What Kind of Ending?
Agent Carter came to season, and likely series, finale last night. There was a lot going on and not all of it worked as planned. It wasn’t a failure, mind you, just a…strange…thing.
Whitney Frost has gone from antagonist to, like, weird shut in. Every character, from Peggy to Howard, was stressing the importance of bringing Frost down, but we were kind of left scratching our heads over the circumstances. Why the sense of urgency? She wasn’t doing anything, really. Why the distrust? True, there was lots of rhetoric about zero matter taking over the world, but what exactly does that mean? It’s one thing to threaten people with nuclear annihilation. It’s another to say “black goop is going to take over the world!” What does that mean? Will the goop destroy the planet or just hold office for a few years? The premise was fine, it was a lack of clarification on the specifics that lead to an underwhelming conflict.
Despite the phooey physics and unclear danger, the story served as a suitable framework for the wonderful character moments that has made the show memorable. Jarvis is as quirky as ever, Stark is as sleazy as ever, and there was closure for Peggy on several fronts. While Manfredi continued to be a goofy cartoon character the whole time, the rest of cast carried the episode incredibly well. Even Frost, who was our weird reclusive villain, elicited a bit of pathos throughout the episode. She didn’t ask for the zero matter and wasn’t really calling the shots, either.
Most of episode operated under the standard Agent Carter setup of “get mission, do mission, discover something bigger.” We got to see Peggy and Sousa break into Frost’s bedroom, which made sense in the story, but really wasn’t finale material. In fact, it’s barely even spy TV show material. Maybe the writers were hoping it would put a little extra wind the climax’s sails, but it felt very out of place and reeked of filler.
Oh, and how about that finale? Ignoring the ridiculous CGI that undercut any form of drama, it was a pretty cookie-cutter ending that only worked, again, because of the characters. I really didn’t care about this vague plan involving portals and cannons and zero matter, so everything was pretty dull up until Sousa went forward to sacrifice himself for the team. Everyone loves Sousa and everyone wants to see him end up with Peggy, so watching him throw that all away for the mission was great, even if we didn’t really think he was in any danger. Of course the team saved him and Peggy confessed her love, so it all worked out.
One little technical nitpick on that last scene, if I may, is the TERRIBLE BLOCKING used by the director. It was like the actors showed up for work and they said: “Alright…act!” Everyone just stood there like they didn’t know what to do, and it made the climax even more cartoonish.
One of you…do something!
I certainly can’t call this episode a failure, or even this season. Nobody who tunes in week by week cares about zero matter or secret organizations or the bad guy from Robocop‘s shady dealings. We tune in because we like Peggy Carter, and we got an excellent arc for the character. It’s pretty clear the showrunners were unclear as to whether or not a third season was going to happen (and as of right now, it’s not in the books and probably won’t be), so I’m glad that Peggy solved the case and got the guy. There was your Hollywood ending, folks.
Odds and Ends
- That car gag was dumb. Sorry, but it was.
- Jack Thompson got shot in the heart. Guess we’ll never know what happens there.
- Shut your mother up, Manfredi. This is just filler!
- Surprising lack of Ana Jarvis this week. I know she was shot in the stomach, but she was glossed over pretty heavily for someone who was an emotional core a few episodes ago.
Alex Russo likes to talk about television. You can read more of his insane ramblings on Twitter.