“Snafu” has two big jobs this week: Get Peggy Carter out of that interrogation room in one piece, and set up whatever needs to be set up for next week’s rollicking finale. But first, we must stand witness to the powers of Dr. Ivchenko, War Hypnotist. You see, during World War II he realized his constant repetition of the word “focus” allowed him to do amazing things, like turning the sawing-off of a man’s leg into a pleasant chess game. How this led to a desire to topple Western society, we don’t know. (Maybe he wants to saw off the leg…of capitalism?) But hey, Agent Carter filmed the scene, so it has to go somewhere.
Anyway, on to the more cognizant bits of the episode.
We find Peggy right where we left her, in the SSR interrogation room with every one of her fellow agents convinced that she’s a double-crossing rat. Their betrayal is palpable but the three agents tasked with making Peggy talk—Chief Dooley, Smirkin’ Jack Thompson, and Agent Sousa—all have a hard time focusing on their sense of betrayal. It doesn’t reconcile with the Peggy that they’ve individually come to know.
I spoke last week of how Peggy can count all the people who implicitly trust her with a single V-for-Victory, but as “Snafu” reveals, that number is wrong. All three of the agents confront Peggy with a distinct hurt. Chief Dooley feels cuckolded, having so recently championed her capabilities. (And it’s telling that he would undoubtedly see his championing as going above and beyond his duties when Peggy and the viewer would see it as Dooley finally doing his job.) Peggy’s betrayal resonates bitterly with his failure in nurturing the relationships in his personal life, as well. He trusted Peggy, we realize. Dooley’s family and Peggy’s resoluteness were absolutes that he thought he didn’t have to worry about. What else has he been neglecting? What is the worth of him if everything he oversees is falling apart?
Agent Thompson is the most clear-headed of Peggy’s compatriots. He knows that if Peggy doesn’t start explaining then he’ll have to break out Edward R. CrunchFist and Churchill’s Delight, but he doesn’t want to. A Peggy Carter who jumped into a hail of bullets to drag him out of Russia doesn’t square with a Peggy who has been betraying the SSR. It doesn’t even square with a Peggy who laid him out cold just hours ago. His faith in Peggy’s character, her honor, leads him to openly wonder what is missing from this scenario. Despite the menace that Thompson brings to the proceedings, it’s his trust in Peggy Carter that leads him, and eventually the SSR, to the truth of the matter.
And then there’s Agent Sousa, who trusts Peggy so much that he may as well scream, “I’m in an interrogation room of EMOTION.” His reaction is spectacularly unhelpful to the SSR, consisting mostly of him getting paranoid in an attempt to overcompensate for all the pining he’s done over someone who is now a traitor. If he can’t trust Peggy then EVERYTHING is now in question. If the scene had gone on any longer Sousa probably would have accused her of shooting Archduke Ferdinand.
The SSR is supposed to be learning more about what Peggy was up to, but as we see, the agents end up interrogating themselves and Peggy finds out far more about her fellow agents than they do about her. They don’t treat her well, but they trust her. They really believe in her. It would be a touching sentiment if she weren’t handcuffed to a table.
In a posh car, or a posh room, or a posh automat somewhere, Jarvis’ Peggy-sense starts tingling. Peggy’s in trouble, so he whips up a fake confession from Howard Stark and heads down to the SSR, certain that his charms and briefcase will grant him access.
And, you know, he does okay with what he has. It doesn’t get Peggy off the hook but it does get her out of the room and in a position to side-eye Dr. Ivchenko as he secretly morse-codes Dottie across the street. (You’d think he’d notice that Peggy was around since he ordered her dead just hours ago. Hey, Ivchenko…FOCUS. Dick.) Even locked away, Peggy’s still on the case, and Thompson’s trust in her suddenly becomes absolutely vital to the SSR’s survival. Dooley’s been sidelined by Ivchenko and as a result Leviathan now has unfettered access to all of Stark’s inventions. This would be the endgame right here if Thompson wasn’t open to listening to what Peggy has to say. He’s not going to outright believe her, but he’ll check out the situation and send agents to see if Dottie is actually across the street.
Peggy is not lying, but the confirmation of her trustworthiness is short-lived. Because Dottie.
Everyone begins arriving on the same page, finally finally finally. Stark was framed. Leviathan is real and already in the building. Peggy was hunting down the truth all along. And Dooley has been trapped in an explosive vest (of GUILT).
The SSR has made progress but their mission is otherwise an utter failure. Ivchenko and Dottie make off with Stark’s item 17, the same weapon that caused so much terror at the mysterious “Battle” of Finow, and Dooley is trapped inside of a vest made of heating pads that, as Jarvis laboriously explains, is overpowered, rigged up like a bomb, made of impregnable fabrics somehow, and has an explosive hatred for any logical actions such as “unclasp it” or “seriously Chief just slip out the bottom of it.” The Chief sees the writing on the wall. “Snafu” has been one long depiction of his failures as a person, a husband, a father, and a Chief. He can’t fail here. He trusts in Peggy’s capability. He knows she and the SSR can pull victory out of this mess. But that can’t happen if he takes them all down with him.
So out the window he goes. A ridiculous death for a thoroughly un-ridiculous man. He deserved better.
Take them down, SSR. Bring Leviathan the wrath it has so well earned.
- Item 17 turns out to be a gas that makes people want to kill each other. Which…
- …okay. Can we talk about how much Howard Stark is THE WORST? Sure, he’s dashing, but otherwise he’s a privileged, disrespectful, womanizing playboy who we know will be a total jerk to his son Tony and who invents implosion bombs, gasses that make people want to kill each other, and vests that MAKE YOU EXPLODE. Stop doing things, Howard. Stop doing all the things.
- I predict a grim future for Jack Thompson in the final episode. He’ll go down and it will lead into the Marvel One-Shot with the SSR being reformed into proto-S.H.I.E.L.D. with Peggy at the helm.
- Where’d Steve’s blood go?
Chris Lough wonders if that final scene was the original ending to Baby’s Day Out.