Previously on Agent Carter, ‘The Blitzkrieg Button’
‘The Iron Curtain’ begins in 1937 in a nondescript complex at parts unknown, in the perspective of a young girl, frightened and handcuffed to her bed along with other girls. We seem them next in a classroom learning English reciting Snow White; finally we witness a girl overpowering another in a wrestling match. She looks to her instructor who nods her approval to dispatch her opponent with a swift break to her neck. Eyes flash on the screen as its revealed Dottie was the young girl, the pride of Russia’s premiere Black Widow Program.
Now Dottie is seen sharing a meal with Peggy at the diner, obviously distracted by what occurred in the previous episode. Carter rips Jarvis’ business card and Dottie recognizes she’s down on the dumps. Carter shows some concern for Dottie, who has plans to visit various landmarks in New York City on her own. Deftly playing the klutz, Dottie snatches Peggy’s keys from her purse before both head out to start their day.
At the SSR office, Peggy once again gets it done like a boss by cracking the code used by the confiscated typewriter. The team learns a purchase is to happen for a ‘Havoc Reactor’ in Belarus days from now. Excited at the prospect of returning to the field, Dooley repeatedly denies Carter the chance unless she can call up the 107th for support. While Agent Thompson gloats and Chief Dooley scowls, in two shakes of a lamb’s tail, Carter has the 107th ready to meet the SSR at their rally point.
Thanks to a cruel joke by Jack in the locker room, Sousa saw a little more of Peggy than either one cared to… yet it was enough to make him recall the few distinguishing features Agent Carter and the Mystery Woman from the nightclub share! It appears everything is coming to a head now!
After considering whining and moping from Carter’s companions about the mission, they finally run into the Howling Commandos! Look, it’s Dum Dum Dugan (Neal McDonough) and …Happy Sam Sawyer and Pinky Pinkerton? Buh-wha? Obviously not all the Commandos we know and love could return to the small screen due to budgetary reasons, still it was a welcome sight to see the lovable outfit in action with their stuffy SSR counterparts.
Carter and the Commandos make their way inside the Leviathan stronghold facing no resistance, which puts them on even greater edge. They find the schoolroom and one of the cartoons used to brainwash the girls, as each frame is superimposed with the words ‘Instill fear’. While clearing rooms, Dum Dum finds a schoolgirl crying and cowering next to her bed. Now… after discovering what I just saw in the other rooms, wouldn’t you be more twitchy-fingered if you found a child ‘hiding’ out in the open? C’mon guys, big time trap! The schoolgirl does her duty and the group lowers their guard just enough for her to stab Dum Dum and cap Junior Juniper in the neck before diving through some shaft in the wall. Russians, am I right?
The Commandos carry on and find a pair of prisoners in the basement: Drs. Nikolai and Ivchenko (Ralph Brown). Nikolai claims he was kidnapped by Leviathan to construct a super weapon based on stolen Stark Industries blueprints. Ivchenko, Nikolai’s psychiatrist, says Nikolai sees and solves things unlike most, yet his sensitivities leave him a bit unbalanced. Although hesitant to bring them along, Peggy frees them in time for Leviathan soldiers to box them in.
During this firefight, Nikolai gets antsy and takes a team member hostage, hoping Leviathan will trade his freedom for Americans (yeah sure, super scientist). Dr. Ivchenko shoots him and the firefight ensues. Surprisingly (or not), Agent Thompson freezes up as the bullets fly. Despite all his bravado and know-it-all-ness in the first four episodes, Jack shows some vulnerability throughout this episode. The only problem is he’s established himself as such a despised character, I have absolutely no empathy for him. Ultimately, Dugan blasts his way through a wall and gives the remaining team members and Dr. Ivchenko a means of escape.
Peggy and Dum Dum say their goodbyes with Dr. Ivchenko coming along for debriefing; his ease in cooperating with the SSR is a little too concerning… could he be a potential mole? He killed a key asset and the soldiers didn’t arrive until he and Nikolai were freed… On the flight back, Agent Thompson reveals more about his time in the service: the Japanese soldiers he killed were surrendering. Jack literally slept on the job and overreacted by shooting men desperate to return home in their backs. Peggy promises to keep his admission between them.
Finally home, Dooley congratulates Carter and Thompson, the latter inviting Peggy to join him and the guys for a drink. Progress? Maaaybe? Sousa keeps his nose to the files, nearly certain that the woman they’ve been looking for all this time is their very own. Apparently his suspicions will be put into action in the preview for next week’s episode.
Another solid episode that provides considerable characterization for secondary as well as an enjoyable guest appearance, ‘The Iron Curtain’ further builds up the looming threat of Leviathan and its agents. When Carter faces Dottie, there’s no question it’ll be a very entertaining confrontation. That is, if the SSR don’t catch Peggy first!
Starring: Hayley Atwell, James D’Arcy, Chad Michael Murray, Enver Gjokaj, Shea Whigham, Bridget Regan, Neal McDonough | Director: Peter Leto