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TV Review: Agent Carter - Season 1 Episode 8 "Valediction"

02.25.2015

Join us each week as we review the latest episode of AGENT CARTER. Warning: the following review contains major spoilers for the newest episode of the show.

Episode 8: "Valediction"

Synopsis: Peggy faces the full fury of Leviathan, as Howard Stark makes his return in the explosive season finale of Marvel's Agent Carter.

Recap: The finale of AGENT CARTER's debut season picks up where last week left off.  In the aftermath of Stark's toxin being released in a crowded movie theater, Agent Sousa accidentally doses himself and then attacks Agent Thompson and strikes Peggy before being knocked out.  Meanwhile, Dottie and Dr. Ivchenko make their escape before being pulled over by a police officer.  Playing the cute girl role, they almost make it away safely when an APB comes through for the pair.  Dottie quickly draws on the cop.

Back at the SSR, Sousa awakens and seems to be back to normal.  He apologizes to Peggy and the two quickly make their way to Thompson's briefing.  Thompson explains that Ivchenko has ten canisters of the toxin at his disposal which is enough to affect the entire city.  At that moment, Howard Stark arrives with Jarvis, prepared to turn himself in.  The SSR agents place him under arrest but Stark has come prepared with everything he knows about the Battle of Finow which includes the true identity of Ivchenko: Dr. Johann Fennhoff.  Stark tells the agents that he designed the toxin used at the battle.  The toxin, Midnight Oil, was originally designed to be used to give soldiers extra strength when tired but instead amplified the side effects of sleep deprivation.  The toxin was stolen from his lab and used at Finow which is why Stark went there to see the results of the massacre.

Stark suggests the SSR stage a pardon for him which would also draw Fennhoff and Dottie back.  Peggy questions why Howard would risk his life and Stark says he must make amends for everything he has done or he won't be able to life with himself.  Peggy takes Stark to the lab where his inventions are kept to get his bulletproof vest and Stark takes another item while she is not looking.  Dottie and Fennhoff arrive at a private airfield, prepared to escape when they hear on the radio the news of Stark's press conference.  Seeing the opportunity, they return to get Stark.

At the press conference, Stark is introduced by Thompson as an American hero.  Before he can speak, shots ring out and Stark is guided away by Jarvis.  As Peggy pinpoints a hotel window as the source of the shots, Jarvis puts Stark in the back of a police car which is driven by the cop who pulled over Dottie earlier, now hypnotized by Ivchenko.  Peggy and Thompson find the gun rigged to automatically fire as a diversion when they learn of Stark's capture.  Confused as to the motives of Fennhoff, the two agents realize it is V.E. Day and they plan to release Midnight Oil in Times Square.  Deducing that Dottie and Fennhoff are leaving the city, they realize that the toxin can only be released from the air which reminds Jarvis of a hidden private airport that belongs to Stark.

During a flashback to six months prior, we see Dottie taken to a private airfield by Howard Stark while on a date.  Back in contemporary time, Stark is tied to a chair and struck by Dottie.  Fennhoff reveals himself to Stark who begs for the villains not to hurt any innocents and to just kill him.  Fennhoff tells Stark that he found his brother dead at Finow, his eyes gouged out and flesh bitten off.  He tells Stark that he will make him suffer for being a bad man and hypnotizes the playboy.  Telling Stark to go back to the time of his biggest failure, we see Stark thinking of the search for Steve Rogers and Peggy pleading for Howard to bring Captain America back to her.  As Stark takes off in his plane, Peggy and the SSR arrive just too late.

With twelve minutes until he reaches New York, Peggy heads to the radio room of the airport to try and talk down Stark while Jarvis will pilot another plane to shoot down Stark if they fail.  Peggy says they cannot ask Jarvis to do it but he says Howard would want to be stopped.  Peggy, heads up to the radio and finds Dottie and Fennhoff leading Stark.  Dottie knocks the gun from Peggy's hands and the two fight.  Dottie pulls a knife but Peggy holds her own, shouting over the radio to Stark that it isn't real.  Fennhoff leaves and Dottie tells Peggy she used to want to be like her but now can be anyone she wants.  Saying she thought she would be better, Peggy manages to kick Dottie out the window and down to her death. 

Thompson and Sousa go after Fennhoff while Peggy tries to talk down Stark who thinks he is looking for Steve Rogers and not about to detonate the toxin.  Fennhoff manages to knock out Thompson but Sousa holds Fennhoff at gunpoint.  He tells Sousa he will not kill him after what he went through in the war.  Sousa tries to shut him up, but Fennhoff begins to hypnotize him.  As Sousa succumbs, Thompson begins to awaken and Fennhoff tells him to shoot his fellow SSR agent.  As he approaches, Sousa turns and knocks Fennhoff out and then pulls earplugs from his ears.  Peggy pleads with Howard to stop but he doesn't listen.  Jarvis calls that Stark is a mile from the city and has a clear shot, asking Peggy if he should take it.

Peggy pleads with Howard that Steve Rogers died over a year ago.  Stark says he can almost see him and that Captain America was the one good thing he did that brought peace to the world.  Peggy tells Stark that he is the one person who believes in her and that they need to move on and let Steve Rogers go.  As Peggy cries, Howard comes back to himself and turns the plane around, following Jarvis back to the airfield.  Peggy leaves the radio room and sees Dottie is gone, a trail of blood leading away.  The SSR take Fennhoff into custody and Stark berates Jarvis and says he is never to try and kill him.  Stark hugs Jarvis and then Peggy and they decide what to do with Fennhoff.

As the sun rises over New York City, Peggy returns to the SSR as her fellow agents applaud her work on the case, shaking her hand and congratulating her.  Thompson and Sousa ask Peggy if she will be staying with the SSR and she says she hasn't decided yet and is just there for her paycheck.  A man arrives and asks for Jack Thompson.  The man, Senator Walt Cooper, congratulates Thompson for saving the city and the country.  Thompson shakes the Senator's hand and takes the credit for what happened.  Sousa gets mad but Peggy says she doesn't need the approval of Thompson, a Senator, or the President as she now knows her value.  Sousa asks Peggy out for a drink after they get off work and she asks for a raincheck as she needs to meet a friend.  Sousa seems a bit disappointed, but Peggy smiles knowingly.

Peggy brings Angie to one of Howard Stark's residences where Jarvis tells her she and Peggy are welcome to stay after the altercations at her former home and workplace.  Peggy asks Jarvis if he is happy to have his job duties calmed down.  He mentions he will be reorganizing the spice cabinet but says he will drop it at a moment's notice to help Peggy.  She asks where Howard is and Jarvis tells her he is negotiating the return of his property from the SSR which he then plans to destroy as no government should have access to his inventions, including Steve Rogers' blood.  Jarvis tells Peggy Stark believes the blood was destroyed but his integrity leads him to believe she knows what to do with it.  Standing on the Brooklyn Bridge, Peggy pours the vial of blood into the river below and says goodbye to Steve forever.

As the episode ends, we see Fennhoff muzzled and put into a prison cell.  As he is locked away, we hear a man introduce himself.  When he steps forward, we see it is none other than Dr. Armin Zola (Toby Jones).  He tells Fennhoff they are lucky to be in an American prison as America is the land of opportunity.

Marvel Universe References: Ivchenko's real name is revealed to be Johann Fennhoff, the real name of Captain America villain Doctor Faustus.  The radio call to stop Howard Stark from releasing the toxin was a nice callback to the closing call to Steve Rogers in CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER.  Plus, a secret cameo from Armin Zola!

Review: What a way to end a season!  There is still no confirmation as to whether AGENT CARTER will get a second season, but this finale certainly has proved that this short run of episodes could be one of the best overall productions from Marvel Studios.  We are left with Dottie in the wind, the reveal that Fennhoff may have been a direct connection to the rise of HYDRA, and the closure of Peggy's past with Steve Rogers.  Hayley Atwell was stunning all season and proved she can definitely hold her own as a character headlining a series.  As both a precursor to IRON MAN and CAPTAIN AMERICA, AGENT CARTER wins on every level.  Great action, great plotting, the perfect amount of humor, and a great dose of pulp makes AGENT CARTER the ideal continuation of THE FIRST AVENGER while also leaving enough room to develop the history of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  AGENT CARTER will now work as a nice bit of binge watching for Marvel fans and hopefully get several more seasons of retro fun.

Episode Grade:

Marvel's AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. returns on Tuesday, March 2nd.

Source: JoBlo.com

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5:36AM on 02/26/2015
God, I hope this show comes back next year! And I think the 8 episodes format is perfect too. I could have watched 8 more, but I think leaving us wanting more is great...as long as we get more!
*My personal wish for season two? I wouldn't mind seeing the Human Torch, which we saw as an Easter egg in the first Cap movie. But in action this time!
God, I hope this show comes back next year! And I think the 8 episodes format is perfect too. I could have watched 8 more, but I think leaving us wanting more is great...as long as we get more!
*My personal wish for season two? I wouldn't mind seeing the Human Torch, which we saw as an Easter egg in the first Cap movie. But in action this time!
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5:11PM on 02/25/2015
The fact they referred to it as a season finale makes me real hopeful about a season 2
The fact they referred to it as a season finale makes me real hopeful about a season 2
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7:46PM on 02/25/2015
honestly the critical and fan reaction to it was great. It got a way better reaction than AOS did, and AOS will always have to take a mid season long break to coincide with the summer MCU releases. That leaves a gap that they air nothing and people forget about Marvel, or they put in these mini series type of shows. Maybe they put on a new character mini series or they do the smart thing, make Carter an 8 to 10 episode yearly series. Tell one story each season and keep it tight and focused
honestly the critical and fan reaction to it was great. It got a way better reaction than AOS did, and AOS will always have to take a mid season long break to coincide with the summer MCU releases. That leaves a gap that they air nothing and people forget about Marvel, or they put in these mini series type of shows. Maybe they put on a new character mini series or they do the smart thing, make Carter an 8 to 10 episode yearly series. Tell one story each season and keep it tight and focused while peeling back the veil on the historical MCU and the formation of shield. Here's to hoping Carter sticks around.
11:10AM on 02/25/2015

Phoney Accent????

Yo, rickyfitts!
Hayley Atwell
Film actress
Hayley Elizabeth Atwell is a British-American actress. She is known for her work in stage productions such as A View from the Bridge, and in films such as Cassandra's Dream, The Duchess, The Pillars of ... Wikipedia
Born: April 5, 1982 (age 32), London, United Kingdom
Yo, rickyfitts!
Hayley Atwell
Film actress
Hayley Elizabeth Atwell is a British-American actress. She is known for her work in stage productions such as A View from the Bridge, and in films such as Cassandra's Dream, The Duchess, The Pillars of ... Wikipedia
Born: April 5, 1982 (age 32), London, United Kingdom
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+1
10:36AM on 02/25/2015

Loved Howard Stark's Comment...

to Sousa, "I can help you with that" in reference to Sousa's limp and crutch. It's a nice little foreshadowing of what son Tony will do with exoskeletons.
Rickyfitts, I don't see why you're coming down so hard on this show. It's probably the best thing on TV at the moment, period piece or not. Instead of retelling a story that's already been told in comics or film, they took a minor but pivotal character and built an entire new show that builds a detailed back story to what we've been
to Sousa, "I can help you with that" in reference to Sousa's limp and crutch. It's a nice little foreshadowing of what son Tony will do with exoskeletons.
Rickyfitts, I don't see why you're coming down so hard on this show. It's probably the best thing on TV at the moment, period piece or not. Instead of retelling a story that's already been told in comics or film, they took a minor but pivotal character and built an entire new show that builds a detailed back story to what we've been seeing in the MCU movies. Regarding the woman in the office taking calls, getting mail and coffee, ask any woman that lived through the late 40s and 50s - the rampant sexism was real. My mother fought against it and all the stereotypes. It's an important aspect of the show grounded in truth.
Peggy pouring out Steve's blood was realistic and wouldn't make a difference to medical research; scientists had already had their shot with 20 other vials of Captain America's blood and got nowhere.
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9:59AM on 02/25/2015
I loved it. Haylee Atwell was so great.
"I know my value, anyone else's opinion doesn't really matter. "
What an amazing quote so entirely fitting to end the first season.
I loved it. Haylee Atwell was so great.
"I know my value, anyone else's opinion doesn't really matter. "
What an amazing quote so entirely fitting to end the first season.
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8:25AM on 02/25/2015
A great miniseries. I think what I like about it is that it really doesn't feel like a traditional comic book show. It's a period spy show, with a few nods to the bigger MCU. I'd be happy to see it come back, but this shorter format is the way to do it. It's amazing that I still find to be the most interesting female character in the MCU, considering the big names like Paltrow, Portman, johansson, etc. I'm hoping this leads to more parts for Atwelll, she really deserves it.
A great miniseries. I think what I like about it is that it really doesn't feel like a traditional comic book show. It's a period spy show, with a few nods to the bigger MCU. I'd be happy to see it come back, but this shorter format is the way to do it. It's amazing that I still find to be the most interesting female character in the MCU, considering the big names like Paltrow, Portman, johansson, etc. I'm hoping this leads to more parts for Atwelll, she really deserves it.
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7:02AM on 02/25/2015
I really don't get the raving reviews this show is getting here.
For me the writing has felt terribly uninspired and the whole show seems like a lackluster half-assed effort. Most of the time we just see Peggy Carter stomping through what couldn't be more obviously studio backlots and fighting work place chauvinism while competing for the "most phony accent in a television drama" award against another brit who - in his very own imitation game - tries to squeeze out his best Cumberbatch
I really don't get the raving reviews this show is getting here.
For me the writing has felt terribly uninspired and the whole show seems like a lackluster half-assed effort. Most of the time we just see Peggy Carter stomping through what couldn't be more obviously studio backlots and fighting work place chauvinism while competing for the "most phony accent in a television drama" award against another brit who - in his very own imitation game - tries to squeeze out his best Cumberbatch impression and some bland russians. Then there is a boring smooth talking villain who has the incredible luck that the rest of the cast doesn't know how hypnosis works either. And then there is a bunch of Stark inventions so uncreative that most of them are basically bombs - including a tremendously stupid precurser of a suicide west.
Oh and the only really valuable invention of Stark, the remains of Steve Roger's modified blood, are in the end given to Carter, because Jarvis beliefs she is the only one to be trusted with something that could well include the cure to a vast number of diseases. But because it is the last tie to her lost boyfriend she sentimentally pisses this chance away. Despite having battled the notion that women in the 1940s were just moronically emotional accessoires to their men she now proves to be little better than that.
So it looks cheap, plot played out dull, forced dialoge didn't give the actors a lot of opportunity to shine, it has completely forgettable use of music (how much one could have done with the period there...), a boring villain and tons of other stereotypes. That it still remained mildly entertaining is probably more the achievement of the comics it is based on. The production itself seemed completely soulless to me.
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8:28AM on 02/25/2015
Soulless? You are joking right? The final 10 minutes of the series had more heart and soul than most anything I have seen on tv. Peggy pouring out Steve's blood, finally saying goodbye, sent chills all over my body. I believe if anyone is soulless, it is you.
Soulless? You are joking right? The final 10 minutes of the series had more heart and soul than most anything I have seen on tv. Peggy pouring out Steve's blood, finally saying goodbye, sent chills all over my body. I believe if anyone is soulless, it is you.
10:00AM on 02/25/2015
"Peggy Carter stomping through what couldn't be more obviously studio backlots and fighting work place chauvinism while competing for the "most phony accent in a television drama" award"

Umm...Hayley Atwell isn't using an accent hotshot. She's from London.
"Peggy Carter stomping through what couldn't be more obviously studio backlots and fighting work place chauvinism while competing for the "most phony accent in a television drama" award"

Umm...Hayley Atwell isn't using an accent hotshot. She's from London.
10:27AM on 02/25/2015
Hey everyone has a right to their opinion. Yours seems a little bit like trolling, but I could be wrong. I enjoyed the show on many levels. Mostly because of the 50s chauvinism and how Peggy Carter "knows her worth". It may not speak to you, but as a father to a teenage daughter, this is the type of television I approve of immensely. TV just doesn't have enough strong female leads who are feminine, tough and smart. I found the show more consistent and tight than Agents of Shield, which is
Hey everyone has a right to their opinion. Yours seems a little bit like trolling, but I could be wrong. I enjoyed the show on many levels. Mostly because of the 50s chauvinism and how Peggy Carter "knows her worth". It may not speak to you, but as a father to a teenage daughter, this is the type of television I approve of immensely. TV just doesn't have enough strong female leads who are feminine, tough and smart. I found the show more consistent and tight than Agents of Shield, which is a bit all over the place.
5:55PM on 02/25/2015
Ricky is a Troll, see if his other posts compare...
Ricky is a Troll, see if his other posts compare...
+1
7:02AM on 02/25/2015
Would like to see more episodes to be green-lit by ABC but would prefer they be in the same 8-10 and done format as this season rather than a 20-25 episode season that ends up witha ton of filler and silly sup-plots.
Would like to see more episodes to be green-lit by ABC but would prefer they be in the same 8-10 and done format as this season rather than a 20-25 episode season that ends up witha ton of filler and silly sup-plots.
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9:43AM on 03/02/2015
Absolutely. I thought the short run really served it well. Fingers crossed. No more than 13 episodes at the most.
Absolutely. I thought the short run really served it well. Fingers crossed. No more than 13 episodes at the most.
6:24AM on 02/25/2015
Such an amazing show. I truly hope there is a second season. So much better than Agents of Shield.

The Zola reveal was PERFECT! Not many shows can make people yell at the screen "holy shit!"

Wopolopolus has wonderfully said everything else that needs to be said about the show.

Fingers crossed for season 2 and more Hayley Atwell!
Such an amazing show. I truly hope there is a second season. So much better than Agents of Shield.

The Zola reveal was PERFECT! Not many shows can make people yell at the screen "holy shit!"

Wopolopolus has wonderfully said everything else that needs to be said about the show.

Fingers crossed for season 2 and more Hayley Atwell!
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2:59AM on 02/25/2015
Wow what a series. If this truly is a one shot Mini Series then standing ovation for it. I hope it wasn't a one and done, but if it is it certainly feels like a perfect book end to the First Avenger film period of time. It feels like we got a little more closure and got to see what really happened to Peggy before time took her faculties. This episode in general was a little slower paced than others, and was in a way more sad than others. I still can't praise this series enough. I won't be
Wow what a series. If this truly is a one shot Mini Series then standing ovation for it. I hope it wasn't a one and done, but if it is it certainly feels like a perfect book end to the First Avenger film period of time. It feels like we got a little more closure and got to see what really happened to Peggy before time took her faculties. This episode in general was a little slower paced than others, and was in a way more sad than others. I still can't praise this series enough. I won't be erasing the whole series from my DVR until the BluRay comes out. Its good enough that I'll be re-watching it more than a few times most likely.

Atwell is more than just easy on the eyes, something about her ability to balance such a tough yet so vulnerable woman is amazing. Jarvis brought some great laughs but again he came to this season a mere "butler" and ended it his own man and his character was a pillar here. The SSR support cast was all great. I do think Souza will go on to be the man she marries and eventually tells Cap about in the Winter Soldier. I hope so, Souza is a good man. Lets not forget Howard. God Cooper was having a blast playing this guy. It'll be a shame if he never gets to grace the screens as daddy Stark again.

I love the fact that they named dropped the real name to Dr Faustus. It gives expands the universe even more, a universe which is already mind bogglingly deep considering all the tv series and movies that all share the same place. He is a name that, if this show continues, can be a re-occurring villain. I figured since they didn't kill Faustus, that Dottie was done given the pool of head blood was deep enough to have both a shallow and deep end of the pool lol. But I did like her character so again if this goes on it gives Peggy a nemesis.

The ending was heartbreaking to be honest. The way The First Avenger ended was a real gut punch. I love that this episode payed respect to that movie, that incident of her last talk with Cap, by nodding to it with the radio action between her and Howard. And during it she comes to the revelation that she must finally let go. It was a situation all too familiar to her that finally brings her to that point. Then to watch her pour away the last bit of her greatest love, that sucked. But a brief glimpse of something to smile about, when Souza asks her out and even though she has to decline that night, the wry smile she gives him you know that she has interest in that good man. However all that leads to a stinger....

A little personal info here but ever since my dad died recently I go over my mother's house on Tuesday. She is almost 70 but she loves all of the marvel movies and tv shows. My dad used to love them and got her into them. So I go over to watch AOS and now Carter with her (and will be taking her to the movies on time). And WOW as soon as that voice hit my mother popped with "Oh My! Do you know who that is???" she knew and she loved it. I was a proud geek at that moment lol. But having Toby show up as Zola on this show was completely unexpected by me. Kudos to him for being willing to do it. It is truly amazing how willing all these actors that commit to Marvel are at appearing everywhere and anywhere. If this show does come back again, I hope he is willing to do more as so many things could be expanded upon even though we know what will ultimately become of him.

Again major thumbs up to all involved with this show.
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6:27AM on 02/25/2015
Such a well thought out and well written post. Glad I'm not the only one who loves the show and will miss it.

It's lovely to hear how Marvel has positively impacted your relationship with your mother as well. On a side note, my wife reacted the same way! Lol.
Such a well thought out and well written post. Glad I'm not the only one who loves the show and will miss it.

It's lovely to hear how Marvel has positively impacted your relationship with your mother as well. On a side note, my wife reacted the same way! Lol.
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