4 February 2016
Agent Carter S2E2 "A View in the Dark" review
Continuing the plot of "The Lady in the Lake" (an indication that the second season of Agent Carter will be less procedural that the first?), "A View in the Dark" sees the SSR attempt to find out more about what killed Calvin Chadwick's assistant by investigating further into Isodyne Energy, a potential lead that is quickly ended thanks to a convenient "radiation leak" inside the laboratories. Fortunately for the SSR, Dr Jason Wilkes is interested in working with them to expose Isodyne Energy, but before long he ends up directly in the line of fire of the shady secret organisation running things from behind the scenes.
Opening up with a hilarious sparring sequence between Peggy and Jarvis, "A View in the Dark" is instantly a more compelling and robust 45 minutes of television than the scene-setting season opener was. I said in my review of "The Lady in the Lake" how funny James D'Arcy is as Jarvis, and that is still very much true here - he's a legitimate comedic genius, both verbally and physically, and remains the highlight of the show in my eyes. He is required to give a demonstration of the special features that Howard Stark added to his leisure car at one point, and the mixture of discomfort and resignation he displays (along with the exasperation of Peggy) makes for another funny scene which despite adding barely anything to the story is still well worth the time it takes up thanks to the comedic abilities of James D'Arcy and Hayley Atwell.
I'm much more interested in the relationship between Peggy and Daniel Sousa in this season, buying whole-heartedly into the uncomfortable dynamic between them, the notion of "what could have been" clearly playing on both of their minds in spite of the fact that Sousa has tried to move on with his new girlfriend. This would usually be the basis of a fairly standard love triangle, but I have faith that Agent Carter is better than that, especially considering the way she interacts with the flirtatious Dr Wilkes whenever they have a second together. I don't know how this part of the show will develop (and the closing scenes of "A View in the Dark" certainly seems to shut down at least one path this storyline could take), but I am looking forward to seeing Peggy move forward romantically after she finally dealt with the loss of Steve Rogers last season.
But the biggest improvement in "A View in the Dark" compared to "The Lady in the Lake" (or really, the whole first season) is the way that the story develops. "A View in the Dark" brings the strange science fiction concepts that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is built on straight to the forefront, while at the same time tying things in to the ways in which the third season of Agents of SHIELD has developed so far. It's cool and mysterious and foreboding, and as a fan of this universe it's exciting - a greater link between films and TV shows in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is always something that I am happy to see, especially when it feels as natural as it does here.
Obviously it's impossible to tell at this stage if the second season of Agent Carter will actually end up being better than the first, but what I do know is that I'm already more invested in the story here than I ever was in the story being told in the first season. Overall, it's hard not to see "A View in the Dark" as a more reliable indicator of how good the second season of Agent Carter may be, an episode that makes leaps and bounds in every area now that the season got all the required set up out-of-the-way in "The Lady in the Lake". It's funny, it's paced incredibly well, and it offers genuinely interesting story developments - in short, the exact thing that I am looking for from a television show set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
This article was originally published on OutLoudCulture.