Agent Carter 1×05 “The Iron Ceiling” Recap

Spoilers Ahead

Agent Carter continues to prove that it’s one of the strongest, most marvelously developed series in existence. And if you aren’t watching yet, there aren’tmany things I could promise you, but I can guarantee that you will fall headover for this show. Of all the shows I watch and review, this one’s probably the most difficult because it’s legitimately impossible to discuss every little impeccable moment, and if that doesn’t say it’s great, then I don’t know what will.

Episode Summary: When the “magic typewriter” sends out a message in codes, Peggy cracks it and tells to her fellow agents that they’re coordinates followed by a demand for $100,000 payable to Howard Stark. Believing that Stark’s the one who sent out the message, Thompson, Martinez, and Li go to Russia. After much hesitation, Dooley lets Peggy go as well when she gets the Howling Commandos to accompany them. Although there’s no detailed mention of the words on screen, Marvel fans have already realized that Dottie Underwood is not only a part of the Black Widow project, but the agents stumble into the Red Room during their trip to Russia. After seeing Peggy’s scars in the locker room, Daniel’s investigation leads to the realization that she’s the blond woman in the photographs. Neither Leviathan nor Stark are found, but with the help of Doctor Ivchenko, the team is now one step closer to uncovering it all.

Review | Analysis: The episode did an excellent job of reminding its viewers that what’s to come is so far from what we expect. The world is changing, terrible people are out there, and the Black Widow project is pretty damn frightening. Thankfully, in an episode that would’ve been fairly dark, the exquisite humor provided fantastic balance. Apart from all the great and terrifying storylines, the best moments were without a doubt Peggy Carter proving that she’s more badass than anyone can even begin to
imagine.

First things first, how great was it to see the 107th, generally known as Howling Commandos back in action!? They’re a solid group of soldiers, but beyond that, the way each of them respect Peggy Carter continues to astound me. Dum Dum Dugan is a legend in the Marvel world, and Neal McDonough did a great job as always bringing the characters heart and humor to life. In an episode that would’ve otherwise been hefty, the Howling Commandos were a necessity in bringing light, all while showcasing the kind of respect Peggy Carter deserves. As a woman who fought side by side with Captain America, members of the Howling Commandos (let’s be real, it’s much cooler to call them this then the 107th) truly understand the immense mental and physical strength she’s equipped with. And with the Howling Commandos, it’s not about her ties with Captain America but who she is as an agent. And I love that the Howling Commandos’ introduction with the SSR agents resulted in a conversation about Carter being the one to have fought alongside Steve Rogers the longest – once again allowing the agents of SSR to be reminded that it’s a blessing to work with her.

One of the primary reasons I love this show so much, and so far I feel it’s necessary to state every time, it’s the way love is glorified. It debunks the conception that badass women are weak because they have love in their lives. Peggy Carter’s relationship with Steve Rogers doesn’t define her character, but it does play a massive role in shaping both their characters. Steve and Peggy are two people with an eye for justice, honor, and liberty. It’s not just a mere love story between two people but an adoring partnership that gives them both necessary strength to conquer the world. If love is healthy, it has the power to do immeasurable things – and for those two, it’s what grounded their hearts in the midst of constantly erupting chaos. As it’s stated in her interview that plays at his exhibit in the Smithsonian, even after he died, he continued to save her life. And there’s nothing more beautiful to me than the idea of someone’s noble character perpetually playing a role in another’s life long after they’re gone. Steve Rogers is a character whose legacy continues to inspire the lives of everyone he’s touched and it’s gorgeous to see Peggy carry him with her as an inspiration and a man she’s adored. Their common vision for justice continues to serve as a light in her life because at the end of the day, they are selflessly driven characters. And the heartbreaking moments where we see her subtly grieve for him are so hard to watch. What Steve Rogers ultimately did is set the bar prodigiously high for her potential suitors – it is a privilege to love Peggy Carter and it is a privilege to fight alongside her. And thus far, it’s always beautiful when someone commends her as a woman on her own and a woman who Captain America relied heavily on because of physical, mental, and emotional support. A woman he wouldn’t have been as successful without because of the profound adoration that solidified them in more ways than any of us know.

Agent Carter’s a field agent with impeccable skills using them to benefit the world every opportunity she gets, but the show’s also about a woman’s heart and place in the world. It’s the journey of a woman doing exactly what she pleases with grace and honor while keeping her heart focused on what’s just.

Agent Carter is also the story of Peggy Carter’s life after she lost the love of her life. The story of how she’ll successfully conquer missions, change lives, grow as a woman, and fall in love with the man she’ll eventually marry. And each piece of her plays a role in making her special.

And that final storyline is what brings me to the next point of analysis – at this point, Daniel and Jack are the only two men we’re given the opportunity to get to know as potential suitors. This episode did a fantastic job of humanizing Jack Thompson even though I don’t see myself ever respecting him the way I would other men. He tells the story of how he saved his team from six Japanese soldiers by shooting them all when their camp was invaded on his watch. He later reveals to Peggy that they weren’t the enemy because they had come in with white flags wanting to surrender. Agent Jack Thompson’s regrets aren’t an excuse for his disrespectful nature – however, it’s admirable that he’s coming around. Perhaps seeing that Agent Carter is the only who could’ve ever cracked the code and gotten the Howling Commandos to join them on their mission changed his perspective, but at the same time, it’s not enough. Personally, he isn’t considered as someone worthy of Peggy Carter because he isn’t as selfless. Jack relies heavily on strategy and jumping to conclusions whereas Peggy analyzes and takes more things into consideration. It’d be nice of them to be on friendly terms with one another because that’s much better than me wanting to throw things on my television after every sexist comment that comes out of his mouth.

On the other hand, there’s Daniel Sousa who’s shown from the very beginning that he sees Peggy Carter as a woman who deserves much more than she gets. And it’s hard not to root for him when all he’s done is exemplify how a woman should be treated. It’s also impossible to deny the lovely chemistry Atwell and Gjokav are able to translate onto the screen – there’s so much respect between the two characters, it’s easy to be compassionate towards one another. Daniel’s mind and considerate nature are assets that could play a vast role in a close partnership if the two of them ever fell for one another. Another reason why it’s so difficult to really consider Jack’s backstory is because like most “villains” (not necessarily calling him one, so bear with me), when they come from a troubled past, a lot of them do everything in their power to grow as human beings. Lying to Daniel about the compass to get him to walk in on Peggy changing was a childish act. Clearly everyone’s aware of Daniel’s fascination with Peggy, but the moment wasn’t even about humiliating him, but Peggy as well. It’s disrespectful for a woman to be purposely exposed that way by a man who knows she’s changing. It was disrespectful of Thompson to use Daniel’s crush and his willingness to help in a way that he knew would embarrass him.

However ,seeing her scars helped Daniel crack his own codes pretty quickly. And I find it really interesting that he didn’t immediately bring the group in on his investigation. It only makes me more excited for next week’s huge reveal.

And now, the terrifying origin of the Black Widow project I’ve held off on discussing because it was genuinely disturbing to watch. I didn’t expect Dottie to raid Peggy’s room in such a creepy manner, and I didn’t expect her to be someone I’m skeptical of trusting. However, the reason I’m refraining from judgment is because the girls are clearly trained to believe a certain way and years of that kind of emotional and physical manipulation can do a great deal of damage. What came as a massive shock to me however was the lack of reaction from the group with the child’s skills. She murdered a grown man within a minute and it was brushed off so casually. I found that moment to be a bit strange, but I also understand that in an episode like this, a lot of time couldn’t have been spent analyzing it.

I’m glad Peggy’s coming around to Howard again, because as she said, he may be a wanker, but he’s one of them. At the end of the day, his heart’s in the right place and the only thing lacking from this episode was her partnership with Jarvis. And I look forward to seeing it again next week because Atwell and D’Arcy have inimitable chemistry with one another.

What are your thoughts on this week’s episode? And what are you looking forward to seeing most as the show airs its final episodes of the first season? Remember, if you have an opportunity to watch the show live, do it. If you have DVR, don’t fast forward commercials. If you cannot do any of these watch on abc.com. While tweeting, use the hashtag #AgentCarter. Tell your friends and every single person you know to do the same. This is a show that deserves to be on air for as long as possible, let’s do everything in our power to save it.

@GissaneSophia

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