A renewal for Agent Carter is looking less and less likely by the day, and that’s a real shame. While the first season was a delightful expansion of a character that fans grew to love in Captain America: The First Avenger and the Marvel one-shot, Agent Carter, the second season brought some real scope and gave the show room to breathe. By focusing on Peggy’s growth, while still giving the secondary characters worthwhile arcs, Agent Carter was something unique in the Marvel line up. In a universe that could feel occasionally overstuffed with psychotic robots and demigods, Agent Carter has always, at its core, stayed human. If last night’s season finale was indeed the series finale, Marvel (and Marvel fans) will be losing something great.
“Hollywood Ending” picks up right where “A Little Song And Dance” left off, with the ever-slippery Thompson holding up Carter, Sousa, and Samberly at gunpoint, while Wilkes attempts to deal with Whitney Frost himself. The science surrounding the Zero Matter this season has been iffy at best, but the transference via spontaneous combustion from Wilkes to Frost did stretch the bounds of continuity within the show, but that’s honestly a small matter. Frost grows more interesting with the more power she’s given, so to see how unraveled she becomes with even more power thrust upon her is worth the leaps in logic. Credit must be given to Wynn Everett for her excellent performance this season as Frost, who has been a perfect foil for Peggy every step of the way. Both women have lived their lives being underestimated by everyone around them, especially the men, and while this set Peggy on the path to prove herself, Whitney Frost decided to destroy. When given the entirety of the Zero Matter, the strain proves to be too much, setting Frost on a manic quest to figure out how to open a new rift. Her corroding mental state leads her lover, Manfredi, to seek help from our trusty band of SSR agents, who are joined in this episode by the always welcome Howard Stark.
Peggy’s straightforward approach to problem solving leads them to the conclusion that the Zero Matter must be sent back to whence it came, much to Stark’s displeasure. However, the danger outweighs its scientific merit, so after stealing Frost’s plans for a machine to open the rift, things set in motion to trap Frost and remove the Zero Matter for good. After a few near disasters and some dubious science involving a flying car prototype, the Zero Matter is successfully expelled from this universe to another. Unfortunately, as the alien substance is violently ripped from her person, Frost is ultimately brought to the point of breaking, leaving her mind completely incapacitated. While the erstwhile Madam Masque needed to be stopped, it is almost a shame to see someone so brilliant brought so low. Such is the case of the supervillain.
While the action made for some exciting trimmings, the relationships remain the core of the show. Peggy and Jarvis have had their ups and downs this season, but their platonic chemistry together has never wavered. Hayley Atwell and James D’Arcy have such a wonderful rapport, it would be a shame to lose their partnership after two short seasons. Should the show get renewed, it would be interesting to further explore Jarvis’s relationship to the danger that comes with being in Peggy’s world. While his wife suffered the consequences of it this season, Jarvis’s prim thirst for adventure is unlikely to be slaked by simply being Howard Stark’s butler anymore. The love triangle was also resolved, with Peggy choosing Sousa. While Wilkes was a charming addition to the team, there was never really any doubt of this threesome’s outcome. With all of the romantic angst between these two over the course of the show, it would have seemed cruel to further separate them. With Peggy extending her stay in L.A., many of the shows loose ends are tied up in a way that won’t leave fans totally desperate. Except for the not so small matter of Thompson being gunned down by an unidentified shooter at the end. With all of his shady dealings, they were bound to catch up with him in the end. Whether or not he is actually dead remains to be seen, so this cliffhanger is bound to rankle.
While there are definitely more stories that could be told, there are certainly shows that have had worse endings. An adjustment in marketing (please, ABC, stop making the show look like a farce with the slapstick promos) and the availability of the first season on streaming platforms could bring in new fans, so here’s hoping that Agent Carter is given another season to blossom. However, if it isn’t, fans will surely see Peggy Carter again. She has proven herself to be such a lynchpin in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, her continued presence is nearly a given, one way or another. Hopefully that way will be with a third season.