Agent Carter aired two of its final three episodes (maybe ever) Tuesday night, but it was about five minutes of that two hours that will be forever burned into the minds of fans of the series and of Saint Hayley Atwell.
The two episodes pulled out the tried and true combination of Peggy punching goons’ lights out, nods to the larger Marvel Universe (Gamma bomb? What could go wrong there?) and a heavy dose of double-crossing spy games.
For spice it added heart wrenching performances from James D’Arcy and Lotte Verbeek as Edwin and Ana Jarvis who forged an even stronger bond after surviving a crucible of tragedy and revenge.
None of it made the surviving fans of the series (as well as large chunks of Tumblr and Twitter) squee with delight quite like the few minutes that served as Episode 9’s cold open.
Yes, folks, we got a full-on Agent Carter song and dance number with Atwell adding two threats to her performance resume, the return of Lynsey Fonseca’s Angie, and Enver Gjokaj crooning like Bing Crosby and stepping like Gene Kelly.
In the story, the song and dance is a dream sequence after Peggy is knocked out by some of Whitney Frost’s thugs and her subconscious takes the downtime to sort out the conflicted feelings she has for Agent Sousa and Jason Wilkes (some Peggy-Angie shippers are adamant that Angie’s inclusion means she’s also a romantic option, so who am I to argue).
In its execution, it was a marvel of modern corporate synergy as the whole routine was choreographed by, and featured members of, ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. The songs are originals with the Carter castmates laying down their own vocals.
The sequence was the culmination of a game the Agent Carter team has been playing all season long of giving the audience a big dose of fun before yanking the rug out. Once Peggy came to, she and Jarvis managed to escape from a moving truck, which was followed by an emotionally tense confrontation between Jarvis and Peggy that felt like mom and dad fighting.
Although this musical number wasn’t a surprise, because Fonseca’s return for a musical dream sequence was announced back in December, its viral appeal comes perhaps too little too late for a series on the cancellation ropes.
Creatively, the show has been riding a high that belies its dismal ratings. This season of Agent Carter has been of a quality on par with anything else Marvel’s TV branch has put out, but up until last night it never had that buzzy clip like Daredevil’s hallway fight or Jessica Jones’ superhero sex scene to hook a large number of viewers in.
Those Netflix scenes came in those series’ first couple of episodes and exploded across the internet to presumably push potential viewers to check those shows out.
Agent Carter’s dance sequence arrived in Episode 9 of 10 and after the show’s star has already been cast in a pilot for a new series ordered by the network. Way too late for a meaningful surge in viewers that could help make a third season a reality.
If next week’s season finale is in fact the series finale, the cast and crew of Agent Carter can at least say they went down swinging (and quickstepping).