The day Peggy (Hayley Atwell) and Jarvis (James D’Arcy) lose the ability to turn us into excitable, giggling children is the day we no longer have a pulse. After a pretty standard three-star episode last week (at least from where we’re standing), Agent Carter is back on sparkling form. ‘Smoke And Mirrors‘ might even be the best of the season so far.
While trying to find out more about the Council and the plot behind Zero Matter, Peggy and Jarvis take it upon themselves to tranquillize, kidnap and interrogate one of their members. Through their plan, we get to see both Peggy at her sleuthing best and Jarvis at his weirdest – the latter predictably ends up getting tranquillized too, but D’Arcy effortlessly makes the situation hilarious. If, by some cruel turn of fate, Agent Carter doesn’t make it to Season 3, the pair’s unconventional partnership will be the thing we will miss the most.
For such a goofy episode, ‘Smoke And Mirrors‘ also manages to fit a heck of a lot in. Both Peggy and Whitney Frost’s (Wynn Everett) earlier lives get a thorough examination. We finally – finally! – get to see what Peggy was like as a child, and how she helped the war effort before working alongside Captain America. She’s come a long way since her code-breaking days at Bletchley Park, as demonstrated by her sweet and quite bizarre (for Peggy, anyway) personality. But her flashbacks are made truly special by her interactions with her brother, Michael. The scenes are simple but touching, and a lot is explained about how she got to where she is now.
Frost’s upbringing sits in contrast. We still don’t know that much about Whitney Frost the Hollywood Movie Star, besides the fact that that we wouldn’t want to go near her with a ten-foot barge pole, but Agnes Cully the Oklahoma Child Genius is a different matter. Once again, Agent Carter proves itself to be a champion of female relationships as it takes us back to the Twenties for a look at the future Frost’s dysfunctional relationship with her mother. Perhaps Frost and Peggy aren’t so different after all.