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On the movie side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we’ve seen Peggy Carter at key points in her life, including Captain America: The First Avenger,which showed her early days with the SSR, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which showed her near the end of her life. Agent Carter is following up on her post-World War II adventures, but in tonight’s episode, fans are going to learn another important tidbit about Peggy from before she fought alongside Steve Rogers: that the Star Spangled Avenger wasn’t her first love.
Episode 4 of Agent Carter Season 2, titled “Smoke and Mirrors,” will delve into how Peggy became the woman she is today, including where she got her “tenacity, her discipline, her purpose and what drives her.” This “fork in the road” came when Peggy was forced to choose between marrying a man or training to be a spy. As Hayley Atwell explained to EW:
I thought maybe Peggy’s always had it in her, maybe she’s always been this tomboy and she takes that road and gives up on love, but she actually comes across a great dilemma — to receive the love of a really good man and have the security of a good life, or she goes on this completely off-the-wall, very abstract road that offers her extreme adventure. We know whatever path she takes will shape her destiny.
In order to deal with this dilemma, Peggy finds guidance from her brother, who is able to see what will make her truly happy, deviations from the then-social norms be damned. Hayley Atwell also mentioned that much of who Peggy is comes from “loss and grief and sadness.” but she’s able to use that pain to find purpose and fuel her for everything that she’ll do for the remainder of the season. Although we’ve see Peggy deal with tragedy before (namely believing that Steve Rogers died), one wonders if this relationship she was in might have ended worse than a mere break-up, or if something bad happened to her brother around the same time.
Tonight’s episode will also draw parallels between Peggy Carter’s childhood and Season 2 main antagonist Whitney Frost's upbringing. While Peggy grew up in a loving family with people of “great dignity and integrity” who knew what would make her happy, Whitney was raised in an environment where her intellectual mind wasn’t appreciated and was taught that she was worthless. This makes her a “broken person” who was forced to go to Hollywood to find attention. Even tough she did gain fame and fortune, her wound has manifested itself in a “very destructive and negative way,” i.e. tampering with the mysterious Darkforce. You know, as one does when they’re angry at the world.
It’s safe to say that Captain America will always be Peggy’s most well-known love interest, but learning where Peggy Carter was in her life will certainly be an eye opener. Whether we’ll see this former flame pop up in tonight’s episode or later on in Season 2 remains uncertain, but as far as romance goes, Peggy has enough of it right now. She’s currently experiencing an attraction for scientist Jason Wilkes, who has been displaced from our physical realm thanks to the Darkforce. Then there’s Daniel Sousa, who, despite being engaged, still has lingering feelings for Peggy Carter.
Agent Carter airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST on ABC.