Agent Carter: Valediction

"I know my value. Anyone else's opinion doesn't matter."

You cannot end it like that and not give us a second season. But I'm getting ahead of myself. 'Valediction' brought Agent Carter's first (and hopefully not only) season to a satisfying conclusion, even though it was a little underwhelming in places.

I'll start with the negatives before I get to the positives. First of all, and this is probably a purely personal one, there just wasn't enough Peggy/Jarvis for my liking. For me, their partnership is the show. A better, and more period appropriate title for the show would be The Amazing Adventures of Peggy Carter and her sidekick, Edwin Jarvis. So it was disappointing that Jarvis was pushed to the sidelines for the majority of the episode to accommodate the S.S.R. boys and the returning Howard Stark. The only real interaction they got was their final scene together, where Jarvis pledged his life to Peggy's service. Not exactly in those words, but that was the general gist of it.

I also found the resolution of the arc plot a little underwhelming. We never got a real sense of the scale of what Faustus was trying to do. And the showdown at the hanger wasn't as exciting as I was expecting it to be. The Peggy/Dottie fight, which I have been looking forward to all season long, was over far too quickly. A fight between these two should've been an epic face off that destroyed everything in its wake. This one didn't even do much damage to the room it was in. If there is a season two I demand a rematch.

Right, now the positives. I liked how the the episode mirrored the ending of Captain America: The First Avenger by once again having Peggy talk to someone she cares about via radio while they are flying a plane set to deliver doom on New York City. This time, though, Peggy was able to save the day by breaking through Faustus' mind control and getting Howard to come to her senses. At the same time, this was a cathartic experience for Peggy as it enabled her to deal her feelings for Steve and finally let him go. A definite gold acting star for the always amazing Hayley Atwell.

It was great to see the S.R.R. finally applauding Peggy. Only a few episodes ago she said she would make them change their minds about her and gosh darn it she did. It's just too bad that Jack Thompson, reclaiming his title as the Biggest Jerk in the Five Boroughs, had to go and ruin it by reverting to type and taking all the credit for himself, despite not really doing anything while Peggy and Sousa saved the day. Just as I was starting to think that there was a smidgen of hope for him.

While this episode wrapped everything up, there were still a few loose ends. Dottie, despite head injury and serious blood loss, somehow managed to escape. Which is great because the more Bridget Regan the better. Every good hero needs a nemesis and Dottie, who is basically a dark reflection of Peggy, is perfect for the job.

And then there was that final scene, a typical Marvel post credit tease, as Faustus was placed in a cell with none other than Arnim Zola himself (nice to see you, Toby Jones). The seeds of a new HYDRA have been sown. If there is a second season, is this something the show will explore? Or was this scene just a little treat for long term fans? Either way, it goes some way to explaining how Bucky Barns went from being found by Russian soldiers to ending up in the hands of HYDRA.

Intel and Assets

--The Captain America radio show made an encore and gave us its version of Peggy and Cap's goodbye with added ham and cheese.

--Peggy and Angie have moved into Stark's luxury Manhattan apartment together. If there is a second season, does this mean Angie will be help Peggy out on her missions? I hope so, because Lyndsy Fonseca has been criminally underused so far.

--Still no sign of Maris Anna Jarvis.

--When Angie left the room to call her mother, I was honestly expecting her to be revealed as a HYDRA agent.

Reporter: “Is it true that you were hiding at the residence of Barbara Stanwyck?”

Jarvis: "Should you again find yourself in need of my services, I would be honoured to assist you at a moment's notice, Miss Carter."

Jarvis: "How refreshing to meet someone who appreciates the finer things."
Peggy: "I appreciate the finer things. I just don't want to know what's happened in or on the finer things."

Three out of four nests of spiders with very short legs.
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.


Billie Doux said...

Your review is right on the money, Mark. I liked it, but didn't love it. The best part was all of Peggy's workmates applauding her entrance. Not a surprise that Jack what's his face took the credit for her work, though. We can't have completely clear sailing for Peggy.

sunbunny said...

'When Angie left the room to call her mother, I was honestly expecting her to be revealed as a HYDRA agent.'

YES! Me too.

Patrick said...

Personally I'd love it if Angie gets recruited into Peggy's future missions, even off the books. Lyndsy Fonseca certainly proved her spy chops on Nikita. And we definitely need a rematch with Dottie, I can never get enough Bridget Regan, even though I miss her usual red hair. :)

I loved this finale, even though it may not have been on as grand a scale as some were hoping for. Rather than swing for the fences and miss, they got a solid extra-base hit(can you tell I'm excited that Spring Training has begun?), and I'm fine with that.

Hayley Atwell deserves every accolade possible for her work on this show. Her portrayal of Agent Carter was one of the strongest, most three-dimensional, inspiring, relatable female characters we've ever had on television. She was strong without being bitchy, a feminist without alienating the male audience, they neither hid Ms. Atwell's obvious physical allure nor did they overemphasize it. I sincerely hope we get more of this show, even if it continues to be in a shorter format like this. I'd love it if they could find a way to extend it to something like an 8-episode run in the winter and another 8-10 episodes in the summertime, perhaps. But only if they can maintain the quality they had in this first season. From start to finish, it was a thoroughly enjoyable ride.

Josie Kafka said...

Excellent review, Mark! I'm so happy you're covering this for us.

Patrick, I agree completely about Peggy Carter. She's downright inspirational.

I really hope this show gets renewed. Really, really a lot. But I'm also excited for Daredevil. Damn you, Marvel! You've lured me in!

Jess Lynde said...

I agree completely that there just wasn't enough Peggy in this finale, and the fight between Peggy and Dottie was seriously underwhelming. I was also rather disappointed in Thompson reverting to type at the end, as I was thinking he'd come around.

Ah, well. It was still sort of nice to hear Peggy say that getting the recognition didn't matter because she knew her own worth, and to really mean it. It was a fitting conclusion for this season's "Peggy's struggles in the workplace" arc.

Overall, it was a decent enough conclusion for this first eight, and I sure hope we get at least one more season. I want more Peggy and Jarvis!