Written by Jose Molina, Stephen McFeely, Christopher Markus, Stan Lee, and Jack Kirby
Directed by Peter Leto
This episode finally gives viewers a glimpse of what Peggy Carter is made of. She shines as she’s in her element finally, with a serious mission into enemy territory and a chance to renew some of the friendships she made in Captain America. It also does a great job dropping hints as to what’s what in the Marvel Universe and ties into the upcoming Black Widow film.
The episode opens with a flashback to Russia in 1937. We see girls being trained to mimic Americans as well as do battle. One of those girls is Dottie (Bridget Regan), the newest roommate at The Griffith.
Jarvis (James D’Arcy) comes to plead his case to Peggy (Hayley Atwell) and defend what Howard Stark did. Peggy is having none of it.
At the SSR, Peggy decodes the message the typewriter gave them when a special codebreaker from Washington couldn’t. They figure out the message is from Leviathan, which Chief Dooley (Shea Whigham) says is a Russian organization. Dooley is reluctant to send her, even though she has plenty of experience in the area. He relents and sends her to Soviet territory with Jack Thompson (Chad Michael Murray).
The SSR team jumps into Belarus and meets the Howling Commandos of the 107th just before crossing the border. Peggy renews her friendship with Dum-Dum Dugan (Neal McDonough). Around the campfire, Agent Thompson opens up about how he earned his Navy Cross. Carter and Thompson, along with the Howling Commandos, stumble upon the housing for the girls being trained as Black Widows. They find one girl still there. As Dugan attempts to connect with her, she attempts to stab him.
In the basement, they locate prisoners who fill them in on the experiments that were going on, saying it’s all part of a weapon called Leviathan. They end up trapped there as Soviet soldiers close in. Thompson freezes during the battle and it’s Peggy who saves him. Dugan gets them out of there and on a plane back to the States. They take Doctor Ivchenko (Ralph Brown) who was one of the cooperative prisoners with them.
Agent Sousa (Enver Gjokaj), meanwhile, manages to connect the dots that Peggy is the mystery woman in the photos from Spider Raymond’s club.
Dooley meets with Jarvis, and warns him about Stark’s enemies, particularly a General that Stark fought with over in Europe.
This episode s heavy on the action and intrigue. Although centered around the mission to Belarus, it’s a good time for Sousa to put things together instead of continually drawing out Peggy working both sides. It would get to the point that it’s unrealistic to believe they couldn’t put it together. I had the feeling that Sousa was developing feelings for Peggy, even to the point that when I first watched this (before the Infinity War and Endgame films) I thought that either he or Jack Thompson would end up being her husband.
There’s good character development between Peggy and Jack as they share a campfire with the Howling Commandos. He opens up to her there, then again even more later on. Peggy doesn’t betray his secret – the war affected everyone differently and Jack’s experience is not a surprising one. The fact was, back then people didn’t go for counseling after the war was over. They were supposed to suck it up and deal with it, or it was seen as a sign of weakness.
The action in Belarus is great. It’s an intriguing story that ties into Natasha Romanov’s back-story. As they uncover things there, it has the feel of another ongoing story that will have a variety of payoffs down the road. Meanwhile, Peggy gets to go on the attack and be more like the Peggy Carter we knew from the film, rather than a glorified secretary. She holds her own alongside Dum-Dum and it’s nice to see that he regards her as a contemporary when her fellow SSR agents don’t. He asks her to stay and work with them, and I have to think it was tempting for Peggy.
Hayley Atwell’s acting is great. She conveys frustration as well as a sense of duty, all the while not seeming out of place in this era. I enjoy her so much, and she’s fast becoming one of my favorite characters to watch. There are so many different levels to the character and Atwell makes them all very believable. I loved watching her with Chad Michael Murray. There was a tenderness and caring to how she handled him, as well as being no-nonsense.
All in all, The Iron Ceiling is a great episode that adds to the intrigue and takes the story in something of a new direction. It reveals things about many of the characters viewers have been following while giving a nice bit of action to the story.
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