My thoughts probably aren’t worth much. My annoyance with comic book story lines and writing is well-known, I know what I read off of wiki half the time, and I am notorious for being moderately forgiving where the MCU writing is concerned. But considering the stink Atwell has managed to raise and having a strong opinion here, I thought it would be worth posting (also it takes my mind off the fact it is the month of doctor visits around here).
Let it be known, I love Peggy Carter. She is a powerful, authoritative woman in a WWII setting who doesn’t sacrifice her femininity to be taken seriously, and in fact frequently uses it to her advantage. In the MCU timeline, she and Steve never got their chance due to tragic circumstances, and when reunited in the present, she was on her death bed and senile. Between then, she was one of the leading figure heads of what would become SHIELD, and a loving wife to another man who (I assume) she came to love as much as she loved Steve. Civil War finally lets this woman have true peace.
Now, Winter Soldier established that Steve has been part of Peggy’s life. He visits, he holds her hand, he lets her know that he ended up being okay. But she is incapable of remembering it for more than a few hours. I would argue that in the years between the ending of Avengers and Civil War, Steve’s feelings for Peggy have shifted. He still loves her. He always will love her. But let’s be clear, Peggy was in a lot of ways Steve’s first love. While a piece of him is always going to be hers, I think the rest of those feelings shifted towards platonic, and just as dear to him. He was trying to find his place in this new world, for what is likely going to be a long life short of getting put on ice again, and now he’s fighting to keep it.
Enter Sharon Carter. SHIELD agent, code name Agent 13, and able to keep up with Steve as he is now, with some of the morals of his time period.
Let’s be clear, Steve and Sharon are in no way related. This whole situation is not incestuous, no matter what Atwell says. If anything, this is dating a sister and discovering that while the two of you have different goals or situations, you match up better with her younger sister for a better relationship. You can still be friends with the older sister (see my rant above about Steve loving Peggy just as deeply, if now more platonic), but be in a relationship with the younger, in this case Sharon.
Do I think the kiss was awkward? Yes. I think it was written purposefully to be awkward. We established from the very first Captain America that Steve is awkward with women in personal settings, and since he hasn’t had any chance to practice that I’m aware of, despite Natasha’s attempts to the contrary, there’s no reason for that to have changed. In fact, he and Sharon have been flirting with this line between professional and personal relationships since she was undercover and keeping an eye on him since post-Avengers, if not sooner depending on when he moved into that particular apartment.
People love to bring up the funeral that just happened. That Peggy hasn’t even been in the ground for more than a day. Let me point something else out to you. The fact the funeral was that prepared, that everyone (including Steve) was waiting for that text, that message, on that short of notice suggests to me that Peggy has been holding on to the edge for a long time now. Funerals do not happen that quickly otherwise. Arrangements were already made, they were just waiting for her to need them. Steve and Sharon’s grief, respectfully, wasn’t strong enough for me to believe this was sudden news. It was hard, don’t get me wrong. But I think they had been grieving for much longer, letting go of Peggy by inches and this was just the final farewell.
And here’s more context. Steve has just broken international law, and is clearly intending on breaking more. All part of being the man that Peggy loved, being true to that image. Sharon has encouraged him to do this, to be true to himself, and knows just as well as he does what is likely going to happen to him when the dust settles. And finally, finally they cross a line they’ve been awkwardly flirting with for years. Why? Because they know there is a chance they likely won’t have another opportunity. Both are people who can’t live with that sort of regret.
Do I think Sharon and Steve are in a relationship currently? No. She still works for the people who, by virtue of the law, want him captured and thrown in jail. Neither of them are the type to try and make a relationship work in that sort of situation. This was an action. This was them finally going, “I have feelings. I want to act on them when the timing is better, if we both still have them.” It was awkward as hell, the timing was awful, and both have issues to wrangle if it’s going to ever work.
Sounds like a real-life relationship to me.
So for all those who feel like this is a betrayal of Peggy, who think she would be turning in her grave, I’m going to remind you of something. Peggy would want Steve to be himself, and to be happy. Just like she was, in the end, with her husband and her family.