Marvel’s Agent Carter continues its strong second season, examining some of the better angles on postwar paranoia.

Title: “Better Angels”

Director: David Platt
Writers: Jose Molina

Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter
James D’Arcy as Edwin Jarvis
Reggie Austin as Jason Wilkes
Chad Michael Murray as Jack Thompson
Wynn Everett as Whitney Frost / Madame Masque
Dominic Cooper as Howard Stark
Enver Gjokaj as Daniel Sousa
Currie Graham as Calvin Chadwick
Kurtwood Smith as Vernon Masters
Ken Marino as Joseph Manfredi
Chris Browning as Rufus
John Balma as Torrance
Randy Sklar as Director Kenneth
Rey Valentin as Agent Vega
Walker Roach as Rawhide Kid

Premise

Wilkes isn’t dead, but being successfully framed as a communist agent and saboteur proves to be one of his lesser problems. Carter and company learn some sinister truths, but they lack solid evidence, and outside forces are manipulating and misleading SSR away from the correct conclusions.

The conspirators, too, are being manipulated.

High Points

Many things worked about the show, but Carter and Stark’s over-the-top plan to infiltrate the club was entertaining and suspenseful, and shows the benefits of a comic-book series, even sans superheroes.

Wynn Everett does an excellent job as the real mastermind, hiding in plain sight even from her closest collaborators.

Low Point

Dominic Cooper performs Howard Stark very well, but the writing of the character this week veered a little too close to caricature. We have a player who lends himself to Flanderization; he should be handled with a little more care. Trust Cooper to make him both believable and hilarious without exaggerating him more than necessary.

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6

Effects: 6/6 This week features some strong visuals.

Acting: 6/6 Wynn Everett will make a great villain, and Chad Michael Murray, while written as particularly dickish this week, shows his character slowly opening eyes.

Emotional Response: 5/6

Story: 5/6 I’m enjoying the entangled conspiracies; they could dial down the instantly-developed supertech just a little.

Production: 6/6

Overall: 5/6

In total, “Better Angels” receives 36/42

Additional Comments

In a show that actively addresses the limitations social prejudices placed on place on individuals, it’s tempting to read Wilkes’ invisibility as a social comment. Glad to have him back, in any case.

People react variably to the Marvel metacommentary. This week, Peggy remarks on the ludicrousness of Stark making a movie based on a comic-book character, a character whom, we are assured, was a real person in the MCU.

Jarvis, meanwhile, inadvertently predicts his own future.

A different Jason Wilkes experienced not dissimilar events back in Tales of Suspense #25, in “The Unseen,” a story by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.