As ABC’s Certified Fresh series Marvel’s Agent Carter ends its eight episode limited run tonight at 9 pm, we talk with showrunners Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters about last week’s penultimate episode (R.I.P, Chief Dooley!) and what to expect in tonight’s finale.
Marya E. Gates for Rotten Tomatoes: In episode 7, “Snafu,” we saw the demise of Chief Dooley. I’m a bit heartbroken, although if you’re going to go out — go out with a bang, right? Can you talk about how you came to that decision and what that means for the team going into the finale?
Michele Fazekas: We knew we wanted to have something consequential happen, something that wasn’t just a red shirt getting killed, something that showed both how powerful Leviathan could be, and something that would effect everybody. Unfortunately, Chief Dooley filled that role very well. I couldn’t love Shea Whigham more; I cannot take my eyes off him in any scene that he’s in.
So, as much as we had had that idea very early on and we had committed to it, as each episode went on, we stated to be like, ‘Do we really want to do this? I mean we do want to do this, but we don’t because we’ll really miss him.’ I think it was really effective. The scene where he jumps out the window and blows up was an amazing feat of visual effects from ILM. It could have been really silly, but it ended up being really exciting.
RT: Another scene that was really powerful in “Snafu” was the interrogation scene where Peggy sort of takes down how all three of the men look at her in a different light and all three of them are wrong. What do you hope the audience got from that scene?
Fazekas: That episode was written by Chris Dingess and he did an amazing job of psychologically undoing each of her relationships, which I loved. That she was perceptive enough to know that Sousa had a crush on her and how Thompson treated her. She put them in their places, which was just lovely since she was the one that was supposed to be being interrogated.
Tara Butters: She took control of her own interrogation.
RT: Peggy from the beginning has been this really complex, wonderful character, while the men sort of grow on the audience as the show progresses. There’s a line early on where she says she’ll make them respect her and I think you guys did a really good job showing that through her relationships with her male coworkers.
Butters: I feel like it’s been a very natural progression. I think people often make snap judgments about people and you kind of see Peggy with these people who have made snap judgments and treat her accordingly.
Fazekas: But she kind of did the same thing to them. She made an assumption about Thompson, that he’s just sort of a prick and then she learned about him in Russia and it’s a side of him that she hadn’t considered.
Butters: We tried to be as era-appropriate as we could without it hindering us. I feel like them being sexist was appropriate for the time.
Fazekas: We’ve gotten that a lot, where it’s like, ‘Oh, I hate the sexism!’ But you’re supposed to hate the sexism!
Butters: Yea, it’s not supposed to be fun. None of it is phony or false — it’s just how they did things. But like anything, the more you get to know someone, you start to see them as a real person and… whether it’s racism or gender-bias, you start to judge them as a person and not by what sex they are.
RT: With this huge bang of an ending for the penultimate episode, what should viewers look forward to in the finale?
Fazekas: Everybody has a moment. Everybody has something that is a character defining moment for them. I’m not saying they’re heroic moments, but there’s a little something for all the characters.
If you’re looking for a confrontation between Dottie and Peggy, you will not be disappointed. You’re going to see Howard Stark in a slightly different light, where he shows a little more vulnerability than we’re used to seeing from him. Peggy has some resolution in her own personal life that I think is very satisfying. I would also say to everyone watching: watch all the way to the end!
Season one of Marvel’s Agent Carter is currently Certified Fresh at 97 percent. Will you be watching tonight’s finale?