After an 8 episode winter-hiatus run, Agent Carter has finally come to a powerful – and complete – close. Unlike other ‘mini-series’ that get advertised as a simple self contained story but then leave off with almost nothing resolved – ie: Galavant – Agent Carter stuck to its guns and gave us an ending that is able to stand completely on its own. So let’s take a closer look at this series/season finale and see what happened AND what a Season 2 could look like – if there is one.
“Valediction” – Time To Say Goodbye:
We started the show with a Captain America radio program, so it’s only fitting that we should end with one as well. Just as the radio program featured that tragic farewell to Captain America as his plane went down (this time in the Sea of Japan), this episode was all about “valediction” – the act of saying farewell – to Steve Rogers and Agent Carter itself.
The last time Peggy and Howard spoke, they argued about Steve Rogers’ blood and how each of them loved and miss him. We of course know Peggy loved him; but we also see how much Stark misses him as well. He is wracked with guilt over the things he’s done in his life; but Steve is that redeeming quality. That is what he keeps coming back to the blood. He sees Project Rebirth as the one time he actually did something good; and that is why it is so easy for Doctor Fennhoff to prey upon his guilt and manipulate him.
Though when push comes to shove, no farewell would be as tearful as Peggy’s. This whole season has been about her trying to move past her service with Captain America and the Howling Commandoes. She has to move on; and that is why it was so fitting for Peggy to start saying farewell to Steve one last time while over an air to ground radio. She wasn’t able to bring Steve back alive the last time she spoke like this; and that is why she MUST bring Howard back. Just as Howard is flying the plane to try to redeem himself for what he’s failed to do in the past, Peggy must make sure she doesn’t loose one of the last remaining men on Earth who believes in her. Whereas Stark is in an illusion of redemption, Peggy is actually working to make up for the past.
She of course succeeds and is able to bring Stark home. The woman who felt everyone around her dies has finally stopped the loss and brought someone home. It is because of this that she finally is able to put Steve to rest one last time as she pours the rest of his blood out. She and Stark are finally able to let go and become the people they must become in order to found S.H.I.E.L.D.
Dr Ivchenko Revealed – Doctor Faustus & His Motives:
When we started to see how flawlessly Ivchenko could hypnotize people, we knew he had to be something more. There were many thoughts; but we finally got on confirmation upon hearing his real name: Johann Fennhoff. In the comics, Fennhoff was a Captain America villain who went by the name Doctor Faustus. Unlike the play, this Faustus didn’t sell his soul to Mephistophiles; but is the master of men’s minds. So what does he have to do with Leviathan and Stark?
Well in this version, it turns out that Fennhoff was indeed at the Battle of Finnow when General McGinnis dropped the horrific ‘Midnight Oil’ in order to assist the Russian troops against the Germans. You see ‘Midnight Oil’ was one of Stark’s inventions that had horrible consequences – like his relaxant turned paralysis invention. Originally intended to give soldiers an edge in battle by removing their need to sleep, “Midnight Oil” induced all the side effects of extended sleep deprivation and made them extremely volatile until they wanted to literally claw each others eyes out.
With Fennhoff’s brother one of the victims, Fennhoff has dedicated the remainder of his life to getting revenge of Stark and everyone responsible for these deaths. This would explain the earlier reports of McGinnis’s deaths as well as why the Leviathan soldiers had their voice boxes removed – in order to help counteract one of the post-rage side effects of Midnight Oil that caused problems breathing. By making Stark release his own gas over NYC, Fennhoff would not only return the death and destruction Stark caused Russia upon the US; but would also be able to tie Stark directly to the tragedy for added revenge.
Earning Their Respect – To An Extent:
The day is saved and we all have Peggy Carter to thank … well, at least that’s the unofficial version of the story. Upon returning to the SSR to close out, Peggy is greeted with applause for all the outstanding work she’s done. Though when some officials come in to applaud Thompson’s work, he decides to bask in the credit rather than give it where its due. This might infuriate Souza – as well as the viewers – but we have to remember that this is ultimately the way it was supposed to play out right now.
For starters, Thompson is the type of character who just accepts credit and slowly lets the guilt eat away at him – as we learned in “The Iron Ceiling”. Though despite him being a glory hog, it was so satisfying to hear Peggy proclaim how she doesn’t need their opinion of her. This season we’ve seen her desperately try to please the SSR and prove her worth; but after this adventure she knows her worth regardless of what the sexism of the time might say.
Though if you watched the ‘Agent Carter’ One-Shot, then you knew this would happen. In the One Shot, Carter is back working as an Agent; but is once again being treated as a secretary. It’s not until after she completes a mission that Stark recruits her to help her start S.H.I.E.L.D. With Stark calling the shots, Peggy being back as a secretary as well as this show taking place only a few months after the War ended, we knew this One-Shot would be POST- Agent Carter. It’s still the 40s and there’s many battles to fight for equality; but in the end Peggy knows her worth and that’s what’s most important.
Post Credits – Zola’s Return & What It Means:
Arnim Zola is sharing a cell with Johann Fennhoff? What does this mean? OMG, will they be the focus of Season 2? To put it simply, no! As I said at the start of this article, there is no guarantee on a Season 2 for Agent Carter since this mini-series was kept to simply that, a self contained one season story. Now whereas that doesn’t exclude the possibility of a Season 2 – as I’ll explore in the next section – this Post-Credits wasn’t a glimpse of things to come for Agent Carter; but rather the MCU itself.
Remember that it is through Zola that Hydra grows within the newly formed S.H.I.E.L.D. Additionally, it is Zola who helps begin the Winter Soldier Program. Finally, it is Zola who is able to translate his mind into a computer algorithm. So by placing him alongside Doctor Faustus – the master of men’s minds – we know there are plenty of ‘opportunities’ for these two men to work together on in the coming future. Whether it is brainwashing the first few SHIELD Agents to join Hydra, erasing Bucky’s memory or even learning how the human mind can work and be translated, this meeting explains much of the current Marvel Cinematic Universe and the problems that plague our heroes to this day.
Quick Shot Observations:
- It was a great touch that Souza asked Peggy out by placing his crutch to the side. He’s earned it this season and even took down Fennhoff. He’s more than his injury and with Stark offering to help fix his leg, maybe these two do have a strong future.
- Howard decides to destroy his inventions at the end of the season; but we know he’ll start new stuff – similarly to what his son did with his vault in Ironman 3.
- Howard deeming no government safe enough to house his weapons is not only the starting point for S.H.I.E.L.D.’s beginning; but also hints at its own eventual downfall in The Winter Soldier.
- By Jarvis returning the vial of Steve’s blood to Peggy, he undoes the one bit of damage their relationship suffered this season in the Blitzkrieg Button when he lied to Peggy.
- We might not know where Dottie is heading; but seeing her flashbacks with Stark and him trying to remember her name was just perfect!
- Stark’s mocking of the SSR’s security and how they should have hired him hints at how the SSR does indeed work with/for Stark during the Agent Carter One-Shot which takes place after this series.
Where To For Season 2:
Okay, so WILL Agent Carter get a second season? Will it be a full season or another miniseries? Will it be back on ABC or perhaps move to becoming a Netflix sort of thing? Who knows; but the people behind Agent Carter do have some ideas and they honestly are exactly what we need.
For starters, they confirmed that whatever happens there will be more Peggy and Jarvis as they are the heart of the show. Beyond that, no much else is known; however additional seasons could each be standalone mini-series that follow Peggy through the decades. In other words, rather than have one Season pick up immediately where the previous Season left off, each follow up season could take place in the 50s, 60s and beyond as we trace some of the biggest moments and battles in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s founding. This would allow for much more creativity and show the origins of Nick Fury, Hank Pym, and other key members.
Whatever happens from here on out, Agent Carter proved to be a great series despite it’s tumultuous scheduling and pacing. It gave fans exactly what they were promised and has the potential to return for whole new adventures if the setting is right. Though as one kick-ass lady leaves, a few more will take her place as Agents of SHIELD returns for the remainder of its 2nd Season. Additionally, we’ll also see some of Peggy Carter in Avengers: Age of Ultron out later this summer.
So thanks for reading these Declassified: Agent Carter articles and Stay Tuned Here for Agents of SHIELD, Age of Ultron and more!
One thought on “Declassified: Agent Carter – “Valediction””
My DH and I enjoyed Agent Carter’s continuing story. We were happy to binge watch right through all the episodes and long for more to follow. Our D1D has shared with us the fun of NetFlix, AmazonPrime, Online viewing and downloading selected episodes…OMGoodness…’shoot-it-to-the-vein’ used to apply to my enjoyment of selecting books from the local library online. Now our access to such a vast source of great storytelling has brought us laughter, tears and big WHOOPS of fun. Optimistic that more Agent Carter will appear! Thanks so much for your insight, again, into this series! 🙂