EW staffers share their thoughts on the show's second season finale
EW staffers Gina McIntyre and Andrea Towers talk through Peggy’s last L.A. adventures (last-ever adventures?) together. You can read the full episode recap here, but here are the moments we loved most in “Hollywood Ending”:
GINA MCINTYRE: Alright, Peggy/Sousa shippers — looks like you got your wish! The season ended with a bang, alright — well, two if you count what happened to Thompson. Or three if you could call what happened with the whole opening and closing of the Zero Matter rift a “bang.” But about that kiss… Loved that it was Peggy who kissed a surprised Daniel. Looks like she’s truly ready to move on, to finally put her doomed romance with Steve Rogers behind her and look toward the future. As she said herself, when speaking to a Zero Matter-free Jason, “I’ve learned, dwelling on what might have been, it’s no way to live.” True, true. As to whether Daniel will be the man she marries, that’s still anyone’s guess. I believe I mentioned before, I’d rather not know. I love the thought of giving Peggy a little privacy in her personal life. She’s a spy after all. Not everything needs to be public.
ANDREA TOWERS: I will admit I was in the camp of “YES!” complete with fist pumps when that kiss happened — and what a way to go out! I knew it had to be coming, but it still caught me off guard. Last season ended on a note that was sad and hopeful at the same time. We followed Peggy as she coped with the loss of Steve and settled into her new life at the SSR, and those feelings that came with trying to figure out how to navigate a “post Captain America world” (in a world that was STILL mourning the loss of him, no less). This season, we ended on a note that was both optimistic and, dare I say, happy? For all that Peggy’s been through during her L.A. adventures, it was a wonderful relief to see her embracing her feelings and, for lack of a better phrase, “moving on.” In the two years of watching Agent Carter, it truly feels like we’ve seen Peggy evolve, and I love that we’ve gotten to follow the character in this way. We’ve learned so much about her life. And I like that you’re in the “I don’t need to know camp” when it comes to her mysterious husband. I go back and forth on it — part of me really wants to know. The other part? Well, you’re right. Maybe it’s better just to imagine what might have been… unless season 3 gives us a little more information.
GINA: Given the speculation that the show might or might not return for a third season (PLEASE, ABC, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, BRING IT BACK), I was expecting that tonight’s finale might end with the clear resolutions for all the major characters, but I’m so pleased I was wrong. Who was it that shot Thompson and stole Peggy’s S.O.E. file? Is that file even authentic (seeing as how Peggy previously implied that it was a fabrication doctored up at Vernon Masters’ behest)? Will Thompson survive? (I have a strong feeling that if Agent Carter survives for a season 3, so will Jack…) And then there’s the matter of the much sought-after pin, which turned out to be a key? But what does it open? Thoughts? Oh — and one last thing about Jack Thompson: How fabulous was it when Peggy had him round up dinner orders? So satisfying.
ANDREA: Jack Thompson taking dinner orders might be my favorite thing, second only to Jack Thompson ACTUALLY AGREEING TO DO SO. Talk about character development. I’ve really enjoyed watching Thompson this season, because I think aside from Peggy, he’s the person who’s had the most growth, both in his character evolution and his relationships. But anyway, yes, oh my god let’s talk about that cliffhanger. Is “Who shot Thompson?” the new “Who shot J.R.?” It figures just as we’re starting to like Thompson, we get left with THAT. In a way, I love that Agent Carter didn’t tie everything up. Given that the show functions in contained seasons and stories, it would have been so easy to wrap things up, especially not knowing whether or not we’ll get a third season. But the showrunners deliberately left story lines up for grabs, and I respect that so much. I have a feeling it would’ve felt forced in some way if we got happiness all around. (Even Peggy’s happiness leaves something to be desired. Did she and Sousa get together and stay together? Did Sousa come back to NY? How long did Peggy stay in LA? So many questions!)
GINA: Of course, there was some pretty definitive closure for a couple of characters. Jason, having expelled the Zero Matter, appears to be back to himself and ready to embark on what’s sure to be a distinguished career in Howard’s employ. Speaking of satisfying: Howard! Dominic Cooper deserves some special mention for his Agent Carter performances, infrequent though they are. His comedic timing is superb — Howard putting the moves on Rose was too much in all the right ways. And he’s the only guy in the world who would use the opening of an inter-dimensional rift to brush up on his golf game (which, turns out, could really use some work!). A couple of gems from the episode: His reply, “Art makes a house a home,” when answering why there are so many portraits of himself throughout the residence. And when he rhetorically asks how great scientists succeed? “Given your history, drinking copious amounts of alcohol and cavorting with loose women.” Okay, so it was Jarvis who delivered that one. But still. And in terms of opening doors to future story lines, “I have all this land in Malibu…” takes the cake.
ANDREA: “Is there a portrait of you in every bedroom?” I’ll throw up praise emoji hands here, because I was so glad to see Dominic Cooper return! Any episode that has a side of Howard is infinitely better in my opinion, if only because he’s such an enigmatic force who adds so much to every scene he’s in. (Plus, I could listen to him and Peggy banter all day.) Another gem? The scene where Samberly, Wilkes, and Howard are arguing about what to name the new device. And who names it? Peggy. I guess girls DO run the world. Also, let me echo how much I loved “I have all this land in Malibu…” A bright future for Tony and Howard and… well, probably all of their women through the years…
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GINA: Such a bright future, however, could prove elusive for two-time Oscar winner Whitney Frost. Did NOT expect to see Manfredi turn to Team Peggy for help, but I loved that it happened. Though surely he might have reconsidered if he had known how things would turn out. With Zero Matter drained from her body and permanently lost on the other side of the rift, Whitney’s hold on her sanity has slipped. It was a powerfully stark contrast between the scene in her mind’s eye, where she’s seated at her dressing table, Calvin reassuringly by her side, and the far grimmer reality, where, deranged and disheveled, she stares out the window at a sanitarium. Clearly, there could have been worse fates, but Whitney might have been happier losing herself in the Zero Matter void.
ANDREA: Combine Manfredi’s actions with Thompson’s double/triple/quadruple cross last week, I have to admit, they got me. With Zero Matter put back where it belongs, I thought maybe everyone would magically return (hey, it’s comics!). Especially since Whitney’s face returned to its normal state. I’m not surprised that Whitney ended up where she did, even if it made me sad. You’re right — there could’ve been worse fates for our Madame Masque, but it makes us realize just how wrapped up Whitney was in needing power to survive. Now that we know her backstory, it was heartbreaking to see this smart, beautiful woman get sucked into the vortex like that (no pun intended) but I suppose that’s the saying, right? “All magic comes with a price.” I also didn’t expect Manfredi to turn to Team Peggy, but maybe he’s not as bad as we thought. He really is just in love with a girl (as evidenced by the end of the episode) and you almost feel bad that he’s drawn up in this crusade just because of Zero Matter. And speaking of Zero Matter, I’m assuming this is where we’re supposed to tie the season into Doctor Strange. It occurred to me that at the end of last season, we had a little glimpse of Armin Zola, a.k.a. a small hint to the Winter Soldier/Hydra story line. I guess we have to wait a little longer to see how this plays out, though.
GINA: And say, where’s Dottie?
ANDREA: I guess we’re going with the ambiguous route… which means I’m going to have a LOT of theories if Agent Carter does return. (Good thing I have a lot of thoughts about Dottie…) Like last season, Dottie’s fate is left up in the air. I think I mentioned this in my recap last week, but I actually like that story line choice — after all, what’s a world without a Black Widow in it? Someone’s gotta keep the Red Room name alive… all in all, I was really impressed with this season and how it was crafted. Please, ABC, bring our favorite SSR agent back for season 3! The world needs more Peggy Carter.