The season finale begins as we watch a production of a radio play about Captain America and we get to remember how glad we are for female characters who aren’t defined by how well they simper. Peggy, Sousa, and Thompson arrive at the scene of the movie theater massacre. Forty-seven people tore each other apart and everyone’s confused. Sousa enters the theater and notices Dottie’s baby carriage and *whew* there’s no baby inside. He does find the Item 17 canister and sprays himself in the face, causing him to attack both Thompson and Peggy.
Dr. Ivchenko and Dottie are on the run discussing American strength and ingenuity when they are pulled over. Ivchenko wants to play it cool, so Dottie turns on her silly goose charm when the officer tells her she blew through a light. He’s just about to let them go when he hears a call go out matching Ivchenko and Dottie and turns to find Dottie aiming a gun at him, point blank.
Sousa wakes up handcuffed to a bed and Peggy explains to him that he found Item 17 and attacked Thompson. SSR scientists figure that the canister is filled with a chemical that induces psychosis and Peggy is surprised that Howard Stark would make something like that. Though Thompson brilliantly assumes that Ivchenko is just being a big jerk by doing this, Peggy knows that he has an end game, something that he wants. Enter Howard Stark.
Thompson and Sousa arrest Stark to bring in information about the gas, Midnight Oil. It was supposed to keep soldiers awake for days at a time but had unintended rage side effects. Sousa tells Stark he doesn’t need to imagine what it’s like because 1) they just saw it in the movie theater, and 2) he was dosed himself. Stark is surprised he’s still alive because everyone else asphyxiates when exposed to Midnight Oil. Peggy finds a file in Stark’s box containing the real identity of Dr. Ivchenko: he’s really called Johann Fennhoff, a psychiatrist with a specialty in hypnosis. Stark wants to be the cheese in the SSR’s game of Mouse Trap to catch Fennhoff.
Dottie and Fennhoff arrive at an airstrip and are being turned away, so naturally Dottie uses all her teeth to charm and then murder the guard. Meanwhile Fennhoff hears a news bulletin on the radio that Howard Stark is back in town and their plans have changed.
Peggy brings Howard a protective vest after he trims the spider’s nest in his nose but he says it’s junk. “Where’s MY stuff?!” She takes him to the storage room and he gripes about how they haven’t been properly caring for him volatile materials. Peggy tries to talk Howard out of being the cheese, but he knows this whole situation is his fault because, you know, his inventions are destructive.
Peggy: You’re hell bent on getting yourself killed, aren’t you?
Howard: That’s not my preferred outcome…
Thompson holds a press conference vindicating Howard of wrongdoing while Howard feeds him lines. It’s a setup to catch someone trying to assassinate Stark and when shots ring out Peggy spots the shooter’s window. While Howard escapes, the traffic cop who pulled Fennhoff and Dottie over, hypnotized, says in his best robotic voice, “Dr. Fennhoff would like to see you.” Jarvis realizes too late that the vehicle’s original occupants were dead in the alley and runs to alert Sousa that Howard’s been kidnapped. Peggy and Thompson make it to the hotel room where the shots came from and see an automatic rifle propped in the window to fire on its own. She notices that the bullet was never meant to hit Stark but was a diversion and Peggy and Thompson hear news of the abduction over the radio.
Howard tries to reason with a hypnotized robot to no avail. Peggy and Thompson continue to puzzle out where they could be taking Howard and deduce that it must be Times Square. Sousa nad Jarvis finally catch up to the car Stark was in to find the robot cop dead and no Howard. Dottie has a gun trained on Howard in the back seat of a car and she’s clearly upset that their nice weekend wasn’t as memorable for him.
Dottie: You don’t remember me, do you?
Howard: Er, should I?
Dottie: WE SPENT A WEEKEND TOGETHER AND IT WAS MAGICAL!
Howard: Ohhhhh! Umm…what was your name again? Alice? Maggie?
And she Hulks out for a second and punches him.
Sousa reports that a witness saw a Dottie forcing Stark into a black sedan and heading out of the city. Jarvis thinks Fennhoff is heading to Howard’s stashed private plane in order to place total blame on Stark for the impending gas attack in Times Square. Sure enough, that’s where our happy trio is. Dottie has Howard tied to a chair and is punching him so he’s like, “Wait, is it Lorraine?”
Fennhoff begins his villain explanation speech. He tells Howard that his brother and comrades were killed when Midnight Oil was released in Russia and he’s been holding onto his chance for revenge ever since. Howard is very sorry, but Fennhoff is like, “You aren’t yet, but you will be.” And he begins to hypnotize Howard. “Focus. There may still be a way to atone for your sins.” Playing on his biggest regret, Fennhoff tricks Howard into escaping as though he were on a mission to save Captain America just as Peggy and the agents arrive to watch him fly away.
The agents deduce that someone needs to radio the plane to try to talk Howard down, but someone in the air to shoot his plane – that is full of poisonous gas – down over the water is the plan B. Jarvis volunteers to pilot while Peggy goes to the radio room to thwart Fennhoff and Dottie. Peggy’s got her shotgun trained on them, but wild-eyed Dottie loves hand to hand combat.
Thompson is bolstering Jarvis’ confidence as he sets out to maybe kill his employer, but he knows that HOward would want to be stopped no matter what. Dottie relishes beating up Peggy and tells Fennhoff to scram. Cue Dottie’s villain explanation speech. “I was always jealous of girls like you.” That’s it. She was jealous. Okay. Peggy kicks her out a window.
Peggy is on the radio trying to convince Stark he’s seeing a fantasy and Thompson heads back into the hangar to catch Fennhoff but is cracked in the back by a lead pipe instead. Sousa catches Fennhoff and Fennhoff tries his mind control on him, too. “All you have to do is focus on your pain.” Howard really thinks that Fennhoff has helped him save Captain America. Thompson regains consciousness and just as Fennhoff thinks he’s tricked Sousa into killing Thompson, Sousa gives Fennhoff a good whack with his pistol.
Howard is still en route to the city and Peggy isn’t succeeding at convincing him to turn around. Getting closer and closer to the mark, Jarvis wonders if he should take the shot because they have run out of time. Stark thinks he’s seeing Cap up ahead (really the lights of the city) and explains that he needs to save him because he’s the one good thing he ever did for the world.
Peggy: I know you loved him and I loved him, too, but he’s gone. You have to let him go.
He snaps out of it and realizes he heading toward Manhattan and Peggy tells him to follow Jarvis back to the landing strip. Back in the hangar, Sousa and Thompson have arrested Dr. Fennhoff. Howard bristles knowing Jarvis was going to shoot him out of the sky but thanks him and Peggy for what they’ve done for him. Apparently Dottie escaped during the hustle and bustle and Howard’s steel trap finally spits out Dottie’s name: “Ida! I knew I’d get it.”
Peggy arrives back at the SSR to a round of applause and she’s finally getting her shine from these fatheads! They want her back but she just wants her paycheck. Just then Senator Walt Cooper comes in telling everyone they need to be like the American Hero Jack Thompson who single-handedly saved Times Square with no help at all from any woman! Thompson, unable to shirk a clap on the back, takes all the credit. Sousa is irate on Peggy’s behalf, but she’s like, “Whatever, I don’t need anyone’s approval to know I’m awesome.” And Sousa’s like, “Hey, so, er, uh…wouldyouliketograbadrinkwithme?” Peggy is flattered but she has to meet a friend. “Another time.”
Over at one of Howard’s homes, Jarvis is showing Peggy and former neighbor Angie to their new digs: “Well, Howard feels bad about, you know, your home and workplaces being destroyed. So you two can live here, gratis!” Angie is hyped that there are telephones in every room. Jarvis is plainly ecstatic to return to his butler duties, but offers his services to Peggy any time she should ever need. He also tells Peggy that Howard has destroyed all of his inventions because no government should possess such things. Everything but the vial of Steve Rogers’ blood. Jarvis nicked it to give to Peggy because he knew she would be the only person to know what should be done with it. As it turns out, the right thing to do with Captain America’s blood is to pour it into the East River. Peggy says goodbye, and so do we.
Or so we think. Dr. Fennhoff has been fitted with a face mask that prevents him from speaking and is escorted to a prison cell. Just then a voice emerges from the darkness and if you’ve seen any of the Marvel films recently you know exactly who it is: Dr. Zola. Zola is impressed at Fennhoff’s spectacular failure but would love to hear his thoughts on matters of the mind.
Zola: You’re in prison, yes, but this is an American prison. And America is the land of opportunity.