In "Valediction," Agent Peggy Carter is finally a recognized partner on the SSR team, and a big story arch comes to an end, while leaving room for the next season to start.
The episode opens with an episode of the Captain America radio show, in progress. They play out the ending of Captain America: The First Avenger, when Captain Steve Rogers had to put the Red Skulls plane down.
Agents Peggy Carter, Daniel Sousa and Jack Thompson head into the movie theater where, in the last episode, Dottie Underwood released a gas that made the audience turn on themselves. Peggy examines one of the bodies and determines the people killed each other. While Sousa is examining the theater, he accidentally inhales gas from the canister. He attacks Thompson and hits Peggy. A policeman finally whacks him on the head to knock him out.
Dottie and Dr. Ivchenko are driving when they're pulled over by a policeman. He tells Dottie she ran a red light. He lets her off the hood, but just as he's headed back to his car, he hears an A.P.B. that describes them. He turns around, but Dottie is holding a pistol on him.
Agent Sousa is in the hospital, strapped to a bed. He comes to and Peggy explains what happened. Back at the office, Agent Thompson debriefs everyone as to what's in the cannister. Just as Peggy is saying that there must be a bigger plan than just killing a crowd of people, Howard Stark and Jarvis walk in. Stark was able to crack the SSR Security.
Stark is under arrest. He explains he came back because he felt guilty for the people who died at the movie theater, as well as many other deaths. He tells the agents that the canister contains Midnight Oil gas. It was originally created to help keep soldiers awake. But when the army saw what the gas actually did, they used it on the Russians at the Battle of Finow. He says he's surprised Sousa is still alive, because the men at Finow died after inhaling it. Peggy realizes that the dead Leviathan hit men had scars at their throats because they had had tracheotomies. She also realizes from Dr. Ivchenko's file that he's good at hypnotism. Stark says he's the target and suggest they use him as bait.
Dottie and the doctor arrive at an airplane hangar. Just as Dottie is dispatching the security guard, Dr. Ivchenko hears on the radio that Howard Stark is back and will be holding a press conference. He tells Dottie their "plans have changed." ("You mean, just since I left the car?")
Back at the SSR, Peggy gives Howard body armor. He says it's crap and wants his own stuff. She takes him to the lab where he fusses over all of his inventions. She tells him he doesn't have to do this, but he explains he wants to redeem himself, especially to Peggy. However, when Peggy turns to go, Howard swipes Captain America's blood.
At the press conference, Agent Thompson announces that Howard Stark is innocent. Just as Howard steps up to the podium, a shot is fired and hits the window above him. Peggy spots the shooter in the hotel across the street. She and Thompson take off to investigate, and Jarvis and Stark take off for the car.
Howard gets into the car, but it drives off before Jarvis can get in, and he sees the two guards dead in the alley. We see that Stark's driver is the cop who pulled Dottie over earlier, now hypnotized.
Peggy and Thompson find the shooter's room, but it's empty. The rifle was rigged to fire itself. Just as they realize no one meant to hit Howard, they hear over their walkies that Stark's been grabbed. Down on the street, they're trying to discover where the Russians are headed. Peggy sees everyone with American flags and asks what day it is. She and Jack realize it's V-E Day and that Times Square is the target.
Agent Sousa and Jarvis find the car, but the cop/driver is dead and Howard is gone.
Meanwhile, Howard is being held by gunpoint by Dottie in the back of a car, while the doctor drives. She says she can't believe he doesn't remember her after they spent a weekend together. He guesses her name wrong and she knocks him out.
Jarvis figures out that the Russians are going to use Howard's last remaining (secret) plane to spread Midnight Oil over the city.
We see a flashback of Dottie (pretending to be innocent) and Howard in his airplane hangar. He wakes up to find he's tied to a chair. Dr. Ivchenko explains that he was at the Battle of Finow, but he survived because he wore a gas mask. However, he watched all of his comrades die a horrible death, including his brother. Stark apologizes, saying he's really not a bad person. Dr. Ivchenko says, oh, but he is, that it's the reason Stark is such a success. He hypnotizes Howard, creating a scene in his mind where Captain America has been found and he's going to retrieve him. He even sees Peggy, holding Steve's shield.
Peggy, Thompson, Sousa and Jarvis arrive at the airfield just as Howard's taking off in his plane. Jarvis volunteers to fly another plane in an attempt to bring Howard down over the water.
Peggy finds the Russians in the control room and holds them at gunpoint. However, the blonde kicks the rifle away and she and Peggy fight. Dottie sends the doctor away. Peggy tries to grab the radio to talk to Howard, but Dottie knocks her back with a baseball bat. Finally, Peggy kicks her out the window. We see Dottie lying on the plane below, a pool of blood around her head.
Agents Sousa and Thompson do after the doctor. They agree they shouldn't let him talk. The doctor gets the drop on Thompson and knocks him out. He starts talking to Agent Sousa, who is slowly walking toward him. Dr. Ivchenko tells him to point his gun at Thompson, who has just woken up. Dr. Ivchenko tells him to shoot Thompson, but just as Sousa gets close, he clocks the doctor. It turns out he had cotton stuffed in his hears to prevent him from being hypnotized.
Meanwhile, in the control room, Peggy is trying to talk to Howard, get him to wak up, but Stark isn't listening. Jarvis breaks in on the radio and says he's got the shot and should he take it? Peggy begs him for more time. She tells Howard that he's the one person on Earth who believes in her, and she can't lose him, too. She tells him they have to let Steve go. Just as she's about to tell Jarvis to shoot down Stark, Howard starts talking to Peggy. He wakes up and Jarvis says he's bringing him back.
Peggy walks into the hangar, but the blonde is gone. Only pools of blood remain. Agents Thompson and Sousa lead out a gagged Dr. Ivchenko. Stark and Jarvis arrive, with Stark telling his butler that shooting him is never an option. Then he finally remembers that the blonde's name was Ida.
Peggy walks into the SSR office the next day and everyone starts applauding. Thompson and Sousa ask if she's sticking with SSR. She says she's just there for her paycheck.
Then, a Senator comes in, congratulating Thompson, who takes the credit. When Sousa gets angry on Peggy's behalf, she explains that she's used to it, that she knows her value and doesn't need anyone else's approval. Sousa invites her for a drink, but she says another time.
Jarvis is leading Angie and Peggy through Howard's penthouse. He explains Angie will live there because Howard feels bad about what happened where Angie works and where she lives. When Angie goes to make a phone call, Jarvis gives Peggy Steve's blood. He explains that Howard thinks it's lost, and that she is the only person he thinks should have it.
Peggy walks out onto the Brooklyn Bridge. She pours Steve's blood into the river saying, "Good-bye, my darling."
Coda: Dr. Ivenchenko, who is wearing a horrible wire and leather muzzle, is lead to his prison cell. From the dark we hear a voice. It's Arnim Zola, and he promises that the two of them will do great things.
Nancy Basile writes about entertainment for Media Medusa. Check out our review, Agent Carter Heats Up Mid-Season with Style.