Agent Carter Review: “The Iron Ceiling”

In one of the best episodes yet, Agent Carter teams up with the Howling Commandos. Evidence surfaces that might clear Stark—and other evidence implicates Petty Carter.

We also learn Dottie Underwood’s twisted past.

Title: “The Iron Ceiling”

Directed by Peter Leto
Written by Jose Melina

Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter
Bridget Regan as Dottie Underwood
James D’Arcy as Edwin Jarvis
Shea Whigham as Chief Roger Dooley
Chad Michael Murray as Jack Thompson
Enver Gjokaj as Daniel Sousa
Neal McDonough as Dum Dum Dugan
Leonard Roberts as Happy Sam Sawyer
Ralph Brown as Dr. Ivchenko
Greg Serano as Agent Rick Ramirez
Alex Veadov as Nikola
Eddie Shin as Agent Mike Li
Richard Short as Pinky Pinkerton
Veronika Bonell as young Dottie

Full cast and crew available here.

Premise

Peggy and the Howling Commandos embark on a mission that may uncover Leviathan’s plot and clear Howard Stark—or kill them all.

We also learn the truth about Dottie, as Sousa uncovers incriminating evidence against Peggy Carter.

High Points

This episode presents us with some fascinating contrasts. We see the fun side of the Howling Commandos, but also reminders of the brutality of actual warfare. Agent Carter finally achieves acceptance from her male associates—just as her staunchest supporter uncovers her duplicity.

Low Point

I suppose this point amounts to a discussable observation rather than a particularly serious criticism.

Marvel’s movies do not take place in our universe. Here be superheroes. We have to accept, nevertheless, a significant hand-wave when Carter makes one quick call and gets Dum Dum Dugan and associates to help with a secret raid. If they’re still in Europe, they have ongoing missions. They’re not simply waiting around for an old friend to commandeer them. Apparently, we have to accept that the Howling Commandos Mission Statement reads, “hang out in Europe and be awesome, as required.”

The Scores:

Originality: 4/6 The Russian assassin school (presumably, where the Black Widow trained / will train) echoes popular conspiracy theories but remains plausible enough to be believable. It’s also darker than what we typically have seen in Marvel’s productions.

Effects: 5/6

Acting: 5/6 The principals continue to give strong performances, and Neal McDonough , as Dum Dum Dugan, merits special mention for his credible portrayal of a living comic-book character.

Story: 6/6

Emotional Response: 5/6

Production: 6/6

Overall: 5/6.

In total, “The Iron Ceiling” receives 36/42

9 replies on “Agent Carter Review: “The Iron Ceiling””

  1. pythor says:

    “Petty Carter”, huh?

    Good episode. Better than last week’s. I’m not too happy with the idea of pushing away Peggy’s only real support in the office, but we’ll see how it plays out.

  2. Jethro says:

    Your low-point wasn’t hand-waving, it was Rule of Funny. Heck, made me laugh.

    • quantaman says:

      I have to agree and I don’t think it was that implausible either (other than the standard TV phone conversation length).

      Soldiers have a lot of downtime between missions, it’s quite likely the Commandos spend most of their time training or on R&R with the explicit purpose of being available for when an important mission comes up.

      • JD DeLuzio says:

        As I said, more of a discussion point. It was worth it to see the Howling Commandos and the Black Widow School.

        • Blackadder says:

          Off topic but related – I know Agents of Shield was about the background people around the heroes but I wonder if it would be stronger with the occasional cameo from say Black Widow.

  3. Fez says:

    This was definitely one of the best yet, likely because it focused on them in action and making observable progress. There wasn’t much of the contrived living arrangement drama, either.

    And we got some good character development action as well.

    Something tells me Sousa may be suspicious but he’ll end up on her side.

    If it gets picked up again, hopefully next season isn’t still focused on this Stark plot.

    • Blackadder says:

      I thought this was a one off single story arc? The “One Shot” that this is an extension of has her ride off with Howard to head up S.H.I.E.L.D.

      • Fez says:

        I wasn’t sure — I didn’t catch the One Shot. If that is the case, and if/when it comes back there is a different focus, then I’ll be that much happier. I enjoy this as it is but I could see the plot wearing thin if it spanned multiple seasons.

      • JD DeLuzio says:

        As far as I know, it’s only supposed to get the one “season.”

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