Farewell Agent Carter
The second season of Agent Carter ended with both closure, and a cliff-hanger. Even as Peggy Carter and Daniel Sousa decide to begin a romantic relationship which some fans saw coming — and shipped — a few miles away, we have the conundrum of who shot Jack Thompson, whether or not the agent is going to survive, and just what was in Carter’s intelligence file that warranted the use of deadly force.
These mysteries … won’t be solved, at least not on Agent Carter. Agent Carter has been cancelled and unfortunately won’t be renewed for another season.
You can figure out some of those reasons. Hayley Atwell has gotten the lead in the upcoming program Conviction and ratings for Agent Carter have been low. Some might find it amazing that the show even developed from its Marvel One-Shot prelude, never mind lasting for two seasons. But nothing makes this development any less unfortunate.
Agent Carter was a well-written show set in a dieselpunk 1940s world after the loss of its first superhero. Super-science, espionage, detective work, and intrigue were incorporated almost seamlessly into this post WWII setting in a way that would have made the Golden Age comics world proud. And the characters, who could have easily been two-dimensional and even anachronisms fit into the time period and also had some fairly nuanced personalities.
Then there were the further plot possibilities that fit into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Watching Carter, Sousa, Stark, and Zola finally sitting down to reforge the Strategic Scientific Reserve into S.H.I.E.L.D. would have been nice. It would have been really interesting to see the beginnings of HYDRA’s insidious seventy year rebirth: perhaps the slow initiation of a new member like Jack Thompson. We could have also seen how Howard Stark met his wife Maria and just what events may have influenced his change from a womanizing playboy into the stern, disciplined, cold man that his son knew so well. It would have also been interesting to see what Dottie Underwood, and possibly Doctor Faustus and Arnim Zola really planned on doing with the Council of Nine with that stolen pin she’d been looking for at the beginning of Season Two.
But I think what I will miss the most about Agent Carter was the woman herself and how she interacted with her allies and antagonists. She was honourable, resilient, clever, and fair. There were many times she could have taken the kill shot and almost never did if there were any other option. She put up with the chauvinism in the likes of Jack Thompson, but still saw him as a human being. At the same time, she knew when to stand up for herself and do what others didn’t dare. Peggy Carter let herself be confused, be in love, made mistakes, and recognized the feminine as strength while not letting the misogyny of her time turn her bitter and self-justifying like Whitney Frost, or unquestioningly obedient with her extraordinary talents like Dottie Underwood.
Writing about Agent Carter now feels like writing the obituary that must have existed for her in Captain America: Civil War. Margaret Elizabeth “Peggy” Carter was a person who deserved better than what she got, but she would be the first one to tell you that she was going to earn it and god knows, she knew when to put someone in their place if they dared to speak for her. And perhaps she will earn it in more adventures: either in flashback sequences in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or in her own comic book series.
I’m going to miss Peggy Carter and her unconventional family of Daniel Sousa, Howard Stark, Edwin and Ana Jarvis, Angie Martinelli, Jason Wilkes, and even the rest of the S.S.R. May their stories continue along with her own. Excelsior, Agent Carter.