A quick review of last night's “Agent Carter” season finale coming up just as soon as I offer you Rosalind Russell's private number…
Our Donna Dickens has been covering most of this season on her Harpy blog (here are all her stories on the show so far), and she should have a more thorough take on “Valediction” later this morning. (UPDATE: Here's her review.) But though I haven't been writing about “Agent Carter,” I've been enjoying it a lot – in many ways more than even the improved second season of “Agents of SHIELD.” This one's been helped enormously by a less-is-more approach: fewer episodes meant less padding and more narrative momentum, and while the show wound up with a sizable ensemble, the focus was always on Peggy, and the creative team had a clear sense of who she was and what her arc for the season would be.
Hayley Atwell could absolutely carry this show, and the season evolved nicely from Peggy as a disrespected, underutilized resource to someone the team could trust, while never taking away her sense of independence. (The line about knowing her own value, and thus not really caring about anyone else's opinion, was an excellent one, but also something that's easier to say now that she knows Thompson will be using her for more than just ordering lunch and filing papers.)
The first episode's use of Peggy's final conversation with Steve in “Captain America: The First Avenger” paid off terrifically in the end, as she once again wound up on the radio talking to a man on a plane – this time one who was trying to destroy New York rather than save it, and this time able to actually do something. It was a strong enough payoff, in fact, that, along with the terrific Peggy/Dottie fight, made up for the fact that Peggy was relatively backgrounded in the finale's first half.
ABC hasn't said anything about a second season, but then, they haven't renewed anything yet for next season, even the no-brainers like “Scandal” or “Modern Family.” Creatively, though, this was a big success, and one that I hope Marvel will look at for guidance as it works on all those Netflix shows, and as “Agents of SHIELD” continues. “SHIELD” suffers whenever it's treated as a series of footnotes from the movies, where “Agent Carter” very smartly didn't even try to tie itself into any of this season's “SHIELD” storylines. If it gets renewed again as a bridge between “SHIELD” half-seasons – no doubt dealing with Arnim Zola, and possibly the foundation of SHIELD itself – I'd watch in a minute.
What did everybody else think, of both the finale and the season as a whole?