“The first season of Agent Carter was nothing to scoff at. A charmingly old-fashioned adventure story, season one set up Peggy Carter as a hero in her own right outside of her dealings with Captain America. Clever and compassionate, but a little slow, Agent Carter was another solid entry in the more grounded Marvel television lineup. This is all to say that while the show has been strong since day one, in season two, it’s become one of the best dramas on network television. By building off of that solid foundation with higher stakes and greater character development, Agent Carter has become something truly wonderful by this season’s midpoint.
This is largely due to Hayley Atwell’s performance as Peggy. Now that she is fully untethered from Captain America (sorry, Steve), Peggy has become a fully realized and interesting character in her own right. In episode four, “Smoke and Mirrors,” flashbacks are well utilized to give us a glimpse of Peggy as a little tomboy and eventually as a woman given a chance to make a difference actually in the field during WWII. After the death of her beloved brother (a gender-bending flip on the usual “fridging” a woman to provide impetus for a man’s strive towards greatness), Peggy leaves her milquetoast fiancé behind for a new life of adventure and agency. By fleshing out her origins and deepening her relationships with Jarvis (James D’Arcy), Rose (Lesley Boone), Sousa (Enver Gjokaj), and Stark (Dominic Cooper), the show allows Peggy to get more interesting with every episode.
However, while it’s Atwell’s show, enough cannot be said for Wynn Everett’s Whitney Frost. After being infected with the zero matter, Frost has finally been given the power she’s been denied her entire life. Everett is mesmerizing as a woman who — after years of being discounted, torn down, and at the mercy of those around her — is unwilling to put parameters on her newfound powers, no matter the toll that they take.
After Peggy’s battles with sexism in season one, Frost is a powerful example of a woman who’s fed up with her situation and willing to take whatever means necessary to rectify the wrongs perpetrated against her. Agent Carter has been exceptionally good at creating nuanced female villains from the beginning, so it’s great to see that continue into season two…”