Man, that was a creepy episode. Anyone else? Anyone? Let’s take a look, shall we? But, not if you haven’t seen it yet. That’s cheating.
The Recap – Iron Ceiling
First off, we get a flashback to a girl’s school in Russia, where the girls are taught English (hey look! Snow White!) and fighting. They are also handcuffed to beds at night (probably a good move, if they let students kill each other during classes…probably don’t want that happening when they’re not supervised.) We transition to today and are given every possible clue that Dottie was, like, their star pupil that we just saw. She’s talking with Agent Carter about where she should visit in New York and seems VERY interested in talking with Angie – who we don’t see for the entire episode.
Dottie “accidentally” knocks Carter’s purse on the floor and “helps” her put “everything” back…but steals her room key in the process.
Agent Carter walks to work, having a brief altercation with Jarvis, who assures her that Stark can be egotistical and unthinking and all those other compliments, but he is essentially a good man. She brushes him off, her trust still very shattered.
Back in the SSR (man, I’m going to pretend that was intentional), we finally get to see the message that was sent via typewriter at the end of last week’s episode. It is in code, and originally in Russian, which is why the codebreaker is unable to decipher it. Agent Carter, though, can just look at it and read the original text straight through – decoding and translating in real time.
The message essentially reads a location and time, and a purchase order for a pretty nasty sounding weapon, payment due to Howard Stark. The SSR decides to send a team to intercept that purchase, potentially capture Howard Stark, kill some commies, you know the usual. Agent Carter pulls every possible string to get herself onto the mission: you need a codebreaker, I know the territory, I can get you the 107th – it’s that last one that finally gets the chief to concede. She suits up along side three male agents and parachutes into enemy Russian territory.
Coincidentally, while she’s suiting up, Sousa accidentally happens by and, amid modesty and embarrassment, notices familiar-looking marks on her shoulder…
They meet up with the 107th – the Howling Commandos of Captain America fame, and forge a plan to infiltrate the prison / girl’s school of horrors. They sneak around the compound looking for clues, eventually finding a young girl who ends up being waaaaay too much trouble – stabbing, ninja moves, crawling through tiny secret passageways. Why wasn’t she handcuffed to something? Of course, the ever-helpful lawful-good characters would have probably busted her free, anyway. Dang it.
Further in the compound, they find an imprisoned mentally-unstable genius scientist and his psychologist / brain wrangler. They’re working from stolen Stark blueprints to try and create some kind of weapon. The team releases them and tries to sneak them out. Unfortunately, Leviathan is hot on their trail and a lot of shooting happens. Thompson freezes up during the battle, and Agent Carter has to snap him out of it, putting them both in more danger than they needed. The final death toll includes the scientist, the innocent guy from the Howling Commandos, and the two redshirt SSR agents we hadn’t met until this episode. Also, pretty much every Russian soldier.
The Commandos stay in Russia, and Carter and Thompson return home to report that Howard Stark may not be involved – only his blueprints were there – or may be – he may have sold them. End of the day, though, it was a successful mission ending with a new ally in the form of the Russian psychologist who has offered any help he can give.
Sousa looks like he hasn’t slept in days, and almost looks on the brink of madness. He doesn’t say a word to Carter, but seems to have definitively proven to himself that Stark’s mystery blond is her.
I’ve decided that I really like the parallelism of Dottie’s past and present lives. At first, it seemed like they were really pushing hard to give us all these clues that she was raised in that Russian school, but I think instead, it’s just showing how permanently that experience affected her. She can’t go to sleep unless she handcuffs herself to the bed, she physically can’t eat more than half a piece of bread, and we’ve already seen her awesome ninja skills.
She breaks into Carter’s room to steal a picture of one of Stark’s inventions. How does she know that Carter is an Agent? Who is working with Stark? Her intel is VERY good. She knows things only Stark and Jarvis know. I won’t write it off, yet, I just really want to know how she knows this stuff.
I’m suddenly unsure of Sousa’s role in future episodes. I’ve always believed he’d find out the truth and become an uneasy ally, but the look in his eyes, the color of his skin…that’s stuff that’s usually reserved for the person who becomes the ultimate villain in these type of shows. Either things get worse before they get better, or they’re just going to get worse…
It was nice seeing the Chief getting so overworked – a prerequisite for the leader of a spy organization (Fury, Coulson). He just wants to get the job done, and the more he learns, the more he realizes he doesn’t know. End of the day, he just wants to find the truth, and sends a message to Stark via Jarvis to that effect. Here’s hoping they bring Stark back into the fold, if only so they can have nice spy tech to use against the enemy.
All in all, I felt like there was quite a lot of character delving, a lot of set up going on, and a lot of places to go in future episodes. We know from the preview for next week that Sousa’s not going to keep his new information to himself. How that exactly plays out for Carter, Jarvis, and Stark remains to be seen. I think we’re just about at the top of the climb to the turning point. Looking forward to that!
Until next week, Agents!