Marvel's Agent Carter (2015) season 1, episodes 8
WRITER: MICHELE FAZEKAS and TARA BUTTERS
DIRECTOR: Christopher Misiano
AIR DATE: February 24 2015
Agent Carter reaches the end of the first season with ‘Valediction’, a wrap up to the storyline, weaving to a close several outstanding plotlines while pointing its way to the potential future. In the aftermath of the death of Chief Dooley, the SSR must pick up the pieces. Doctor Ivchenko (Ralph Brown), otherwise known as the German infiltrator Johann Fennhoff, is loose and causing trouble with his purloined device and the assistance of the beautiful but deadly Dottie (Bridget Regan). A theatre full of people are dead, and we learn the nature of the gas that was the culprit and how it behaves.
Peggy (Hayley Atwell), Jarvis (James D’Arcy), and the SSR are all taken aback by the arrival of Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper), still under suspicion but not for long. Howard’s name is cleared, and yet Ivchenko/ Fennhoff and Dottie are not yet done. The not so good doctor’s hypnotic persuasion is enough to influence even Howard, and persuade him to do something unthinkable.
It’s been wise to keep Howard largely a guest player through this first season of the series. The Stark personality certainly is a boisterous one, passed on from father to son, and Cooper could have ended up hogging the spotlight. The character’s a whole lot of fun, even if he doesn’t want people to really see his serious side. Peggy, who has had reason to doubt him and be angry with him, comes to terms with him regardless, and ultimately breaks through to him by way of a shared bond. Jarvis, placed in a position where he might have to take action against his employer to save the day, comes across as a man torn between doing the right thing and loyalty to a friend, and D’Arcy plays strongly to that. Agent Thompson (Chad Michael Murray) and Agent Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) find themselves on something of a roller coaster this time out, influenced by outside factors - and yet I particularly appreciated the technique one of the two characters used to deal with the hypnotic abilities of Fennhoff/ Ivchenko.
and her little friend
The series has been largely about Peggy, and Atwell has continued to play her as a character we feel sympathetic about and connected to. Peggy Carter is a kick ass secret agent, yes - and her long overdue fight with Dottie certainly shows that - but she’s a compassionate, strong willed woman with heart, and Atwell plays to that aspect as well. As the season has progressed, Peggy has gone from being dismissed by her colleagues and coming to a point where she has been earning respect from those around her. Yet she’s secure enough in herself to not need the accolades. We also seem to get the sense that as painful as her grief for the missing in action Steve Rogers is, she’s starting to move on with her life. A moment late in the episode has that closure feel to it, a moment of farewell (though as we’ve seen in the movies, the elderly Peggy has had something of a reunion with the frozen in perpetual youth Captain America, so how much of a farewell is it?). Peggy is a character we inherently like, can empathize with, and much of that is coming from Atwell’s performance and the depth she brings to the role.