Agent Carter, Season 1 Episode 8 Review: “Valediction”

(Beware, spoilers below!)

In the final episode of Agent Carter, the team show up at the cinema where Item 17 was released. Searching the theatre, Souza finds the canister which was used and gets sprayed in the face with it, leading him to attempt to take out Thompson. Across town our Leviathan operatives are driving away when they get waylaid by a cop for accidentally jumping a red light. Everything seems to be going fine but of course, he gets a call about the duo and he ends up on the wrong end of a Dottie handled gun.

Souza eventually wakes up and is able to regale the way he felt – that he wanted to kill everyone. Thompson tells everyone that he has ten canisters of the gas but just as the SSR try and figure out what Ivchenko’s motive is, Howard Stark saunters in. He calls the gas ‘Midnight Oil’ and was meant to keep soldiers awake for days at a time. The Battle of Finnau was when the gas was unleashed on the Russians ‘to win’. Howard decides to offer himself as bait to help lure in Ivenchenko – also known as Dr Fennhoff.

The bait works and Howard preps for the situation. As Peggy tells him how dangerous the situation is he tells her how guilty he feels for what happened. Howard takes a good piece of body armour from his set of inventions he quickly takes the orb with Steve’s blood. At the press conference Howard gets captured by Leviathan and is taken to Dr Fennhoff. Thompson and Peggy show up in the hotel where the rifle was fired but to no avail. The duo attempts to work out what Fennoff’s next target it and realise it’s VE Day, meaning the Dr wants to hit Times’ Square.

Howard’s in a car with Dottie and the Dr being held hostage. Jarvis works out that Howard’s being taken to one of his private airfields where he has private planes the SSR haven’t confiscated yet. In this airfield Dr Fennhoff reveals he was at the Battle of Finnau and his brother was one of the casualties. He begins to hypnotise the inventor and tells Howard to go back to the time of his greatest shame. We learn that it’s his failure to bring home Captain America and with this in mind he flies off into the sky ready to unknowingly deploy the gas canisters.

Jarvis goes to fly a plane to be able to shoot down Howard if they cannot convince him to stop flying. In the control tower Peggy comes across both Dottie and the Doctor. Both her and the Widow battle it out as the Doctor manages to escape. Peggy might be less skilled the Dottie but that doesn’t mean she’s less tenacious and she manages to kick the girl out of the window. She finally manages to speak to Howard as both Thompson and Souza go after Fenhoff. Thompson gets disarmed but Souza gets the Doctor at gunpoint. The Doctor tries to convince Souza to shoot Thompson but the agent’s been wearing earplugs and knocks him out instead.

Meanwhile Peggy’s struggling to convince Howard to stop flying. Jarvis is close enough to be able to shoot down Howard but Peggy gives it one last shot. Stark tells her how Steve was the best thing he brought into the world and that he needs to make it right. It just manages to work and Jarvis helps lead Howard home. She leaves the control tower to the location where Dottie fell out of the window… but the lady is gone.

The next morning Peggy comes into the SSR to a standing ovation. Afterwards a US Senator comes in and thanks Thompson personally, but Jack doesn’t tell him about Peggy’s involvement. Souza’s angry but Peggy tells him that she doesn’t need anyone else’s opinion to known he value. He asks her out for drink… but she needs to meet a friend. That friend is Angie, since the two of them has been offered an apartment by Howard to stay in. Both Peggy and Jarvis part in good friendship and the latter tells Peggy that Mr Stark is destroying all of his inventions. Jarvis gives Peggy Steve’s blood which he stole off Howard.

Peggy goes to Manhattan bridge and pours Steve’s blood into the river with some final last words: “Bye, my darling.”
Meanwhile Dr Fenhoff is being put in a prison cell with his mouth firmly clamped shut but who’s his cell mate? Only Dr Zola, of course… ! “You are in an American prison, and America is the land of opportunity.”

What a beautiful and heartfelt ending to a show depicting one of the best females in the MCU. The driving force behind the story has been the fallout of the war and arguably one of the greatest losses of that, which was Steve’s ‘death’. It’s driven both Howard and Peggy to the position they have been in through the show and the two managed to reach a point of closure. Though the more important loose ends were neatly tied up the show has left enough open to be able to return for another season, not least because we’ve only seen a tiny fraction of what Leviathan is. Agent Carter managed to make the culmination of Peggy’s mission both tense and dramatic without going for the dramatic shebang, and given the high-stakes nature of the MCU this is much appreciated. Peggy works not for adulation but for the greater good and the story reflects this. I’m so very glad Marvel decided to bring Peggy’s story to life and now both her and Steve have reached a good conclusion following Captain America: The First Avenger. I hope they bring the show back or at least see that the MCU can most certainly expand into the periphery characters outside their main blockbusters, because we’ve had a helluva ride. Bring back Peggy!

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