The events of ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ were hard for all of us, but we True Believers have had the chance to be reunited with Steve Rogers in ‘The Avengers,’ ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier,’ and the upcoming ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron.’ But for some people in the Marvel Cinematic Universe like Peggy Carter and Howard Stark, the void left by the Sentinel of Liberty was excruciating. And though ‘Agent Carter’ has done a great job of keeping the Captain America at arms length to tell an awesome story, the season one finale did an even better job of bringing it back into the MCU fold and connecting the series to the rest of the universe that it inhabits.
In the epic conclusion of ‘Agent Carter,’ Peggy and the S.S.R. brought everything that they had to catch Dr. Ivchenko/Dr. Fennhoff/Dr. Faustus and his deadly associate Dottie Underwood, who are armed with the mind-altering gas known as Midnight Oil and the intentions of unleashing it on New York City. Howard Stark even gets in on the action when he steps up to take responsibility for his inventions. However, things get a little sticky when Faustus works his mind control magic on Howard and makes the playboy inventor the central part of his evil scheme as punishment for Stark’s involvement in Finow.
For starters, I loved seeing the return of ‘The Captain America Adventure Hour’ featuring Ralph Garman as the announcer and “Betty Carver.” That was one of my favorite bits from the show and I was super stoked to see it return one more time before the finale. Beyond that, it was great to see Peggy and the S.S.R. working together on the same page to catch Leviathan. Even if it didn’t last for very long, it was great while it lasted because we got to see Sousa and Thompson take down Faustus in a suspenseful and creative way while Peggy squared off against Dottie in a battle that we have all been waiting for.
But the most interesting parts in the finale were the parallels to ‘Captain America: The First Avenger.’ Of course, we had Howard and Peggy deal with loss of Steve throughout the season thanks to the vile of blood, but this particular episode featured something a bit more direct. The resolution of the episode saw Peggy talking Howard out of the trance that almost saw him unleash Midnight Oil onto New York City from an airplane. Except rather than talking to her friend moments before he “died,” she succeeded in saving someone that she cared about while saving the day. With all the small comparisons to Captain America in Season One, Peggy Carter showed that she is just as badass as Cap and can endure similar trials and tribulations to prove that she is a proper hero in her own right.
Just like the rest of the season, the finale certainly delivered with some butt-kicking action, surprising turns, and heart-breaking emotions. Showrunners Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters crafted an excellent finale that exhibited a nice balance between certain peril and satisfying conclusions for these characters. Peggy and Howard were at peace with the loss of a friend and their new places in the world. Agent Sousa finally found the courage to ask Peggy out. Angie moved into Howard Stark’s other apartment with Peggy. Jarvis goes back to his life with his loving wife, but is ready to jump back into action when needed. Dottie escaped to fight another day. And Agent Thompson… Well, he’s still an asshole, but he’s an asshole who respects Peggy, even if he won’t talk about it.
Finally, we have to talk about that stinger at the end. For the whole season, I had been wondering when ‘Agent Carter’ would follow the Marvel Studios tradition of including a post-credits scene to their projects. Well, we finally got one and it was well worth the wait! After taking Dr. Faustus into custody and impairing his ability to speak, the Russian psychiatrist meets his new cellmate: Arnim Zola! The villain played by Toby Jones spoke of some kind of partnership between the two and suggested other means of communication. So not only did ‘Agent Carter’ lay the groundwork for the early days of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Black Widow program, but it did the same for HYDRA as well. I have a feeling that all this will come back into play when ‘Captain America: Civil War’ comes around because we know that Zola worked with S.H.I.E.L.D. at one point. It’s possible that Faustus joined the organization as well and has a hand in manipulating the people in Steve Rogers’ life like Bucky Barnes (or even Sharon Carter, who plays a big part in Ed Brubaker’s acclaimed run on ‘Captain America’ AKA the source material for MCU Cap). This one scene raises so many questions and gets me super excited for the future of Captain America on the big screen.
Overall, ‘Agent Carter’ was an excellent show. Just like the first season of ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’, there was sometimes an overuse of the slow burn, but once the big things hit, business really picked up. We got to meet Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter as a person first, then as a superhero. The show succeeded in creating a fun, engaging story filled with intriguing characters, all while expanding the Marvel Cinematic Universe and giving fans the female-led comic book adaptation that they’ve been demanding. Hopefully we have the opportunity to see more in the form of another season in the future. But until we know for sure the fate of this series and it’s amazing characters, we’ll just say, “Goodbye, my darling.”