ABC’s Agent Carter got another swift kick last night, at least in terms of ratings. Reports indicate that Tuesday’s outing only received a 1.3 rating—down two tenths or 13% from its last original episode, which hit the schedule two weeks ago. Only 4.6 million total viewers tuned in for the episode, which actually had a plot that tied in with the Captain America films a lot more heartily than previous episodes. So, what does that mean for Agent Carter?
Spoilers will be abundant in the next paragraph or two, so if you haven’t caught Tuesday’s episode, yet, don’t read any further.
Agent Carter took a break last week, so it’s difficult to know whether viewers missed the episode on Tuesday night because they weren’t sure if the show would be back or not. The episode itself was a pretty good one if you caught it, bringing back Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) to have Peggy take a look at the stock of tech the S.S.R. took from him. His ulterior motive was to have Peggy steal back something called the Blitzkrieg Button—a button that turned out to not really be a button. Instead, it was a vial of Steve Rodger’s blood that Stark said he needed for safekeeping but Peggy decided to keep for herself, due to not totally trusting the man. It was a classic episode, filled with plenty of familiar characters and connections to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. But not a ton of people bothered to tune in.
It should be noted that Agent Carter is actually doing pretty well compared to some of the network's other programming, as ABC has been sure to mention over and over again. The network has also said executives are “optimistic” about Agent Carter’s performance and its ability to continue during future seasons. To be fair, when we look at the CW’s equivalent Tuesday night comic book programming, The Flash, the shows did nearly the same in the ratings (albeit in different timeslots). According to Zap2It, The Flash earned a series low 1.3 rating and 4 million total viewers last night. Despite the "series low," note, we still consider those numbers to be pretty darned good, whereas they are not so good for ABC.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where The Flash can be crushing when Agent Carter is faltering, despite similar ratings. It might not be all bad news, however. While I wouldn’t expect Agent Carter to get a full season order next year, the show is still pulling ratings that might entice ABC to give Agent Carter a second season order—one that fills the gap during a similar break for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. next year. If ABC does indeed decide to cancel the series, the network can still fall back on the fact that Agent Carter was initially conceived as “an event series” (although the network has also repeatedly stated Agent Carter could conceivably return for another round).
One thing is for certain: The Flash isn’t going anywhere. The CW already renewed that superhero drama for Season 2.