The Agent Carter series has done a great job of passing the Bechdel Test, but Peggy's brief appearance in last year's Captain America: The Winter Soldier established a romantic future SSR's toughest agent, but is her future-husband in the series?
To be clear, this series has eschewed the clichéd romantic subplots that so often pigeon-hole female-led, live-action properties, but the hints and statements from the Agents of SHIELD series, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the One-Shot, and even the tie-in comics (nominally set in the same universe as the films) have all established something of a Sword of Damocles with Peggy's post-series destiny. She'll found SHIELD as its first director, get married, have kids, develop Alzheimer's and meet Cap again in her old age.
My wife believes any good genre property needs a good, fulfilling love story to really capture audiences' hearts. I was opposed to the idea at first, citing centuries of hero stories that did not have or need love stories, but the more I thought about it, the most popular (and profitable) of modern action properties have emphasized the love angle. Iron Man and Thor, in the comics, loved and left Pepper and Jane respectively, but the movies have embraced those pairings, for example. Heck, Guardians of the Galaxy created a love story from whole cloth! So with that in mind, she enjoys Agent Carter, but she is dying to know who Peggy ends up marrying and asked me to write this speculative post to that end. Plus, hey, Valentine's Day is coming up.
In CA:tWS, Peggy says Cap "saved over a thousand men, including the man who would- would be come my husband." It is heavily implied that this man was saved in Europe in the wintry battle she was describing to the documentarian, but we don't get a chance to hear the whole conversation, so it's possible she was describing several different events, and then summed it up by saying her husband was among the many Cap saved. Frustratingly, the film shows pictures of Peggy's children, but not her husband, nor is he named on film. So who could he be?
Bachelor No. 1: Agent Sousa
SSR Agent Daniel Sousa has been a good guy from the beginning, not just in the heroic, does-the-right-thing sense, but also in the good-guys-finish-last sense. He fought in the Pacific Theater in World War II where he lost his leg (presumably in battle), and now he's given the pity assignments in the SSR. Despite (or perhaps in spite of) his physical disadvantages, he's probably the most dedicated male member of the agency, going above and beyond to follow up on clues even when other agents believed the wells were dry. While his colleagues are willing to rough up a suspect, he's tried to use his nice-guy attitude to gain witness testimony (it hasn't worked yet). He's also defended Peggy time and again, although this may come from a place of male chauvinism if he believes she needs help because she's inherently weaker.
Pros: He was in a life-and-death WWII situation (meaning Cap could have saved him). He seems like an all-around decent guy.
Cons: He was in the Pacific Theater (and there's no confirmation Cap fought there in the movies). He seems a little too good to be true (possible double agent?). He's going to accuse Peggy of treason next episode.
My Wife's Take: "She could get a guy who acts like (pre-serum) Steve Rogers. He's a safe bet, but a goody two-shoes, all-American guy. It's a good thing, but boring."
Bachelor No. 2: Agent Thompson
SSR Agent Jack Thompson has been a first-class A-hole since this series began. He's verbally berated Peggy, picked on Sousa, beaten handcuffed suspects (who were, admittedly, guilty of conspiracy to commit mass murder) and has been an all-around bad guy. But girls go for the bad boy, right? Last episode did a lot to - well, no so much redeem him, but at the very least make his character more rounded. Turns out he has a secret past as the killer of innocent people, but Peggy sympathizes because she knows just how traumatic war can be. The whole situation left Thompson shellshocked, so it's possible his bluster is all a cover for the wounded soul underneath. Also, it seems he may have a crush on Peggy, so maybe he was just picking on her as a sign of affection. When alone with Peggy, he's said more than once that he knows she is competent, but that he knows the world isn't ready for a woman in power.
Pros: Fought in war (and probably needed rescued at one point or another). Seems to respect Peggy (in his own way). Is in need of love.
Cons: He's an ass. Again, no evidence Cap was in the Pacific Theater. He hasn't outright expressed any feelings for Peggy. Did I mention he's an ass?
My Wife's Take: "She could have the guy who looks like (post-serum) Captain America. He's a rebel, but he reminds me of Anakan Skywalker because he killed innocents, but she's okay with it."
Bachelor No. 3: Dum-Dum Dugan
The Howling Commandos' de facto leader, Dum-Dum Dugan is a lot smarter than his nickname implies. He went on numerous missions with Cap in the war after Cap rescued his unit. He's fought alongside Peggy for years, and unlike the SSR boys, he knows she's one of the most skilled and trustworthy soldiers he's ever had the pleasure of serving beside.
Pros: Saved by Captain America in the European Theater. He respects her more than anyone in the world (comparing her to Steve Rogers). He would die for her.
Cons: He seems to see her as a sister. Despite the hard work she's doing in the states, he'd rather continue fighting alongside his men in Europe, as if the war never ended in his mind.
My Wife's Take: "Hmmmm... (Some reflective thought)... No. He's somebody to just hang around with and have fun with."
(Non) Bachelor No. 4: Jarvis
Howard Stark's faithful (to a fault) butler Edwin Jarvis served proudly when the war began before being dishonorably discharged (for honorable reasons). For the first several episodes he was Peggy's partner in crime, or more accurately, sidekick, in her secret war on terrorism. The chemistry between Jarvis and Carter is undeniable, but the producers keep describing their relationship as platonic. Their relationship successful inverts many gender stereotypes: Peggy is the strong, action-oriented hero, Jarvis supports her, sews her torn clothes and prepares her meals. Of course, there is the relatively major fact that he's married and that his wife Anna, and in fact it was his love for her that led to his military troubles.
Pros: Was active in the start of the war (but was it while Steve was active as Cap?). Truly respects and admires Peggy. Amazing chemistry.
Cons: He's happily married.
My Wife's Take: "Are we sure she's really his wife? I think Peggy would take control of that relationship. He's a mandilon."
(Non) Bachelor No. 5: Chief Dooley
SSR Chief Roger Dooley has been a bit of a jerk from the start, but not as much of a prick as his comic book counterpart (who repeatedly sexually harassed She-Hulk before dying). He repeatedly put down Peggy solely on the basis of her gender, but he clearly knows she is a competent agent (even if he wouldn't admit it publicly). In the latest episode he actually acknowledged her good work and showed a propensity for seeking the truth (despite his apparent single-mindedness up to that point). Sure, there's been no hint of love between them before, but hey, stranger things have happened (Harry married Ginny?). Oh, and there is the matter of his already being married to some unnamed blonde.
Pros: Fought in the war (nature of service undefined). Shown willingness to change his mind and listen to Peggy.
Cons: He's mostly been a jerk. And he's married (albeit not happily).
My Wife's Take: "Reject!"
The Comic Connections
Interestingly, the comics are rather mute on the subject. Peggy Carter's activities were largely unrevealed until her movie counterpart made the scene. All readers really knew about her is that she briefly loved Cap, worked with a European girl named Anna (hmm... Jarvis' Anna?) and met Cap again as an older woman. Newer comics are establishing more of her history - tying her to Jarvis and teaming her up with burly alien-fighter Woodrow McCord - but her cinematic counterpart seems largely based on Cap's other World War II girlfriend, Betty Ross (aka Golden Girl).
Betty served in the military in various capacities, largely limited by gender rules of the time. She was with Steve when he became Cap and remained his primary liaison with the government throughout the war. After Steve "died" in the icy waters of the North Atlantic, she began working with Steve's replacements, eventually marrying the third Captain America, Jeff Mace.
It'd be interesting to see Peggy find her own Captain America as well, but when it comes to finding the real Mr. Agent Carter, only time will tell.