25 February 2016

Agent Carter S2E5 "The Atomic Job" review

No matter how you feel about Agent Carter it is impossible to deny that the show loves a good caper, and "The Atomic Job" continues to deliver in this particular area. The main plot sees Peggy, Jarvis, Daniel, Rose (the SSR receptionist) and Doctor Samberly (an SSR scientist) attempt to steal the core from a couple of unused nuclear bombs before Whitney Frost and her husband Calvin Chadwick can get their hands on them.

"The Atomic Job" is not as good as last weeks "Smoke & Mirrors", and I feel that is thanks to the shows aforementioned penchant for escapades. We have not one, not two, but three separate heist-esque set pieces this week, first showing us Peggy and Jarvis breaking into a facility before following a disguised Peggy as she attempt to steal a key from a member of the Council of Nine, which acts as set-up for the main heist from which the episode takes its name.

It isn't that these three set pieces are uninteresting, it's that with a little shuffling of the way that the episode unfolds I feel that one longer, more detailed heist could have served the same purposes while at the same time offering us a change of pace in the way that Agent Carter has structured itself to date - not unlike the way that the "4,722 Hours" episode of Agent of SHIELD acted as something of a breath of fresh air from the long established formula that the series had been working to.

Other than that though, "The Atomic Job" is mostly just as good an episode as I have come to expect from Agent Carter, predominantly thanks to the show knowing when it has a good thing going. The increasing instability of Whitney Frost (and the growing danger that her husband seems to be in) is one of the more captivating things that the show has to offer at the moment, and it makes full use of that by showing us how knowledge of her "powers" are changing both her and her husbands view of her. And I like how Agent Carter is adding to its ensemble cast as we go forward - I had more than my fair share of doubts about the show creating bigger roles for Rose and Doctor Samberly in "The Atomic Job" but both of them end up adding a fair amount to how good the episode actually is, and I'd be happy to see them become recurring characters throughout the rest of the season.

I'm also very happy to see mob boss Joseph Manfredi (played by Ken Marino, one of the best "I just know that I know that guy" actors around) introduced to the show at long last. We don't get more than a few minutes with him in "The Atomic Job" but they're a good few minutes, and Agent Carter makes it clear that this character is both dangerous and at least somewhat unhinged. I do have my concerns about where the show will go from here with this character (it seems a little late in the season to introduce who I had hoped would be an important part of the ongoing story), but in all honesty I'm just glad that we get to see Ken Marino play a late 40's mob boss in a Marvel Studios production, and in spite of his late introduction I do hope that he'll have a significant part to play yet.

I don't know if Agent Carter will be getting a third season or not (declining viewing figures and a very in-demand lead actress would indicate it may not) and to be honest it's the Marvel Cinematic Universe TV show that I'd shed the least tears over if it was cancelled. But "The Atomic Job" is still another good episode of a show that I enjoy watching week to week, albeit one that in a way demonstrates exactly why its cancellation wouldn't bother me too much - because Agent Carter remains a nicety in its second season, rather than a necessity. And that's OK.

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