I think “snafu” was putting it lightly, but this was another excellent installment of Agent Carter. Last time, Peggy was in a bit of trouble and got herself carted into SSR for interrogation while Ivchenko and Dottie continued to make their moves in the background. Let’s jump right in.
The episode begins in the past- Russia, 1943. Dr. Fennhoff is needed in surgery for his ability to numb a man’s mind so he doesn’t feel any pain. Fennhoff has never used the technique during an operation, but the other doctors are desperate. There are more wounded than supplies and the anesthetic is all gone. Fennhoff is needed in order to save the life of Private Ovechkin, played by Pawel Szajda. For Fennhoff to get started, he needs Ovechkin to take him back.
So we get a vision within a flashback and watch Russia playing chess with his mother, played by Madonna Cacciatore. He loved to draw things so the game would last forever. The flashback takes a dark turn when young Ovechkin sees medics performing on soldiers. Fennhoff tells him to pay them no mind. He can stay in this day as long as he wants, but he must focus. Then his mother surrenders the game, though. Back in the first flashback, Ovechkin continues to relay this story to Fennhoff. As he enjoys this bliss, the doctors get to work at sawing off his leg.
We then cut to the present where Dooley and Ivchenko watch as Daniel and Peggy face-off. Peggy’s not talking, so Daniel just recaps the evidence for her and, I guess, our benefit: the photo from Spider Raymond’s club, a witness placing her in a truck full of nitramene, and another witness who places her at the boat with Stark’s technology. And then three dead bodies: Spider Raymond, Leet Brannis, and Agent Krzeminski.
Peggy is insulted that Daniel would think she killed Krzeminski, but Daniel is also feeling burned. After all, he had Peggy’s back for six months when no one else did. She congratulates him for his evidence gathering, but tells him that he and the SSR are wasting time questioning her while there’s a trained killer still at large- a small player in a bigger scheme. Sousa leaves to get some coffee.
On the other side, Ivchenko tells Dooley that Peggy is lying about it all. Thompson enters and reports to the Chief that Agent Yauch is dead. He also finds it unorthodox that Ivchenko is present, but Ivchenko says that he was asked to watch in case Agent Carter mentioned Leviathan. Dooley doesn’t see it as a problem, though Ivchenko says that he’ll leave so he isn’t a source of agitation.
Now Dooley, Thompson, and Sousa all take their turns interrogating Peggy. Thompson isn’t convinced that Peggy is the one they should pursue. Given what he saw her do in Russia, something about this entire scenario doesn’t add up. The agents theorize the idea that Peggy and Howard Stark had a thing going on and that he’s now hung her out to dry, but, of course, Peggy knows that isn’t the case.
Peggy, again, tells the agents that Howard isn’t the man they’re looking for, which is why she’s been doing her own investigation. Dooley, however, lets Peggy know that before Sousa sniffed her out, SSR had been exploring other avenues. Since Peggy won’t address the orb, the discussion turns to the Battle of Finow.
So Peggy goes on the offensive, calling out the men for treating her like a stray kitten that needs protection, the secretary turned damsel in distress, the girl on the pedestal turned into some daft whore. What she sees before her is just shoddy police work. She then tells the agents that they should be looking for Dottie Underwood. Why is no one calling her Dorothy? That is part of her name.
Speaking of, we then cut to Dorothy as she wants to buy a stroller that one of the clerks, played by Lisa Pescherine, offers to wrap up for her. You can do that with strollers? I did not know that, but then, I don’t buy strollers that often. Anyway, Dottie goes with the pink blanket- fingers crossed. The clerk notes that Dottie must be getting a jump on things since she doesn’t look like she’s that far along. Dottie assures her that it’s coming sooner than she thinks.
Back at SSR, Thompson tells Peggy that the deal he offered- which she was never going to take, anyway- is now off the table. Dooley will soon come in and ask Thompson to do something that he doesn’t want to do. The two take a second to compare cock sizes-I mean, remind each other what they’re capable of. This is the closest, I feel, that they’ll get to a measuring contest.
Downstairs, Jarvis casually strolls into the New York Bell Company, and also brings the workflow to a crawl, as he’s arrived with the signed confession of Howard Stark. After almost reaching for her gun, Rose calls up and tells Jarvis to hold.
So the agents bring Peggy to Jarvis, who informs her that Howard has decided to come clean with everything- breaking into his own vault, selling the explosives, and the Roxxon implosion. What’s missing, however, is Howard Stark himself. He’s somewhere in Greenland, set to land in Teterboro at nine o’clock tonight. Stark’s attorneys have the signature page that will be sent back as soon as SSR agrees to the terms and frees both Jarvis and Carter.
Tempting as this is, Dooley turns down the offer. He wants the signature paper delivered and Stark to do the exchange himself once he lands. Until then, both Peggy and Edwin are to remain. Peggy is free from persecution, but once Stark enters, Peggy leaves the building and the SSR for good.
As Peggy packs her things, she and Edwin talk. Jarvis apologizes for all of this. Peggy, though, isn’t too thrilled about the confession that portrays her as a patsy and Doe-eyed idiot succumbed to the charms of America’s mustachioed Casanova. Sprinkled on top is a bankruptcy plot to provide a motive for Howard Stark’s deeds. However, Peggy can appreciate the nobility of Howard in writing that confession. About that confession….
Yeah, Jarvis wrote it. In his flimsy defense, he did send Howard messages, but got no response. You know how busy those Starks can be. Jarvis panicked and put his skills to good use to buy time, as they were closing in on the real culprit. He had hoped to prove Stark’s innocence and Peggy’s competence. And when Howard doesn’t land in Teterboro, both Peggy and Edwin shall disappear- at least, until their trials, followed by some swift discipline. Getting hanged is not a pleasant feeling.
Chief Dooley speaks with his wife and admits that both knew their mess was inevitable. He’s not blaming Loretta, but he knows that he buries himself in his work. The two plan to meet up for a bit, so Dooley will be slipping out for an hour. He feels that he owes Ivchenko, but the doctor is just glad to be of service.
As Edwin and Peggy contemplate a way out, they spot Ivchenko messaging by the window. The message: Prepare for evacuation. In 90 minutes, Leviathan is coming.
So Peggy heads out and not only tells Chief Dooley that the confession is a fake, but also when she and Jarvis discovered Howard Stark’s technology. She’s telling them this because she wants their trust on what she’ll say about Ivchenko. Dooley isn’t convinced and believes Ivchenko is a good man, despite only knowing the man for 48 hours. They don’t know him that well, but as Sousa points out, they know Carter.
Therein lies the question: why would Peggy conduct her own investigation instead of coming to one of them? Because no one listens to her. She got away with it because no one looks at her unless she has reports, coffee, or lunch. Given Peggy’s track record with the truth, Dooley still isn’t quick to believe her, but Peggy does have one more card to play:
The last remaining sample of Steve Rogers’ blood. Stark was afraid that SSR scientists would squander the last remaining samples in order to recreate the super soldier serum. Peggy couldn’t bring it to the SSR. Perhaps she wanted a second chance at keeping him safe.
Sousa believes Peggy. Giving up Captain America’s blood is no small deal. Plus, she was halfway out the door with Stark’s confession, but decided to admit what she really knew. Dooley still doesn’t trust Carter, but he does trust Sousa’s gut, so he tells the two agents to check across the street for any signs that Ivchenko would have been communicating with someone. The Chief will remain with the doctor.
Dooley instructs Ivchenko to shut the window under the impression that it’s getting chilly. The doctor does so, but also notices agents heading into the building across from him. He turns the conversation back to Dooley’s family. Dooley tries to deflect the subject, but Ivchenko turns on his ring hypnotism again. Focus on the experience and what would make tonight perfect. Dooley and his family used to have a tradition of cooking dinner together.
We then see Dooley serving his family dinner with Ivchenko watching. The doctor tells Dooley to enjoy this, because there’s something important to take care of later.
In the other building, the SSR agents split up. Both Dooley and Thompson believe Carter, though Thompson gives Dooley a bit of advice: if he encounters this woman, shoot to kill. Sure, Dooley can handle himself, but after seeing what that little girl did in Russia, Thompson would hate to see what she would be like all grown up.
Back at SSR, Dooley needs a word with Peggy and Edwin. Not there, though. Too many people listening in. He takes to interrogation. Just as Peggy asks if they’ve been compromised, Dooley pulls a gun on them both. He then locks them both in the room.
Following a brief scene of Sousa hearing a noise in the other building, Dooley then speaks with the SSR scientists about Agent Carter’s betrayal and her theft of Stark technology. Henceforth, the lab is shut down until the inquiry is complete. Everyone is to report to Holding Room B. When the scientists leave, Ivchenko turns his attention to one of Stark’s inventions: Item 17.
During the search, another item catches Ivchenko’s eyes: a vest that is more delicate than it looks. Dooley soon finds a crate marked Item 17 and brings it to the doctor.
Dottie, meanwhile, faces off with Sousa and the other SSR agents. She manages to take down Sousa while the other agents, for whatever stupid reason, can’t pull the trigger. It’s not that hard, guys. Yes, Bridget Regan is pretty, but still. Focus! Also, Sousa sucks at hiding. He should have been smarter than that.
Ivchenko is set to take his leave. Dooley hesitates on giving Ivchenko the crate, but after a bit of focusing, Dooley hands it over. In exchange, Ivchenko gives Dooley the vest. Their work is not yet done.
He then meets up with Dottie. Both realize that they’ve been compromised. Dottie is ready to proceed to the next phase, but the weapon has been in storage for some time. It must be tested. No need to worry about SSR, either. They’ll have their hands full.
In a bit of comedy, Peggy gets the bright idea to try and smash the mirror with the table. However, Jarvis keeps hesitating, as he’s worried about the potential people on the other side being hurt by a spray of glass. If those hypothetical people have guns, then Edwin and Peggy will be hurt by a spray of bullets. On the third attempt, they do manage to smash the glass. Oh, right, they’re still attached to a table. Peggy didn’t really think this one out, huh? Anyway, Thompson enters, but where’s Chief Dooley?
He’s back at home with his family, though a bit earlier than expected. He admits to Loretta that he screwed up. They had someone in custody, but he just walked right out. Dooley feels like he should be angry or scared, but he doesn’t care. He just wanted to come home.
Or did he? As we then see that Chief Dooley is still in the SSR, passed out at his desk and wearing the vest, which is now glowing. The vest, Jarvis says, is a prototype for a new system of armor. It was intended to double as a heat source for use during winters on the European front. Locking it ignites a self-sustaining battery. The energy source is experimental, powerful, and very flawed. It overheats with violent results…like explosive ones.
Sousa, still in the other building, finds the body of Dr. Honicky before going over Dottie’s note about killing Peggy Carter.
The scientists arrive. Dooley admits that Ivchenko got in his head and made him steal something from the lab. The vest’s clasps are locked. Tampering with them just speeds up the reaction. It’s made out of an alloy of Stark’s reaction. Despite Peggy’s suggestion of cooling Dooley down with ice, Jarvis says this won’t work since the armor was designed to be impervious to outside elements, whether it be artillery or temperature. I gotta give these Starks credit. They always plan ahead.
Dooley has a plan. He snatches Thompson’s gun and informs the agents to tell his wife that he’s sorry about missing dinner. He also makes Peggy promise that they’ll catch the son of a bitch who did this. With the armor speeding up, Dooley shoots open the window, makes a run for it and dives out just as the vest detonates.
In the aftermath of the explosion, Sousa returns to SSR and receives the bad news from Thompson. Peggy blames herself, but Edwin reminds her that this was Howard Stark’s invention. Then it hits Peggy: Leviathan tasked Leet Brannis to steal something- the blood.
Dottie puts that stroller to good use and wheels it into the picture show, much to the chagrin of some moviegoers. I can’t disagree with that. But luckily, there’s no baby in the stroller- just a gas that Dottie releases as she makes her way out of the theater. Though she’s unsure whether it will work, Ivchenko has great faith in Howard Stark’s technology.
Back at SSR, everyone finds that Steve Rogers’ blood is, in fact, still there. The scientists soon discover that Item 17 is missing. What’s it do? Even Jarvis doesn’t know that.
At the picture show, the moviegoers start coughing, and then start beating the ever living shit out of each other. End episode!
Definitely a lot of snafus in this episode as we approach the final episode of Agent Carter. Each episode manages to build upon the other and advances the storyline, but still provide new levels of depth to these characters. A lot of people made mistakes in this episode that proved costly: Dooley falling prey to Ivchenko’s hypnotism, the SSR for being one step behind Peggy and, as a result, missing the real target, Peggy and Edwin not covering their tracks, Ivchenko not realizing when he was being watched, and the SSR as a whole for not seeing just how dangerous Leviathan could be. Despite everyone figuring they had their affairs in order, they still made a few slip-ups. Howard Stark, the Russians, the Battle of Finow- this goes deeper than everyone realized.
It really speaks to the quality of the show’s writers and actors when it could have made these SSR agents stock and two-dimensional, but they were all given actual depth. They aren’t just here to remind Peggy that she’s a girl playing in a boys’ club- we come to care about their circumstances and see their personalities come into play. And the dead agents aren’t just forgotten. Krzeminski’s death still stings the agents and I appreciate that Agent Yauch’s death isn’t brushed aside. It happened when no other agent witnessed it, but Thompson and Dooley still take a moment to grieve another fallen agent.
When it comes to Peggy’s interrogation, I like that Thompson, from the start, has his doubts about Peggy being a criminal. After Russia, Thompson sees Peggy in a new light. He knows that she is dedicated to her work and how seriously she carries herself. He’s not going to automatically just think that Carter is a criminal, which is good. Thompson still has a job to do as a federal agent, but he’s unwilling to throw Peggy under the bus because he knows that he doesn’t know the full story.
On the flip-side, you have Sousa, who still has reason to feel burned. From the beginning, Sousa has been the one male agent who has stood by Peggy’s side and backed her when no one else would. He treated her as an equal because he saw her as a person instead of a subordinate. To learn that Peggy kept these secrets and was involved in these circumstances feels like betrayal to him.
Like Thompson, Sousa doesn’t know the full story or have all of the details, but the more he dug, the more he realized that Peggy Carter wasn’t who everyone thought she was. To be fair, she never was, but it hurts Sousa because he always had her back. To Sousa’s credit, though, he does believe Peggy when she confesses to everything and even admits to Thompson that he’s the one who pursued her, but, in the end, he admits that he could be wrong.
Now, if only he’d been smarter when dealing with Dottie. Sousa, when Thompson tells you to shoot to kill, listen to him!
Peggy, again, gets her chance to shine by proving her worth to the SSR agents and standing up to each of them during interrogation. She wanted to be acknowledged as an equal and she finally got it, so the boys don’t hold any punches. Luckily, Peggy Carter is no punching bag and firmly stands her ground. I liked her speech to the agents about how they’ve treated her like a damsel in distress and it felt like Peggy had been waiting for the longest time to say that. My only gripe is that it didn’t really tell us anything new.
Hell, even the agents know by this time not to think light of Peggy, but it was still an awesome scene. Also, Peggy calls the evidence shoddy work, but I disagree. Sousa did manage to identify her as the woman in Spider Raymond’s club when the other agents had moved on. That at least puts her at the scene of the murder. No, Peggy didn’t do it, but given how she’d been conducting her own investigation and aiding Howard Stark when everyone else wanted his head on a platter, it’s not unreasonable to assume she’d come under suspicion.
And yet, she also fights because she wanted to keep the last remnant of Steve Rogers safe. Peggy lost a lot with Steve’s disappearance and she’s constantly reminded of that. Stark used her to get this and learning about what was in the orb was a huge betrayal of Stark’s trust. She held onto it so no one would try and replicate the super soldier serum. For Peggy to admit this was a big deal to the agents and it showed how much she needed their trust. Atwell was outstanding in this scene and you could feel the amount of emotion Carter had been withholding, but it all came rushing out during this moment.
Just as outstanding was Shea Whigham as Chief Roger Dooley in his final moments. We’ve seen Dooley as a man with a full plate at his job, but also one with family problems. This helped flesh him out from being a generic chief and gave him dimension. His family life was in disrepair and we saw through the visions and phone call to his wife just how much he wanted to fix that. And, for a glimpse, it looked like he would finally get that happiness.
But that happiness was all a façade conjured by Ivchenko to manipulate Dooley into accessing Stark’s technology. Dooley’s goodbye to his agents was a gripping moment for the agency. They’d already lost two other agents, and now they were about to lose their chief. He made a sacrifice to protect them from being killed, but also made Peggy promise to catch the son of a bitch who did this. For a show to attach you to a character and then kill them off- a very Joss Whedon type of move.
Though I still find the hypnotism a bit ridiculous for a show so grounded in realism- as real as it can be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, anyway- I’m glad it got a further explanation with us seeing Ivchenko appear in people’s visions.
And we got to see Dottie kick more ass, though, again, that’s because SSR agents just don’t know when to pull the trigger.
Again, though, you can wrap up strollers? I did not know this. Oh, and I can’t really say that Dottie knows how to rock a fedora, but that’s just me.
With so much drama, though, this episode did have one comedic highlight with Peggy and Edwin using the table to smash the mirror, only to realize after the fact that they’re, you know, still attached to the table! Nice of the show to take a break for laughs amidst all the serious stuff.
And it was pretty morbid seeing those moviegoers beat the hell out of each other.
So next up is the final episode of Agent Carter. Chief Dooley is gone, Ivchenko and Dottie got their hands on some very dangerous Stark technology, and Leviathan is still out there. Though the SSR has been divided before, the death of Dooley is sure to unite them as they prepare to confront this matter once and for all.