Hollywood Ending – With Howard Stark’s help, the team make one final attempt to extract the Zero Matter out of Whitney and destroy it once and for all involving opening a rift between dimensions.
First of all, a 4th wall-breaking apology to all those that were waiting for reviews of last week’s Agent Carter episodes (both of you). Unfortunately, I ended up spending the latter half of last week in bed recreating The Exorcist every 10 minutes, leaving not enough time to get everything done (clearly the work of Hydra). With that done, to Peggy’s finale! Last season’s ending didn’t quite come together but the second time is certainly a charm. All the leg work has already been done across the season leaving the final episode with minimal plot to cover and allowing for more spectacle-driven indulgence. It’s a simple case of “full cast... assemble” to stop Whitney and destroy Zero Matter. The action is great, courtesy of the vacant film lot setting but more importantly throughout the entire episode, director Jennifer Getzinger manages to keep some element of fun in every scene. The single biggest contributors are the return double act of Howard Stark and Jarvis, “Jarvis you just hit a woman with my car.... she’s a two time Oscar nominee”. From condiment delivery in the face of duress to golf tips in the presence of extra-dimensional physics, the balance works perfectly; Jarvis ever suffering his master’s madness with a smile and a, “very good sir”. That’s been the tone throughout a lot of the series but this episode seems to make it look even easier than normal. It’s almost like a final showcase to make sure it will be missed in its off-season.
The episode makes some good surprising uses of its extended cast, most notably bringing gangster Manfredi into an alliance with the team in fear he’s losing the Whitney he fell in love with. His immediate old pal camaraderie with Stark is brilliant tow watch but it's his hilarious fake distraction scene that takes the cake. Then we have Jack in full redemption mode and back to being the man we knew of season one, Rose fending off a Stark advance and several great funny bombs from Samberly. It gives the show a real ensemble as the Peggy herself has her smallest role all season. The biggest problem though is quite surprising: Whitney Frost doesn’t bring it enough as a villain. Despite proving more than capable earlier in the season, she gets frustratingly scaled back in this final episode and even spends whole sections being overly nice. The intent is to make us care about her fate, especially concerning Manfredi’s affections more her but we don’t do that. We have vast ranks of characters we care about, what we need is someone just to be outright evil and that feels like it’s been taken from us in favour of a more morally obscure ending.
The subject of Peggy’s relationship status has always been a feature of the show ever since the showrunners teased we would see her meet husband on the show. Throughout this sophomore season that has evolved into Dr. Wilkes and Sousa vying for her affections, with some interesting results (although it was hard to view non-corporeal Wilkes as any real contender). The finale concludes this well by providing closure for one fella and making it very clear that it’s game on with the other. The most important thing in both cases is that we see Peggy making the choices. She isn’t making a choice because she feels she has to but ultimately because she wants to. There’s no over-playing the idea of inner conflict, just a girl being with a man because she wants to. Earlier this week, Hayley Atwell responded to concerns of her legal drama casting, ending her days as period spy by stating that there’s a chance the two shows could co-exist. The season’s ending also implies some optimism towards continuation as questions are left unanswered, and there are at least some implications of a bigger evil working behind the scenes. If Peggy does make it three times a charm, could we see the formations of both Shield and Hydra?
Agent Carter still proves to be its own great little corner of the MCU that keeps several wonderful characters alive while all other films and TV projects proceed in the present. It’s unique in tone and approach and above all, it makes for some excellent entertainment. Is it too early to start a season 3 fan campaign? #prayforpeggy.