I feel as though the episode should’ve been titled “Hollywood Beginning” instead.
Episode Summary: “Hollywood Ending” picks up six seconds after “A Little Song and Dance” ends, but the enormous explosion is surprisingly not Jack’s fault. Howard Stark returns and with the help of his (strange) friend Joseph Manfredi, the team manages to beat Whitney in her game. Zero Matter is permanently removed from both Jason and Whitney. Peggy chooses her happy ending. Ana Jarvis returns home. And Jack’s left in a critical state with Peggy’s files in an unknown man’s hand.
Review | Analysis: “Hollywood Ending” did what Agent Carter does best; it reminded its viewers of the importance of unity while keeping a wonderful balance between heart and humor. I have no plans to write about this season finale as though it’s the end because much like Ana Jarvis, optimism runs heavily in my veins. There’s a lot to be appreciated about this particular finale, and it’s mainly due to the fact that through each and every character we met last year, we’ve seen palpable growth (except maybe in Howard, but we all need that one ridiculous friend, right?). And that’s precisely why we need to move forward with the series because there are still countless stories to be told.
The reason Agent Carter is Marvel’s most inexpressibly unique series is because of how well it works around its characters in the 1940s. It’s without a doubt one of the most female dominant series, but it’s also the one that promotes the significance of equality most eloquently. And that not only comes from the fact that each of its characters fit into the storyline, but the writers know how to give us profound moments in the most subtle ways. If this were any other series, the finale would’ve felt anti-climatic, but for Agent Carter, it works. I did however feel as though there wasn’t enough Peggy and that may have actually been the biggest flaw.
However, the most important component the finale dealt with is Peggy Carter’s happiness. And that’s fundamentally what this series has always been about. Yes, Peggy’s an incredibly strong female agent at a time where the men don’t see her fit, but at the end of the day, it comes down to her moral compass and happiness — the importance of choosing for ourselves and moving forward with honor despite what the world attempts to throw in our paths.
Politely Sarcastic British Heroes: (Jarvis & Peggy) We’re going to start off with Jarvis and Peggy’s dynamic this week as opposed to ending it just because I have a lot of feeling so we’re just going to sort through them together. You lovely readers can help me here.
Peggy and Jarvis have come so far in their adventures, it would’ve been a tragedy if they didn’t live in the same city forever. These two are the best of friends and they need each other — they make one another better in so many ways, and they’re there to offer the perfect advice when needed. It was nice to see Jarvis back to his usual self, but it was even nicer to see him and Peggy talk about Ana’s state. The most beautiful friendships are the honest ones, and I loved the fact that Jarvis spoke about how much they were both hurting then turned it around to praise his wife’s optimism. And the loveliest friendships remind us of the strengths within us, thereby, Peggy praising Jarvis’ strength was the perfect touch.
On lighter note, it’s always fun to watch Peggy and Jarvis share their mutual frustration with Howard for no two people in the world know or understand him better. The three of them together are such a fascinating team, which may in fact be due to the impeccable chemistry Atwell, D’Arcy, and Cooper have. This is the kind of friendship and partnership that makes each of them better — especially Howard. We know what happens to him over the years because of the comics, but on Agent Carter it’s clear that though he’s absolutely ridiculous, he’s his better self around Peggy and Jarvis.
Peggy’s learned how to trust and lean on people more this season, but she often comes to a place where she doesn’t want to burden anyone which could result in people’s feelings getting hurt. And thankfully, it appears she finally knows this. When we love and care for someone, it’s gratifying to do nice things for them. There’s an unparalleled kind of happiness that can only be found when we’ve made someone else’s life easier, and it’s clear Jarvis feels that when he gets to be there for Peggy. And once again, it’s lovely how fervently Ana supports this. I too would’ve been upset if Peggy had left without saying goodbye, but it’s entirely understandable that she would’ve felt as though Ana would be upset with her. However, Ana Jarvis once again proves to be the kind of woman we should all aspire to be — generous, forgiving, and loving. Ana’s choice to immediately go for a hug says far more than words could ever. She’s not only welcomed Peggy into their lives with open arms, but she’s truly adored having her around. And hugging her was not only her way of stating that she’d definitely want to see Peggy again, but it was her way of showcasing unity in the sense that just as she’s special to Jarvis, she is special to her as well. Ana considers Peggy a friend — she has since the moment they’ve met. (Side note: yet another reason Agent Carter desperately needs to be renewed is because not many women would be as compassionate as Ana.)
Mr. Jarvis has always known what to say. When he and Peggy first met, he chose to remind her of the fact that she didn’t need to carry the weight of the world on her shoulders because despite her belief in the fact that Steve was capable, he relied heavily on her. And with that he was implying that needing help isn’t weakness. Thus, in “Hollywood Ending” he chose to point out that Los Angeles has been good to her because she’s got more people to rely on her. Agreed. (Let’s bring Angie to L.A., though.) What I love most deeply about Jarvis is the fact that when it comes to matters of Peggy’s heart, he speaks with gracefully often making sure he doesn’t overstep his boundaries although he can go into embarrassing dad mode. He’s never proclaimed a favorite of her two suitors — merely mentioned pros in each of them, but by the end of this week’s episode, he already knows who her heart belongs to. And reminding her of the fact that sometimes love is enough was perfect. We all know what great lengths he’s gone to in order to protect Ana, but we also know he knows what it’s like to almost lose the one person who makes everything worth it. And he knows very well that though she may be afraid, when it comes to choosing for herself, it’s always worth it. She’s known loss before, and he doesn’t want her to miss out on the opportunity to open her heart again.
Plus, if she opens her heart to love in L.A., that also means he won’t have to lose his partner in crime, and though adventures may temporarily be over, it only leaves them with more time for double dates on Taco Tuesday.
The best of friends forgive each other, cherish one another, and are often there to remind us of the things we cannot say out loud. They remind us of our strengths. They are the heart of Agent Carter and this friendship is undeniably one of the most unique relationships on air. It deserves to be kept around.
Agent Carter can be heavy at times, but the pristine humor makes it easy to want to rewatch every episode. And that humor while often found in Jarvis, is always most ridiculous with Howard Stark. I say this every time he comes back, but Dominic Cooper was born to play the preposterous and brilliant Casanova. It’s fascinating because while everyone’s 110% done with Howard and his antics, he’s theirs. Every series needs that character whose behavior makes viewers roll their eyes, right? And Howard is that character for us. Who else understands his profound need for mustard? I for one hate it when we run out. (Ugh.) But the bottom line is, along with the much needed comedic relief we get from his character frustrating both Peggy and Jarvis, the humanity he continues to show is incredibly fascinating. The choice to offer Wilkes a job at his Malibu facility was wonderful, for we know it’s not just due to the color of his skin like at Isodyne. Howard’s seen Wilke’s mind and though he’s a character who loves himself obsessively, the fact that he has no problem praising another’s mind is remarkable. Unity was perhaps the strongest theme in this week’s episode, and the choice to keep Wilkes in their circle makes me one happy camper. Howard may be tremendously flawed, but he, too is capable of making honorable choices. And the reality is, there aren’t many things as admirable as treating people with the respect they deserve while rewarding them for the hard work they’ve done.
Speaking of Wilkes, once again I can appreciate his choice to apologize to Peggy for everything he’s done and extend it to Daniel later. And beyond this, it’s such a great conclusion to his arc that he’s completely free of Zero Matter. I had imagined both he and Whitney would have to be sent away, but I’m so thrilled to have been proven wrong. Jason Wilkes is a wonderful character whose heart’s always been in the right place, and characters like him deserve the happiest endings. He may not have gotten the girl in the end, but he was rewarded for his mind and for the time being, that’s a phenomenal gift on its own. Hopefully we’ll get to see more of his character, but even if we don’t, his arc was handled with such grace, I can’t praise the writers enough. An honorable character isn’t someone who never makes mistake, but rather the kind of person who learns and apologizes for them. And that’s exactly who Jason Wilkes is — he’s a man who’s been treated unfairly due to the color of his skin, but it hasn’t stopped him from thriving. It hasn’t stopped him from making noble choices. There are two kinds of people in the world — the ones who strike back at the world for misjudging them, and the ones who continue doing their thing despite the fact that they may not be seen for who they truly are. And this essentially has nothing to do with skin color or gender, but rather character. We are not defined by anything other than our hearts, and Jason’s character is a great example of what means to be a hero because of the choices that have been made.
Much like Jason Wilkes, all Whitney’s ever been judged by is her appearance, albeit in different ways, it doesn’t change the fact that for a moment, the two were able to understand one another. However, Whitney’s had the desire for power in her all along — she’s craved it due to the absence of love while growing up. We don’t know much about Wilkes’ past, but the scarcity of encouragement in a child’s life is known to cause lifelong demons and thereby, it’s understandable that Whitney would be more prone to make bad choices. It’s heartbreaking to know that Whitney’s mind could’ve taken her far if she was encouraged to believe in it, or even if she was allowed to share it with someone who was just as enthusiastic about it as she was. But because she couldn’t, it had catastrophic ramifications leading her on a quest to seek acknowledgement in all the wrong ways. If you had told me mid season I’d end up feeling awful for Joseph Manfredi, I would’ve laughed in your face. And now here we are. They’ve both got countless issues, but if there’s one thing we can be certain of, it’s that true love never ends — even when ½ of the duo ends up in a prison asylum. Joseph’s choice to unite with all his foes in order to help Whitney was surprisingly entertaining. But it was Wynn Everett’s desperate plead to get Zero Matter that managed to actually make me feel bad. How completely lonely and dissatisfied of herself must she feel to crave power so much? We all know Peggy’s faced a lot of disadvantages because of her gender as well, but she’s known love — she’s known encouragement and because of that, she can stand on her own two feet and fight honorably for what she believes in. However, because Whitney’s been raised to believe she’ll never be more than a pretty face, it’s harder for her to accept love. It’s harder for her to believe she’s something without Zero Matter and over the years, because she’s closed her heart off, it’s tragically grown colder — darker.
What I had a difficult time understanding however was why she imagined speaking to Chadwick instead of Joseph? It’s a shame really that she wasn’t able to redeem herself in the end, but sometimes, even the most genius minds lose themselves.
It’s always when you start to like your least favorite character where his life is drastically threatened. Concluding the episode with a bullet to a Jack Thompson was downright cruel. Jack’s not the greatest character, but he’s the one character who’s come a significantly long way since “Valediction”. Jack took responsibility for saving the day last time, but in “Hollywood Ending”, he knew his place. And essentially, when Peggy Carter believes there’s good in someone, I feel it’s safe to believe it as well. I’m not entirely sure why he took Peggy’s files, but the choice to give her the key was still a prominent decision. He’s more than likely to survive, and perhaps, the near death experience will be exactly what pushes him towards the right direction. Somewhere deep down it’s clear he’s more than a cowardly misogynist, and I’d love for the series to give him more opportunities to grow. If not, it’ll still be fun disliking him.
There will come a time where Hayley Atwell’s performance as Peggy Carter won’t make me cry but today is not that day. Atwell has layered and exhibited Peggy’s nuances so remarkably, it’s impossible to take my eyes off the screen for I’m scared I’ll miss something brilliant. And though in “Valediction” Peggy had finally learned her value, it’s in “Hollywood Ending” where she finally put her happiness above everything else. Peggy’s been through a lot in life, and as most heroes, her selflessness hasn’t given her the opportunity to fight for herself. This season was all about watching Peggy be a living paradigm of her words. In retrospect, she still needed to learn how to rely on people and how to open up. Season two not only gave Peggy the opportunity to explore love, but she was able to strengthen already established relationships all while developing new ones. Peggy’s forgiving — a woman who often sees the good in people even when they don’t see it themselves. She’s also a woman who gets angry and speaks her mind as often as she can, but these traits, if not exercised with control can actually be dangerous. However, throughout the season, Peggy has taught viewers that though there’s good and bad in all of us, part of knowing our value means having a solid moral compass to follow. True strength comes from apologizing from our mistakes, trusting our instincts, believing in others, forgiving, and loving even when it’s most difficult. And Peggy Carter teaches Agent Carter viewers that women aren’t measured by their gender or careers, but rather the way they carry themselves when the world shuns them out. You can handle everything with grace and dignity, but when you’re an agent, throw a punch where it’s a due (looking at you, Vernon).
One of the themes “Hollywood Ending” focused on was the notion that we cannot live life constantly wondering about what could’ve been. Love has always been a prodigious part of Peggy’s story — season one focused on her grieving Steve’s death while season two allowed her to explore the possibility of a fellow agent (now Chief) becoming something more. Daniel Sousa is the one compelling reason for Peggy Carter to stay in L.A. — the man who’s proudly stood by her side as her equal. Men are often intimidated by strong women, however, Daniel, much like Steve, understands that women cannot be treated as though they’re inferior — respect and kindness need to be given where it’s due.
Though fate had other plans for the two, Steve Rogers is the man who’ll be in Peggy’s heart til kingdom come. Steve and Peggy were the right partners, at the right time, in the right place that needed one another to grow in ways they may not have otherwise been able to. They needed one another to teach them the importance of adoration and partnership in all the most wonderful ways. They needed one another to learn that they are capable of doing extraordinary things. When Peggy lost Steve, she didn’t just lose her partner, she lost the one remaining man who believed her with every fiber of his being — the man whose innocence and kindness rocked her world. And understandably, knowing such exceptional greatness, the only other person she could open her heart to had to be someone who was just as kind, respectful, and full of integrity.
Daniel Sousa is a hero in every sense of the word, but he doesn’t try to be. He fights the honorable battles in front of him despite the physical limitation. Captain America may be the hero the world knows, but in the end, it all comes down to Steve Rogers’ choices. When the group is arguing over who should manually turn off the rift machine, Daniel makes the choice to quietly go for it while everyone else decides. And that kind is bravery is to be commended for in the end, he made the heroic choice without a second thought. He chose to be selfless.
That said, it’s frequently during life threatening moments where we realize just how much we care, and Peggy Carter wasn’t going to let history repeat itself. And when they closed the rift and Daniel was safe, Hayley Atwell’s delivery of Peggy’s reactions exposed so much of her heart. Atwell made sure we could see the sheer serenity that engulfed Peggy — in that moment, her choice was clear. In that moment, everything was right again.
With that said, Daniel Sousa has to be her future husband, right? He’s got to be one of the 1000 men Captain America saved. Beyond what we know from The Winter Soldier, we can be certain that Peggy and Daniel will be good together. The two not only understand one another on beautifully profound levels, but their partnership is one that ceaselessly thrives. Each and every mission they’ve worked on has brought them closer. Peggy sees Daniel for the kind, honest man that he is, and in Peggy, Daniel see the brave hearted warrior. It’s inevitable that the two will only fall deeper for one another. It’s inevitable that their story will only blossom into something even more exquisite. They’ve been bullied around, beaten down, and belittled far too many times in their lives, but neither of them has ever allowed their hearts to grow cold towards the world. They’ve kept their moral compass pointing in the right direction. Daniel has stood by Peggy’s side with unwavering faith in her because he’s known from the beginning she’s capable of greatness. He’s ceaselessly been by her side, not to gain something in return, but because he knew she was worthy of distinguished respect and ardent adoration. As kindred spirits, they’ve believed in one another fervently, and that belief has been the emblematic force in their partnership allowing them to fight alongside one another in perfect harmony– though the world didn’t always see them fit, they’ve always known colossal strength and nobility resides within. .
As far as first “official” kisses go, add this to my endless list of favorites. Peggy’s choice to kiss Daniel validates not only her feelings, but the fact that it’s true, she’d never let anything happen to him. She isn’t a hypocrite — he’s just special. And in the ephemeral moment where they’d parted ways, their expressions allowed us to see that there’s breathtaking light and adoration in this relationship. The tenderness Atwell and Gjokaj conveyed through their eyes gave viewers the chance to see that there’s magic in this relationship — the kind that can only be found between two people who can adore, heal, and strengthen one another. It’s been a long time coming, and it’s just as good as if not better than what they’d imagined it to be.
As mentioned in beginning of the review, I’m not writing this as though it’s a series finale, if the series isn’t renewed (Heaven forbid), I’ll be back. “Hollywood Ending” was a strong, heartfelt episode that did a great job of tying up most loose ends while introducing what may be the most interesting case yet. It may have left us with unanswered questions, but it still gave us closure where it was most necessary. This is Peggy Carter’s story, and in all the best ways, she’s in a great place right now. She’s opened her heart, she’s learned to rely on her friends more, and she’s taking chances in L.A. because she has incredible reasons to — this place could be her home. It’s safe and she’s happy.
Three Favorite Quotes:
Peggy Carter: You sell yourself short, Mr. Jarvis. You may be the strongest of us all.
Howard Stark: Anyway, we’ve got a bigger problem on our hands. We’re out of mustard.
Daniel Sousa: Good point.
- Perhaps the biggest loose end the finale has left us with is Dottie’s location, but with the key in Peggy’s possession, I don’t doubt for a second that we’ll be seeing more of her when (optimism) the series resumes for it’s third season.
- I loved that bit with Howard Stark flirting with Rose. I could’ve “shipped”it if I didn’t know he marries a woman named Maria. Speaking of Maria, I would love to meet her in season three.
- I’m a bit heartbroken we didn’t get to see Bernard again.
- I know there’s a Marvel One-Shot about the day Peggy decides to quit S.S.R in order to start S.H.I.E.L.D. with Howard, but I want to know more about this. And truthfully, it feels like that One-Shot isn’t even canon in a sense — it doesn’t feel as though they imagined Peggy would’ve had her own series. I want to know what happens to Jarvis, Daniel, Ana, Rose, and all the other men at S.S.R. Who follows her? So I say, give us another one which ties into what we’ve seen on Agent Carter.
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