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Recap / Agent Carter S2 E4 "Smoke and Mirrors"

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Sousa and Peggy decide to confront the Arena Club head on, which is harder than it seems.


Tropes:

  • Artistic License – Chemistry: Mr. Hunt is shot with enough tranquilizer to bring down a rhinoceros, and yet somehow shrugs it off. Sedatives used for large ungulates are fatal to humans, and there's no way to build immunity. Then again, Jarvis uses the gun for koalas, so Peggy was probably exaggerating.
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  • Bad Liar: Peggy does a terrible job at trying to keep Sousa from realizing she's kidnapped Mr. Hunt and stowed him in her trunk, claiming she and Jarvis caught a possum... that is clearly yelling in English to be let out.
  • Been There, Shaped History: According to Hunt, the Council of Nine is responsible for things like the assassination of William McKinley and The Great Depression.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Michael was the only one who really supported Peggy and her dreams of adventure, even when Peggy herself had given up on them.
  • Continuity Nod: One of the flashback shows Peggy learning the skills as a code breaker that would serve her during her career.
  • Disposable Fiancé: The flashback to Peggy's past reveals she was engaged in 1940, and nearly turned down the offer to join the SOE so she could marry him. After her brother's death, she became re-motivated to follow his advice, but her fiancé was a coward who wouldn't join her in the war, so she broke off their engagement and the rest is history.
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  • Even Evil Has Standards: Chadwick sounds horrified when Whitney kills Mr. Hunt.
  • Flashback: We see glimpses of Whitney's and Peggy's past. Turns out Peggy went from a Bletchley Park codebreaker to a military badass because her brother Michael recommended her for an espionage program, knowing she craved a life of adventure. In contrast, Whitney grew up in poverty on the plains with an emotionally abusive mother who cared little for her science genius, telling her that for a woman, looks are the only thing anybody would care about.
  • Gilligan Cut: In a flashback, Peggy's mother tells her she will have to start behaving like a lady, eventually. Cue present-day Peggy, showing her behavior hasn't improved while eating with Jabba Table Manners.
  • Heroic RRoD: Wilkes is fighting to stay in this world, and he mentions how easy it would be to stop, like being so tired the minute you lay down you would fall asleep.
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  • Instant Sedation: When Jarvis accidentally gets stuck with one of the tranquilizer darts, he drops within seconds. This is not the case for their intended target, Mr. Hunt, who can still fight after one dart, recovers from the second dart to attack again, and only stays down when Peggy gives him a Tap on the Head with her rifle butt.
  • Jabba Table Manners: Peggy, while eating sandwich at the beginning. This happened right after the flashback where her mother told her to start learning to act like a lady.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Mr. Hunt, when captured by Peggy and Sousa, brags that this won't work on him, as he didn't break when tortured by the Japanese during WWII. Rather than go for limb breaking, though, Peggy injects him with what she claims is a strain of malaria that will kill him in minutes if he doesn't talk (it's actually a mutant strain of the common cold invented by Howard).
    Sousa: ...You gave him a cold.
    Peggy: A very intense cold!
  • Kick the Dog: Whitney kills a whole cage full of rats just to test her powers.
  • Killer Rabbit: When preparing to capture Mr. Hunt, Jarvis reveals his rifle loaded with tranquilizer needles. Not for subduing Howard's pet flamingo, but for the koala.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Masters tells Peggy and the audience that even if she and her career survive taking on the Council of Nine, as we know from her appearances in Winter Soldier and Ant-Man, her allies' fates are still up in the air.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Whitney Frost turns out to have grown up on Broxton, Oklahoma, which is the same town where Asgard was remade and floated over after it was destroyed by Ragnarok in the comics.
    • A golden figure of tragedy/comedy masks can be seen in Whitney's room, a reference to her supervillain moniker in the comics, Madame Masque.
  • Never My Fault: Whitney's mother blames her for her lover leaving her.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Vernon Masters shows up to audit the SSR, thus preventing them to raid the Arena Club.
  • Origins Episode: Through flashbacks, this episode serves as one for both Peggy and Whitney.
  • Out of Focus: Dr. Wilkes has noticeably less screen time in this episode, although we are given a big reveal about him — he now has a unique connection to the Zero Matter that others cannot see, possibly implied to be transdimensional travel.
  • Parting Words Regret: Possibly between Peggy and Michael. Considering she kept proceeding with her wedding plan until she learned the news about his death, it can be assumed that Peggy never talked with her brother anymore after their argument in her engagement party.
  • Red Right Hand: The black cracks on Whitney's face become larger every time she uses her Zero Matter–derived powers to kill.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: Peggy never finishes cleaning up the mayonnaise that drops through Wilkes' hand onto their research.
  • We Are Everywhere: Sousa contacts his DA friend to get a warrant to search the Arena Club, little suspecting that he would be in the Council of Nine's pocket too.
  • Wedding Ring Removal: When Peggy leaves for the front, she takes the letter from the SOE and leaves her engagement ring in its place.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Sousa chews out Peggy for abducting Mr. Hunt, though it ultimately turns out that the main reason he's upset is because he wasn't kept in the loop about her plans, as he immediately volunteers to help with the interrogation.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Whitney Frost. She grew up in poverty on the plains with an emotionally abusive mother who cared little for her science genius, telling her that looks are what anybody would care about, and who blamed her for her lover leaving her.
  • You Have Failed Me: Mr. Hunt anticipates that the Council of Nine will kill him for confessing about them to the SSR, so he threatens Chadwick and Whitney to protect him or else he will reveal their own secrets to the Council and the public. Unfortunately for him, Hunt has no idea that Whitney has discovered a perfect way to kill him without leaving any evidence, through her powers.

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