is gleeful about it. Jerks.
A: I am also really enjoying the unravelling of Whitney Frost. I’ll be the first to say, I thought she was going to be more of a red herring of a villain. While I’m still quite convinced that there are larger machinations at work, she is definitely quite the force to be reckoned with right now.
A: Watch your tone, Sarah.
S: Yes ma’am. Whitney is not someone I would want to mess with. (Or you, Annie.)
S: I feel similarly. I think that she is a bit of a cog in all of this? Or rather, she’s caught up in a much bigger plot. As we saw with Joe (KEN MARINO! I WANT HIM IN EVERYTHING), with Cal, with Evil White Men Anon, there is a lot riding on this bomb, this technology. To what end? What use is this atomic-esque/atomic-dependent bomb? Is this some sort of Roxxon plot or plan? Hydra?
A: My gut says Hydra, because well, this is Marvel so why not. And this time period is when nuclear power was everything, people were in complete awe of it and terrified of it – it was THE ultimate power on the planet. And we all know how much Hydra loves power. So I can see how Zero Matter, which appears to be similar if not more powerful, could be a very sought after thing. But I’m sure there is a much bigger catch to ZM than nuclear power that we are about to discover.
A: Also yes to Ken Marino. Forever Ken Marino. I loved seeing a dark side of him.
S: Heck yes. And I loved seeing a kickass side of Rose. Agent Rose spin-off anyone? I feel like it’s no coincidence Rose and Rosie the Riveter are so similarly named.
A: No way at all. Loved her quip about having seen bigger. She’s my kind of people, that Rose. And Peggy is completely right of course, she’s smart and capable and I’d trust her with my life. I look forward to seeing more of her over the rest of the season.
S: Yes. Now, what was more painful: that rebar through Peggy’s side or Peggy seeing the SSR boys celebrating Daniel’s engagement when she walked into the office?
A: Criiiiiiiiiiiiiiipes. Rebar by a nose. Because holy smokes, our girl took some hits tonight. I actually thought the whole proposal scene between Daniel and Violet was as about adorable as can be, even though it completely shattered my Peggy-loving heart. And then to see Peggy’s heart break a bit more when she walked in on that, woof. I thought it was getting better, we had our amazing squad assemble and all the perfect team hijinks, but then.
S: But at the same time, that moment where Sousa realizes that Peggy has been injured – possibly fatally? Call me a sadist, but give me all the angst. I just eat tiny little angst sandwiches at my four o’clock tea, their little angst crusts cut off.
S: In seriousness though, I thought of so many things in that moment (and the subsequent moments where Sousa and Jarvis carried Peggy to Violet’s house). Daniel is a soldier and he’s seen so many people he cared about die; Daniel has worked to overcome his love for Peggy, but it is in moments like this when emotions are so raw, exposed – when we are vulnerable – that we are unable to hide how we truly feel…or perhaps don’t want to. He was terrified.
A: TERRIFIED. Just hearing him chant “oh god” over and over again as he knelt by her impaled on the rebar, seeing how he couldn’t stop touching her and was oblivious to even Violet talking…I think this was a big turning point. I’d even go so far to say Daniel might not have fully realized how deeply he felt until this episode.
A: I also need to give another shoutout to the writers (I really need to just send them a delicious muffin basket after this season) for giving Violet the backbone she deserves as a character. Where they could have just done the terribly tired trope of her turning evil or into a harpy or a doormat as the third person of the love triangle, instead they made her kind, compassionate, and competent. It was completely realistic why Daniel would fall for her a bit. Or at least want to fall for a woman like her, if his heart wasn’t otherwise spoken for. And then to make her smart and aware enough to see what was so plainly in front of her, what was between Peggy and Daniel, and brave enough to confront it head on? Violet is a gem. Which makes the punch of the triangle actually have a hurts-so-good impact where so often that trope is awful.
S: Yes. I mean, one of the first scenes of this episode, we see Violet arrive home to discover her front door open. Now, I’m not saying it was the safest or wisest choice (i.e. probably call the police first), but she immediately picked up a baseball bat. I practically fist pumped. She’s tough. And I think that the love triangle here is so achingly true to life – sometimes you try to make yourself over. Sometimes you work to want something you don’t. But that doesn’t mean it works that way, that life works that way (hint: it doesn’t). And that doesn’t make any person in this situation the Bad Guy; I honestly don’t think Sousa meant to lead Violet on. Which, in turn, Violet in some capacity realizes, I think, giving her the strength to push him on it. She is a nurse who has seen people lose the ones that they love, she has seen the desperation and the fear – and she doesn’t hesitate for one moment in helping Peggy.
S: Yeah. Edible Arrangement, perhaps?
S: (He’s in love with her, Annie. In. Love.)
A: Stupid in love, Sarah.
A: (And she with him, did you see the looks she was giving him? I’ve seen Peggy Carter in love before, I know the look she gets. *hums Roxette’s She’s Got the Look while looking smug*)
A: I’m just on pins and needles to where they go from here – I know if Violet does dump Daniel (which I can’t see her not doing at this point, lbr) there will now be…guilt. And more guilt. With a side of guilt. So I imagine our lovers will continue to awkwardly make a muck of things for a while. Thank god I cut my shipper teeth with such OTPs as Han and Leia and Pacey and Joey. I can do this.
S: Thank god for (copious amounts) of pink wine.
S: Okay. Final question time. Which is harder: Making the perfect soufflé or dismantling an atomic bomb?
A: I’ve got to go with soufflé on this one. If the fate of the world depended on my dismantling an atomic bomb or cooking that soufflé, I’d choose the bomb hands down. At least that way if I fail, I’m obliterated instantaneously versus left crying in the corner of a kitchen.
A: And you: what would be your act for auditioning at the Auerbach Theatrical Agency? And I think one man band may be…out.
S: Oh, I’d definitely play Hotline Bling on a bunch of wine glasses. Make those babies sing…maybe throw in a tap dance for extra flavor.
A: You’re HIRED!