Marvel’s Agent Carter – Season 2 (2016)
I liked the first season of ‘Agent Carter’ very much, praising it for keeping the run short and sweet. This thankfully does the same while leading the story into previously untapped realms for Marvel.
Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) is sent to the new Los Angeles office of the Strategic Scientific Reserve to help fizzled flame Chief Souza with an investigation there, reuniting with friend Edwin Jarvis as the case leads to revelations of shady organisations as well as the discovery of ‘Zero Matter’.
The first season was an 8 episode run neatly aired in the mid-season break of ‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ and this run added two episodes to take the total up to ten. It still feels quite nicely compact, especially as a few episodes were aired as doubles so it took less than two months to air them all. Along with this short form, it retains the brilliant sense of fun, not least thanks to the friendship between Peggy and Jarvis. His being a sidekick to her empowered independent woman works really well and the show really builds on the foundation of the first season to develop their friendship. It also makes the most of the era and new location, throwing in lots of references to classic Hollywood benefiting from the change in light and surroundings with the move from New York to L.A.
Makes reference to communism, civil rights, even the blacklist with its very on-trend 1950’s setting that’s so nicely distanced from the main MCU. When looking at the tie-in elements of the storyline, interestingly the main plot involving zero energy (which is otherwise known as darkforce) paves the way for ‘Doctor Strange’, which is an, um, well, strange move, yet one that really works in this show as an anomaly that would be perfect for investigation by an organisation known as the Strategic Scientific Reserve. Though ‘Doctor Strange’ will take the more mystical elements, this looks at it from the science side of things, linking it to parallel dimensions and atomic testing, an energy that can be understood by science and therefore prime for testing by Stark and Jason Wilkes. Thanks to its brevity the series doesn’t have too long to tie itself up in knots or multiple levels of references, it simply includes this thing that works perfectly well as something that the S.S.R. would be interested in studying, yet holds extra levels of meaning if you know much more about it from the comics.
What I enjoyed most about this season was the quality characters, both those returning and the new. I thought it was really nice introducing Mrs Jarvis, who in the first season I thought might be a Colombo’s wife type character who we would hear about but never see. In this season she’s a regular, possibly to make up for the absence of Dominic Cooper, who while he does appear, is more of a special guest rather than a main character. What then surprised me was just how beautifully written the relationship of Mr and Mrs Jarvis is. It’s so charmingly written and acted, so I really got to adore them together, this loving and supportive marriage neatly nestled in to a comic adaptation series, a brilliant depiction of a relationship that I wasn’t expecting in the show but loved.
We know from her other appearances that there are certain things in Peggy’s life that will happen, such as getting married and turning the SSR into S.H.I.E.L.D. With that in mind I’d like to see the third season, if it’s lucky enough to get renewed for one, jumping forward a decade or so, bringing the storyline closer to where ‘Ant-Man’ started off, filling in a little of the gap before that with Hank Pym possibly getting introduced.
With ratings declining, a third season that would almost certainly be the last, so taking the opportunity to cover ground that nothing else is poised well-enough to do would be a chance too good to miss. While ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ has somewhat rebounded from perilous depths to get a fourth season order, this has sadly dipped into cancellation territory with the ratings, though it may be a while before anything is confirmed either way. Personally I’d love to see Peggy Carter and friends return for another season that adds to this, all it needs is a few good episodes that round out the story of this strong character in the way that the films seem unlikely to be able to.