This review contains spoilers.
2.10 Hollywood Ending
Well, it’s fair to say that didn’t disappoint. It’s safe to say I didn’t get everything I wanted – Dottie to come back, for instance – but other than that it’s hard to be upset about anything in this episode. This series has really been more about the characters than the plot, and pretty much everyone’s been through the wringer by the time the episode ends. Predictably, not everyone survived, but it’s safe to say that the death wasn’t at all expected.
But first things first. If anyone’s fate bothers me here, it’s Jason Wilkes’. Whether or not we believe that he was being influenced by Zero Matter (and the show never quite convinced me he was) it seems like his ending was a little too lacking in personal sacrifice for me. I recognise that others may be somewhat more forgiving in their assessment of him, but personally, I never quite found a way to like him.
That’s not the case with Jack Thompson, though. Bastard though he is, I found myself upset at his fate. Just as it seemed like he and Peggy had finally reached one another, it was too late. I would have guessed him or Sousa would be the one to die, but I wouldn’t have guessed it’d be under these circumstances.
Indeed, when Sousa was being sucked into the rift I was sure he was a goner. Clearly, I was wrong. If anything, he gets the happiest ending of the lot. He’s kept his life, his job, and got one over on his main rival for Peggy’s affections so he could get the girl. It’s fair to say fan opinion as far back as season one probably influenced this development, but that makes it hard to hate.
As for Jarvis, he and his wife paid a heavy price for their involvement in Peggy’s “adventures”, and it’s clear from her reaction that she feels the weight of that too. If it’s at all possible given the unlikelihood of a third season, I’d like to see more of both Jarvises in the wake of this to see how it’s changed them. I’d be surprised if Jarvis was half as willing to get into scrapes like this one again in the future.
And then there’s Peggy. Let’s be fair, this season hasn’t had quite as much development for her as the last one, and the beat in this episode of “she picked to stay in LA with Sousa” isn’t anywhere near the scope of her getting over Steve’s “death” in the previous season. Her scenes with Howard Stark at least hint at the future they’ll have together forming SHIELD, but it’s still too early for that to happen really, and that means it’s hard to give a definitely evolution of her character. Maybe Sousa is the husband we’ve heard about, maybe not. It’s up in the air right now, and maybe forever. It’s at least a satisfying ending, if not the best we could’ve hoped for.
Oh, and as for Whitney Frost? She never got to wear Madame Masque’s trademark golden facemask, but it’s safe to say if she ever comes back there’s room for that to happen. I’ll be honest, I found this fate pretty bleak even for a villain. I found a lot sympathetic about her, and if Wilkes got a shot at redemption on the grounds that Zero Matter makes you crazy, it’s a shame she couldn’t too. As it is, she’s as much a victim in this as anyone.
So, that about wraps it up for Agent Carter’s second and (for various reasons) probably final season. Is it too late to start campaigning for some kind of “origins of SHIELD” telemovie with Atwell, Cooper and D’arcy? Let’s hope not, because the quality of Agent Carter is such that it’d be a crime not to see more of these guys. Just next time do it in a format and venue where the right people might actually tune in.
Read James’ review of the previous Agent Carter double-bill, here.