February 17, 2015, 9pm (EST), ABC
Peggy Carter wins a few battles in the penultimate episode of Agent Carter – namely, convincing her colleagues that she is not a traitor – but the war with Leviathan isn’t going so well for her or the rest of the SSR. With one episode left in the series, it’s hard to imagine that there will be a simple resolution.
But let’s start with the good news. Though Chief Dooley, Agent Sousa and Agent Thompson throw some tough questions at Peggy – believing her to have been hoodwinked by Howard Stark to do his bidding – she is able to persuade them into believing that she did not betray them. At first, Jarvis comes down to SSR headquarters to try to save the day with a signed document from Howard Stark, admitting he did indeed attempt to sell his weapons on the black market and that Peggy bears no responsibility. Of course, it is later revealed that Jarvis forged the document, after panicking when Peggy didn’t meet him at the rendezvous point.
In the end, it wasn’t Stark’s fake confession, but Peggy’s willingness to tell the whole truth that finally convinced her colleagues that she’s still on their side. And Peggy didn’t hold anything back – not even a heart-breaking admission that she held on to Steve Rogers’ blood more for “a second chance at keeping him safe,” than out of concerns about what Stark might do with it.
But even though Peggy finally convinced the men that she’s innocent, and also a pretty decent spy, she and the entire SSR are dealt a heavy blow in the form of the very sinister Russian Doctor, who effectively immobilizes the SSR and walks out with one of Stark’s most dangerous weapons. Dr. Ivchenko – who seems to be based off of one of Captain America’s villains in the comics, Dr. Faustus – has a gift with bending people to his will. In “Snafu,” the usually-level-headed Chief Dooley is his victim and the results are quite tragic, as Ivchenko preys on his emotional distress due to the downfall of his marriage. After Dooley provides access to Stark’s weapons, Ivchenko tells the chief to wear one of those weapons – with an unstable energy source that will eventually explode.
The chief makes the self-sacrificial move and jumps out the window with the device trapped to him, exploding in mid-air to avoid any casualties at the SSR. But before he leaps to his death, he makes Peggy promise that she’ll take down the man who warped his mind so effectively.
Peggy wants to blame herself for bringing Ivchenko back with the team from Belarus. But Jarvis shoots down that theory and, instead, calls for the blame to fall squarely on Stark for creating these weapons in the first place. And this is before they all realize what the Stark weapon that Dottie and Ivchenko let loose on a movie theatre is capable of doing. In the final moments of the episode, we see the weapon emit a gas that causes the patrons to start violently attacking one another, with no survivors, in what might be a repeat of what happened in the mysterious Battle of Finau.
As we head into the final episode next week, Marvel’s Agent Carter has improved significantly from some of its earlier episodes. “Snafu” was equal parts tense and emotional, without a dull moment. The only aspect of the series about which I remain uncertain is its pacing over the eight episodes. The early episodes were quite slow, which is fine over the course of a normal TV season, but it doesn’t work as well when there’s only eight episodes total and a lot of plot that the writers clearly want to cover. But the character moments will always make up for those reservations – whether it’s Peggy and Jarvis bantering while trying to break out of a locked interrogation room or Peggy tearing up while doing anything she can to keep Steve Rogers’ legacy alive and safe.
- “I conducted my own investigation because no one listens to me. I got away with it because no one looks at me – because unless I have your reports, your coffee, or your lunch, I’m invisible.”
- “I just thought of something. We are still attached to the table.”
- “‘Atta girl.”
"Snafu" was equal parts tense and emotional, without a dull moment.