25 March 2016

Agent Carter S2E9 "A Little Song and Dance" review

Opening with a knowing, tongue-in-cheek dream sequence before transitioning smoothly into a vibrant musical number, "A Little Song and Dance" isn't quite what I've come to expect from an episode of Agent Carter, at least throughout the first few minutes. This isn't a bad thing - it's a hugely entertaining sequence that I enjoyed very much, and although it doesn't really fit in very well with what the rest of the episode is actually about, it does show us where Peggy's head is at regarding Dr Wilkes and Daniel Sousa, as well as giving us the much awaited return of fan-favourite New York waitress Angie, from the first season.

Beyond that, "A Little Song and Dance" is as captivating an episode as Agent Carter has ever produced. Picking up on where "The Edge of Mystery" left off, we at first split our time between watching Peggy and Jarvis try to escape from captivity while Daniel Sousa, Jack Thompson and Dr Samberly attempt to deal with the situation they have found themselves in after firing the weapon.

One of the strongest aspects of "A Little Song and Dance" is (strangely enough for an episode that opens with a musical number) the way in which it takes itself seriously - by which I mean the amount of time that it dedicates to having Peggy and Jarvis discuss  if Jarvis was acting appropriately in his shooting of Whitney. It's one of the most emotionally driven scenes that Agent Carter has ever contained, one that works thanks to some excellent writing from people who clearly understand these character, and two great performances from Hayley Atwell and James D'Arcy, who continue to be consistently fantastic in every episode.

But the main reason that "A Little Song and Dance" is one of the best episodes of the show to date is because the story being told just seems to be more interesting now that we are seeing much of the seasons set up being to pay off, something also true of the last couple of episodes of Agent Carter. The pace has really picked up since the middle of the season, and the show has benefited enormously for it - with more happening each episode, there is more for the writers to work with in terms of character development, which simply leads to a more robust, engaging show.

I'd be remiss not to point out that this sudden shift in how interesting the show actually is has coincided with the return of Jack Thompson as an important part of each episode. You may not like his character as a person, but you can't deny that his self-serving, backstabbing and morally dubious presence doesn't vastly improve the show, especially when we aren't really certain of his motives. It's good writing to be able to make a character this much of a pain in the ass to our main character anything other than either a frustration or a straight villain, but Agent Carter pulls it off.

And it ends in one hell of cliffhanger, the first time in a long time that I've actually been so absorbed in an episode of television that I've lost track of time and been genuinely upset when it ended earlier than I wanted it to. It isn't really all that difficult to see why the opening episodes of the second season of Agent Carter may have turned some people off in retrospect, but ultimately it's their loss - because going into next week's season finale, I've never felt as strongly as I do about the quality that Agent Carter has to offer.

And let us not forget that this episode opened with a musical number too. Just try to tell me you see that every week.

This article was originally published on OutLoudCulture.

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