Every hero needs an origin story. Peggy Carter didn’t start out as a hero. Like many sidekicks, love interests and minor reoccurring characters in the Marvelverse, Peggy didn’t start out with an origin story, other than “fell in love with Captain America.” And though the MCU decided to give our girl her own spin off, for the last season and a half she has only that as her origin story–a hard charging member of the WWII resistance, she falls in love with Captain America… and that’s about it. We knew nothing of her childhood, her choices that brought her to the war, and led her to Captain America. Until tonight.
Interestingly enough, the choice to give us Peggy’s backstory is interspersed with the choice to give us the same for Whitney Frost. In Peggy’s case, she finds herself in a world where she has to choose between a man who loves her and a rare chance at a career. Fred was apparently the fiancé she had before she ever met Steve Rogers. She was going to marry him, turn down the SOE, and live a quiet life with a home officer who thought that having a boring life was a privilege. If it hadn’t been for her brother dying, and her choice to take his place on the front lines and in the field, the Peggy we know today would never have been. She was given a chance, because those around her believed in her brains and her ability to fight.
In Whitney, or Agnes’ case, she’s taught that her brains aren’t worth anything, only her looks. Turned down at every turn, she gave up her dream of being a scientist because she thought the only way to be noticed and gain respect was with her looks. “The beauty of Hollywood, being whatever you want.” It’s how she clawed her way in, it’s how she met the right men, and accidentally helped create the “zero matter” which she in now infused with. And as we learn in this episode, not only has she been infused with it, but by the end of the hour, she’s also learned to control it. I’ll bet Daisy wishes it had come that easy.
Peggy: We caught a possum earlier. Vicious little creature…. Or I have a man stashed in the boot.”
Meanwhile, in “present day,” as we should term it, Peggy has gone AWOL and undercover. She’s “on vacation” as far as her superiors are concerned, but nothing is about to stop Carter. Let’s call this a working vacation–the kind where you fake out a tough guy and get him to talk–that is after shooting him with enough tranquilizers to take down a rhino, and throwing him in the boot of the car. Though she’s doing her best to keep Daniel Sousa ou of it (and therefore safe with “plausible deniability”) he’s damned if she’ll let him push her away. We still don’t know what happened between these two that drove him into the arms of a baking happy nurse, but learning about her original fiancé certainly makes for an interesting twist. Is it, perhaps, that she fears that marriage to a non superhero will leave her talking in “we” and “us” and she parrots back someone else’s idea of how she should live her life?
The major reveal to Carter and Sousa is what we already knew–that the Council of Nine are the ones living in the back of the Arena Club. The unfortunate part is that though their poor stooge fool tells them that the Council goes all the way to the top, they still foolishly don’t realize that means their own superiors, and the first attempt through official channels to get a warrant to raid the club brings down not only a “War department investigation” (in which they’ll find nothing as long as our heroes coöperate), but Vernon Masters, who has been spending his time thus far attempting to bring Jack Thompson to heel. Peggy at first attempts to reason with him, unaware that she’s facing one of the council’s own goons. She’s quick enough on the uptake though, and by the time the conversation is over, she knows perfectly well what’s she’s probably talking to.
Vernon: Jack Thompson thinks very highly of you. He says you’re quite the independent thinker
Peggy: I’m sure he meant that as an insult.
So with the Council of Nine and the official channels probably closed to them, our group allow their goon to escape back to Whitney and Chadwick so they can listen via bug (which is so shockingly obvious, it’s amazing no one notices it.) The only good part they get out of the conversation–that whatever it was Whitney and Chadwick were doing at Idodyne, it wasn’t with the Council’s blessing, and they would be just as easily up the creek if said goon went one level up. It’s just too back that listening devices can’t see, nor do they survive when Whitney decides to reveal her newfound powers to her senator wannabe husband, and declare to the world that the now face long black crack in her cheek of zero matter is just proof she has finally attained the ability to be any damn thing she wants. So what are the chances that Wilkes (who keeps seeing the Zero Gravity outline appearing before him) might have something along the lines of the same ability?