Agent Carter Season 1 Ep 8 (TV Show Review)
Marvel’s Agent Carter has been building up to a climactic finish for a couple weeks now, introducing some really great twists in order to flesh out the story of how the ignored Peggy Carter became one of the SSR’s top agents and how the SSR eventually transforms into SHIELD. For me, last week’s episode “Snafu” managed to deliver some really big moments, and promised a hell of a lot for this week’s season one finale, at just a measly eight episodes, so going in to it, my expectations were pretty huge.
And having watched the episode yesterday, and having had more than 24 hours to mull it over, I’m still not sure whether I liked the finale or was disappointed with it. Both of them maybe? In many ways, the climactic finish was just that, climactic. But in many other ways, it was disappointing because there was essentially a story reset and things kinda went back to normal and some of the characters did some really stupid things. Some decent action, some decent revelations about the characters, but ultimately, kind of forgettable I suppose.
This season finale in no way felt like a season finale. I was expecting much more action, much more pathos, many more revelations, stronger emotional moments. But all we got was run of the mill stuff, and that saddens me, to see all that great potential completely wasted, all because ABC decided to give this show such a damn small season, and then the writers kind of botched the whole thing in the end. Make no mistake, not renewing the show immediately for a back season order, or a season renewal is something that is a very bad move, especially considering the demand for this show before release, and ABC’s own commitment to the show when the weekly ratings started rolling in and proved to be on the weak side.
“Valediction” carries on from where the last episode ended, with a theater full of people going completely insane and attacking each other in the most violent manner possible after Dottie released a certain gaseous invention in the locked screen-room. It was a very uncomfortable scene, and it definitely reminded me of the movie Kingsman, which I saw recently and which kind of has a similar premise as far as the bad guys are concerned. It was really weird, to see the same kind of end result happen in two different media and only one week apart for me. Thankfully though, we don’t revisit the thing again, except when Carter, Thompson and Sousa come to the scene of crime to investigate what the hell happened. And things just take on from there.
What I really loved about this episode was that Dominic Cooper was back as Howard Carter. The man has such a presence on screen that his charm and his… refined ways really brighten things up. And after all the shenanigans that he has pulled off recently, not the least of which was tricking his friends like Jarvis and Peggy into doing less-than-wholesome things, he needed to be brought in after all and face judgement for everything that has gone wrong because of him. And best of all was that he owned up to his mistakes and was ready to face the music, though circumstances demanded of the others that they still try to please him and talk him up in front of the world so as to capture that bastard Ivchenko, whose actions led to the death of Chief Dooley last episode, and Dottie, the proto-Black Widow of Leviathan.
What I didn’t like with respect to Howard’s arc however was that there was too much flippancy going on. Sure, Dominic Cooper has an excellent delivery and his comic timing is also great, but some of the dialogue fell short since the small-season didn’t really go into many details. After all, we don’t even understand how exactly his inventions went missing, and who was with him that night, until this episode, when it is all laid out for the viewer. Yeah, Carter brought it up last week (or the week before I think?), but the idea didn’t get any confirmation until this week and that kind of sucked. The writers just left that off too late.
Another thing to like though was the whole thing going on between Peggy, Jarvis and Dominic, on the level of friends. They all three discover how much they’ve changed of late in this episode, and there’s some really effort in the end towards reconciliation between all parties involved. It was something that I didn’t know I was expecting until it all actually happened, and it proved to be fun and positive, so that’s that.
It has been said that the character of Dottie Underwood was introduced as a foil for Peggy, in a whole lot of different ways. But the reality is that while indications and hints were definitely there on that front, things didn’t quite go smooth in this episode, largely because the expected showdown between the two of them actually felt hasty and not-fun. I mean, their big fight was over in a few seconds, with a rather unlikely outcome of it.
If you want to sum-up this episode, what it all boils down to is that though it gave a decent ending to this particular arc about Leviathan and Howard Stark’s missing weapons, and provided some interesting revelations as well, it was ultimately too weak to be a season finale. I mean, you compare this to Penny Dreadful from last year and the differences are enormous. The season finale to the eight-episode season one of that brand-new show last year was phenomenal and the finale for Agent Carter doesn’t quite reach the same heights. It could have, had the ending been much better, for one, and if there hadn’t been a general story reset, for seconds.
I mean, though Peggy did end up getting the admiration and respect of her colleagues in the end, she still became inconsequential to Agent Carter and SSR in the end. There was no… agency to her character in that ending, and for that I completely blame ABC and the producers and the writers. Did they tell a focused arc in this short time-frame? Yes, but they botched the execution in the end, and I feel really disappointed with it.
The best thing in the episode was undoubtedly the final scene between Jarvis and Peggy, which had a whole lot of emotion to it, and which also managed to set their characters far above the benchmark for all the other characters in this new series. Man, if we could get a buddy cop show with the two of them, then it would be glorious.
Most of all what I felt disappointed by was that the character of Angie, played by the awesome Lyndsy Fonseca, felt completely superfluous to everything. As I pointed out before, you don’t cast someone like Lyndsy for a two-bit role that doesn’t go anywhere, but that is exactly how things turned out here. There might be something more with her should the show get a second season, but in the meantime, very, very disappointing.
I still feel very strongly that ABC made a huge mistake by not broadcasting this show alongside Agents of SHIELD. That way both shows could have pinged off each other and been that much better. Not to mention that there would have been so much more synergy across the MCU and we would have gotten a longer show that way.
Posted on February 27, 2015, in Agent Carter, Review Central, TV Show Reviews and tagged ABC, Action, Adventure, Agent Carter, Agent Carter Finale, Agent Carter Season 1, Agent Carter Season 1 Ep 8, Agent Carter Season 1 Finale, Agent Peggy Carter, Angie Martinelli, Arnim Zola, Black Widow, Bridge and Tunnel, Bridget Regan, Captain America, Chad Michael Murray, Christopher Markus, Christopher Misiano, Costa Ronin, Daniel Sousa, Dominic Cooper, Dottie Underwood, Dr. Ivchenko, Drama, Edwin Jarvis, Enver Gjokaj, Female Protagonists, Female-Led Shows, Haley Atwell, Hayley Atwell, Howard Star, Howling Commandos, Hydra, Jack Thompson, James D'Arcy, Kevin Fiege, Leviathan, Louis D'Esposito, Lyndsy Fonseca, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios, Michele Fazekas, Peggy Carter, Red Room, Roger Dooley, Russian Intelligence, Science Fiction, Shea Whigham, SSR, Stephen McFeely, Steve Rogers, Strategic Scientific Reserve, Tara Butters, Warrior Women, Women in Marvel, Women in MCU, Women in SFF, Women in Television. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.