The days are numbered for the first season of ‘Agent Carter’. With ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ returning on March 1st, there’s only one episode left for Peggy Carter, Edwin Jarvis, Howard Stark, and the S.S.R. to take down Dottie Underwood, Dr. Ivchenko, and Leviathan. But before we get to the season finale, business certainly picks up in the second to last installment of this acclaimed limited series.
When we last saw Peggy, she had hit rock bottom. She found herself separated, alienated, and hunted by people that she had come to trust. Her troubles with the S.S.R. weren’t her only problems as Dottie and Ivchenko were after her as well. But this week, with the help of Jarvis, Agent Carter does all she can to regain a ton of lost trust while staying hot on the enemy’s trail. However, the sneaky Leviathan agents managed to stay a few steps ahead of everyone else and dealt a fatal blow to the good guys.
This episode found a number of game-changers coming into play. The first one was definitely Dr. Ivchenko’s true identity being revealed as Dr. Fennhoff, who is also known as legendary Captain America villain Dr. Faustus. After going the majority of the season without a big bad, we’ve finally seen his face and it’s definitely a dangerous one. Up until this point, we’ve only seen some generic henchmen and Black Widow Program graduate Dottie, but now that we know for sure that Faustus is the one pulling the strings, we can anticipate quite the showdown coming up. After all, the only thing that the twisted psychologist needs to do is talk to a person and they’re basically done for. Now that he has Stark’s aggression gas, his powers of persuasion are taken to a whole new level, no matter how strong a person may be.
On a side note, I wonder if introducing Dr. Faustus in ‘Agent Carter’ will set up for a future appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Based on the time period where this show takes place, it might not fit completely, but Arnim Zola had a way of making his presence felt in the modern day MCU. Plus, Peggy is still alive in ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier,’ so it’s possible that Dr. Faustus may make another appearance, but potentially sporting a beard next time. Plus, Faustus plays a part in the climax of ‘Civil War’ in the comics, so it’s not absurd to think that this isn’t the last we see of the devious doctor.
Besides this awesome reveal, the episode saw yet another excellent performance from star Hayley Atwell. When she learned that Howard hadn’t actually sent a confession, she decides to give one of her own that showed how serious she was about helping the S.S.R. bring Leviathan to justice. Throughout the series, Steve Rogers had always loomed over Agent Carter in one way or another, but the fact that she was willing to give up the very last sample of Captain America’s blood (and her last opportunity to save the love of her life again) said a whole lot about her and where she was in her life at that point. Atwell should be highly commended for her performance in this scene because the pure emotion just oozed from the television set thanks to her. “I suppose I just wanted a second chance to keep him safe.” UGH! My heart ACHED during this whole thing. And on top of that was the “I’m invisible.” speech during her confession. Powerful stuff. Major props to Atwell in this episode (and basically in this whole series).
Carter wasn’t the only one tugging at our heartstrings this week though. We learned more about Shea Whigham’s Chief Dooley and saw him take the ultimate sacrifice to save his agents. After watching him resist Dr. Faustus’ methods (for the most part), Dooley finally succumbed to the hypnosis. It was heartbreaking to see what Dooley saw in his final moments and it made his gesture mean even more. Up until that point, Faustus’ method involving his ring seemed a bit goofy, but when we got to see what his victims were seeing, it made Dooley’s death even more effective.
Among all this seriousness and levity in this episode, there was that really fun moment with Jarvis and Peggy in the interrogation room. The exchange about the glass and the bullets was hilarious and a nice break from the rising tensions and anxieties being built up.
It’s hard to believe that there’s only one episode left in the season. Though the slow burn may have been too slow at times, episodes like this one make it all work the wait. There may not have been Howling Commandos, but ‘Snafu’ was one of the best episodes of the series so far. This penultimate episode surely set up for an explosive season finale next week.
‘Agent Carter’ starring Hayley Atwell, James D’Arcy, Chad Michael Murray, Shea Whigham, Kyle Bornheimer, and Enver Gjokaj airs on Tuesdays at 9:00pm on ABC.