‘HOLLYWOOD ENDING’ PLOT SUMMARY:
Dr. Wilkes (Reggie Austin), Samberly (Matt Braunger), and Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) form a science dream team to help Agent Carter (Hayley Atwell) stop the egomaniacal Whitney Frost (Wynn Everett) from bonding with more Zero Matter and possibly ending the world.
Last week’s two-hour event ended on a cliffhanger but the promo that followed it made it clear that Frost would survive her encounter with Wilkes. What was not clear was what would become of Wilkes or Vernon Masters (Kurtwood Smith). As it turns out, Jason’s inability to contain all the Zero Matter resulted in the explosion of the stuff we saw. Fortunately for Wilkes, he survives the ordeal. This surprised me a little, considering that I predicted his demise as necessary for Carter to marry Sousa (Enver Gjokaj). But more on that later. Masters, on the hand, is dead, done in by Frost like so many others. It’s an undignified way for a character like him to go, and I have to admit that I liked him (largely because of my fondness of Kurtwood Smith). Oh well, you can’t always get what you want.
Though I thought Wilkes was a goner, I’m somewhat happy that’s not the case. Otherwise, Wilkes, Samberly, and Stark would never team up. While it does make it apparent that this season only needed one science guy, there’s something gratifying about seeing great minds collaborate. It does beg the question though what Howard was doing that was so important that he couldn’t help Peggy more. Also, why are he and mob boss Joseph Manfredi (Ken Marino) friends? I know the mob was involved with the movie industry, but it’s not even addressed. Overlooking these issues though, he provides some of the best comedy we’ve gotten from him in the finale; dimensional rifts are perfect for golf.
Speaking of dimensional rifts, let’s discuss how Peggy and the gang best Frost. It’s the simplest trap that they could possibly come up with and it goes off virtually without a hitch. All they do is open another portal and hit her with the gamma cannon. Whitney should see this coming a mile away. Why would they create a rift except to draw her out? She does nothing make sure that things go her way, like taking them out one by one. She doesn’t even kill Samberly, for some reason. He just faints. I guess maybe she’s caught up in the moment of merging with the Zero Matter. Either way, it’s an anticlimactic conclusion to a drawn out story arc.
When it comes to answers about what Zero Matter is, they’re few and far between. It’s unclear what exactly is on the other side of the rift, or who or what the voice that called out to Jason and Whitney was. Zero Matter is really whatever the writers wanted it to be for a specific week. There is value in keeping some things unknown, but it would be nice to have a little more to go off of. At least we know that Carter and Sousa end up together (probably); though now there’s the mystery of what’s in that one file that gets Thompson shot at the very end.
I won’t lie that I’m a little disappointed with this episode as a season finale. However, as a series finale, if it is one, it works pretty well, providing the right amount of closure for all the characters, save Thompson. But who knows, maybe the show can pull off another miracle. If that’s the case, you know where to find me.
RATING: 6.5 OUT OF 10 (AVERAGE)
Aaron Sarnecky is Pop-Break’s television editor and covers Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter, among other things. He is a graduate of Rowan University with a degree in television and film. He probably remembers that show you forgot existed. Follow him on Twitter: @AaronSarnecky