Marvel’s Agent Carter, S1 Ep05 – The Iron Ceiling

This week’s episode of Marvel’s Agent Carter, “The Iron Ceiling”, was a much deserved change of pace for the series as Carter and fellow S.S.R. Agent Jack Thompson team up with Dum Dum Dugan (Neal McDonough) and The Howling Commandos in Russia. Additionally, we are given more information regarding Peggy’s next door neighbor Dottie a newcomer with a mysterious past.

Russian assassins in training

Russian assassins in training

We find out early on that Dottie is a Russian spy who has been trained since early childhood. Agent Carter showrunner Tara Butters recently revealed to that the Russian program Dottie was trained in is indeed the Black Widow program, which ties directly into Scarlet Johansson’s character from Marvel’s films. So far a lot of the dilemmas Peggy has faced in this series don’t seem to connect to Marvel’s overall agenda, but rather seem meant to stand alone within the span of this mini-series. The inclusion of the Black Widow program is a nice way of tying everything together.

The opening scenes illustrating the Black Widow program are some of the more compelling scenes in this episode. We see a young Dottie being trained with numerous other young girls, learning how to speak in an American accent by watching Snow White, and even killing a fellow Black Widow in training without hesitation. Her lessons still register for her everyday adult life, as she creepily practices Peggy’s accent while having sneaked into her apartment and continues to handcuff herself to her bed at night before she goes to sleep.

The Black Widow program plays a substantial role in Peggy’s mission this week, as the typewriter confiscating from Leviathan leads the S.S.R. to Russia. Peggy immediately proves herself worthy to her cohorts by decrypting the code the typewriter sent, and convinces Director Roger Dooley into allowing her to tag along with Agent Thompson and two other S.S.R. agents in Russia. Peggy successfully establishes a meetup with her old friends Dum Dum Dugan and The Howling Commandos. The scenes between Peggy and Dum Dum are quite enjoyable to watch, as they truly feel like old friends who have been through a lot together and both share pain for the loss of their mutual friend Steve Rogers.

When they all make their way to the Russian base they immediately discover a young girl, and because she was only a young girl Dum Dum didn’t expect to get stabbed. I’m interested in seeing how Peggy and the rest of her team handles the knowledge of a secret Russian base training young girls into becoming assassins, but “The Iron Ceiling” doesn’t allow them to go to deep into it as they are ambushed by Russian soldiers. This takes place after they attempt to rescue two captured scientists who have been assigned to build on Howard Stark’s technology. The gunfight that follows is thrilling throughout and leads to an interesting revelation about Agent Thompson.

Marvel's Agent Carter, S1 Ep05 - The Iron Ceiling (1)

Peggy reunites with The Howling Commandos

Thompson, who is perceived as a war hero, later reveals to Peggy that he is not the hero he’s cracked up to be as he gained the label by killing surrendering Japanese soldiers. His past actions and fear get the best of him during the firefight with Russian soldiers as he freezes up while in combat. Peggy eventually saves him as Dum Dum blasts a hole through a wall allowing them to escape.

It’s nice to see that Thompson is more than just a jerk Peggy is forced to work with. He has tragedy in his past that he is ashamed of, and this places him among the series’ more sympathetic characters. By the end of the episode it seems he might be opening up to Peggy being a member of his team as he invites her to have a drink with him and his other fellow agents.

Overall, “The Iron Ceiling” was a very enjoyable episode of Agent Carter and one of the best so far. It brought Peggy into territory we had not seen her in prior taking a break from working directly with Jarvis and/or Stark. Seeing Neal McDonough revel in his role as Dum Dum Dugan was a real treat, and the inclusion of the Black Widow program was a great way to connect Agent Carter to Marvel’s overall cinematic universe. Also, it seems not everything will be going well for Peggy for long, as Agent Sousa has figured out that she is the blonde haired woman they’ve been looking for. I’m looking forward to seeing what confrontation comes out of that.

Next week the jig is up. Agent Sousa’s investigating will indeed lead to Peggy being labeled a fugitive charged with treason. Check out the ABC’s official promo for “A Sin To Err” below and feel free to let us know what you thought about “The Iron Ceiling” in the comments.