Agent Carter has always been a little silly, but “The Atomic Job” takes the silliness to a whole new level. I enjoyed the episode—it was a lot of fun—but there were some huge shifts. The show transitioning suddenly should come as no surprise because Agent Carter only has ten episodes scheduled for this season and it’s entered the second half of its run, even though it just started. Still, I would’ve liked a little preamble to some of these new developments.
Agent Carter ditched the use of flashbacks and lessened Whitney Frost’s humanity. This shift in tone coincides with Whitney’s growing powers, so I’m okay with the change and even how the change was handled. I would’ve liked more of a transition but Frost’s arc isn’t nearly as jarring as the formation of the new SSR Wonder Team.
We’ve seen Rose and Dr. Samberly for a while now. They’ve played their bit parts and even hinted that they’d like to be taken on field work, but nothing prepared us for their inclusion on Sousa, Peggy, and Jarvis’s mission. This rag-tag team of heroes led to some funny moments, they even had great chemistry, but I would’ve liked a little lead-in for them. We knew Agent Carter would go into the formation of the modern-day S.H.I.E.L.D. but these guys came out of left field. Still, they were fun and funny. What else would you expect from two comedians?
Speaking of comedians, Ken Marino as the crime lord Joseph Manfredi was another shocker. Marino is known for his comedic roles (Role Models, Eastbound & Down, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, and Party Down) and he was downright creepy. He added another level of menace, which in turn, led Frost’s politician husband to betray her.
The biggest change happened with the Sousa-Violet-Peggy love triangle. We knew the real reason Sousa left. He wanted to distance himself from Peggy because he knew she didn’t love him the same way he loved her. Peggy gets hurt, Sousa doesn’t want to bring her to the hospital for fear of reprisal, and he dumps Peggy on his new fiancée Violet’s couch. Yeah, this can’t end well. Agent Carter hasn’t gone the way of a romantic melodrama but it’s walking on thin ice in that regard, and the confluence of events was a little too convenient. I never believed Dr. Wilkes was a real suitor. He went incorporeal too soon to be a true romantic interest, and Sousa always had good onscreen chemistry with Peggy.
I don’t care which direction Agent Carter goes (in terms of the romantic triangle), I just don’t want the final five episodes to slip into a romantic quagmire. Keep in mind that Peggy has already had an ill-fated romance with Captain America. The show has done a good job of giving Peggy her own identity. If it goes down the romantic bunny hole too far, it runs the risk of Peggy losing her identity, and I want her to be her own woman.
“The Atomic Job” slathered on the comedy to the point of absurdity in places, but it was an enjoyable ride. It served as a fun turning point for the season.