AGENT CARTER Finale Recap: “Valediction”

     February 24, 2015

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Agent Carter‘s finale began with the Captain America radio show being recorded (I had honestly forgotten that this was a thing, as it hasn’t appeared for a few episodes now). It was certainly humorous/soul crushing that they got the final moments of Captain America so on the nose. I’m almost happy Peggy wasn’t around to hear that one.  We are then witness to the gruesome aftermath of Faustus and Dottie’s efforts from the end of the last episode. While the theater was horrifying, we switch gears to Dottie and Faustus having a discussion about how great America is. I always have enjoyed Marvel’s ability to humanize some of their villains in this vein, and it’s welcomed here.

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Howard Stark makes his bombastic return, barging into the Strategic Scientific Reserve. It’s here that actor Dominic Cooper is able to once again prove why he’s the perfect choice to be the father of Tony Stark. Turning from humorous to serious at the flip of a switch, Stark offers his services to capture Faustus, while also pouring over his experiment that was “acquired” by the S.S.R. Like father, like son, as the only thing Stark Sr. cared more about than ladies was making sure that all of his experiments were properly handled and taken care of. Though to be fair, I thought that S.S.R. let Howard slide a tad too easily, but we’re in the final stretch and, unfortunately, this is one of those plot points that simply had to be done away with. Luckily this at least led to another great funny scene wherein Stark has Thompson parrot his own greatness in front of the media, and an even funnier encounter between Stark and Dottie.

The biggest surprise of the night had to be the revelation of Howard Stark’s greatest shame. The fantastic interaction between Stark and Faustus, with the good doctor reveling in twisting the knife by insisting that Stark is in fact a “bad man.” I was expecting another of Howard Stark’s inventions to be revealed, but the idea that Stark had in fact felt his biggest mistake was losing Steve Rogers in the ice was a nice look into his character, one that he has tried to hide from people with his flashiness. In a prequel series such as Agent Carter, it can be a little difficult to explore some of the deeper moments of a character without disrupting some future event, but this was quite a nice bombshell to drop in this final episode.

The final confrontation between Dottie and Peggy was action-packed, and certainly worthy of the build-up. It was a fantastic display of the choreography the show has had to offer (for as little screentime as it got, anyway). Again, I understand the time constraints, but I feel like they could have done some better management of it here with Dottie being finished a little too quickly. I would have liked to have seen a bit more of Dottie’s emerging insanity as it seemed like the perfect way to put a crescendo on the character, showing how damaged she was not only from Faustus, but also from the “Black Widow” program. A missed opportunity for sure. Though since Dottie survived, maybe if Season 2 happens we can see her character delved into further?

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Speaking of missed opportunities — wow, did Peggy ever take a backseat this episode. Between having to wrap up all the plotlines and the heavy focus on Howard Stark, I felt that the star of the series was made into something of a supporting character. While I can understand the idea behind creating a similar scenario as the one we saw at the end of the first Captain America, I feel that having Peggy talk down Howard Stark just continued his spot in the limelight, when really, it should have been Agent Carter at the helm. This scene wasn’t without its benefits though, as it gives us a good way of having Peggy let go of Steve’s ghost. I also enjoyed Jarvis giving Peggy Steve’s blood without Stark’s knowledge or approval, as it put a nice bow onto not only that plotline, but also the relationship between Peggy and Jarvis. Still, I almost felt the pouring out of his blood off the bridge at the end was unnecessary, as everything that needed to be said was.

Ultimately, I was disappointed with tonight’s final episode, though it still had enough good points to make it a solid installment. I thought that everything was wrapped up too quickly, and our protagonist took a back seat to almost everything and everyone else. The show started with a bang, but ends with a thud. “By the numbers” is the perfect way to describe a finale that should have been so much more.

Episode Rating: ★★★ Good

Agent of M.I.S.C.E.L.L.A.N.E.A.

– Seriously Sousa? Way to just shove the canister in your own face. Come on, buddy, you were supposed to be the level-headed member of the Strategic Scientific Reserve. He certainly made up for it with the earplugs though at the end.

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– Honestly, I was a little surprised not to see Whitehall at all during this season. Seemed like the perfect opportunity to tie Carter into Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

– Amazing Arnim Zola appearance at the end! Perhaps he’ll be the main antagonist of Season 2, if it’s made?

– The way Faustus says “the great Howard Stark” was a total callback to the leader of the Ten Rings introducing himself to Tony Stark in the first Iron Man.

– Faustus: “It’s a beacon for all the world to emulate.”

Dottie: “And won’t it be fun to tear it all down?”

– Jarvis: “Oh dear.”

– Stark: “You know, I could help you with that.”

– Faustus: “A new opportunity has arisen.”
Dottie: “Since I left the car?”

– Carter: “You’re mad.”
Stark: “As a hatter.”

– Thompson: “We are…humbled.”

– Jarvis: “Your genius knows no bounds.”

– Dottie: “We spent a nice weekend together.”
Jarvis: “Is it Alex?”

– Dottie: “Isn’t this fun?”

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