That’s all she wrote, folks! Yes, my beloved Agent Carter wrapped its second season last night with a wonderful capper of an episode, one that tied up just enough loose ends to satisfy while still leaving me dying for season three.
The season’s most important loose end, Whitney Frost, was finally bested by Carter and Co. in this episode. I’ll be honest, happy as I am for the team (and really, the world), I’m going to miss Whitney a lot. She’s one of the most fascinating characters to come out of this show, and the parallels between her origin story and Peggy’s were so well done. My favorite villains are the ones that you can’t help but root for a little bit, and her backstory, coupled with the wonderful vulnerability that Wynn Everett brought to the role (even in Whitney’s most villainous moments), made me empathize with her character more than I ever thought I would.
However, Everett and the writers also showed how eerily unhinged Whitney was, and, appropriately, her last scene of the season was another example of that. There was a cool misdirect in that moment, though I had a sneaking suspicion that her conversation with Chadwick was happening inside her head. Even in her last scene, Whitney added layers to her own characterization, surprising me by hallucinating Chadwick instead of Manfredi. Her relationships with those two men have been secondary to her own story (as they should have been) but I think they also pointed to an element of her past that she couldn’t quite escape: the influence of her mom’s toxic relationship with men.
I always got the sense that Whitney was simply using the men in her life, Chadwick for power (until she got her own), and Manfredi for loyalty. However, there she was, hallucinating Chadwick, the man who thought of her as a monster to dispose of, instead of Manfredi, who was still looking for the woman that he loved. A sad but fitting end for such a complicated character.
But, much as I enjoyed getting to know Whitney this season, this is Peggy’s story. Ms. Carter went on another remarkable journey this year. If the first season focused on Peggy allowing herself to let Steve go, this season showed her learning how to rely on other people and realizing that it’s o.k. to do so. With that as the theme of this season, it was wonderfully appropriate that the team came together the way they did in this last episode, not only defeating Whitney but having a lot of fun along the way. One of my favorite parts of this season has been watching this ragtag band of heroes try to make it work, so I loved small moments in this episode like Howard flirting with Rose as a jealous Samberly looked on, Peggy stroking the guys’ egos to get the job done, and Manfredi hilariously holding Jarvis (plus the mustard) hostage.
Peggy relying on others more this year also helped deepen her friendships with many of the characters, especially Jarvis. Their relationship blossomed even more this season than it did in the first, and even their fights ended up making their relationship stronger in the long run. Their sweet scenes at the end of this episode also showed how close they’ve become, with Jarvis devastated that Peggy called a taxi, ecstatic that she changed her mind, and playing a key role in convincing her to stay in California. Their banter in that moment outside of the S.S.R. was spot-on, from her wavering on NYC’s weather to Jarvis telling her she only needed one compelling reason to stay.
Leading us, of course, to Daniel Sousa, that brave, brave man who risked his life to stop the zero matter, no doubt proving his mettle to Peggy in the process (though, really, I think she already knew he had that). As everyone stood arguing over who would be the most selfless, Daniel stepped up, and the look in Peggy’s eyes when he did so showed that it was a catalyst for her, just as her impaling was for him. I thought for a minute she’d approach him immediately after he was safe on the ground, but I ended up being glad that she didn’t. She’s immeasurably kind and wouldn’t be Peggy if she didn’t have a conversation with Jason first.
I liked that scene a lot, partly because it was nice that they came to a mutual understanding without hurt feelings, but also because it was an apt callback to her relationship with Steve and the importance of not letting herself dwell on what might have been. It also built nicely to that perfect, perfect moment with Daniel, just as her entire journey has this season. After all, not only has Peggy learned how to rely on others this year, she’s also learned how to open her heart to another, risk be damned. And I am beyond happy that the person she chose is Daniel Sousa.
The scene leading up to their first kiss was everything I wanted it to be, with Daniel baiting Peggy with talk of being reckless in a way only he could, his smile when he asked her for a comeback, and the absolutely perfect one she came up with when she kissed him. And that kiss! When two characters have been circling each other for two years, there’s a lot of pressure on that moment, but this one was equal parts passionate, sweet, and just right for these two characters, the Hollywood ending that they so deserved. Peggy finished last season heartbroken on a bridge, saying goodbye to the last man she loved. How lovely that she ended this one saying hello to another.
A couple of other thoughts on this hour, as well as a potential third season:
Despite tying up most loose ends, Dottie, everyone’s favorite wildcard, was nowhere to be seen in this episode. Much as I would have enjoyed another battle of wits between her and Peggy, I don’t think she was needed here with how big the team already was. I like the idea of her in the wind, undoubtedly ready to wreak havoc should we get a season three. I actually thought that she might be the one who shot Jack in the episode’s final moments, but it became pretty clear it wasn’t once we saw the gunman’s legs.
As far as Jack’s untimely demise (he looked dead, but I’m sure he could be saved if the writers want him back next year), I’m glad that he earned a bit of redemption beforehand; Peggy telling him he was a good man was a nice moment. She’s always had a faith in him that wasn’t totally earned (doing the right thing one time doesn’t make up for doing the wrong thing at every other turn), but Peggy’s a much bigger person than I am, so I wasn’t surprised by the kindness she showed him there. I also loved when she asked him to order dinner, a delightful turnaround from their roles in the first season, and the way he cheerfully agreed was a pleasant surprise.
O.k., so now on to talk of season three. I need this show to be renewed, I really do. Is it charming, romantic, hilarious, entertaining, etc.? Yes. It’s everything I want in a TV show. But that’s not why I need it to be renewed. I need it to be renewed because it’s an important show to have on the air right now. It’s telling stories about gender equality and privilege in a way no other shows are. It’s unapologetically feminist, offering layered, nuanced portrayals of all different types of women. It’s showing viewers everywhere that, hey, women are people who just want to be respected and treated as equals, and given the chance to make the same choices that men can without judgement. It’s proving that whether a Peggy or an Ana or a Rose, women know their value and it’s time others did to. That is an important message. A message far too crucial to end now.
If you feel the same way, I encourge you to go to http://abc.go.com/feedback and let the network know how much you want to see more adventures withAgent Carter. Let’s make sure this lovely finale isn’t the end for one of television’s best shows.