Stark works with the S.S.R., Leviathan has plans for New York’s V.E. Day Celebration, and Carter knows her worth.
With the tragic death of Chief Dooley and a massacre caused by Leviathan with Stark’s stolen toxin, Carter and the rest of the S.S.R. scramble for a lead as to the whereabouts of Dotty and Dr. Ivchenko. Stark comes to their rescue, turning himself in, as well as giving all the information he has on the Battle of Finow, a massacre of Russian troops that they now know to be caused by the same gas Ivchenko has stolen, which has the side effects of extreme psychosis and anger. Finally all on the same team, Carter, Stark, and the S.S.R. set a trap to lure Dotty and Ivchenko out into the open.
Not falling into the S.S.R.’s trap, Dotty manages to kidnap Stark. Together with Stark’s toxin, Ivchenko and Dotty prepare for their final goal; dropping the toxin on New York during its V.E. (Victory in Europe) Day celebrations and placing the blame on Stark. Ivchenko has a vendetta against Stark and his toxin’s use at the Battle of Finow, killing his brother and many of his comrades. Leviathan was formed on this vendetta, and it now appears to be coming to its fruition.
Carter and the S.S.R. rush to a final confrontation against Leviathan, and ultimately must save New York from Stark’s hypnotized guilt.
“Valediction” wraps up the threads of this season nicely, having clues to the Battle of Finow and Stark’s dangerously backfired inventions throughout the story arc. While this finale could have been one big action showdown between Carter and Dotty, it took it’s time and put Carter through the motions of investigating and performing her job alongside her fellow S.S.R. agents.
Much of this show’s theme has been the unequal treatment of women and their being overlooked, but the finale didn’t end with equality for all women as the defining moment. Carter’s performance has given her the reputation she is due among the S.S.R., but this mission against Leviathan is not enough to miraculously change the misogynistic attitude of America in the 1940’s.
“Agent Carter” has many strengths; Strong and diverse characters that don’t just fall into stereotypes, like Thompson, who from the beginning is just seen as the average meathead, and is fleshed out, even changing his perspective as the season went on. An intriguing story with cloak and dagger elements while laying the groundwork for the future stories of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A fantastic leading performance from Hayley Atwell, who not only steps back into the role of Peggy Carter from “Captain America: The First Avenger,” (a character who if you remember was slightly pissed at Steve Rogers for a moment and didn’t hesitate to shoot at him.) but also to flesh out that character, not as a super heroine, but a fully realized character with flaws. While trying to prove her worth to the S.S.R., she often distances herself from friends and allies, believing that she must carry the weight of Captain America’s world on her shoulders.
There is one aspect of the show that isn’t strong, and I hope to see this fixed in the upcoming second season, and that is the organization of the S.S.R. Throughout the season the faces of the S.S.R. were Thompson, Sousa, and Chief Dooley, with random named agents coming in and out of episodes as needed. Even going up against Dotty and Ivchenko, it was just four of the main characters, one of which, Jarvis, wasn’t even an agent. Yet, when assigned to arrest Carter, there are suddenly dozens of agents who Carter easily takes down. When congratulated for stopping Leviathan there is a room full of fellow agents. Where were they against Dotty and Ivchenko, and why is Carter so exceptionally more skilled when compared to her comrades? Of course, the S.S.R.’s purpose was to combat Germany’s Hydra division, and with the war ended, it’s possible that the S.S.R. has become a shadow of itself, but at it’s height, alongside Captain America, it brought down the Red Skull. Where are other skilled agents within the S.S.R.? Why is Carter the only European woman within the S.S.R.’s New York branch when the organization was a joint task force of the Allied Nations?
Keeping the focus of this show on Agent Carter and her skills make for an entertaining series, but these weaknesses chip away at the foundations of this strong show. Hopefully, with “Agent Carter’s” second season fast approaching, these weaknesses will be addressed and make this an even stronger addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.