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Stephanie Watches Marvel’s Agent Carter: 1×08 “Valediction”

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The Leviathan plot came to a head in the season finale (it better just be a season finale!) of Agent Carter. Howard Stark finally returns after causing much mayhem for Peggy Carter, Jarvis, and the SSR. But he means to fix this, as he feels responsible for everything. But the “Midnight Oil” was not invented to make people viciously kill each other, it was to help soldiers stay awake during battle. It just didn’t work.

Dottie and the Russian hypnotist intend to deploy the “Midnight Oil” gas over Times Square, where hundreds of thousands of people have gathered for V.E. Day. Howard decides to use himself as bait to drive their attention away from the celebration, in the meantime getting Agent Chad Michael Murray to say a ton of nice things about him in a public forum to clear him of any wrongdoing and treason accusations.

The SSR’s plan goes awry when Dottie kidnaps Howard and takes him to his giant hangar that he stupidly showed her when she was trying to get info out of him and he was trying to impress another girl. Dottie seems a bit offended that he doesn’t remember her. Girl, do you know how busy Howard is with the ladies? Anyway, Leviathan plans to use Stark’s owns planes and Stark himself–after being hypnotized into thinking he’s found Steve Rogers–to deploy the gas over NYC. The SSR arrives. Peggy and Dottie finally have a knock-down-drag-out fight, which was full of awesome. Lots of loud, ruthless hits to each other. The hypnotist bests Agent CMM, but Sousa has ear plugs and doesn’t fall under his spell, so he knocks him out.

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Jarvis flies out after Howard, ready to bring his own friend down if he can’t be convinced otherwise. But Peggy, after a tearful conversation between both of these two men–trying to bring Howard back to his right state of mind and trying to get Jarvis to give her more time–she gets through to him. Howard is the last link she has to Steve and she can’t lose him.

The city is saved and Peggy returns to the SSR to a round of applause from the men that didn’t believe in her and/or thought her a traitor. But she saved the city and they know it. When a Congressman shows up to thank the SSR, he congratulates Agent CMM, who happily takes the credit. Dammit, dude, didn’t you learn anything? Sousa is rightly outraged (as am I), but Peggy keeps cool. Because Peggy is the epitome of class and cool.

“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.”

Peggy knows that she can’t measure her self-worth through the approval of others since it is so hard to come by in her life as a woman. She knows this will be an ongoing battle, but that doesn’t mean she will give up. She will let Agent CMM take the credit for now because that’s what he needs. Peggy’s friends are safe, the city is safe, she is safe; that’s enough for now.

Also, costume note: Peggy is wearing purple in this scene where she returns to the SSR. Purple generally signifies royalty, pride. And I think that’s exactly what’s she exuding in front of all of her colleagues. She is leagues above them in power, intelligence, ability, but she is also a class act, so she won’t be boastful of her superior capabilities.

Since Howard feels so guilty (I assume, anyway) for what he put Peggy through, he gives her and Angie use of one of his mansions to live in for free! Yay! I imagine many peach schnapps nights and gossiping for them to come. I imagine that every night is a silly slumber party for them because they are obviously besties now. I’m sure Peggy has filled her in on all her drama by now.

Despite this happy reunion, the episode ended on a sad moment. Jarvis returned Steve’s blood to Peggy without Howard knowing. But she knows the risks of keeping it, so she decides to dump it into the river. She can’t hold on to him anymore, just as she told Howard in the plane. She has to let him go. She has to move on with her life and keep fighting his fight. Because now it’s her fight. She is the superhero.

The music over this final scene was just so perfect for the era, the lighting, the coloring, just everything about this scene. That’s one of the things I’ve enjoyed most about this show, they really nailed the period atmosphere and aesthetic.

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We ended on a bit of a cliffhanger with Zola, perhaps in hopes that we can continue on for another season. And after this wild ride, I really hope we can. I want to see more of my Peggy Carter. If we could get this little interlude between Agents of SHIELD episodes every year, I think that would be an awesome way to break up the seasons and juxtapose the different SHIELD eras. So come on and renew it already!

Other things:

  • Howard trying to remember Dottie’s name and getting slapped each time.
  • “Humbled by his genius. No, no, humbled by his brilliance!”
  • Sousa asking Peggy out for a drink!!!! She said “Maybe another time” for now, but oh she smiled a lot after that. Please continue this show so I can see their budding romance. PLEASE.
  • “Ida, that’s her name! I knew I’d remember. Steel trap.” Peggy and Jarvis walk away rolling their eyes. Hee.
  • I wonder what will become of Dottie/Ida/Black Widow since she got away…
  • “I appreciate the finer things, I just don’t want to know what’s happened in and on the finer things.” (Fav line of the episode by far!)
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