Agent Carter is heading towards its endgame. With just one hour left to wrap up what has been one of the best gifts Marvel has given us, “Snafu” functioned as the beginning of the end — a set-up, of sorts, for the no-doubt action-packed finale that will take place next week. I’d imagine that those who enjoy Agent Carter‘s fast-paced action were probably turned off by an hour that didn’t go far beyond the walls of the SSR office, but the episode did have a pay-off: at the end, Peggy had regained a small amount of trust back from what was left of her team. It’s something that will no doubt come into play next week when all hell breaks loose, as the group is now at a loss more than ever — first Krzeminski, and now Agent Dooley. It wasn’t hard to see the end coming for Dooley, but I still give the show kudos for being unpredictable throughout the hour, as there was a point I was definitely typing “Save Agent Sousa” on my twitter.
At the episode’s beginning, we saw Peggy where we last left her — in custody, handcuffed in an interrogation room after being captured and exposed for her work for Stark. (Is it just me, or is Peggy even more intimidating handcuffed to a desk? I have no doubt she could have taken that whole room down, if she wanted to). Sousa is upset that Peggy has betrayed him when he had given her his trust, meanwhile, Dooley and Thompson are convinced that Peggy and Howard are having an affair. I really wish I had a ready-made gif of Peggy’s face in response to their accusations, because it pretty much sums up every annoyance Peggy has with the way the world sees her.
And not to say that didn’t come to a head. One of the best moments of the episode was Peggy finally standing up to her superiors, telling them in no uncertain terms that she’s never been taken seriously because of her gender. It was a moment that made me emotional, and that dam was broken completely when Peggy handed over the orb and revealed Cap’s blood. The act was also enough to convince the team that she was serious about her accusations about Ivchenko, and it’s what set them on the their mission.
Peggy’s rescue from prosecution comes from (who else?) Jarvis, who makes a rather hilarious entrance and asks for Dooley by name, before telling the SSR that he’s got a signed confession from Howard Stark that he’ll give in exchange for letting Peggy go free. He doesn’t, of course, and the SSR boys seem to know that, but they let Peggy out anyway — while stripping away her involvement in the SSR. It’s a moment that hurts more than it should, considering the way Peggy’s been treated, and if I haven’t gushed enough about Hayley Atwell already, allow me to continue doing so. Atwell is a true gift to not only the show, but also to the Marvel universe. The vulnerability, emotional depth and understanding she brings to Peggy is something that you don’t see in most actors, and it’s clear that bringing Peggy to life every week means something to Atwell. That translates, and it’s part of the reason why we feel so invested every week. Agent Carter is truly Atwell’s place to shine, and she takes every opportunity to do so.
It’s Peggy that notices Ivchenko is communicating in Morse Code, and also manages to figure out what he’s translating: the Leviathan is coming. But Ivchenko’s not totally daft and figures out he’s been exposed, after watching Sousa and Thompson walk into the opposite building. He uses the moment to take advantage of his hypnotic ring and brainwash Dooley, sending him into a flashback with his wife and children. It’s interesting that we saw Ivchenko in two such situations — overseeing Dooley’s fantasy, and also being at the bedside of the man at the beginning of the episode; it’s also not confirmed that this was Sousa but given the leg amputation and the way the episode began, I wouldn’t suggest otherwise. And did you catch the book at the beginning of the episode, specifically referencing Dr. Faustus? Yep — Dr. Ivchenko is actually Dr. Fennhoff, aka Dr. Faustus, aka the villain popular in the Captain America comics for brainwashing Steve Rogers, among other things. How’s that for an Easter egg?
Ivchenko manages to get Dooley into the room housing Stark’s inventions where they steal #17, an invention Ivchenko sorely wants. My first thought was that the show would make us wait until next week for the reveal of what was inside, and my second thought was that perhaps it was the cryogenic arm of Bucky Barnes, aka the Winter Soldier. I was wrong on both counts, as the suitcase was delivered via Dottie to a movie theatre (under the guise of a baby in a carriage), and although an actual explanation for the weapon has yet to be revealed, it appeared to be something that turned people violent. I’m continually amazed at just how dark this show is. Marvel isn’t pulling punches when it comes to storytelling, and I’m so glad that they’re going above and beyond in this way. From the Black Widow flashbacks a few episodes earlier to Dooley’s suicide, there’s no holding back, and it’s great to see this amount of creative freedom.
Ivchenko ends up killing Dooley when he traps him in another one of Stark’s inventions (a vest that’s unstable and will likely explode given its unpredictability) and Dooley ends up taking the fall for himself, while the SSR spends the last moments of the episode mourning the loss of yet another co-worker. Peggy, meanwhile, blames herself for the troubles brought on since agreeing to work for Stark, though Jarvis attempts to talk her out of her guilt in the way that only someone who understands her situation can.
It leaves us in an interesting place for next week — Peggy almost-but-not-quite trusted by her peers as they prepare to take down Leviathan once and for all, Stark’s weapons unleashed on the world in perhaps not the best way, Dottie and Faustus still on the loose and the SSR shattered by their latest setback. With the stage set for an inevitable Howard Stark return, it’s fair to say next week’s finale will be one to remember…and I can’t wait to see what happens.