Director: Vincent Misiano
Writer: Chris Dingess
Cast: Hayley Atwell, James D’Arcy, Chad Michael Murray, Enver Gjokaj, Shea Whigham, Kyle Bornheimer, Lyndsy Fonseca
Synopsis: Carter is caught and interrogated by her former colleagues at the S.S.R. Carter is suspicious of Dr. Ivchenko after she witnesses him communicating in Morse code, and revealing the truth to Dooley, Sousa and Thompson in order to gain their trust, they align themselves with Carter’s suspicion. Dooley has a hypnotic run in with Ivchenko and is compromised when he is trapped inside one of Stark’s inventions. Secrets unfold, bonds are broken and trust is tested as the episode ends on a note in which the S.S.R. seem down and out. But is it for good?
Verdict: YES! For a show so originally heavy on its male characters being so myopic and macho, it seems that they’re all paying for mistakes they’ve made with the ultimate price. ‘SNAFU’ answers a lot of questions, including ones introduced within this episode. We see an excellent show of character from Dooley, who really burns bright this week, and it seems like some hefty moves are in motion in the lead up for the finale. Best bits: Dottie delivers an excellent Spider-Man impression, Jarvis is wounded by surprise, and watching the men of the S.S.R. actually hear Peggy Carter for the first time.
Spoilers ahead, beware!
So in the penultimate episode of the season, ‘SNAFU’ is really rather aptly named. Peggy getting herself in trouble and hauled in for interrogation is just the beginning of her… really rather bad day. Because whilst she gives some snake-eyes to her male ex-colleagues, explaining to them how they each have objectified her, Dooley’s only seen her as a kitten left on his doorstep, Jack’s seen her as a secretary, and Sousa put her on a pedestal. Because of their shoddy detective work, the real criminals, Ivchenko and Dottie are large at work just several feet away. Eventually, they are discovered, but more on that later.
We still don’t really know the true source of Ivchenko’s powers, or whether he even IS a psychotherapist, is his ring magical? Is it a superpower? Probably not the later, but hypnotherapy certainly was something that was tried and tested in the early 20th-century. The frequency and small duration of the hypnotic events seem somewhat reminiscent of Johannes Schultz’s work. Whatever the source of his influence, Ivchenko seems to have certainly made himself a formidable villain. Sometimes, psychological warfare is a better plot device than men with guns. But hey, let’s have both, which is exactly what we get. After seeing Yauch suffer a poor fate, in this episode, we start to sit on the edge of our seat, eagerly hoping that Dooley can break free of Ivchenko’s influence… Please, Dooley, please.
Whilst Carter is in holding, Jarvis stops by with a confession from Mr. Stark himself! What luck! Now all is forgiven. Except it’s fake, and spotting Ivchenko communicating to Dottie across the street, Carter and Jarvis now have the unfortunate task of convincing the men of the S.S.R. of this, right after they both lied to their faces. Somehow, they manage it. You would think it would probably take another one of those hypno-rings and some fluttery eye-lashes, but really, Carter spilled everything, even… Captain America’s blood, and finally for the first time in the series, the men of the S.S.R. really listened and heard what Carter had to say. But regardless, I have to very briefly commend the use of Morse code in this episode, it was actually a really nice touch.
So cue a team to investigate the building across the street. There really aren’t enough people in this instance, unfortunately, and in typically Scooby-Doo fashion, they decide the best thing to do is split up and look for clues. A certain detective (Sousa) does find Dottie and things get interesting… Annoyingly, he decided to completely ignore Jack’s advice of shoot first and ask questions later, which leads to Dottie’s escape in true Spider-Man style.
Meanwhile, Dooley has decided that the best thing to do (Dooley, you fool), is to be left alone with Ivchenko. He tries to resist his hypnotic advances, but he still locks up Peggy and Jarvis, nabs a deadly Stark invention from the lab, and puts on a prototype armor vest, made of some Stark-invented alloy. Fuelled by an unstable energy component and a Stark-alloy, we realise slowly, just as the characters do that… Things aren’t going to end well. We keep waiting for a saving grace, but it isn’t coming. Dooley has no choice but to grab a firearm, shoot down the hall at a window and to throw himself out of it to save everyone’s life.
In the end, we find that Ivchenko and Dottie are finally reunited, Leviathan is alive and well and now they have their mitts on a deadly stark invention. Left inside a local movie theater, the invention causes people exposed to it to turn on one another in a deadly rage. Could this be what happened in the Battle of Finnow? Is Ivchenko and Dottie all that remains of Leviathan or are there more shadowy figures behind the scenes? Why do they have their voice-boxes? What do they have to do with Roxxon? When does the new S.S.R. director take over as indicated in Carter’s Marvel One-Shot, and when does Stark take over? What, what what?! There’s certainly enough to fill one more episode, but is there enough to make up an entire other season? We’ll just have to wait and see…
Obviously, with Agent Carter coming to an end this month, we’re all going to be a little sad, but we WILL have other things to look forward to. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D will be returning in early March for – thankfully – both U.S and U.K viewers. In the meantime, soldier on Agents.
(4 / 5) The next and LAST episode will air on February 24th for the US 9/8c, as always, UK watches may want to consider streaming online. The official site for Agent Carter can be found here.