After starting off strong, I felt like ‘Agent Carter’ was progressing much slower than a limited series should. Since we only get eight episodes, one would assume that Leviathan would be more present in the proceedings, but that just wasn’t the case. However, with all the criticism that I’ve had for the show so far, it was still pretty solid and there have been many redeeming qualities that keep me coming back for more. I’m especially thankful that I came back this week because ‘The Iron Ceiling’ is by far the best episode of the series yet.
In the latest installment of the show that takes us back to the early days of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Peggy finally gets to go on a mission with her fellow SSR colleagues, including a skeptical Agent Jack Thompson. A few familiar faces join in on the fun as well as the Howling Commandos back up their old friend on a trip to a creepy boarding school in Russia where Leviathan is believed to be hiding.
Since the moment that this show was announced, I have said that all I wanted out of it was some Howling Commandos appearances. Of course, I have loved seeing Peggy kick a good amount of ass, but I am a big Dum Dum Dugan fan, especially when he’s played by Neal McDonough, so immediately this episode was elevated for me as soon as that signature moustache and bowler hat showed up onscreen. McDonough’s chemistry with Hayley Atwell was so on point throughout the entire episode that their characters’ relationship felt so genuine. I will say though that I was a little disappointed that Jim Morita and Gabe Jones weren’t included in this mission. Bringing in more of the original Commandos would have been nice, but Happy Sam Sawyer, Pinky Pinkerton, and Junior Juniper were welcome additions to the MCU’s version of the 107th Regiment. The important thing here is that people from Peggy’s new life at the SSR finally got to see what she’s really like thanks to people from her old life.
Besides the curtain being pulled back on Peggy, we also learned a lot more about Agent Thompson. Just an episode ago, I wanted to punch him in the face for being such a sexist tool, but now we’ve learned the truth behind his macho war hero image. Seeing him freeze up during the firefight was a big moment that they could have milked for a few episodes, but then Thompson was pushed further to reveal his PTSD and the horrifying mistake that caused it. Suddenly, Chad Michael Murray’s character becomes multi-dimensional and way more interesting than before. I’m not saying that I like him more now, but by acknowledging Peggy’s good work and inviting her out for a drink, it certainly is a step in the right direction.
On the other side of the SSR coin, we have Agent Sousa. From the start of the series, he was the one on Agent Carter’s side. He knew that she had more to offer around the office than just the lunch orders and coffee. But now that he’s wise to her secret missions and her disguise from the first episode, we’ll see how that all changes next week.
Finally, in an episode that was filled with insane revelations and excellent character development, the most interesting insights involved little to no dialogue. Of course, I’m talking about Dottie Underwood and the flashbacks to her past in the Russian facility training young girls to be killing machines. Seeing all the ways that this precursor to the Black Widow Program corrupted and weaponized these girls was unsettling, but it was even more so when we saw how it affected Dottie in the present day, specifically when she handcuffs herself to her bed. We still don’t know the whole story behind Peggy’s neighbor, but I’m guessing that the two deadly females are on a collision course and I can’t wait to see it.
Overall, this episode was just amazing. Everything just worked out so nicely from the story to the action to the guest stars to the all around development of this corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not only does ‘Agent Carter’ have the potential to bring about some really excellent change in terms of what we see on TV, Peggy Carter is a gift to True Believers everywhere and this episode reminds us all exactly why. Now, do as Peggy says and watch the show legally so that it can get renewed for another season!
‘Agent Carter’ starring Hayley Atwell, James D’Arcy, Chad Michael Murray, Shea Whigham, Kyle Bornheimer, and Enver Gjokaj airs on Tuesdays at 9:00pm on ABC.