This week brought us another two-parter, so if you haven’t seem them both, look away now!
Man, the momentum hasn’t slowed a bit since last week’s outing. One thing I noticed about this week’s episode — even though it was technically two — was the pacing. The show had my full attention through every scene, something I can’t say for the early half of the season, or even a lot of Season 1. And nothing felt unnecessary. Okay, next to nothing: Samberly needs a better arc than the Jerry role in Parks and Rec.
But I think it’s important to talk about Jarvis first and foremost. James D’Arcy had his best dramatic moments to date, and man, was he heart-wrenching, stealing the spotlight from the bittersweet flashback sequence to Ana’s bedside. And when he shot here (twice!), I was visibly shocked, more so then when he pulled the gun last week.
The face of chaos.
Jarvis’ best scene was also Peggy’s best. The tension between the longtime partners and “adventurers” exploded in poignancy as they were escaping along the dirt road — that scene alone could be one of my favorites of the whole show. Peggy unloaded all of Jarvis’ weakness and flaws, and he stood there and took it, only to reveal the truth and his cowardice to Peggy. This scene got to the root of who Jarvis is as a character, and what he struggles with internally, things that hadn’t been clearly addressed until this point.
I can’t talk about Jarvis all day, but I can talk about the dance number that was teased even before Season 2 premiered! Something like that could have easily been done for no good reason, just because they wanted to do something funky. Thankfully, that didn’t matter, as it was pulled off in a surprisingly clever and meaningful way: a visual representation of what Peggy was dealing with subconsciously. Plus, it gave us another appearance from Peggy’s brother and good ol’ Angie.
On the flip side, Thompson has been one of the most uneven parts of this season so far. I never fully believed that he would lean towards the bad guys — the very clearly shady bad guys — or not trust Peggy. He still had some good scenes, like Peggy scolding him in the first half of the episode, but the side he found himself on felt wrong. His sudden realization about the bad guys also came off as forced. Rejoining the team, seeing a different solution — that was the interesting part of his character, something I wish the show would dig into more. He isn’t a bad or oblivious man, but someone who takes a different path to the same goal.
Different viewpoints, different methods.
Wilkes took an interesting turn this week as his powers grew. While his turn against Agent Carter was questionable (in the same manner as Thompson), it was still awesome to see him in further control thanks to Whitney. Now he can phase through walls and solidify at will! He can officially be a superhero… if he survives the ungodly amount of zero matter he ingested. Wilkes has come a long way from the questionable character at the beginning of the season.
As for Whitney, nothing was going her way. She got fake uranium rods, she got shot twice by a butler, and she didn’t get chosen by an extra-dimensional rift — rough week if you ask me. Her desperation for zero matter is reaching its peak, and it will be interesting to see how it works out for her in the finale.
We learned more about Whitney and Manfredi’s history too. Boy, are they a joy to watch, certainly more fun to see together than Whitney and her now-dead husband. And Manfredi’s scene with Sousa and Peggy in the kitchen was fantastic. There is just so much charm in Ken Marino’s performance, in how he interacts with those around him. With his brutality and unpredictability, you never know what could happen.
Better watch out…
It’s tough to hit on everything in a two-part episode — I couldn’t even mention the awesome Whitney/Thompson scenes! With no renewal announced, and with Hayley Atwell cast in a new pilot, we might be getting a true series finale next week. I sincerely hope that it doesn’t buckle under all of the build-up that these last few episodes have done so well to achieve. All the pieces are in place for one hell of a finale.
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