– Spoiler Review –
Agent Carter’s season finale “Valediction” came full circle from the opening moments of the season, paid off some of the emotional growth of the characters, and brought the story to a pretty tight close, capping off a wonderfully, for the most part, executed shorter season.
I thoroughly enjoyed when the season opened with the one of the final scenes in the first Captain film, where Peggy and Steve talk right up until he crash lands into the Antarctic, and I was even more pleasantly surprised when “Valediction” found a way to come full circle on that moment. Peggy is faced with talking to another man over the radio that she cares about till their possible death, but this time she has a chance to stop it from happening. Peggy’s speech about letting go of Steve and learning to live in the moment and for those still with us is a powerful one and I’m not ashamed to admit I was getting teary-eyed during it. As much as that scene solves the problem at hand, getting Howard to snap out of a hypnosis from Dr. Fennhoff (Ivchenko, Faustus…whatever you want to call him), it also lets her move on emotionally from her attachment to a man she’ll likely never see again (until she’s like 90). Sometimes you find TV shows forget to cover the emotional growth of their characters in the name of grandiose plots and convoluted season finale cliffhangers, and while Agent Carter had plenty of plot resolution, it also excelled at character resolution for at least its main character.
The events at Finow were declassified (and went mostly as predicted in last week’s review) by Howard Stark, who finally decides to turn himself in after all the death and chaos his inventions and hiding from it all has caused. Stark’s still his usual cocky throughout the episode, like when he’s unable to remember the name Dottie called herself when they met some 6 months prior. But we also get to see chinks in his sarcastic armor, especially as he professes to Fennhoff his guilt and desire to make amends for Finow after he’s been captured. Stark also gets a small bit of emotional growth, if only a slight knock to his ego, as he decides to begin pushing away from creating destructive inventions.
I wish it had been a little clearer in “SNAFU” that Fennhoff got away with more than one canister and it took a while before it was revealed here that he had gotten over a dozen; He didn’t seem that dangerous, at least on a mass destruction level, to have on the loose until that information was revealed. Combine his hypnotic abilities with a desire to see Stark’s name forever tarnished and suddenly he is a very dangerous man. He sends Stark off to bomb the one year anniversary celebration of V-E Day in Times Square due to Fennhoff having to watch his brother be murdered when the Midnight Oil was dropped at Finow. As far as motivations go, it was nice to have it be more of a personal reason than some crazy organization’s world domination plans.
While I enjoyed the fight between Dottie and Peggy–I’ve been waiting for it since she was introduced–it could’ve been a little longer. Either way, Dottie’s lines in their fight are odd and humorous, just as you’d expect her to be; She even confirmed the creepy scene in “The Blitzkrieg Button,” where she admires herself in Peggy’s mirror, is part of her desire to take her place at the SSR. Even after being kicked out of a window, unsurprisingly Dottie disappears to live to fight another day. Having her be a reoccurring villain who simply attacks Peggy for revenge purposes would be a fun character for season two.
Jarvis and Peggy, who spent a lot of time together for a majority of the season, haven’t had a lot of time together in these last two episodes. But their final scene together was probably the second best scene of the night (compared to the coming full circle moment), as Jarvis gives Peggy the last vial of Steve’s blood, which we had seen Stark steal earlier. Their journey together, him helping Peggy when she needs support the most and her giving him the adventure he still craves, is one of my favorite parts of the series. This finale wouldn’t have felt right without some type of ‘ending’ for these two teammates and I look forward to seeing Peggy use his offer of continued service in the future.
Here are a few other things:
- So I’m a little hazy on what/who Leviathan really was and while it’s not important that the group got explained or completely revealed, it was just odd considering the message Peggy read in “SNAFU” send something about Leviathan coming. As far as I can tell, there was just Dottie and Fennhoff, both operatives of the group, that we saw in “Valediction.” I guess the group as a whole could be back to fight Peggy again next season?
- Thompson’s decision to take the credit was a little surprising, but the look shared between Peggy and Thompson (to me) signaled she was basically allowing him to do so after he asked for her permission. In a way it’s praise he actually somewhat deserves, compared to the praise for his wartime ‘heroics’ he revealed to Peggy in “The Iron Curtain.”
- Sousa taking down Fennhoff because he decided to wear earplugs was genius and I was almost sold on his act of being hypnotized. And he finally got the courage to ask Peggy out, though having just begun moving on from Steve, she took a raincheck. Can I just say, Hayley Atwell’s smile in that scene was absolutely gorgeous.
- We even got a scene with Angie, who now gets to be roommates with Peggy in the biggest, freest renting situation ever.
- Arnim Zola’s (Toby Jones reprising his role from the Captain films) appearance was one of the only surprises for the night and according to the EP’s of the show, his friendship with the captive Fennhoff is the start of the Winter Soldier program. It’s been great to have the actors who portray these characters in the films appear on the show as well!
Agent Carter seemed like a risky proposition due to its short length, but its first season readily proved it’s a concept worth attempting. Though a shorter season meant some of the twist and turns were a little more obvious than most shows, the series’ focus on its characters ended up being a smart choice, helping to distract from the quick plot. It should be a no-brainer to bring this show back for another season, because Peggy Carter is a hero we can all enjoy thanks to her being inherently human…and inherently awesome at ass-kicking.
+ Peggy moving on
+ More character payoff than plot
+ Jarvis and Peggy’s final scene
– Felt a little too predictable
MARVEL’S AGENTS OF SHIELD REVIEWS:
Season Two: 2.1 Shadows | 2.2 Heavy is the Head | 2.3 Making Friends and Influencing People | 2.4 Face My Enemy | 2.5 A Hen in the Wolf House | 2.6 A Fractured House | 2.7 The Writing on the Wall | 2.8 The Things We Bury | 2.9 …Ye Who Enter Here | 2.10 What They Become | 2.11 Aftershocks | 2.12 Who You Really Are | 2.13 One of Us | 2.14 Love in the Time of Hydra | 2.15 One Door Closes | 2.16 Afterlife | 2.17 Melinda | 2.18 The Frenemy of My Enemy | 2.19 The Dirty Half Dozen | 2.20 Scars | 2.21,22: S.O.S.