Agent Carter Season 1 Ep 5 (TV Show Review)
Marvel’s latest television offering, Agent Carter, has been a great addition to comics-related television, and it has indeed been more spectacular than expected. Some of the gender politics-related condescension has rubbed me the wrong way in the last couple of episodes, but at the same time I have truly enjoyed what the show has to offer in terms of the titular character and the effect she is going to have on her colleagues and the MCU at large. Peggy Carter was an underused character with potential in Captain America: The First Avenger but in Agent Carter she definitely has come into her own I’d dare say.
This week’s episode, “The Iron Ceiling“, is perhaps the best episode of the young show so far. This one deals with more of Dottie’s past and how she was trained as an agent of Leviathan, while at the same time also turning Chief Dooley around on the idea of Howard Stark actually being a traitor, and it also has some butt-kicking action by Peggy as she finally teams up with her WWII friends, the Howling Commandos and their ranking officer Dum Dum Duggan. This episode firmly put Peggy on top as a highly-capable field agent, and if more of the show is like this, then I’m along for the full ride.
In the second half of last week’s episode we learned that Dottie wasn’t quite the small town girl she professed to be, but actually a trained sleeper agent of Leviathan, the Russian spy organisation that can be considered to be both a threat and answer to the SSR. It was pretty much an “oh crap” moment, where actress Bridget Regan definitely outdid herself with that fantastic action scene.
But it is time to move on from all of that and learn some of the whys and the hows, and even get to see some soldier bromance Peggy Carter-Howling Commandos style. As I’ve mentioned before, one of the things that kind of sticks out with this series is the whole patriarchy thing going on. Despite having field experience, despite being one of the best agents on the SSR roster, Peggy is continually marginalized, often reduced to little more than a coffee-serving secretary, or even a rug for other people to walk all over her. It is frustrating to a great degree, which is why I loved the slight change in direction for the character in this episode, and also the fact that Peggy finally puts her foot down on being sent to the field, though it takes some heavy convincing!
The typewriter-doohickey that SSR captured a while back from Leviathan-operative Sasha Demidov’s apartment started spitting out some instructions in the last episode and so Chief Dooley assembles a team to crack the coded instructions and to act on the intel when it becomes available. That’s where Peggy comes in, breaks the coded Russian instructions, and then gets herself a spot on the team led by Agent Thompson when she arranges for the 107th Regiment, the Howling Commandos to act as field support. It was basically a huge moment of badassery as far as I’m concerned, and it is nice to see that Chief Dooley is slowly turning around where Carter is concerned and that she herself is becoming much more assertive, beyond the fact that she is the only one at the SSR who can do local recon for the team.
Once in the field however, things really ramp up, and we spend some great quality team with the Howling Commandos: Dum Dum Duggan, Jonathan “Junior” Juniper, Samuel “Happy Sam” Sawyer, and Percival “Pinky” Pinkerton. That’s where the emotional drama really got going as far as I’m concerned. I especially loved how the 4 members of the 107th deferred to Carter over Agent Thompson and when Duggan made it pretty clear that Carter was one of them, one of the handful few who got swept along with Steve Rogers in his bid for unsought-glory, becoming a part of his legend. It definitely put Thompson and the two agents with him in their place.
All the crap about how Carter couldn’t be a good field agent went out the window in this episode, and I think the moment of… connection between her and Thompson towards the end did much in the way of making her more of an integral part of the SSR. It is nice to see especially after the whole misogynistic bullcrap speech that Thompson gave her last time, making it quite clear that she was never going to be as good as any man at the SSR, or elsewhere even. Loved that takedown.
But of course, there is more here. For one, we learn more about how Dottie Underwood was trained as a Leviathan operative, going back to her childhood. Since it has been revealed now that Dottie is part of the proto-Black Widow program that would eventually give birth to none other Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow, this was all the more important I feel. The flashbacks in Russia show that Dottie’s training was brutal, bloody, and unrelenting and that being trained as a sleeper agent was all that was important in her childhood, eventually bringing her to the Griffith and near Peggy. Some really, really excellent stuff here.
And then there’s the fact that Sousa’s search for the blonde-haired woman who interrupted an SSR mission back in the first and second episodes finally brings him such results, setting him on a collision course with Carter. This whole thing made the drama really ratchet up in intensity and while Sousa doesn’t confront Carter yet, and we don’t really see much of his reaction either, it is still significant that he didn’t go straight to Chief Dooley with his info, but has sat on it instead. Very interesting, and I’m thinking that he’s going to go after Peggy to find some answers from her.
All of which puts her newfound status at the SSR into a dubious light, since it is very clear that a stormy sea is ahead for her. Doesn’t look good for either character, but I’m definitely tuning in next week to see what’s gonna happen next.
Just a pretty damn good episode all around that solves some mysteries, introduces new ones, and connects smoothly with the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Posted on February 5, 2015, in Agent Carter, Review Central, TV Show Reviews and tagged ABC, Action, Adventure, Agent Carter, Agent Carter Season 1, Agent Carter Season 1 Ep 5, Agent Peggy Carter, Andi Bushell, Angie Martinelli, Anton Vanko, Bridge and Tunnel, Bridget Regan, Captain America, Chad Michael Murray, Christopher Markus, Costa Ronin, Daniel Sousa, Dominic Cooper, Dottie Underwood, Drama, Edwin Jarvis, Enver Gjokaj, Eric Pearson, Female Protagonists, Female-Led Shows, Haley Atwell, Hayley Atwell, Howard Star, Howling Commandos, Hydra, Jack Thompson, James D'Arcy, Joe Russo, Kevin Fiege, Leviathan, Louis D'Esposito, Lyndsy Fonseca, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios, Now is Not the End, Peggy Carter, Red Room, Roger Dooley, Russian Intelligence, Science Fiction, Scott Winant, Shea Whigham, SSR, Stephen McFeely, Steve Rogers, Strategic Science Reserve, Warrior Women, Women in Marvel, Women in MCU, Women in SFF, Women in Television. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.