This week’s final episode of Marvel’s Agent Carter miniseries lays most of the cards out on the table. Dottie and Ivchenko (nee Fennhoff’s) true plans are revealed, the SSR finally gels after realizing their ace in the hole (Peggy), and Howard Stark comes back to New York City to shed some light on the mysterious Item 17. Stark shares the story of how the United States military used Item 17, known as “Midnight Oil” to aid their soldiers in the Battle of Finnau, and now Dottie and Fennhoff have enough of this gas to expose half of New York City. Peggy and the boys have their work cut out for them – how will it all end!?
In a rare act of selflessness, Stark offers himself as bait to lure Dottie and Fennhoff (who will now be referred to as Dothoff as they have achieved power-couple status) out into the open. This works because everything is always about Howard Stark and Captain America, naturally. But you see, Dothoff knows a thing or two about espionage and its no simple cat-and-mouse with them. One of things that has continuously impressed viewers about Marvel’s Agent Carter is its subtle inference to the impending Cold War, and how the spectra of Russian intelligence would come to be feared in the 1950s and 60s. Dothoff plays the SSR with the old automated rifle bit, and a classic Police car switcher. Stark got what he wanted, and now he gets to suffer on the cross with ample amounts of press attention – this is Ironman’s dad alright.
The SSR team is able to track down Dothoff, who have set up shop in Stark’s private hangar. Turns out Dottie knew about he secret stash of cars and planes because they hooked up last year. Honestly if the audience had a dollar for every every time Howard Stark forgot who he slept with in this miniseries, we’d have enough money to pay for Valtrex commercials on Hulu. She slaps him, we get over it. But wait! Dottie isn’t done throwing punches, because the showdown we’ve been hankering for finally goes down – Agent Carter vs. The Black Widow! “Isn’t this fun?” There’s a nice little monologue from Dottie about how she’s bitter and Russian, but in the end it’s kind of meh – “I thought you’d be better” she retorts, well yeah we thought this fight would be better too. See the thing is you can’t go twelve rounds with Peggy Carter, a lesson The Black Widow learns as she’s tossed out a window.
After hypnotizing Howard Stark into flying an airplane towards Manhattan to dump the Midnight Oil over unsuspecting victims, and sicing The Black Widow on Peggy Carter, Fennhoff makes a b-line for the exit. Our man Daniel Sousa manages to stop him alongside his pal Jack Thompson with the classic “earplugs to resist mind control” bit – hey, maybe the SSR can learn new tricks! With Jarvis in the air ready to shoot down Howard Stark, Peggy tries to talk Stark down by radio one last time. She appeals to his guilt, and to his love for Steve in an attempt to jolt him out of this illusion created by Fennhoff. She says that they need to let Steve go and move on. This is great advice if there’s a a second miniseries. All’s well that ends well, valediction indeed. Peggy earns the respect of the SSR sausage party, and Thompson gets all the credit from the Senate. Consolation prize – she and her roommate Angie Martinelli move into Stark’s penthouse.
There’s some unanswered questions about Stark’s involvement in the discovery of Captain America. We are guessing that guilt runs deep. There’s also some new questions around Jarvis’ allegiance, since he’s the one who ultimately gives Cap’s blood to Peggy to “do the right thing” (Spike Lee, NYC, get it?). We’re also imagining that Peggy might get some autonomy now that she has an ally in their new Captain Thompson – she’ll need it if The Black Widow ever comes back. And will she ever go get that drink with Sousa? Maybe, but not tonight.
Marvel’s Agent Carter miniseries has done a service to the MCU by delving into the lives of one of it’s more interesting characters – Peggy Carter. It’s given us new stories to wrap our heads around, and excited the imagination for what’s to come. It’s also a great example of how entertaining a comic book heroine, in a show written by women, can be. We hope there’s a season two, and we hope there’s some continuity in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. moving forward.
Speaking of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., tune in next week to watch the mid-season premiere “Aftershocks” on Tuesday, March 3rd 9PM/8 Central on ABC.