This article contains minor spoilers! You have been warned.
Agent Carter wrapped up its first season with “Valediction” last night. The show, which ran eight episodes over seven increments, ended the season’s arc neatly but left several loose threads that a potential season two could pick up.
One of the highlights of the episode was the showdown fight between Peggy and Dottie Underwood, something that has been looming since episode six, “A Sin to Err.” (Without going too in-depth, it was very satisfying to watch and stayed true to Peggy’s style of taking whomever comes at her and hitting them very hard.)
That being said, one of the other highlights of the episode was Peggy finally getting some closure after Captain America’s death. In an emotionally charged scene toward the end of the episode, Peggy got to say a final goodbye, prompting a general outcry of sadness from fans on Twitter.
Agent Carter is Marvel’s first solo-female title, though AKA Jessica Jones is slated to hit Netflix later this year. It’d be remiss to write a review of this show without mentioning that Hayley Atwell’s acting brings Peggy Carter to life in a very human way, and with her, this show has managed to accomplish a heck of a lot in developing well-rounded women—something that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has had a fairly poor track record in doing, so far.
Peggy is consistently shown as having emotional depth in her relationships—with Steve Rogers, but also with Angie Martinelli, Edwin Jarvis, and Howard Stark—but she can also kick some serious butt. She is more than her badge, more than her heels and trademark red lipstick. Peggy is a complex character, and one of the best parts of the show was watching her strength in dealing with sexist coworkers and gender expectations.
However, not all strong women have to be physically strong, and it was also nice to see Angie given depth and character traits besides “Peggy’s friend.” One of the things Agent Carter succeeded in was creating relationships that seemed to have weight and meaning to Peggy, and it would be nice to see the show renewed not only for plot reasons, but also to watch Peggy’s development as a character as she continues to find her place.
In coming seasons (fingers crossed) it would be nice to see Peggy facing a more worthy villain. While the antagonists this season set up a crucial part of Captain America canon (the origins of HYDRA, the Winter Soldier project and the Black Widow Program were hinted at, if not explicitly shown) Peggy seemed to have them far outmatched and outsmarted.
One other thing Agent Carter could improve on would be its cast diversity. Even though it was great to see women taking center stage, there were almost no characters of color featured. Racial diversity has always been something the MCU has ignored, but it would be a step in the right direction to show more of the Howling Commandos (Captain America’s team, and an integrated unit) or to have Peggy’s romance with Howling Commando Gabe Jones recognized on screen.
Hopefully, these aren’t damning flaws, and are things that could be addressed in a subsequent season. Though no second season has been officially announced, according to TV By the Numbers, Tuesday’s episode had 4.0 million viewers and held its own against The Voice and FOX comedies. Both the #RenewAgentCarter and #AgentCarterFinale tags are going strong on Twitter a day later.
Flaws aside, Agent Carter is a breath of fresh air in a genre absolutely dominated by male heroes. It’s smart, witty, certainly worth a watch, and hopefully worth a shot at a second season.