Episode 5: “The Iron Ceiling”
Peggy is sent to Russia for her first mission.
There’s a wedge that’s been driven between Peggy and everyone else. Stark is on her bad side because A) he’s a lying bastard, and B) he’s a self-centered son of a bitch. Jarvis, once her wonderfully charming and awkward partner, is caught in the middle of their squabble like a child in a divorce. Souza is feverishly investigating the woman who infiltrated the party from episode one. Her boss and office peers treat her like a secretary, barring her from any field work exclusively based on her gender. The only confidante she has is Dottie, who is a Russian spy that dumps bodies in her room, steals intelligence, and may or may not be planning to steal her identity. Last but not least is Steve Rogers, who is presumed dead. Times like this make Peggy desperately miss the good ol’ days during the war.
Thus it is quite fortunate that her mission puts her back in contact with the Captain’s old team, the Howling Commandos. Among them, she isn’t a woman or a hindrance, she’s a comrade-in-arms. An equal in many ways, and a superior in several others. Among these men who have fought Nazis, HYDRA, and everything in-between, Peggy is a hero deserving of the utmost respect and loyalty. There’s a great exchange that captures this sentiment.
“What would Captain America say if I lost his best gal?”
“He’d say, ‘do what Peggy says’.”
If the world was dependent solely on people like Agent Thompson (Chad Michael Murray); handsome, well-off, white male Americans, the war would have gone very differently. What it all comes down to is that it doesn’t matter who does the job, just that it gets done. Be it the war, the mission, or a single firefight; the fact of the matter is that what’s being asked of this new world is not easy. Decades of work and struggle lie ahead, and there is no time for sexism to get in the way.
Especially not when there are little Russian girls trained to kill running around. Hello, Black Widow Program.
The “Peggy” of it All:
Few titles quite capture the blatant sexism of post-war America like “The Iron Ceiling”. Referring to the infamous “glass ceiling” that women often find themselves restricted by in any line of work, it is a sad reality that remains a pressing issue today. Basically, being a woman means you never get promoted passed a certain point. Unlike the “glass ceiling”, through which one can see the higher positions out of one’s reach, an “iron ceiling” implies a stone-cold wall of impassable structure. It’s painful to see how hard Peggy has to fight to be seen as capable by her male superiors. No matter how smart, skilled, experienced, or gutsy she is, the world does not change its ways so easily.
Change comes one person at a time.
Episode Score: 8.9