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There are spoilers in this review. Duh.

There are so many things I want to say about this episode, but I’m not sure where to start. Okay first off, I love that they ran Peggy and Whitney’s stories parallel to each other. I love how frankly Agent Carter deals with sexism, misogyny, and the expectations that were put upon women in that time period. Some of it is still alive today. We’ve had two major female villains in the show so far, and both of them are painted with nuanced brushes, showing how they became what they are now, not that they are necessarily made of evil. Whitney is a particularly interesting case which I will get to in a minute. Previously on Agent Carter, Peggy is in LA investigating this mysterious club where an unknown group is doing shady things. We know them as the Council of Nine, but Peggy is still learning about it. They attempted to kill her last episode at the behest of Whitney Frost, who finds Peggy a threat to her safety. Whitney has gotten powers of Zero Matter which she used by accident to kill her director. Dr. Wilkes who was helping Peggy got caught in an explosion of sorts and then framed as a community, but he’s currently being helped by Howard Stark to fix his intangible problem. He and Peggy have a romance brewing, but her luck with men is not exceptional. Jack’s shady mentor Masters is probably HYDRA.

Let’s go with the flashbacks first. We see Peggy and Whitney both from their childhood. Peggy likes to pretend she’s the hero, rescuing damsels, at the support of her older brother Michael, but her mother reminds her she needs to be a proper lady. Years later Peggy is not the spitfire we know but somewhat passive and appropriate, engaged to a nice man who probably doesn’t know anything about her. She has become a talented code breaker and her boss says she’s being recruited into a spy agency, but her fiance basically convinces her it’s not the right path. Michael reveals that it was his recommendation she get recruited and that she’s not being true to herself. After his unfortunate death, Peggy decides to shuck off the expectations for her gender and go boldly into the future, without her fiance. Whitney has a much more difficult background. An absolute genius (she is beyond Wilkes’ genius he says, smarter than anyone ever), Whitney suffers from her mother’s desperate attempt at keeping them afloat by being the perfect loving Southern woman to her lovers. Whitney scorns her mother’s obsession with youth, beauty, and being the right kind of woman. Unfortunately, the world is not at all ready for her genius, not when it comes from a woman’s head. Eventually her pretty face gives her the ability to be an actress and gain power that way, which she takes. Whitney finds freedom in being able to form whoever she becomes next, but we know that she struggles with sexism in her job and with the lack of respect headed her way. This explains a lot about how she presents herself to be, andĀ her angry desperation for power.

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In the actual storyline, Peggy andĀ Jarvis capture the man who attacked her (Jarvelous, he says, after being drugged and passing out), and Sousa helps interrogate him. Peggy tricks the man by pretending to inject him with a lethal disease, but it’s really just a common cold that will give him enough symptoms to believe her. They find enough evidence to put together a raid on the club, but Masters shows up just in time to stop it. He cements himself as a clear bad guy, and now Peggy is well aware of it. You better watch out. She takes care of her enemies in a very forward face breaking way. Meanwhile the attacker (I forgot his name honestly) gets back to Whitney and her husband, and when he admits he told them everything, she uses her power to kill him. Niiiiiiice. Her husband is obviously panicking because whaaaat, and she’s like “I can do whatever I want :D” which is a good wrap up to her story arc this episode. Whitney is someone with brilliance who has always hungered for power to prove herself, and now she’s getting that power. Beware anyone who stands in her way.

I really appreciate the work they’ve gone into Dottie and Whitney. While we cannot excuse them for their villainy, we can understand how they got there. And understand how many of them are merely products of their environment. I know a lot of people got angry that Peggy’s backstory meant all of her training came due to a man’s influence, her brother. And that she was meek before. I didn’t expect Peggy to have always been meek. I like that she was trapped in a box and that she’s come such a long way. It wasn’t that she became someone new, this strength was always inside of her. There’s not a person out there who just knew naturally how strong they were, it had to be brought out, either by situations or by someone’s support. I understand why it is frustrating since she is our feminist power house, but I don’t think it downgrades her strength that her brother’s advice is what led to her current path. He might have gotten her in the door, but it was Peggy who became the kickass lead, Peggy who helped fight Nazis and stood equal to any man in the army. Anyone can get a chance, but it was Peggy who made it into something more. I respect her more now that I know where she came from and what she fought through.

Mild complaint: WHERE IS ANA JARVIS. I wanted to see her so much, especially when her husband was loopy and hilarious. I want more of her so much. We lost Angie and Peggy’s friend, so she needs a new one, and Ana’s the best. More Ana.

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