TV Review: Agent Carter - Season 2 Finale "Hollywood Ending"
Join us each week as we review the latest episode of AGENT CARTER. Warning: the following review contains major spoilers for the newest episode of the show.
Episode 10: "Hollywood Ending"
Synopsis: Peggy and Sousa propose a trade with Whitney Frost, while the SSR gets help from Howard Stark that may be the key to eliminating Zero Matter. Peggy desperately tries to save Dr. Wilkes with a dangerous plan to stop Whitney Frost. But Thompson makes a surprising move that could destroy them all.
Recap: After a season long battle with Whitney Frost, the sophomore run of Marvel's Agent Carter closed out with something of a whimper. Despite a tease at the very end that could kick off a third season story arc, Agent Carter wrapped up the main narrative in a fairly predictable manner that lived up to the finale's title, "Hollywood Ending". The guy gets the girl (well, one of them, at least) and the bad guy/gal is vanquished. All in a day's work that somehow ended up feeling less than the sum of it's parts. Agent Carter never quite came together this season despite being a fun, if forgettable, romp.
Picking up from the explosion at the conclusion of last week's episode, Peggy and her SSR colleagues find that Jason Wilkes has expelled all of the Zero Matter which they find littering the floor of the facility. The alien goo is then drawn into Whitney Frost who becomes more powerful than before. As they run to escape from the superpowered villainess, she is hit by a car driven by Jarvis. With Howard Stark a passenger in the backseat, the team escape from Frost who returns to the home of Joseph Manfredi to plot her next steps. Manfredi is noticeably upset at his beloved Whitney's fall into insanity. After talking it over with his grandmother, Manfredi decides to align himself with old chum, Howard Stark.
Manfredi agrees to let the SSR into Whitney's room where she has been maniacally jotting down alien formulas and calculations while he keeps her distracted. Taking copies of the notes, Stark, Wilkes, and Dr. Samberly deduce she has designed a device that Peggy dubs a rift generator. They decide to safely open the rift to the home dimension of the Zero Matter while also drawing Whitney to the site. Using X-rays and a newly built gamma cannon, they will force the Zero Matter back into it's realm and seal the portal forever. Knowing that the rift could potentially suck anything close into it, they all keep a safe distance. Which, in TV speak, means that someone is going to end up getting sucked in.
With the rift opened, Whitney Frost feels the call of the Zero Matter and arrives at Stark's abandoned film studio. There is a brief showdown but Howard Stark and Jarvis manage to shoot Frost with the gamma cannon and force the Zero Matter through the hole. Unable to close the portal remotely, Sousa takes it on himself to manually close it and risk his life. Peggy instantly feels a pang of regret at potentially losing her friend. When he begins to get sucked through, Peggy and everyone manage to hold him long enough for Jarvis and Samberly to take the gamma core and put it into Howard Stark's experimental hovercar which explodes in the portal, saving everyone.
With Frost incarcerated in an insane asylum, everyone else ends their stories happily. Howard Stark offers Jason Wilkes a job at his new facility. Jarvis finally brings his wife home and bids Peggy farewell as she plans to head back to New York with Jack Thompson. Jack, who has been duplicitious through the season, owns up to Peggy that he found Vernon Master's Council pin which he also figures out is a key. What it unlocks remains a mystery. Peggy goes to say goodbye to Daniel Sousa but their sexual tension finally comes to a head as the two kiss and the episode fades to black. But, in the final teaser scene, we see Jack Thompson packing for New York. Someone knocks on his hotel room door and a gloved hand shoots him. The assassin then takes the redacted file about Peggy that we were led to believe was a fake and Jack's lifeless body is shown on the floor.
Whether Jack is really dead may never be answered as Agent Carter has been suffering from low ratings all season. I enjoyed Hayley Atwell's performance and most of the supporting cast were fun and enjoying themselves through all ten episodes. I would absolutely love to see the show come back next year with another noir adventure, but the showrunners really need to work on the cohesiveness of the story. Last year, we were teased with HYDRA connections and Leviathan which all but disappeared this season. Dottie Underwood, a major foe, was reduced to a guest appearance that seemed to be written off too quickly. Even the threat of Zero Matter felt less than, well, threatening because it never felt like more than a small scale problem. For Agent Carter to work going forward, the show really needs to increase the stakes, but that may be nearly impossible to do without pulling more direct Marvel connections into the mix. If anything, next year needs a lot more Howard Stark, assuming there is a next year.
Marvel Universe References: Howard Stark references his vast land in Malibu, a reference to Tony Stark's mansion in the IRON MAN films.