The battle between the SSR and Leviathan comes to a head in the season finale, and Howard Stark is caught in the crossfire. It turns out he’s got a conscience, and it will be used against him by Dr. Fennhoff.
Leviathan’s plans are also revealed to be more than just striking terror in New York. There’s something personal connected in his plans.
Meanwhile, people are listening to the final episode of the Captain America Adventure Show, where Betty Carver sobs as her hero is about to crash into the Sea of Japan. Sadly, there wasn’t a sequel where his body awakens in New York in 2009…on the radio, that is.
There was a sequel, though, of the Battle of Finow, which is how last week’s episode ended. Dottie (Bridget Regan) used Item 17, a gas that drove people in a theater to kill each other, just like in Finow. Peggy, Souza and Thompson head there to see what happened. Souza finds the gas canister, but takes a whiff. It drives him to attack Thompson, but he gets knocked out.
Elsewhere, Fennhoff (Ralph Brown) and Dottie (aka Ida Emke) marvel at New York and how big it is. She’s more excited about burning it all down. They almost get pulled over by a cop, but it turns out Dottie’s wide-eyed innocent act is just as effective as Fennhoff’s persuasive voice. They’re about to leave when the cop gets an all points bulletin on the pair. When he turns around, he sees Dottie about to shoot him.
Peggy and the agents discuss what Fennhoff and Dottie are doing, but what exactly is their target. Some wise guy claims he’s the target, and the SSR pull their guns on him. His butler quickly surrenders.
Yes, Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper) is back, acting like he’s the smartest guy in the room. Fortunately, the girl in the room is smarter.
After being arrested for causing many deaths, including two SSR agents, he explains the gas is called Midnight Oil, orginally designed to keep soldiers awake. Instead, it makes them homicidal. He also says General McGuiness used it behind Stark’s back at Finow. It also explains the two Russians who were looking for the weapon. Stark says he’s willing to be the bait, and the SSR sets up the trap. They’ll have a press conference that clears Stark, and they hope Leviathan will try something. They do, just as Dottie tries to take over a private hangar belonging to Stark. When the doc is tipped off by a radio news bulletin, he thinks they can find a way to grab Stark.
Back at the SSR, Stark wants to know where his stuff is. When he’s taken to the lab, he immediately tries to move them so the scientists don’t get hurt…or worse. He’s trying to find a bulletproof vest, which he made, to protect himself in case he gets shot. Peggy’s not sure about this, but he is very sure. “I’ve had to go through life not caring what people think of me,” he says, “but I do care what you think.” That punch Peggy gave him a few weeks back has taught him something. Even if the general started all this, Stark has to finish it,
Still, Stark can’t resist making the press conference all about him, as he’s feeding lines to Thompson about how’s a big hero. Someone does fire at Stark, but it’s really a diversion to capture him. He is captured by the cop that pulled Fennhoff and Dottie over earlier, who is now under Fennhoff’s control. Stark tries to bribe the cop with Rosalind Russell’s private phone number, but that doesn’t work. Maybe the guy prefers Donna Reed or Rita Hayworth?
The agents figure Leviathan may want to use the gas at a major gathering. They realize today is the one-year anniversary of VE Day. That means Times Square, and Leviathan could release Midnight Oil through the air and cause havoc. Jarvis realizes where Stark’s being taken.
Stark wakes up to see Dottie with a gun pointed at him, as she reminds him that they once spent a weekend together six months before, when he showed her his private airplane hangar. He asks if her name is Alice, and she hits him. What a cad. He gets hit some more when he keeps guessing wrong, but it’s Fennhoff who’s more angry at Stark. What happened at Finow killed the doc’s brother. It’s more than terror that Leviathan wants to spread, it’s personal revenge.
Fennhoff does what he does best: be persuasive. He uses Stark’s one regret, failing to find Steve Rogers after the war. It’s almost as if he’s in the snow, with Peggy there holding Steve’s shield. Stark will fly a plane with the Midnight Oil over Times Square, thinking that he’s flying to Captain America, ready to save him.
Peggy says someone has to fly one of Stark’s planes, just in case he has to be shot down. Jarvis volunteers, because he is the only one there that can fly a plane. She locates Fennhoff and Dottie, who goes into her innocent act before realizing it won’t work anymore. This leads to quite a fight between them. Dottie seems to have the upper hand, while being jealous of Peggy. She claims she can be anything now, even an SSR agent. Dottie seems disappointed in Peggy, until she shoves Dottie out a window and on the wing of one of Stark’s planes. However, she gets away, to become a thorn in Peggy’s side another day. We won’t know if Dottie ever joins the SSR, but it’s a great idea in the future.
Souza finds Fennhoff and is ready to shoot him. The doc, though, tries to hypnotize him into shooting Thompson. This time, it doesn’t work, thanks to earplugs.
Peggy tries to talk to Howard on the radio, but he still thinks he’s getting closer to rescuing Steve. She is very close to telling Jarvis to shoot him down, but she tells Stark Steve is dead. Stark isn’t listening, because Steve was the one thing he did that caused some good in the world, rather than destruction. She says that she knows Howard loved him, as she loved him, too. “Steve is gone,” she says, “We have to move on, all of us. As impossible as that may sound, we have to let him go.”
That does it. Stark snaps out of it, and the crisis is averted. Fennhoff is arrested, and will be behind bars in a special way.
Despite all that Peggy has done, it’s Thompson who takes the credit, thanks to an ill-informed senator (John Prosky). He doesn’t even try to explain what Peggy has done. Souza is upset by this but she shrugs it off, because she says she knows her own value. Souza does, too, and some of the other SSR agents. She also says she isn’t sure if she’ll stay on, but it’s suspected she will. Souza asks her if she’d like to share a drink later, but she says another time.
What about her housing situation? She and Angie (Lyndsy Fonseca) wind up in one of Stark’s apartments, and the rent is right…no charge. Jarvis will be back home arranging spices, but he will be available in case there’s another mission. He says Stark’s getting rid of his “bad babies” because no government should have them. Jarvis also gives Peggy Steve’s blood, because he thinks no one should abuse it, either. “I owe Howard Stark a great deal,” he says, “but he does not own my integrity.”
So, just as Gloria Stuart tosses the “Heart of the Ocean” necklace into the ocean in the final scene from Titanic, Peggy Carter pours Steve Rogers’ blood off the Brooklyn Bridge into the waters below and says, “Bye, my darling.” She has moved on, and may yet find someone who may not handle a shield, but will be a good man. Little does she know it won’t be the last she’ll see of Captain America.
And what of Dr.Fennhoff? He’s escorted to his cell, his jaws wired shut. To those who remember last season on Agents of Shield, it’s how a troublesome girl named Lorilei was vanquished.
Then we hear a familiar voice saying he would like to discuss Fennhoff’s work with him, through pencil and paper. He also reminds the doc that they may be in prison, but they are also in America, a land of opportunity. Dr. Arnim Zola (Toby Jones) knows that all too well.
The eight-week series of Agent Carter told a great story about a woman trying to be respected in a man’s world. Even though she has convinced the SSR of her worth, it’ll be a while before the rest of the world, including senators, will notice her, too. Maybe in season two, we’ll head into the 1950s, when the Cold War gets into full gear. It’ll be interesting how it will affect Peggy and the SSR. Her story is not over, and fans will see to it ABC will tell all of her chapters.
Next week, Agents of SHIELD returns, and they’ll be dealing with a lot of issues, starting with how Skye is no longer the SHIELD agent she used to be.
Entertainment Weekly has more on Toby Jones’ cameo, along with the showrunners’ speculation on what could happen if ABC approves a second season.