Episode Title: Hollywood Ending
Originally Aired: March 1st 2016
The grand finale to a great second season of Agent Carter. Did it live up to the buildup that started in the season premier or did it go out with a whimper?
The final episode of season 2 goes down easy, it felt like I was only watching it for 30 minutes when it was obviously wrapping up. The zero matter story line that has been building all season since Peggy first showed up to help investigate “The Lady in the Lake” has a lack luster ending in tonight’s finale. The major battle that had been brewing between Whitney Frost and the SSR team was very underwhelming with no battle at all. Through a misdirection and three geniuses a lot of science is thrown around and accomplished in no time leading to the conclusion of the story. While the lack of a major battle is a bit disappointing the show decided to go in another direction on focus on the relationships of its characters. Ken Marino as Joseph Manfredi is a very annoying Italian stereotype that should never have a scene with his grandmother, but when he gets to show the depth of his affection for Whitney he really shines. His love for her leads him to join forces with Peggy and the rest of the SSR in order to remove the zero matter from Whitney transforming her back into the woman he loves. After absorbing all of the zero matter that was inside of Dr. Wilkes, Whitney has become even more consumed with power. She forgoes eating and sleeping and almost all other activities in order to find a new way to open a rift to release more of the zero matter. With Howard Stark back in town the SSR team is able to build everything they need to open a portal and lure Whitney into a trap during a single commercial break.
After the initial focus on the relationship on the bag guys side the rest of the episode is focused on Peggy’s relationship with every major character. The respect and frustration that she feels towards Stark led to a few comedic moments throughout the episode and it is clear that they do not see eye to eye on how thing should be handled but their friendship and respect for each other is never in question. If Howard had more focus and less of a wondering eye Peggy might find herself in a love square.
At the conclusion of the episode Peggy is ready to get back to New York and back to official work, and hoping to avoid the return of Ana Jarvis. Her plan to sneak out is foiled when the Jarvises return from the hospital before Peggy’s taxi arrives. Edwin wasn’t the only one feeling guilty of the injuries Ana suffered at the hands of Whitney Frost. While Peggy cares deeply for them, she wasn’t sure Ana would want to see her again and didn’t want to face the two of them together if it could be avoided. Her fears were unfounded and Ana was upset that Peggy would think of leaving without saying goodbye and that Ana would blame her for for the injuries.
The love triangle is no more. I don’t think that Jason was just a rebound after the romantic hardships between Peggy and Sousa but it is hard to tell. While she repeatedly stated that she didn’t blame him for anything he did while he was under the influence of zero matter and desperate to improve his situation, all of his actions appear to have doused the fire that was present between the two earlier this season. Over the last few episodes it seemed a little obvious that Peggy was leaning Sousa’s way, the looks they shared, the brief conversations and risking their lives together all led me to believe she made her decision even if she wasn’t sure yet.
The cornerstone relationship season 1 and this season was the friendship between Peggy and Jarvis. There seems to be three people that Jarvis really cares for. His wife Ana, his employer Howard Stark and his best friend Peggy Carter. Most of his time is spent maintaining Howard’s home while Stark is off on an adventure or business related activity. The Peggy’s arrival always shakes up his quiet world and while he enjoys going on the missions and doing more with his life than feeding exotic animals and polishing silver, he is much more upset about the parting of his friend. Jarvis does his best to convince her to stay in a city that he would be happy to leave if it didn’t contain 2/3 people he cares about. It may have been his influence that leads to the final encounter between Peggy and Sousa this season. Maybe it is Sousa maybe its Jarvis’s insistence that tacos are delightful and she shouldn’t leave without having one that will convince her to stay a few more days.
The finale seemed to have low stakes for a show that has been building up to a true super-villain in Whitney Frost who gets what she wants by gaining all of the zero matter that Dr. Wilkes brought back with him in the previous episodes. We don’t get to see an increase in abilities but we do see a decrease in her level of sanity. She went down the road that so many villains tend to travel but you can’t help but call it disappointing when she had so much promise 5 or 6 episodes into the season. If they show manages to last 1 or more seasons I am not convinced this is the last we will see of Whitney. With her break from reality and her new fascination with self-mutilation she could become the Joker of this universe if handled properly.
Tonight didn’t feature the best episode of the season but it did showcase what the series got right this season and it is a fitting end for the season and maybe the series for our favorite agent.