‘Agent Carter’ Season 2 (7 out of 10) Created by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely; Starring Hayley Atwell, James D’Arcy, Chad Michael Murray, and Enver Gjokaj.
When the first season of Agent Carter aired over a year ago, fans cried for more. Cried for more show, cried for more diversity, and cried for more romance for Peggy. Fans were heard, and Marvel/ABC renewed Agent Carter for a second season. Hayley Atwell even teased fans by tweeting about writing meetings in which they discussed the diversity of the show. Then we learned the show would take place in Los Angeles with a Hollywood theme. The first episode premiered and began to lead us down a more supernatural rabbit hole with the introduction of what would be the season’s Macguffin: Zero Matter.
(There's also a song and dance number!)
As far as follow through, however, Agent Carter leaves something to be desired. Zero Matter (the great dark mass with a mind of it’s own that opens rifts to who knows where) exists, but for what purpose? It’s greatest power seems to be making things and people disappear while creating aesthetically pleasing fractures on the skin. The addition of new characters and a new location give the audience something different, but intriguing plot development must depend on something else.
The introduction of Dr. Jason Wilkes (Reggie Austin), an African-American scientist responsible for creating the containment device for Zero Matter, kills two birds by bringing in the show’s first supporting role of color and a possible love interest for Peggy. Not to say that Agent Carter completely disregards the race issue. It actually tackles the issue quite well. We, the audience of 2016, find the idea of segregation and discrimination as unfathomable. Agent Carter takes place in 1947, a time when these things were the norm. Of course it’s uncomfortable to watch, but kudos to the writers for including this part of history.
Another change of pace is the introduction of Whitney Frost (Wynn Everett), the season’s main villain. She’s not a white dude trying to seize power. She’s a Hollywood starlet whose age is starting to betray her. There is a surprising depth to her character--Frost is a genius, having applied to a science program at Oklahoma University (remember, it’s the 40’s and she is a woman so no science program for her), but ultimately traveling to Hollywood to become a star. Her intelligence takes her down a path that crosses with Zero Matter, and she becomes the beautiful and maniacal villain.
Returning for season two is the show’s real stand out star, Jarvis (James D’Arcy) and he steps up the Jarvis-ness this time around and absolutely kills it. I love him. He’s incredible. He needs his own show. Also stepping out from the shadows is new character Ana Jarvis (Lotte Verbeek). A perfect counterpart to Jarvis, Ana is witty and strong but also has an accent that I honestly don’t think exists anywhere. D’Arcy gives Jarvis more humor this time around, and at one point an absolutely heart breaking soliloquy.
Season 2 has the writers and actors settling into their roles and exploring the universe. The writers are comfortable adding in more comedy and the actors nail the comedic timing. This season also explores more of Peggy’s backstory. We know her as a badass woman of many talents, but what was she before that? What events helped shape Peggy into the inspiring woman we know? Atwell captures, in one episode, such a transformation from young to new Peggy I wanted to go rewatch her episode of “Black Mirror” because she is so addicting to watch. Overall, the ingredients for a great second season are all there (characters, talent, plot) but the chef needs more time in the kitchen. Or some other similarly stretched metaphor.