Word came out this past week that after only two seasons ABC was cancelling the Marvel TV series Agent Carter. Which after the smashing success Captain America: Civil War has been having at the box office this feels even more painful. Between this and fact that Marvel’s Most Wanted won’t be going to series it looks like Marvel TV is having trouble (Not including the ever popular Netflix series). Today I’m going to talk about Agent Carter’s two seasons and why I’m genuinely disappointed with losing this series.
-Carter’s First Shot-
Captain America: The First Avenger was a fantastic way to lay the ground for Peggy Carter. We got see that even in a male dominated era she didn’t need superpowers to be an important asset. But it wasn’t until Iron Man 3’s Blu-ray release with the Marvel One-Shot “Agent Carter” that we truly got to see her shine. It proved that Peggy’s time post Captain America was ripe with potential for interesting stories to be told.
Picking up some time after the One-Shot we’re dropped into Peggy’s life. World War II is over and Carter has to re-adjust to the status quo she had successfully fought against previously. In spite of all her hard work helping defeat (kind of) HYDRA she’s relegated to a desk job. Even worse, while she keeps a still upper lip a large part of her aches over losing Steve Rogers. But it’s only a matter of time before she’s dragged into a conspiracy that frames Howard Stark as an enemy combatant. Having worked with Stark she knows it’s lies, but her “silly woman” opinion goes unheard by the majority of her superiors and co-workers. Finding an ally in Stark’s butler Edwin Jarvis (James D’arcy) and a friend in fellow agent Daniel Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) she sets out to work outside the law to uncover the truth. While this season had some minor issues with it’s narrative getting convoluted in “who is who” for the most part it was a great espionage thriller. And with it being a mere eight episodes it never felt like the writers had to overstretch the story to fill time.
Quickly wrapping up a major thread left dangling from the previous finale season two quickly thrusts Carter and co. into a bigger and badder conflict. Peggy is sent to California for a new investigation into Isodyne Energy and the recently discovered element Zero Matter. If Carter thought it was hard to spot the enemy before it’s even murkier now. We’re introduced to the mysterious “Council of Nine” and discover that government activities are being manipulated by this secret council. One of my favorite aspects of this season is seeing how people other than Carter deal with discrimination. Two new characters Jason Wilkes (an African American scientist) and Whitney Frost (a brilliant mind and calculating actress) show us how being disenfranchised can lead to making ethically gray choices in order to be taken seriously. It also shows the unbelievable strength of Peggy’s morals. And that while she may be forging a road on her own she does it looking at the long-term repercussions of her actions. Another plus is that there’s some actual character development for Edwin. Not only do we see him building a life outside of all of Carter and Stark’s madness, but he now even enjoys being in on the action. It’s refreshing seeing him interact with his wife Ana and how a decision on one side of this life can lead to major repercussions in the other. On the whole, season two is a richer story and ended with a lot of potential for where season three could have gone. Sadly we’re not going to see that come to fruition.
-Bringing Carter to Life-
To me this is why Hayley Atwell was the perfect pick for Peggy. Watching Captain America: The First Avenger you can see how this character could have been horribly botched. Make her too strong headed she turns into a ballbuster. Make her too weak willed and she’s a shrinking violet. What Atwell found was a fine line that made Carter likable for her her strong moral compass and identifiable with her emotional vulnerability. In pop culture it’s hard to maintain both of these traits in a female action character. It was refreshing that the writers never tried to shove a romantic subplot down our throats. What we got was a slow burn flirtation with Sousa that organically grew into that passionate kiss that ended season two.
It seems for the time being we’ve seen the last of Agent Carter’s adventures. Hayley Atwell has signed onto a new pilot for ABC titled Conviction which means even if Netflix expressed interest in reviving the show she’s already booked. Unless the show doesn’t go to series and Netflix does say yes. But I’m not going to hold my breath. Fortunately it’d be completely possible a few years down the line to re-visit the character. Possibly in the form of another Marvel One-Shot or limited series run. As long as there’s stories to be told and Atwell wants to be part of them I hold out hope for Peggy’s return.
As usual, what are your thoughts? Are you just as disappointed as I am with Agent Carter’s cancellation? Do you think the show would’ve had a better chance had it originally debuted on Netflix? Are you more of an Agent Coulson person and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is your jam? Let me know.
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