Agent Carter: Hayley Atwell on Peggy's choice, that dangerous S.O.E. file
Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Agent Carter‘s season finale. Read at your own risk!
Did Marvel’s Agent Carter answer a question we’ve been wondering since the show’s inception?
After Peggy (Hayley Atwell) expelled the Zero Matter from Whitney Frost (Wynn Everett) and essentially saved the world, she celebrated by making her decision between Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) and Jason Wilkes (Reggie Austin). In short, she chose Sousa! A brief celebration ensues before we see Jack Thompson (Chad Michael Murray) get shot point blank over that mysterious S.O.E. file that seems to implicate Peggy in a massacre. What’s really going on? EW turned to Atwell to get the scoop. (Read our full postmortem with executive producers Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas here.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How do you feel about Peggy and Sousa finally making a go of it?
HAYLEY ATWELL: I’m so happy! I love Sousa! I think what makes it work is that she saw something in him that’s the same quality she found attractive in Skinny Steve (Chris Evans), which was a man with great morals dealing with very real physical hardships. In the workplace, her gender is considered a disability. Sousa has a disability from the war, and therefore has to deal with that limitation. Because he deals with it with such dignity in the way that Skinny Steve did, that’s what attracts her to people. I think it’s inevitable that they end up together. He’s not intimidated by her. He respects her and admires her, and supports how brilliant she is and how good she is at her job, and is not threatened by that. I think that’s a bloody hard thing for men in the 1940s to not be intimidated by. He’s pretty special in that regard.
Do you think Sousa could be the husband that Peggy was talking about in Captain America: Winter Soldier?
I don’t know, because she says that Captain America saved her husband. It could be that what we don’t know yet is that in the war, at one point, Steve Rogers did save Sousa, and Sousa wasn’t telling me or didn’t know it at the time. Or they embark on a fabulous love affair, but then they realize they’re really bad at domestic chores and that they can’t compromise on who washes the dishes and they decide to go their separate ways. That’s a possibility, too. I like to think that this is the start to a beautiful relationship.
How do you think Peggy will handle Thompson’s potential death, especially since it’s happened because of that file?
She has an interesting relationship with Thompson. I think she deals with him with a bemused tolerance. I think she sees his façade and she understands why a lot of his bravado and his need to be liked and approved comes from, because he’s harboring a very guilty secret about his past that he confided in her in season 1. She’s not a dismissive person. She’s quite tolerant of people. She’s quite patient and wants to appeal to the good in him. Planting that seed in him is her hope that he will continue to be a good man. So to lose him, I think she would grieve, but it’s not the same. I don’t think she would regard him as a friend. He’s not someone that can be trusted. She suspects that he’s capable of making really bad decisions, but not malicious ones. I can imagine that he would get blinded by Vernon Masters, Whitney Frost and power, but she has sympathy toward that rather than sees that as something bad in him.
How much do you actually know about this file that discusses Peggy’s exploits with the S.O.E. and a massacre? Peggy seemed to dismiss it before, but do you know what’s really going on there?
James D’Arcy is so nosy, so he went sniffing around the writers’ room trying to figure it out. He finally found out what the secret was, and then on the last day he ran up to me and told me. I do know what that secret is. It’s really exciting, and it changes a lot. It basically gives us our core for season 3 if we were to go to a season 3. It’s really amazing, but I don’t want to get too excited about it in case we don’t get picked up again, so I can’t really say anything. Or it might get picked up in a couple years. I’m sworn to secrecy on it, but it’s really clever. Those clever writers!
When you found out what it was, did it change the character in your mind?
It changes what Peggy’s about to experience. Things are not what they seem. It involves ghosts from her past, and things that she’s put to bed that she thought were over, but they’re not. It’s really terrifying and scary. It will change her view of the world. It would almost be as big as her finding out in season 3 that Steve Rogers is alive, but he’s frozen in some ice. Unfortunately, she doesn’t find that out until she’s in her nineties, but it’s as big as that for her.
Expect news on whether Marvel’s Agent Carter will return sometime in May. In the meantime, read our postmortem with the executive producers here. Also, read our full recap here, and what we liked about the episode here.
Marvel’s second TV series on ABC tracks the exploits of Agent Peggy Carter, played by Hayley Atwell, last seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.