In the second episode of the second season ofÂ Agent Carter,Â Peggy gains an ally in Wilkes, and they both try to save evidence from Isodyne. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to watchÂ Agent Carter.Â
So, thereâ€™s a lot to like in â€œA View in the Dark,â€ and I have no problem admitting how thrilling the climax was. But season two is doing thisÂ thingÂ that Iâ€™m having trouble putting my finger on, so bear with me as I try to use this review to figure it out. Thereâ€™s clearly a huge, world-reaching conspiracy at foot here, one most likely organized by the weird council weâ€™re introduced to here. Theyâ€™ve got to be who Jackâ€™s mentor was referencing, right? And itâ€™s not like a shadowy cabal of old white dudes is an unbelievable source of power in the government. WELCOME TO AMERICAN HISTORY. The show also adds a heavy dose of science fiction with Zero Matter, a seemingly otherworldly substance that can swallow up anything as it devours all energy around it.
These things add context to what weâ€™ve already seen. Now we know why Isodyne has been so secretive, why Jack may need to be wary of his job, why Whitney Frost is a bigger character than we though, and why Jane Scott died. I do love a good conspiracy thriller, so that aspect ofÂ Agent CarterÂ is satisfying me. But for some reason, the show canâ€™t seem to figure out if itâ€™s a thriller or a slapstick comedy, and itâ€™sâ€¦ weird. I say â€œweirdâ€ because itâ€™s not like season one hadÂ noÂ comedic elements in it. It very much did! The rapport between Jarvis and Peggy always had a humorous element to it. But at times, â€œA View in the Darkâ€ pushes the humor past an infrequent staple and into the territory of the actual tone of the episode. That feels jarring because this story is dark as hell, and the humor isnâ€™t here to lighten the load; it feelsÂ distracting.
I feel like a party pooper even saying that, yâ€™all. I donâ€™t want a grimdark show by any means, and I love thatÂ Agent CarterÂ can be playful. But while the show is barreling towards the horrifying ramifications of Zero Matter, Iâ€™m not sure I want to exit the Thriller Highway for Hijinks, you know? Iâ€™m just looking for a better balance, and maybe this is the only time that this happens. In hindsight, I might even feel better about this episode! Hell, the humorÂ doesÂ give me a chance to catch a meaningful glimpse of the Jarvisâ€™s relationship and what itâ€™s like.
Look, this could all be rendered moot in an episode or two. Itâ€™s why Iâ€™m hesitant to complain much about the lovely introduction of Wilkes, the natural progression of his attraction to Peggy, and then his unceremonious death. Part of me wonders if Wilkes (and the scene in the Dunbar Hotel) was in part a response to the immense outpouring of criticism for how white the first season was. Whichâ€¦ good! Showrunners and producers actually listening to feedback! Hell, we saw more black people in â€œA View in the Darkâ€ than in the entirety of season one! Plus, Wilkes is a sweetheart, and I think this episode mostly exonerates him in my mind. He knew what he was working on, but he was coy and secretive with Peggy because of what Isodyne did for him. TheyÂ hiredÂ him, and they were the only company in Los Angeles willing to hire a black man. So, in Wilkes, we have a character thatâ€™s unmistakably black, whose blackness matters to his portrayal but isnâ€™t the sole focus of it, and heâ€™s pushed as a romantic option for Peggy.
Great! Awesome! And then heâ€™s killed, and I was ready to trot out the same tired complaint that Iâ€™ve been making for what seems like ages: you canâ€™t count a character as representation if they die. You canâ€™t!Â However:Â Whitney Frost is alive at the end of this episode, impossibly so. Now, if Wilkes stays dead, youâ€™ll get a suitable amount of ire from me about the willingness of showrunners to kill of black characters but revive or keep white characters alive, often for the same fates. But I am clinging to a small bit of hope thatÂ bothÂ characters survived the Zero Matter. What if it manifests differently in Wilkes? What if heâ€™s suffering the same effects, but deals with it differently? Is a person doomed if they absorb Zero Matter? Why did Jane Scott freeze to death when she came into contact with it, but Whitney did not?
LOTS OF QUESTIONS. And Iâ€™m eager to find out the answers to them!
The video for â€œA View in the Darkâ€ can be downloadedÂ here for $0.99.
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