'Agent Carter' Season 2 Should Explore These Feminist Plots, Because Season 1 Was Just The Tip Of The Iceburg
It's time to celebrate, because ABC has renewed Agent Carter for a second season. Literally, I couldn't be happier, and it is all I have been talking about Friday morning. Agent Carter was a real underdog show for the network, starring one of the MCU's most beloved characters — Peggy Carter — but not having the ratings to really justify a renewal. The fact that they put their faith in the program, and in Hayley Atwell, is amazing, especially since the news came when I had almost given up on hope. Of course, Agent Carter is a feminist show in the very literal sense, with many plots revolving around Peggy trying to overcome discrimination against women after the end of the war, and I want to see more of those issues explored going forward.
Quite honestly, Peggy Carter is my feminist hero. She was barely a blip on the Captain America radar in the comic books, but she was so beloved in the film adaptation that she has not only appeared in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron, but she is also leading her own TV series. The fact that Hayley Atwell loves playing her (and, fun fact, is depicted as Peggy Carter on Atwell's driver's license) is just a bonus. But now that the series is coming back into our lives, there are some important feminist issues I'd love to see it cover more in-depth.
The Black Widow Program
Dottie Underwood is the pre-Natasha Romanoff. Agent Carter introduces the Black Widow program in supreme effectiveness with Dottie, and the fact that she was essentially brainwashed from childhood such that she still possesses many childlike mannerisms and sleeps strapped to her bed because she's used to it are both things that I'd like to see properly explored in Season 2. Will Peggy and Angie be able to deprogram her the way Hawkeye did with Natasha in the backstory of the Avengers? And how sweet would it be for the power of lady friendships to be what helps Dottie get her life back?
Speaking of female friendships, Peggy is admittedly not very good at them. Her first on-screen friend was her roommate, who died after two scenes, and, for a while, she resisted the advances of Angie Martinelli out of fear of getting close to another friend who would be hurt by the lifestyle she's chosen to live. Now that she and Angie have moved in together — and are aware that Peggy is fighting against their old roommate, Dottie — maybe we can see the strengthening of the bond between these women on display in Season 2. After all, these strong friendships are all that are keeping Peggy sane most days.
All That Sexism
May we never forget that Season 1 ended with Jack Thompson destroying all of his character development, and his rising respectful relationship with Peggy, in order to take credit for all the lives that she saved despite the S.S.R. trying to get in her way. I don't think I need to ask Agent Carter to deal with more sexism in Season 2, but I would like to see them to deal with more kinds of sexism. Most of the issues that arose in Season 1 were so overt that they bordered on too blatant. The subtle kinds of sexism are just as insidious, and I'd like to see more of that come into play.
Peggy's Love Life
Peggy's love life took a back seat to all that she had to deal with in Season 1, but her strong feelings for Captain America made up part of what drove and motivated her. However, we are still no closer to figuring out now who Peggy finally married than we were when she mentioned in The Winter Soldier that she had gotten married. Being a strong female character with loads of other things going on doesn't mean you're ruined by a romantic storyline, so can we get an answer to this question already?!
Women Of Color
Agent Carter narrowed its focus to dealing with sexist issues faced by women in general, but there was a marked lack of women of color in Season 1. I understand that part of that is due to a general reflection of the times — it was 1946, and the Civil Rights Movement didn't happen until the 1960s — but it's not like women of color burst into existence for the first time in the 1960s. Throwing some focus on women who are even more discriminated against than Peggy herself would be a good way to expand the universe and comment on the times.
The most popular 'ship to come out of Agent Carter among the fans was Cartinelli, or the pairing of Peggie with her best friend, Angie Martinelli. Even Hayley Atwell 'ships it. I'm not saying it should totally happen, but — no, I'm saying that it should totally happen. Peggy told Steve that she'd eventually gotten married, but she said nothing about how her dating life went before that. Think of how revolutionary it would be to show an unexpected success character like Peggy Carter, who leads her own TV show, as a bisexual woman in a time when both things were disadvantageous. The plot lines write themselves.
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