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Agent Carter Review (S1E8): 'Valediction'


The season finale of Agent Carter, ‘Valediction,’ provided a nice conclusion to the exciting miniseries, but it did so with less Peggy Carter. The driving force of the series took a back seat to the men of the SSR and Howard Stark. Stark turned himself in when news of the psychosis-inducing gas attack in the theater broke out and left tens of people dead. It then became all about how Stark and the agents were going to lure Leviathan out in the open. And to top it off when all is said and done Agent Thompson gets the credit for the operation. What kind of evil twist is this?

Don’t get me wrong. Dominic Cooper makes a charming, womanizing, wise-cracker who finds some humanity in this episode. It isn’t until he’s hypnotized by Johann Fennhoff to drop the dangerous gas on Times Square on V.E. Day does Peggy get to come to the forefront. Up until then, it was Agent Thompson organizing a press conference publicly absolving Stark of any crimes in the hopes it would draw out Fennhoff and Dottie. Of course, things go awry and Stark is abducted. Stark is convinced he’s flying over the Arctic having located Captain America and it’s up to Peggy to talk him out of really releasing the gas over a crowded New York City.

 Fennhoff seems overly effective with his hypnotic powers of suggestion. Perhaps a little too easy for writers to use as way to propel the drama. With Capt. Dooley it seemed like a long drawn out affair now it seems any traffic cop can be turned in seconds. It’s a weak point in the plot but forgivable once our fearless heroine returns to kick butt. The showdown with Dottie was technically efficient but didn’t carry the weight I anticipated. It was probably because they didn’t share much of a connection beyond living in the same building and didn’t have a significant bond. Still, the fight choreography was excellent once again with some brutal blows exchanged.

Peggy talks Stark down and saves the day so what’s next? Does Agent Carter return as a mini-series again or as a full-fledged series? Now that’s she’s been able to move on without Steve Rogers as evidenced by her spilling the last remaining vial of his blood off the Brooklyn Bridge will we see a new romance emerge? How does Armin Zola’s appearance at the end play into the reemergence of HYDRA? Will we see a relationship as charming with a woman as Peggy has with Jarvis? And will he be back considering he’s vowed to help her in the future despite Stark no longer being a wanted man?

A lot of questions facing the future of Agent Carter but one thing is certain, it deserves a second season. Peggy Carter has, in short order, become a powerful and inspiring female hero icon that the television landscape desperately needs. The setting of the 50's allows for a blatantly hostile society towards women that Peggy pushes through while alluding to the challenges that still plague women today. 

This particular passage speaks volumes as to why we need more Agent Carter:
“I don’t need a congressional honor. I don’t need Agent Thompson’s approval or the President’s. I know my value. Anyone else’s opinion doesn’t really matter.”
Let's hope ABC does the right thing and bring the show back for more thrilling adventures with an expanded and diverse world.


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