Whoa! If you had told us there would be a major Captain America cameo on Agent Carter's epic season finale, we never would have guessed who it was.
Warning: Major spoilers below! If you have yet to watch the Agent Carter finale "Valediction," look away now!
After Peggy (Hayley Atwell) used her brain and heart to talk Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) out of his trance, stopping him just before he could fly the cans of poison right into the heart of Manhattan to fulfill Leviathan's goal, the SSR was able to capture the evil Fenhoff aka Dr. Ivchenko (Ralph Brown) and lock him away...only for him to realize in the episode's final moments that his cell mate was none other than Dr. Arnim Zola (Toby Jones)!
We were so blown away by how the Agent Carter finale tied everything back into the Captain America narrative that we went straight to the executive producers Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters to get the scoop on how that cameo came about and what's next for Peggy. Check out our full Q&A with the kickass showrunners below!
E! News: Walk me through the decision to bring Dr. Zola onto the show, because as a fan of the Captain America movies, that was such a fun treat to find out what happened to him in between the first and second movie!
Tara Butters: We really wanted to connect Agent Carter to the greater MCU, and when we pitched the series to Marvel, they had brought up using Fenhoff as a way to connect to the Winter Soldier program. We had this idea of how great it would be to bring Toby Jones on for a scene—
Michele Fazekas: But we never thought that would actually happen. We thought we'd have to figure out a different way to make that happen. But then he was available and he was interested! That was really nice since a lot of different things could have gone wrong but it worked out.
I loved the Peggy vs. Dottie/Black Widow (Bridget Regan) fight scene. That was so intense! But why did you decide to have the climax of the episode more of an emotional one rather than a physical one?
MF: We've had a lot of fights on the show and Peggy has won them all. We've established that she can kick a bunch of ass. But the ultimate end of the story is not about her punching somebody into submission, it's about her letting go. The climax and resolution had to be emotional.
TB: We already know she can kick people out a window. That's not news. What was different was her actually coming to a realization that's important to her and will allow her to have a new perspective on her life.
The similarities between Peggy talking to Howard as he flies to his certain death and Peggy talking to Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) as he flew to his death were so striking. Did you shape the finale to mirror that final scene in Captain America: The First Avenger, or did that happen organically?
TB: When we broke out the season, we knew that that's where we wanted to end, a version of that scene, a version of her talking down Howard. There's been different iterations of it, though. At one point, it was Jarvis [James D'Arcy] talking him down and then Peggy, and then we flew Jarvis in the plane. But it was really lovely how ABC and Marvel gave us a lot of time to break out the eight episodes, so it felt like we really knew where we were going and it was really nice to see all of it pay off in the final episode.
It felt very cathartic to see her actually succeed in talking Howard down when she wasn't able to save Steve in the movie. How is that going to affect her moving forward?
MF: That scene is the conclusion of her personal journey for this season. Everything she's been talking about throughout this season, where she's been unhappy and what she told Angie [Lyndsy Fonseca] and Dum Dum [Neal McDonough] that she feels like she's not respected, that was all tied up in how she really hadn't let go of Steve. She hadn't really let go of anything from her past. It was a really important step not only for Howard in the moment, but also for Peggy, where she told him that, "You have to move on. As hard and impossible as that may seem, you have to let him go and move on."
The result of that was already clear by the end of the episode, when Thompson [Chad Michael Murray] took all the credit and screws over all his colleagues, especially Peggy, because it doesn't affect her like it used to. The old Peggy would have been outraged and pissed off, and now she's like, "I don't need that guy's approval. I know what I can do." There's something very freeing about that for her.
At the end of the episode, there seemed to be some romantic sparks between Peggy and Sousa (Enver Gjokaj). Are we supposed to assume that he's her future husband that we learned about in Captain America: The Winter Soldier now that she's fully let go of Steve?
MF: I would not assume anything. [Laughs] I would say maybe, maybe not! I would not take that as irrefutable evidence that that's the dude she marries.
TB: But maybe it is! Hopefully we'll get a second season where we can explore that more.
MF: That scene was really to further illustrate how for the first time, she's open to this. She's open to dating again.
TB: And maybe it will be Sousa she goes on a date with and maybe not. Up until this point, she would never have even considered it, but now she's considering actually having a life outside of her job and being happy about it.
The end of the episode had two very huge cliffhangers, with Dottie escaping the airplane hangar and Dr. Zola's return. Are these open-ended stories a good indication that we'll get another season of Agent Carter?
TB: We don't make those decisions but I hope we do get more Agent Carter in the future. Unfortunately, that decision lies in the hands of others who are not us.
What did you think of the Agent Carter finale? Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments below!