Agent Carter: “Valediction” Season Finale Review

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As far as finales go, “Valediction” was a pretty tame one.

After Chief Dooley’s heroic sacrifice at the end of last week’s episode, Agent Carter has a lot of trouble maintaining the momentum as its first (and possibly only) season closes out. We end up with a finale that is more or less of the same quality the entire season has been, which is to say just barely good enough while not seemingly trying to be more.

The episode would have been worse had Howard Stark not played such an integral role. He shows up at the SSR headquarters at the top of the episode, immediately dealing with his innocence and doing what he can to clear his name. Turns out, Ivchenko is actually Johann Fennhoff (supervillain Doctor Faust in the comics), a man scarred by what Stark’s murderous gas did to his people.

So while Stark publicly clears his name, Fennhoff orchestrates his capture. Through his weird hypnosis jibber-jabber, Fennhoff commands Stark to fly a plane over Times Square and drop his weapon to force New York citizens to murder each other in the streets.

The climax of the episode was pretty well-orchestrated, even if the tension was lacking. Sousa and Thompson go after Fennhoff while Peggy fights Dottie, in what was easily the best action sequence of the season (though still not up to par with a lot of stuff Arrow does). Meanwhile, Jarvis follows Stark in another plane, planning to shoot him down if he doesn’t realize what he’s doing in time. It becomes up to Peggy to convince Stark to turn the plane around. This was a great callback to Peggy’s radio transmission with Steve Rogers at the end of Captain America: The First Avenger. It was rewarding for Peggy to get a different result as well, with Stark coming to his senses and regaining control.

With the villain defeated, there’s only one thing left to do. Jarvis hands Peggy the vile of Steve’s blood, which she pours into the East River. She severed her last connection with Cap to keep it out of harms way. While this does insert that problem that Peggy’s seasonal arc is now all about getting over a guy, this was a relatively effective end for a cheap arc.

“Valediction” leaves some strands open for a potential second season. The possible Peggy/Sousa romance now has a chance to blossom, Dottie is obviously still alive, and Fennhoff is approached in prison by Arnim Zola. The story threads are there if ABC decides to continue the adventures of Peggy Carter. Personally, I hope they don’t. As great as Hayley Atwell was, this series never quite found its footing. This was a decent enough finale, but that’s hardly a compliment. Marvel still has yet to find the right formula for TV. Grade: B

By Matt Dougherty

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