Agent Carter postmortem: Who (may have) paid the ultimate price?
Warning: This story contains major spoilers from the season finale of Marvel’s Agent Carter. Read at your own risk!
Once again, Peggy Carter was able to save the world — but it came at a steep price.
After Jason Wilkes (Reggie Austin) expelled the Zero Matter during last week’s Marvel’s Agent Carter, Whitney Frost (Wynn Everett) basically absorbed the rest, planning to open a new rift that would stay open and allow the Darkforce into the world. Seeing that Whitney was unstoppably consumed by the Zero Matter, Manfredi (Ken Marino) decided to team with the good guys to knock the Zero Matter out of her and send it back through the rift, which they were able to successfully close thanks to Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) nearly sacrificing himself. Fortunately, he survived — and even shared a sweet kiss with Peggy. Could he be that husband Peggy talked about in Winter Soldier?
Unfortunately, not everyone made it out of the season finale unscathed. Not only did Whitney Frost totally go crazy in the end, but Jack Thompson (Chad Michael Murray) seemingly met a grim end. After Thompson stole the redacted file on Peggy’s exploits in the S.O.E. (Special Operations Executive), and discovered the Council of Nine pin was actually a key, a mysterious man showed up at his hotel and shot him in cold blood, stealing the file on his way out. What does this all mean? EW caught up with executive producers Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters to get the scoop. (Read our postmortem with Hayley Atwell, who teases the contents of that SOE file.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Why did you kill off Jack Thompson?!
MICHELE FAZEKAS: We did not kill off Jack Thompson, we shot Jack Thompson.
In the chest!
FAZEKAS: Yup, that was the intent. We shot him. Honestly, he might not be dead, and that’s what we as writers have said, and that’s what we told Chad. That’s the truth.
Let’s talk about the person who may or may not have killed Jack. Is it someone we know? Are they connected to the Council of Nine?
FAZEKAS: It’s unrelated to the Council of Nine. It is not for the reasons that you’d expect. It’s unrelated to Council of Nine, Zero Matter, any of that.
Purely related to the file?
This file reveals Peggy’s exploits with the S.O.E. and some kind of massacre. Thompson thought it was too good to be true, ultimately, and it didn’t seem to affect Peggy when he mentioned it. What’s really going on here?
FAZEKAS: You have to pay really close attention to what exactly we showed that was in the file. You see that there was some sort of massacre, and I would say, don’t make assumptions by what you see in that file. We were really specific about what information was given for a reason.
Could it actually pertain to Peggy’s late brother, not her?
Thompson had uncovered that that pin was actually a key. Is that something you plan to explore in a potential third season?
FAZEKAS: We do. We always knew that the pin was something else, but we actually didn’t know what it was until we were breaking the tenth episode. We had half an idea about that that we would revisit in a third season.
Peggy’s come so far from when we first met her in Captain America: The First Avenger. Where does her journey take her next considering how much growth we’ve already seen?
BUTTERS: There’s so much you can still explore with her. What is it for her to be in a relationship? How do things change with her and Jarvis (James D’Arcy)? The fact is, that was one of the things that we loved even in this season is further delving into her relationships and how she grows as a person. How does she become the founder of S.H.I.E.L.D.? It’s great to explore all of that.
Are you definitively saying that Sousa could the husband that Peggy talked about?
BUTTERS: No, we’re not.
FAZEKAS: We’re not saying he’s not, but we’re not saying he is.
BUTTERS: I would love to see her in a relationship to see how that changes her, but at the same time, it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s who she ends up with.
What does that relationship look like moving forward, especially since they work together?
FAZEKAS: That’s what’s going to be fun. I’m really interested in exploring that. I don’t think Sousa is under any illusions that he’s her boss. He was tweaking her in that moment where he was like, “As your supervisor…” I don’t think Sousa has any hangups about that, and I don’t think she does either. What’s interesting is, what is it like to work in a dangerous situation with somebody that you care about?
BUTTERS: Or have to keep things from?
FAZEKAS: That we’ve seen of her, she’s never been in a relationship and have had a job at the same time. You could get into what that means.
BUTTERS: And the balance.
FAZEKAS: How do you balance that? I actually don’t think she’s good at it, because she’s so work-focused and driven that it’ll be an interesting learning curve for her.
It was pointed out by Jarvis at the end of the season that basically everyone who is around Peggy dies. How much does that play a role when she gets into this relationship with Sousa?
FAZEKAS: In some ways, I feel like by doing what she does at the end of this episode and saying, “Okay, I’m going to kiss the hell out of this guy,” she doesn’t do anything lightly, so I really think that means she’s going to get into a relationship with him. She’s pushed past that for herself. It’ll still rear its head, but if she really were afraid of that, she wouldn’t have done what she had done. I think she accepts that. Everyone knows what they’re signing up for. In that moment, in episode 9, Jarvis is saying that to hurt her, and it worked. I don’t think he really believes that. Ultimately, Peggy has been able to incorporate that into her life. I love that argument so much. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever written. What I love about it is, you say the worst things in the world to the people that you love. They love each other, which means they know exactly how to hurt each other. The way that James and Hayley played that scene was so real that I was super happy with that.
Jarvis was willing to kill Whitney Frost. How do you think that changes him and his dynamic with Peggy moving forward?
BUTTERS: I feel like with anyone you spend time with like the way they spend time together, you get to know the good and the dark places. If you really care about people, you like their faults and all. I feel like you know that he has that ability to go there. I still think that these two are even closer now through this experience.
FAZEKAS: But I do think his treating this like an adventure, he’s learned a big lesson through that. In a third season, he will still help her, but he’s not so eager to run into the fray. “Oh, isn’t this fun? Let’s Netflix and chill and go punch some guys!”
There was a hint Howard (Dominic Cooper) dropped about his trip to Peru and now using that land in Malibu. What are you referencing?
FAZEKAS: We’re referencing Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), and building that place in Malibu where Tony lives.
Turning to Whitney Frost, why did you ultimately decide to have her go crazy? And is that the last we’ve seen of her?
BUTTERS: I hope not. I hope we get to bring her back. She was delicious.
FAZEKAS: We probably don’t exactly tell that story again, but I loved working with Wynn. We didn’t want to kill her off. The Zero Matter, all along, had this increasing affect on her, where it was driving her mad. That felt like the organic way to end that story, because we didn’t start out that way, but boy did she end up that way. That was a direct result of Zero Matter.
BUTTERS: There was a little Frances Farmer connection of Old Hollywood taking its toll. I like her being a rogue’s gallery for Agent Carter, people who can come back like Dottie (Bridget Regan).
FAZEKAS: I really like how sad I feel for Ken Marino. Oh, Manfredi still loves her!
In the closing moments of the episode, Peggy is torn between New York and Los Angeles. Are you already thinking about whether you would keep the show in L.A. or whether you’d move the setting back to New York in season 3?
FAZEKAS: The nice thing is you can put the show anywhere, because it’s spies. We loved doing L.A. If I had a choice between doing New York and L.A. again, I’d pick L.A. But London has been dropped. It’s all going to be determined by what story we want to tell. I loved L.A. I loved how it looked, I loved how it looked on Peggy. We would be very happy to do another L.A. season, but we’re not married to it.
Was that London idea part of the reason we saw Jack Thompson there picking up that file?
FAZEKAS: London was a thing that [Christopher] Markus and [Stephen] McFeely had early on said, “Oh, we could a season in London,” because that’s where she’s from, and you can get really more into: Is her mother still around? Is her father still around? What is that about?
How do you feel about the show’s chances for a third season?
FAZEKAS: Bad. People have to watch the show. While I would love to see it continue on, it’s a bummer — a bummer for all of us, cast included. Everybody loves the job, everybody loves working together. I would love to see it live on, even if it’s in some other form, digital or whatever. I doubt that there’s a Netflix play for it. We’re not really involved in those decisions anyway. At the end of the day, people have to watch the show.
Would you consider a way to wrap up the story somehow?
FAZEKAS: Sure. It’s interesting because that episode feels like — except for the fact that we plugged Thompson — a nice little conclusion, which wasn’t the intent. If they wanted us to do anything, we would do it. We absolutely love it.
Expect news on whether Marvel’s Agent Carter will return sometime in May. In the meantime, read our postmortem with Hayley Atwell, who reveals what she knows about the contents of the SOE file and her thoughts on the Sousa-Peggy pairing. Also, read our full recap here, and what we liked about the episode here.