Agent Carter S2: Romance and Frustration
This article contains spoilers about Marvel’s Agent Carter up to season two, episode 5 (the most recent episode when I’m writing this), if you haven’t seen the show and you don’t want to find out what happens, go watch it and then come back. Also some Downton Abbey season one spoiler (trust me, it’s relevant).
Great! If you’ve made this far you’ve seen the show. Good for you. Season one was fantastic! But unfortunately that’s a conversation for another day. I’m here to talk about why I’m angry that Angie isn’t in season two. Who here has heard of queer baiting? For those that haven’t heard the phrase, let me try to explain the concept. Consider this metaphor including your brother Harold, your mom and yourself. Your mom makes Harold’s favourite food all the time, but she never makes your favourite food. When you ask her if she’s going to make it, she just says “maybe”. She’s not explicitly saying “no”, but you know deep down that she’s never going to make it. Both foods take the same amount of work to make and when you look in the fridge she has all the ingredients. Yet somehow it never gets made. Harold’s favourite food is a heterosexual romance and yours is a same sex romance. What I’m trying to say is that queer baiting is when a show has all the ingredients for a romantic relationship between two characters, but it never happens for the simple reason that the characters are of the same gender. They give you romantic scenes and subtext, but they’ll never give you text, and that’s why it’s called queer baiting. They use the subtext to attract LGBTQ+ viewers, but they never make it canon so as not to drive away more conservative viewers. They’re “pleasing” everyone. The romantic subtext between Peggy and Angie in season one was clearly queer baiting. Allow me to explain:
If emotional Peggy had gone to the dimly (romantically) lit automat and confided in a man while Somebody to Watch Over Me played in the background in episode three, and then moved in with him in episode eight, you can be sure as hell they would have been a couple! But replace that man with Angie, who pursues Peggy’s friendship even when Peggy pushes her away, goes out of her way to help Peggy find an apartment, lies to federal agents about Peggy’s location to protect her, and compliments her legs? No, they’re just friends.
Just gals being pals. In a robe. With Angie’s top button undone. Leaving Peggy’s room.
To back up the argument that Angie and Peggy are meant to be, let me tell you why the alternative romance the writers offer up is notably inferior to Angie and Peggy. This season, the writers are trying to promote a relationship between Peggy and Daniel Sousa; yet, it is poorly planned and makes no sense whatsoever. Back in season one it was pretty clear that Sousa had a crush on Peggy. But in no way, shape, or form did Peggy reciprocate those feelings. Jump ahead to season two and apparently Peggy called him several times after he moved to Los Angeles, and he never returned her calls. Without even getting into the fact that Peggy’s feelings came out of nowhere, it seems like Sousa had a chance and ignored it. Not only that, he is now planning to propose to another woman named Violet, but when Peggy shows up, he’s still obviously in love with her. Excuse me? He’s been into this girl since the show started, and when she finally, finally, so surprisingly it almost doesn’t even make sense, reciprocates his feelings, he goes and gets engaged to another woman. He’s hurting Peggy, he’s hurting himself, and he’s hurting poor innocent Violet, who did nothing to deserve this.
Honestly Daniel, you should be ashamed of yourself
Now that we’ve established how poorly Daniel has been behaving, let’s move on to Peggy (that’s right, no one is safe from my wrath). In both Captain America: The First Avenger and season one we knew a Peggy who was the embodiment of confidence. Now, she gets flustered when talking to a boy she likes? That seems a little out of character. We’re talking about the woman who punched Howard Stark in the face. The woman who had Captain America wrapped around her finger. But all the sudden she meets Jason Wilkes, handsome doctor, and she becomes a schoolgirl with a crush? I don’t think so. Supposing for a moment that she actually did have a crush on Sousa in season one, she never acted like that around him.
I respect that some people may have counter arguments. Here are some of the most common ones I’ve heard, and my response to them:
“But Agent Carter takes place in the 1940s, gay people didn’t exist then/it wasn’t talked about!”
LGBTQ+ people have always existed; they didn’t suddenly spring into being a few years ago. Just because people find something uncomfortable or don’t want to talk about it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen and doesn’t mean it should be censored. Downton Abbey (spoilers ahead) takes place starting in 1912; that’s 35 years earlier than Agent Carter is set. They have a gay character! I’m talking about Thomas, who is canonically gay and has even shared multiple onscreen kisses with other men.
“But Peggy was in love with Captain America, so she must be straight!”
Bisexuality is alive and well in Peggy Carter and don’t even try and tell me otherwise.
In conclusion, I am bitter and frustrated. Hayley Atwell (actress who plays Peggy) has voiced her support for LGBTQ+ people on several occasions. Both she and Lyndsy Fonseca (actress who plays Angie) have said they would be totally down with Cartinelli being canon. We do know that Angie is supposed to be in one scene in episode nine (of ten). Before you get too excited, Peggy is unconscious and has a musical dream featuring Angie (gay dream?) where Angie supposedly says things that Peggy cannot say to herself (that’s she’s in love with Angie and she has to move back to New York ASAP to be with her). Even if this is the gay dream all us fans are hoping for, the writers are not forgiven for all the queer baiting and the damage done unto my poor, gay heart this season.