Warning: Spoiler Alert
In the aftermath of Chief Dooley’s heroic but tragic suicide and the theater attack, where I must assume that was item #17, SSR finds themselves with more questions than answers. The quick deduction is that the theater patrons killed each other. Has me wondering if the Battle of Fingal was the same thing.
While investigating the crime scene, Sousa finds the baby carriage. Then finds the canister with “Stark” imprinted on it. Then he accidentally sprays himself with the mystery mist. Thompson comes over to check on Sousa when he hears the coughing. Sousa instantly attacks Thompson. The cops are able to knock Sousa out.
Dottie and Dr. Ivchenko get pulled over for running a red light. Dottie does what she does to get out of the ticket. On the cops journey back to his squad car, he hears over his radio an A.P.B. describing the vehicle and passengers he just pulled over. The cop turns back towards the vehicle to find Dottie’s gun pointed in his chest.
Sousa wakes up disoriented and shackled. Carter is able to fill in the holes of what happened, which jars loose Sousa’s emotional state at that time. He wanted to kill Thompson. He wanted to kill everyone. During a briefing shortly thereafter, Carter asks the question, “what is he after” (referring to Ivchenko). Then Howard Stark appears to suggest its him, Ivchenko is after. Stark is met with considerable hostility, guns and all.
Stark is his usual jovial self amidst arrest and potentially more. With him is a covered box. Inside is everything they need to know about the battle of Fingal. Stark created the gas that had those movie patrons tearing each other apart. It was also the source of the massacre at the battle of Fingal. Stark’s solution is to use him as bait allowing the SSR to set a trap and draw out Ivchenko.
Carter rejects the idea that this is the best course of action. Howard asks to see his stuff. Carter takes him to the lab where ‘most’ of them are. After a mild freakout, Howard Stark has a moment of clarity and attempts to take responsibility, even if it’s not completely his fault. On some level, it boils down to being concerned with how Peggy Carter sees him.
Thompson gives a painful update to the Howard Stark case to a gaggle of reporters from the steps outside City Hall. Howard keeps leaning in to give suggestions as to what Thompson should say next. “Hero” was just one word Howard suggested. SSR agents are spread out anticipating a move by Ivchenko. It worked as shots were fired just moments after Stark took the podium. Jarvis rushes Stark into an alley where a police car is waiting. Before the car is completely out of view, Jarvis realizes that two uniformed cops have been shot and left in the alley. Jarvis just gave Stark to the bad guys.
The new theory is that Ivchenko and whomever else are planning to hit Times Square. Retaliation for VE Day. Carter, Sousa, Thompson and Jarvis convene in an alley to try to piece this thing together. Thompson can’t convince anyone of consequence to cancel the VE Day celebration and no one can figure out the end game, except maybe Jarvis. Jarvis reveals that there is a larger, second vault. If by vault they mean hangar. There is a hangar with plane and cars. The gas was meant to be administered from the air. It seems this may have been all just one massively large attempt for one man to seek revenge specifically for the savage death of his brother at the battle of Fingal.
In Starks hangar, Ivchenko describes his motivation. Stark even willfully turns himself over to be killed if that is the goal, hoping to save many innocent people in the process. Ivchenko has no intention of killing him. Suffering and pain are on the menu today. Then Ivchenko begins rotating his ring while talking calmly to Stark.
Ivchenko joins Howard on one of those spirit walks into Howard’s most ‘shameful’ moment. They stand on what looks like a glacier. Howard, Ivchenko and a plane. Then a man comes running into view.
Soldier: Mr. Stark! Mr. Stark we picked up a signal from the Valkyrie,we think it might be Rogers. Sir, we found Captain America.
SON OF A _____!!! Then Peggy appears holding Cap’s shield. Back to reality, Carter and company run towards the hangar as a plane takes off. As they devise a plan, a last resort needs to be considered. As none of the SSR agents have any experience flying a plane, it looks grim. Then Jarvis volunteers, citing that Stark would want to be stopped at any cost.
Carter makes her way to the control tower where she finds Dottie and Ivchenko. Holding a shotgun on both of them, it seems well in hand. Then Dottie turns around talking in that painfully cheery tone she used that the Griffith, then proceeds to kick Peggy around the room. Peggy gains the upper hand momentarily, but makes a play for the microphone too early. The moment that Dottie starts monologuing is the moment Peggy takes advantage, ultimately kicking Dottie out of the window killing her on impact. With the wing of a parked plane.
Stark is completely under the spell and believes he is flying towards Cap’s signal, not Manhattan.
Ivchenko jumps the drop on Thompson. Almost immediately following, Sousa arrives. Sousa should have already shot him but he advances instead. Ivchenko starts his shrink routine and Sousa just keeps advancing. Then he hears the magic word, “Focus”. Sousa stops dead in his tracks. Ivchenko instructs him to shoot Thompson. Sousa slowly points his gun at Thompson, then hesitates, then knocks Ivchenko out with the butt of his gun.
Sousa (pulling tissue paper from his ears): Was he saying something?
Thompson: You son of a b****
Carter, meanwhile, is at the controls just as she was the last time she spoke to Steve Rogers. The parallels are creepy. Both cases, pleading for the man on the other line to cease their current plan. In both situations seemingly unable to persuade them. Then Jarvis gets on the line telling her he has Stark in his sights.
Peggy tries emotionally to convey to Howard (lost in a trans) that Steve is gone. Steve has died and there is no getting him back. Eventually there is silence, followed by a more groggy sounding Stark. Peggy instructs Jarvis to stand down. Much to Jarvis’ relief.
Apparently, Dottie did not die and has limped away.
Upon returning to SSR headquarters, Peggy enters the office, expecting her usual reception of silence and indifference. This day is anything but that. All of her fellow (male) agents are all standing and applauding her efforts.
A senator walks in the room and asks for Jack Thompson. Then begins congratulating Thompson as if he deserved all of the credit. And if that wasn’t overreaching enough, proceeded to tell the rest of the office what a privilege it must be to work for Jack Thompson. Sousa is incensed. He even attempts to charge in after the Senator and set him straight. Peggy Carter is not out for recognition. On a whim, Sousa asks Carter out for a drink. She says “maybe another time”. He seems a little dejected, but she seems rather flattered. Impressed even.
As a show of appreciation and remorse, Stark offers one of this residences to Peggy and Angie to live for as long as they may require it. Angie is blown away by its size and finer touches.
Angie (to Jarvis): You got a phone? I have to call my mother.
Jarvis: Naturally, (gestures towards the phone) there’s a phone in every room.
Angie: Oh my god! Are you kiddin’ me?
Jarvis: How refreshing to meet a person who appreciates the finer things…
Peggy: I appreciate the finer things, I just don’t want to know what happens in or on the finer things.
Howard is currently negotiating the surrender of his ‘bad babies’ in order to destroy them all. No government, not even the US Government can be trusted with those particular weapons. Then Jarvis says, “Not even this one” and pulls the vile of Steve Rogers blood from his inner jacket pocket. Stark believes the blood sample was lost while under Ivchanko’s spell. So this is Jarvis giving Carter the blood sample. “I owe Mr. Stark a lot, but he does not own my integrity”.
Peggy Carter stands on the Brooklyn Bridge and taking her time, slowly pours the remaining blood sample of Captain America into the river.
In what feels like the typical Marvel post credits scene, we get the answer to the question of will there be a season 2? Or maybe just trying to connect the dots in the existing timeline. Ivchenko is escorted to his cell wearing a metal rig that doesn’t permit him to speak. Once locked in, a familiar voice emerges from the darkness. Anyone familiar with the MCU knew it in the first syllable. Dr. Arnim Zola. The small scientist that assisted Red Skull in the Captain America: First Avenger movie and whose consciousness is found in Captain America: Winter Soldier. All indications point to Dr. Zola using Ivchanko’s expertise as part of a larger plan to grow Hydra in silence. Now this could just be connecting the dots, or it could be an indication of more seasons. Which would be smart. That’s roughly 30 out of 52 weeks where Marvel television could be a staple.