In the fifth episode of the first season of Agent Carter, Peggy finally gets a chance to prove herself to her colleagues. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Agent Carter.
Trigger Warning: For talk of PTSD/trauma, brainwashing, abuse.
THIS DID NOT GO WHERE I THOUGHT IT WOULD, WHAT THE HELL.
SO OKAY. OKAY. Am I supposed to make the connection I just made, because I’m pretty sure that’s the Red Room training facility that created Natasha Romanoff. I’M PRETTY SURE THAT’S THE SAME THING. Which means that Dottie was sent to infiltrate…what? Peggy’s life? American politics in general? WHAT’S HER MISSION??? I’m guessing that she’s there in connection with Stark’s stolen weapons, given that she was most interested in the photos that Peggy took. BUT WHY? Oh god, this is so frustrating because I feel like it’s so obvious at this point since I have most of the pieces. But I can’t put it together!
My god, that cold open is so horrifying. WHAT THE FUCK, AGENT CARTER.
I see “The Iron Ceiling” as a turning point for Agent Carter, since it’s through the events here that all three of her colleagues – Sousa, Thompson, and Dooley – all come to view her differently. When Peggy sees the chance to prove herself to these men, she jumps upon it. And once I knew she’d be meeting up with the Howling Commandos, I was eager to watch her wipe the floor with Thompson’s face. Here was a group of men who knew how talented Peggy was, and they respected her for it! The very thought thrilled me, and all the unbearable scenes prior to those in Russia were proof that Peggy needed this.
I think you can see the realization creep onto Thompson’s face fairly early into the mission, too. He sees how Dugan, Sawyer, Juniper, and Pinkerton look at Agent Carter, and he knows THAT HE IS NOT IN THE RIGHT CROWD TO CLOWN ON HER ANYMORE. I love it. I love that it makes him visibly uncomfortable because he deserves it. He deserves to confront his own biases and his own fragile narrative, and this mission forces him to do that in an alarming way. After he freezes up during a firefight, he can’t keep lying about the identity that he’s helped to construct. Now, I don’t think that Thompson’s PTSD is all that simple; I think there’s an element to it that you can blame on the willingness of the public to venerate war heroes. What does it mean to be one? In Thompson’s case, his mistake cost the lives of six Japanese soldiers, and he chose to bury the evidence of that mistake. Then, for the year following the act, he built up his own status by continuing to tell that lie.
And then he watches as Agent Carter selflessly saves him and the other men who surround her, and he knows that he’s a fraud.
It’s an unexpected turn, I’ll admit that. I still don’t like him because his trauma doesn’t excuse his virulent misogyny. He’s got a lot to make up for. The same goes for Dooley, though I do thing both agents are ready to look at Carter in a new light. Not only does she prove herself in the field, but Dooley’s investigation continues to push him in a direction that he wasn’t prepared to explore. Perhaps his bias against both her and Howard Stark are flawed. Then what? Like Thompson, he’s built up an intense prejudice. But where has that prejudice gotten him? He has routinely ignored Carter, despite that she’s more qualified than most, if not all, of the men in the S.S.R. He’s pursued Stark as a suspect when the evidence is now pointing elsewhere.
But then we’ve got Sousa, whose dogged work as an agent of the S.S.R. has led him to a deeply uncomfortable place: he’s now got undeniable evidence that Peggy has been lying about her place in this conspiracy. While she wins over Thompson and Dooley, she may have lost the one ally she had in S.S.R. MAYBE??? Sousa doesn’t seem like he’s ready to jump up and reveal what he’s discovered, so I’m guessing he’s going to wait to reveal it. Why? Does he want to get more context before he reports it to Dooley? Does he refuse to believe Peggy could do something like this?
EVERYTHING IS MESSED UP.
So it’s an organization! I think? Now I can’t remember if this was mentioned in Age of Ultron or not, but I’m guessing it wasn’t. So, assuming that Dooley’s informant’s information is correct, the Leviathan organization is the one in charge of the Red Room brainwashing. Who also stole Stark’s blueprints for a number of nasty weapons, all so they could build them for…things? Destructive things? Obviously! But what happened in Finow? I still don’t understand how that fits in with everything!!! WHAT KILLED ALL THOSE SOLDIERS???
The video for “The Iron Ceiling” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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