This week marked the end of Agent Carter, the limited series run that was tiding us over until Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns next week, and while this episode was a great hour of television, it definitely left me wanting more. If anyone from ABC happens to be reading this, please renew this series. This can’t be the end of it. Now, onto the actual recap.
The episode starts off with Peggy, Thompson, and Sousa checking out the aftermath of last week’s movie theatre bloodbath, and I couldn’t help but break into a wide grin watching Peggy amble up with the guys as if this was the norm. If it wasn’t official before, it is now. Peggy is finally considered an equal. After Sousa is accidentally doused with the rage inducing gas, the team is able to determine that it contains a dangerous hallucinogenic that makes those who ingest it immediately turn into killing machines. At this point, Howard Stark himself arrives on the scene, and as always, James D’Arcy’s comic timing is masterful, as Jarvis’ reaction to the SSR agents’ demand of, “Hands up!” is priceless.
Stark explains that the gas was intended to be a way for soldiers to stay awake for days at a time during the war, but when its dangerous side effects became known, the gas was stolen under the orders of one General McGinnis and dropped on the Russians before the Battle of Finow. Now we know why the Russians were all dead before the battle even started, as well as why Stark was there in the immediate aftermath. He deduces that Dr. Ivchenko, now known to be Johann Fennhoff (aka. Doctor Faustus in the comics), wants revenge for the destruction of his comrades and family that Stark’s invention inflicted, and so Stark offers himself up as live bait in the form of a public press conference on the steps of city hall to draw out Fennhoff and his associate, Dottie.
Naturally, Peggy thinks this plan is too risky, but Stark insists, claiming that his conscious needs him to fix the mess his invention created. Of course, Peggy’s worries are proven correct when the press conference is interrupted by gunfire and Stark is kidnapped and taken to his private airplane hanger where Fennhoff is waiting to complete his plan of vengeance. Using his powers of hypnosis, Fennhoff convinces Stark to pilot a plane over Manhattan and drop the gas over Times Square, where hundreds of thousands of people have gathered to celebrate V-E Day. Peggy and company arrive just in time to see Stark take off, and a plan is quickly hatched to stop him. Peggy will try and break Stark’s hypnosis over the radio, while Jarvis will act as the back up plan; going after Stark by plane under orders to shoot Stark down if Peggy doesn’t succeed.
I don’t think very many people were ever in doubt that Peggy would succeed in getting through to Stark, but that doesn’t make the scene any less poignant, as Peggy finds herself once again talking to a man she cares deeply about over the radio as he’s threatened with death. It’s a beautiful scene that perfectly illustrates the bond between these two characters, and how they are both still trying to get over the loss of Captain America. Steve Rogers may have been the love of Peggy’s life, but he was also the first time one of Stark’s inventions brought something good into the world, and their shared grief in this scene is palpable.
Of course, Peggy finally does get through to Stark, and upon his return, everything appears to get wrapped up nicely. Fennhoff is arrested, Peggy is finally able to say good bye to Steve by pouring the last of his blood into the Hudson, the other agents at the SSR give Peggy a well deserved round of applause for her work on the case, Angie (remember her?) and Peggy become roommates at one of Stark’s more luxurious residences, and Sousa finally takes a chance and asks Peggy out on a date. It’s everything you’d expect in the final episode of a season, however, like most season finales, it also lays the groundwork for future story lines. Jarvis hints to Peggy that he would like to continue his work with her, Thompson proves that old habits die hard when he takes most of the credit for solving the Stark case, and Dottie is revealed to have escaped. But all of this pales in comparison to the final scene, when it’s revealed that Fennhoff’s new cellmate is none other than Arnim Zola, the once and future henchman of Hydra. He tells Fennhoff that they are in America, the land of opportunity, and as such, they have much to offer each other. Cue end credits and me praying to the TV gods that Agent Carter will be back next year. Seriously, are you listening ABC?
All in all, Agent Carter made the most of its eight episodes, and produced many solid hours of television. However, beyond that, it really succeeded in adding to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole, and in particular, it managed to create more depth to the characters and the relationships between them. I know that after tonight, every time I hear Tony Stark spit out the line, “That’s the guy my father wouldn’t shut up about?” in The Avengers, I’ll think about Howard Stark piloting a weapon of mass destruction towards Manhattan under the illusion that he is finally going to find his long lost friend; an illusion made possible because it exploited his greatest shame and vulnerability. It certainly puts an extra level of shading to the relationship between Tony Stark and Steve Rogers, one that will likely pay off for years to come, so once again, ABC? Please keep this show going. That’s all I ask. Oh, and if you could renew Galavant, I’d greatly appreciate it, but I don’t want to get too greedy. I’m fine with just Agent Carter.
That’s it for these recaps, but new shows are debuting every week, so stay tuned for more TV Watch to come.
Line of the week: “Howard, you are the one person on this earth who believes in me. I can not lose you.” -Peggy