– Spoiler Review –
Peggy has had enough of the men in her life and the world working against her of late and she takes things into her own hands, recruiting the Howling Commandos to investigate a lead in the Leviathan case. “The Iron Ceiling” is one of Agent Carter’s best in this already almost over season.
As teased by the show’s creators, we got some very sparse background on Dottie’s upbringing in the precursor-Black Widow program. There’s nothing like seeing two (teenagers?) sharing bread in the morning after being uncuffed from bed, watching Snow White, and then eventually beating each other to death. While brief, damn if those scenes aren’t memorable, showing just how deadly and destructive the program is trying to make these young women. If you weren’t worried about Dottie’s prowess before, now you should be; I really hope her and Carter duke it out before the season is through, though. However, it’s very unclear what Dottie’s mission is and just how much she knows. It seems she knows Peggy is SSR, or at least a government agent, as she’s already searching Peggy’s room. I was afraid she’d locate Captain America’s blood, but instead she creeped me out by imitating Peggy in the mirror. Is she supposed to take over Peggy’s life? Impersonate her to set her up? Or are they both working for the same outcome, just in different ways?
But Peggy was on her own mission and it was entertaining and awesome to see. Having been scorned by the perceived betrayal from Howard and Jarvis and from her daily dealings with the SSR co-workers, Peggy wants to change her station in life. Without trying to mysteriously disappear to help Howard anymore, now she can focus on her life at the SSR and show them just how capable she is. And watching her matching wits and words with Thompson was both funny and refreshing, as Hayley Atwell plays this more ‘in charge’ Peggy wonderfully and I hope we get more of it because this is Atwell at her best. I mean, she easily makes everyone else look like fools by a mile and it’s awesome.
Peggy starts making a name for herself by deciphering the latest typewriter/radio message and requests to be on the team to Russia to follow up on the message. It’s not until she calls in her Howling Commandos connection when Dooley allows her to join, much to the chagrin of Thompson. But over the mission Thompson and Peggy bond, giving the largely seemingly antagonistic Thompson some much appreciated character development. His story involving his Navy cross doesn’t make it seem like he’d be a man to freeze in combat, but once he unveils the truth to Peggy on the flight home, it’s easy to change your perspective on his character.
What the team uncovers in Russia is the school where we saw the young Dottie being trained, but someone made sure to leave them a small but deadly surprise. Obviously whoever sent the message through the typewriter knew the SSR had it and was luring them into a trap, but it was a brutally surprising trap in the guise a little girl. By likely having had the same training as Dottie, she was quick to kill a Howling Commando and later another SSR agent without being captured and escaping the scene. Despite all the deaths and the little girl getting away, the team at least got some solid evidence Stark is being set up by Leviathan after the confession from the crazy guy and his psychiatrist.
Couple that evidence with what Dooley finds out and the Finow plot thickens, but at the same time becomes more clear. Dooley does some tough work here, drinking and eating peanuts, while getting info from an old reporter acquaintance. It seems this reporter had his article on Finow stifled because it implicated the American government being behind the whole thing (much like the redacted files suggested from the previous episode). He said Stark punched the General at the Finow scene after he arrived and then backed out on a multi-million dollar contract with the Army, which leads me to a theory on Finow: The Army got its hands on a Stark invention and used it against Stark’s wishes or without telling him, resulting in a massacre. Once Stark crossed the Army because they pulled a fast one on him with his invention, the conspirators in the Army set out to set him up. So are Leviathan and the conspirators in the Army two different groups…or the same?
Here are a few other things:
- I wonder what Sousa will do with his discovery…though I can imagine he’ll confront Peggy first about it. But we’ll find out very soon, which has been one of the biggest upsides to such an immensely short season.
- This episode was pretty deadly, killing off several named but small characters and continues to show the stakes on Agent Carter can always be high.
- “Stop Wa-hooing and get over and help!” The Howling Commandos were fun to see here, considering they added some new comic book inspired faces to the lineup that we haven’t seen in the MCU before. And as enjoyable as the new Commandos were, you just can’t beat Dum Dum Dugan.
- So the episodes title (most likely) being a reference to both the Iron Curtain, a nickname for the countries allied with Russia, and the Glass Ceiling, about how women (and minorities) can’t get past a certain station in the workplace due to their gender/race, was both clever and somewhat timely.
- It’ll be nice to have Jarvis playing a bigger role again, as he takes a backseat in this episode.
Peggy taking charge and no longer taking crap from the men in her life made for a supremely entertaining episode of Agent Carter. Instead of her having to hide her prowess and skills, she gets to show everyone what a valuable asset she can be and it’s hard to argue against her. With the fun appearance of the Howling Commandos, a deadly little girl, the Finow plot thickening, and Dottie still a giant, deadly question mark, “The Iron Curtain” was one the series’ best yet.
+ Peggy showing her worth in public, not having to hide it
+ Deadly stuff
+ Lots of pieces moving into place
MARVEL’S AGENTS OF SHIELD REVIEWS:
Season Two: 2.1 Shadows | 2.2 Heavy is the Head | 2.3 Making Friends and Influencing People | 2.4 Face My Enemy | 2.5 A Hen in the Wolf House | 2.6 A Fractured House | 2.7 The Writing on the Wall | 2.8 The Things We Bury | 2.9 …Ye Who Enter Here | 2.10 What They Become | 2.11 Aftershocks | 2.12 Who You Really Are | 2.13 One of Us | 2.14 Love in the Time of Hydra | 2.15 One Door Closes | 2.16 Afterlife | 2.17 Melinda | 2.18 The Frenemy of My Enemy | 2.19 The Dirty Half Dozen | 2.20 Scars | 2.21,22: S.O.S.