Even if it wasn’t the most satisfying season finale, the Season 2 wrap up was a lot of fun albeit frustrating if it doesn’t get a third season to tie up some of those loose ends.
Picking right up from last week’s cliffhanger, we see the fallout from the big Zero Matter explosion. Peggy was willing to shoot Thompson to prevent him from blowing up the warehouse with Whitney Frost, Vernon Masters and Jason Wilkes. Jason’s explosion prevented that and expunged the Zero Matter from his body although why it opted to leave him and go to Whitney was never really addressed.
As Whitney chased them down horror movie villain style, Jarvis hit her with the car and revealed his passenger — Howard Stark to
save lighten up the day. Dominic Cooper is always a blast in this role and his larger than life portrayal of Stark never fails to enliven every episode he appears.
Bracing for the next showdown with Whitney, Team Peggy debated how to beat her when they got a surprise guest — Joseph, who was so concerned about his would-be lover’s mental state, he turned to his old pal Howard for assistance.
Joseph’s actions would have been easier to go along with had he not killed one of his goons for screwing up the previous episode. And it was pretty convenient that Howard and Joseph were old chums.
As wild as Howard’s been portrayed, he hadn’t seemed the type to hang with outright criminals and gangsters.
Howard had a nice zinger about them being such cute kids they probably crammed for their finals as he suggested they just steal Whitney’s plans for creating another warp. Why of all the various team members Sousa went along on an infiltration mission was puzzling. On the other hand, Sousa was preferable to Samberly whose sole purpose seems to make Thompson far more tolerable. Thompson had a great moment as well when his offer to help resulted in him taking lunch orders.
With their plan set, the team lured Whitney to one of Stark’s abandoned movie lots. Stark again stole the episode as he worked on his golf game by aiming into the portal while they waited on Whitney. Jarvis’ irritated/enabling of Stark’s moods remains one of my favorite aspects of the show.
For all the excellent build-up of Whitney throughout the season, her defeat was pretty underwhelming. That’s the risk you run in creating a massively powered villain — when it’s time for them to get beat, the heroes require some MacGuffin to save the day. It was also mildly frustrating that the victorious moment wasn’t Peggy’s, but an committee win that would have occurred regardless if Peggy was present. Peggy didn’t even get to land the knockout shot to Whitney, instead playing spectator as Thompson took her into custody.
And with the portal not closing and requiring someone to stay behind and possibly get sucked in, it was Sousa who was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice and Peggy was just the first link in the human chain to keep him out of the warp.
Whitney’s defeat came so early that the rest of the episode was an extended epilogue. Jason’s apology was awkward and it was almost amusing that he tried to ask Peggy out again. Sorry guy, that’s pretty much off the table when you point a shotgun at somebody. Whitney’s in a psycho ward dreaming of a happy life with Jarvis. In a brief nod to comic fans, a pair of Madusa masks are in the backdrop hinting at her comic book appearance. She might need the masks as she continues to claw and scratch at her face. Joseph, being an unrepentant romantic, dutifully comes to visit her with flowers. All things considered, Joseph shows the most unconditional love of any character on this show. Jarvis and Ana returned home just as Peggy was about to leave. Ana begged Peggy to let Jarvis drive her to the airport.
Peggy’s got to wrap up her reports at the SSR and after a brief suggestive exchange, she’s in Sousa’s arms passionately kissing away. I still am not all that enamored with the Peggy/Sousa pairing. That’s in no small part to Peggy being indirectly cast as a homewrecker. It seems kinda crummy that Peggy was so indifferent to Sousa being perfectly willing to marry Violet a few weeks back.
That could and probably should have ended the episode barring a Season 3. Thompson’s on his way back to New York with the redacted file Vernon had (presumably on Peggy?) when a mystery man shoots him and steals the file.
So who shot Thompson? We didn’t actually see Vernon’s body… Is Thompson dead or merely wounded? Does Peggy stay in L.A. after all? It was a risky move ending the episode with so many questions including the series’ fate thanks to some dubiously shaky ratings. Even if we don’t get a third season, there’s always the chance of some resolution via flashbacks in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. or possibly a switch to a full season on Netflix.