Marvel's Agent Carter Review by Henry Tran

Marvel's Agent Carter 2.10: Hollywood Ending

Marvel's Agent Carter 2.10: Hollywood Ending

Written By:
Chris Dingess, Michelle Fazekas, and Tara Butters
Directed By:
Jennifer Getzinger

Well, "Hollywood Ending" is a rare episode that lives up to its title. For the most part, save that cliffhanger ending, the show put a definitive end to this chapter of Agent Peggy Carter's life. Unlike last season's finale, she doesn't get upstaged by Howard Stark. The eccentric billionaire returns in this episode after what feels like a long absence, and he actually adds to the proceedings instead of taking over a show that bears another character's name. Unfortunately, there just isn't enough hope for Agent Carter's adventures to continue outside of perhaps an occasional cameo in an MCU film (though she isn't slated to appear in the upcoming Captain America: Civil War.)

               


 

The knowledge that this may be the last episode of Agent Carter ever does hang a pall over the proceedings, but the cast and crew try to make it as fun and exciting as they possibly can. This may be the only exploration of the time period in the MCU history. It's been a lot of fun to see how heroes like Peggy and Jarvis and Howard Stark interact with the supernatural in the midst of a time period long ago. It is one without the aid of the Avengers or advanced technology. I mean, the highlight of this episode is our band of heroes using one of Stark's hover cars (a nice nod to Captain America: The First Avenger, when the hover car first appeared) as a literal bomb in order to close the zero matter rift they open at Stark Studios.

 

That proves to be the climax of the overall plot in this episode, and really, for the entire season. Everything regarding Whitney Frost, Dr. Jason Wilkes, and the zero matter comes to a head here, with the surprises coming about steadily. First, it is revealed that Wilkes somehow survived the expulsion of the zero matter in his body. The explanation of that isn't really clear, though to be fair, there hasn't been much about the zero matter that has made much sense thus far. The zero matter is the Darkforce given form, and it's a shame that more people aren't watching this series to know that. That knowledge will certainly inform on the events in the forthcoming Doctor Strange film that comes out later this year.

 


 

Instead, the zero matter predictably goes entirely into the body of a willing Whitney Frost, who continues her degeneration into a typical supervillain. For most of the episode, Whitney is locked away in her bedroom, writing up nonsensical (and obscurely seen) formulas, much like the mad scientist stereotype that she has become. The show had a golden opportunity to transcend those kinds of stereotypes in the Whitney Frost character, and the actress and story did that for a little bit of time in the middle of the season, but the series' seasons have proven too short to have any sort of long-form narrative play out as it should. We do get another surprise in seeing her degradation through the eyes of paramour Joseph Manfredi, who sees Whitney for the dangerous villain that she is, and then decides to join with our heroes in concocting a plan to stop her.

 

As plans go, it doesn't play out that complicated: Use the gamma cannon to open another rift, drawing Whitney into the open, somehow find a way to release the zero matter from her body, then close the rift. That's the general outline. The devil is in the details. The entire episode feels like a long goodbye among friends. I particularly enjoyed the obscure references to Manfredi and Howard Stark's previously unknown friendship (how Jarvis didn't know about their friendship is something left unaddressed), along with how Peggy plays off everyone in her life at the moment. After such concentration on plot in the previous two episodes, a return focus on the characters and their relationships is quite welcome. Strangely, there isn't much of a female presence there, as Dottie is in the wind and, well, Whitney Frost opposes her. There's only Rose and Ana Jarvis, both of whom only make brief appearances here.

 


 

Nevertheless, the plan reaches its rather tense conclusion, as the lure of the zero matter rift proves too much for Whitney to resist. Our heroes' plan includes a lot of risk, only because there are so many unknowns about what happens around the rift. Also, there was the brief thought that Chief Thompson would betray the team once again out of his own sense of outsized selfishness. Peggy is a very forgiving person, although that could be a nod to her knowledge of what they did on the mission with the Howling Commandos last season. In the end, Thompson proves an integral part of the team and able to assist in taking down Frost. The sequence of events at Stark Studios is presented in a clear and concise manner. It may look really goofy for our heroes to basically hold a rope line together in order to keep Sousa from getting sucked into the rift, and there is genuine tension in that possibly happening, but the whole plan goes off without a hitch. The zero matter is sucked out of Frost's body, leaving her a hollow shell who talks to herself and her delusions in an insane asylum, the rift is closed, and everyone can go home.

 

The easy thing to happen would be for Peggy to go back to New York and work with Thompson in order to continue the SSR and then that perhaps leads to the creation of S.H.I.E.L.D. (theoretically, this would be what could happen in a third season; One can dream). As a final surprise (of sorts), the show pays off the long simmering romantic sparks between Peggy and Sousa, leading to a series of passionate kisses in his SSR office. She will stay in Los Angeles to be around him, the Jarvises, and Howard Stark. That could have worked as a way to tie off the series with a nice and neat bow. Instead, it ends with a questionable cliffhanger that sees Thompson get killed by a mysterious assassin who takes Peggy's secret SOE file. It's not quite nailing the landing, as the series has always been cagey about the true intentions of the Thompson character so I can't say he'll be missed, but it leaves hope that there can be material for another season if the network spares the series from cancellation. Don't count on that actually happening.


Our Grade:
B+
The Good:
  • A solid fulfillment of just about every plot thread for the second season
  • Something of a love letter to the characters and the fans
The Bad:
  • Adding a cliffhanger keeps this series from wrapping up neatly

Henry Tran is a regular contributor of review for Critical Myth; The Critical Myth Show is heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @HenYay

Marvel's Agent Carter by - 3/4/2016 7:55 AM129 views

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