I feel the need for a disclaimer.
I adore this show. I would happily spend time with all these characters, from Rose to Thompson to Howard and to Mr. and Mrs. Jarvis, Sousa, and, especially, Peggy Carter.
The last three episodes had some of the best lines of the entire season from “You just ran over a two-time Oscar winner,” to “Do What Peggy Says,” in unison from Thompson and Sousa.
I also loved that Howard is an equal opportunity flirt, seen in his interest in Rose in this last episode. He also killed it with his line about not thinking impure thoughts with his hands around Peggy’s waist. “Wait, there’s one….”
Whitney Frost made a terrific villain and it was unexpectedly sad that what she feared the most, the theft of her intellectual property by men, was exactly what happened in the last episode, as Howard and Wilkes used her own designs against her. Poor Manfredi. I shouldn’t be sad for what he lost but I am.
I’m a romantic, so I should have loved the ending with Peggy and Sousa finally showing how they felt about each other. I kept waiting for the “d’awww….” and I wasn’t feeling it.
It could be what I talked about last week, with the lack of a strong character arc for Peggy, or it could be there wasn’t enough oomph in the scene itself but it just didn’t give me that sweet feeling I wanted. (I guess I could also blame my sinus infection and the cold meds.)
I do like Sousa and Peggy together. It’s not that. It’s that their kiss felt unearned. Yes, Sousa did prove himself the bravest of the brave in the finale, while Wilkes showed that he’s all too human when he betrayed Peggy when under influence of the dark matter. It’s hard to stitch together a relationship that was only started after something like that.
But while Sousa and Peggy worked well together, they never talked through why he left for the West Coast and why he turned away from her to be with his nurse. What made him feel as if Peggy would never be interested, especially since Peggy called him after the move? We don’t know and that scene where they reconcile their time apart isn’t in the story.
It’s like the kiss in Man of Steel. Lois and Clark absolutely deserve to be together but the story in the movie forgets to add a few pillars to the foundation of their relationship and their kiss feels unearned.
I find this same problem, the lack of a steady foundation, throughout the whole season, which felt more disjointed than the first. Yes, the external plot stayed focused on the dark matter. But the internal plot, like Peggy’s struggle to be comfortable with her value in the first, was missing in the second.
Peggy didn’t change from beginning to end: she’s essentially in a similar emotional place at the beginning of the story as she is at the end. Ah, you say, but now she’s willing to have a relationship where she wasn’t before.
Yet that readiness for a relationship was made clear when she walked into West Coast headquarters and first encountered Sousa. She’s interested there and they both know it. Also, Sousa gets no points for keeping his relationship secret from Peggy for days, instead of confessing up front.
We see Sousa be brave in battle, so we know why Peggy values him, but what we don’t see is much of their struggle, relationship-wise. In many ways, Peggy’s scenes in the last two episodes with Thompson were much more interesting because he was still trying to figure her out. Those scenes made his being shot at the end hurt. Is he dead? I’m guessing he is but if the show doesn’t receive another season, we’ll never know.
The dark matter itself added up to one big zero too. We never found where it came from or how it fits into the Marvel Universe as a whole. Frustratingly incomplete!
All griping aside, I had fun watching nearly every episode and Jarvis just killed it this last episode. His joy at being able to drive her when she’s leaving Los Angeles contained more ‘aww’ in it than Peggy’s kiss with Sousa.
So I raise a last glass to Peggy Carter, intrepid agent, conqueror of hearts, and possessor of the best wardrobe this side of Miss Phryne Fisher.
May we all go on another adventure with her.