Marvel’s Agent Carter closes out its first (only?) season as the titular Carter (Hayley Atwell) battles to save New York.
Let’s bitch it out…
I’d be lying if I said that there isn’t something just a little disappointing about this final episode of Agent Carter: the lack of Agent Carter. This limited series event has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt (if there ever was one) that Hayley Atwell and the character she portrays, Peggy Carter, are superstars. In just eight episodes, this show has done an amazing job of structuring an overarching mystery and populating it with several exceptional characters. Moreso than anything else, however, it has fleshed out and dedicated ample screen time to a woman who is empowered, interesting and kicks-ass better than all of her male colleagues combined.
So why does the show’s main asset seemingly sit out so much of this final episode?
Blame the return of Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper). His reappearance in New York and attempt to draw Dottie/Ida (Bridget Regan) and Dr. Ivchenko/Fennhoff (Ralph Brown) into a trap ends up dominating the episode. Naturally the return of Stark would cause waves and attract attention – both from the Russians and the SSR – but considering that this is the end of the story (and possibly the end of the series), seeing so much priority put on Stark at Peggy’s expense is disappointing.
This is especially true when the narrative that results is so lightweight. It was clear early on, even as the trap was being laid, that Stark would be captured (the scene of Peggy and Chad Michael Murray’s Thompson discovering the rifle is particularly redundant – is anyone surprised that Dottie rigged it to shoot above Stark’s head?) The return of Fennhoff’s hypnosis trick – not once, but twice – to try and cause murderous mayhem in NY via plane is also tired and played out. Not only does it put Stark in the literal driver’s seat, it puts Peggy in the reactive position of trying to talk down a man – two, if you count James D’Arcy’s Jarvis.
Complaints aside, there’s still plenty to like about the episode. Peggy’s inclusion as a key member of the team on the mission feels like validation after seven episodes of misogyny. Sousa’s (Enver Gjokaj) cleverness at outsmarting Fennhoff with earplugs when Thompson gets smacked around is satisfying and Peggy’s hand to hand battle with Dottie is satisfyingly brutal, albeit far too short for my tastes. The fact that Dottie escapes at the end of the episode (as well as the coda discussed below) hints at the willingness by the Agent Carter creators to come back for another round.
Here’s hoping that ABC gives them the chance.
- Steve Rogers gets a few callbacks, which makes sense given how important he is to Peggy. Not only does her shared history with Captain and Stark ultimately save New York from the Russian plot, she finally gets to say goodbye to Steve by pouring the super soldier blood out. It’s a fitting goodbye and closure for Peggy.
- Just in case you thought Thompson would change, he’s happy to prove you wrong. When credit is doled out after the mission’s success, Thompson takes the credit without mentioning Sousa or Peggy (as we would expect). Sousa is, naturally, disappointed. Peggy takes it all in stride.
- During his imprisoned cab ride, Stark offers Rosalind Russell’s number to bribe his captor. That would be quite the coup, although she’s not exactly the most familiar figure to reference for a contemporary audience.
- Good to see Angie (Lyndsy Fonseca) make a brief appearance, especially her unbridled enthusiasm at the “rather small” house that Jarvis invites her and Peggy to move into (despite how far away from the theatre district it is).
- Finally, things end on an ambiguous and exciting note when it is revealed that Dr. Fennhoff is sharing a cell with Dr. Zola (Toby Jones), the Nazi scientist who appeared in both Captain America films. Marvel is well known for its coda/end credit teases and this suggests there is plenty more story – and life – in Agent Carter. Again: let’s just hope that ABC feels the same way, despite the minuscule ratings for this limited series event.
- Stark (when Dottie reminds him of their time together): “Is it Alex?” Oh Stark…your womanizing ways come back to haunt you.
- Dottie (moments before Peggy kicks her out a window): “I’d hoped you would be better.”
- Stark (after learning that Dottie has escaped): “Ida! I knew I’d remember. <taps head> Steel trap.”
- Peggy (to Jarvis): “I appreciate the finer things. I just don’t want to know what happened in and on the finer things.”
- Jarvis (giving Peggy the vial of Steve’s blood): “I owe Howard Stark a great deal, but I do not owe him my integrity.”
Your turn: what did you think of this brief eight episode run? Do you hope Agent Carter returns? Were you satisfied with the resolution? Are you disappointed that Thompson didn’t change his tune? Excited to think about another Dottie vs Peggy showdown? Sound off below!
Marvel’s Agent Carter has finished its limited series run. Marvel and ABC have yet to confirm if the show will return at a later date. Regardless of her future as a TV star, Atwell’s Agent Carter is scheduled to appear in this summer’s Avengers: Age of Ultron film, so we will be seeing her again shortly.