Let’s Talk about The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 1-5
“You lose this again, I’m keeping it.”
Tony Stark says this to Steve Rogers in the moments before their climactic battle against Thanos…the second one where the heroes win.
This theme returns this week, as the current possessor of the Shield no longer deserves it.
Let’s talk about The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 1-5, the one with the surprise guest star.
John Walker’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
At the end of last week’s episode, John Walker, the fake Captain America, straight-up murdered a dude.
That’s arguably not even the worst part. The victim of his assault wasn’t the person who had just killed Walker’s best friend, Lemar Hoskins.
Must of this week’s show, entitled Truth, examines the repercussions of Walker’s actions.
At the start, the fleeing man remembers his friend’s wisdom over the years.
The comment that resonates is, “This suit, it comes with expectations, brother.”
John Walker has not lived up to the high standards of Captain America, the ones established by Steve Rogers.
After all, Thanos once broke the legendary Shield.
Rogers traveled back in time and then returned to deliver it to his friend and chosen successor, Sam Wilson.
Blood drips from that Shield now due to Walker’s actions, and he knows what will happen next.
The Avengers are coming for John Walker, and it’s two against one. He’s not gonna win.
The Ascension of Sam Wilson
Wilson and Bucky Barnes track down Walker in an abandoned factory and proceed to fight to reclaim the Shield.
Symbolism abounds during this scene, one that college film schools should show as a demonstration of the technique.
At one point, Walker throws the Shield at Bucky, who catches and thereby temporarily takes it. This turn of events enrages the new Super Soldier.
Remarkably, the deposed Captain America judges Bucky for his prior actions as the Winter Soldier, not appreciating that what he’s done is worse.
Bucky functioned under mind control, while Walker gave in to bloodlust.
The most impactful moment occurs when Walker tears off The Falcon’s wings. He then tries multiple times to kill the Avenger.
Ultimately, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier work together to capture the Shield and send Walker off in shame.
Bucky eventually stops Walker and leaves the Shield by his comrade’s side.
The Winter Soldier knows that he is unworthy of the Shield, but it’s essential to him that this relic is in the hands of someone as good as Steve Rogers.
At this moment, The Falcon no longer exists. Sam Wilson has claimed the title of Captain America.
Sometimes, There’s Nothing to Do until There’s Something to Do
Episode five features plentiful callbacks to the series premiere. Torres appears to aid Wilson and bring him up to speed on the hunt for Karli.
Long story short, the government has benched them both. I’d include Bucky, but he’s salty about what just went down.
He and Wilson aren’t on the best terms when they part ways. Don’t stress about it, though. You’re watching a bromance. They’ll get back together soon.
Meanwhile, Walker’s bromance has ended. He puts on his entire military outfit, complete with a shirt pocket full of medals.
The highly decorated war hero just killed a dude. His superiors wash their hands of him. He receives an “other than honorable discharge.”
That’s gotta sting.
Olivia Walker, the wife we haven’t seen in several episodes, stands by her husband’s side and provides a plan for his next course of action. She’s aces.
Alas, those plans never occur due to an odd interruption.
Valentina Allegra de Fontaine arrives on the scene, informing the Walkers that his Super Soldier Serum enhances his value on the open market.
The Contessa would like to hire Walker for a future gig. She hands Olivia her card…which has no words or numbers on it.
The dishonorably discharged vet doesn’t know it yet, but he’s just joined the Thunderbolts. Or the Dark Avengers. Or both.
In the comics, Valentina works with Nick Fury and sometimes against him as Madame HYDRA.
She may or may not be a Russian double agent, too. Oh, she could also be a Skrull.
Marvel definitely has its options with the character, which explains why a superstar got the gig.
Yes, that’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus, ready to make an impact in the MCU!
Much of this episode sets the stage for several climactic showdowns next week. To get there, several characters must find peace and closure.
The first instance occurs in Sokovia, where the escaped Baron Zemo gazes at a statue memorializing the deaths of his people.
Enter Bucky Barnes. The two of them talk to one another like grown-ups. They’ve grown to respect one another, even if the intense dislike remains.
Zemo again warns that Karli is beyond redemption now, too far radicalized.
Bucky pretends to pull the trigger on the Baron, only to reveal that he has emptied the chamber. Instead, James Barnes has brought the Dora Milaje.
Ayo takes Zemo into custody at the Raft, vastly increasing the likelihood of him surviving the series…and the Thunderbolts coming to fruition.
For those who have never read the comics, this underwater military facility has proven roughly as secure as the door on your fridge.
Seriously, villains break out of the Raft so often they might as well call it a day spa. In the MCU, Steve Rogers has already broken out several Avengers.
Bucky and the warrior woman don’t quite part as friends, but she respects that he brought T’Chaka’s killer to justice.
The Winter Soldier requests one more favor, and it proves perfect. Before we learn what it is, an uncomfortable scene occurs.
Sam Wilson visits Isaiah Bradley once more. We learn more about the racist incidents the Super Soldier faced decades ago.
Importantly, Bradley tried to retrieve American military personnel who got left behind enemy lines. For his trouble, he received a jail sentence.
Here’s the secret crux of the episode. We can contrast that to John Walker, who point-blank murdered a guy on camera yet walked away a free man.
Bradley is right to feel bitter.
The Boat Scenes
At its core, WandaVision was equal parts sitcom and horror film.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is so much of an 80s movie that I keep looking for Dolph Lundgren.
What does every 80s movie need? A montage! Over the next few minutes, we get two of them.
The first involves the community coming together to repair a boat for their neighbors. The other shows Sam Wilson training to become Captain America.
Marvel works in some comedy during these scenes, as Bucky starts flirting heavily with Sam’s sister.
That’s right! Bucky Barnes appears to aid his non-friend, Sam. The two bond as they build, demonstrating the obvious. Tango & Cash love each other.
Speaking of Cash, Kurt Russell’s son, Wyatt, counterbalances the joy of the bros. He’s lost his life partner, and I don’t mean his wife.
John Walker awkwardly speaks to Lemar’s parents, swearing to them that he brought Battlestar’s killer to justice…only, he didn’t. Karli killed Lemar.
As far as villainy goes, lying to a grieving parent about the fate of their child is pretty high on the list. Even Thanos didn’t do that.
Speaking of moral ambiguity, Sharon Carter makes a call to set up an introduction between Karli and…Batroc.
Yes, that’s the dude Sam Wilson fought in the season premiere. I told you that much of this episode ties back to that one!
What is Sharon doing? Well, that’s hard to say, but she’s connecting two shady characters. It seems like a very Power Broker move.
Do we really think Marvel would allow Peggy Carter’s niece to turn heel, though? I suspect it’s a set-up.
Meanwhile, Batroc just wants to punch Sam Wilson. I guess he didn’t like season two of Altered Carbon.
Setting the Table
Other articles describe Truth as somewhere between a filler episode and the most vital episode to death. I lean toward the latter.
After the second montage, Sam explains to Bucky that the Winter Soldier hasn’t made amends yet. All he’s done is avenge others.
Thus far, Bucky has apologized to make himself feel better. Sam recommends that Bucky perform acts of service to make the victims feel better.
That’s great life advice right there. Bucky recognizes it and simply states, “Good talk.” They’re men of action, not words.
In the least shocking development of the series, Sarah Wilson decides not to sell the boat. She also expresses admiration for her brother’s actions.
To her, he has fought battles abroad and at home with equal persistence and dedication.
Perhaps the finest moment is a simple one, though. At one point, Wilson runs past his nephews. They casually say, “Uncle Sam!”
There it is.
Captain America is Uncle Sam.
Soon afterward, Batroc arrives for his meeting with Karli. He wants money and Wilson but has no interest in her politics.
Meanwhile, Karli’s confidante, Dovich, laments that she has chosen to work with criminals. She slyly points out that they’re criminals, too.
At this moment, Baron Zemo is proven correct about her.
Marvel has done a terrific job in showing that Zemo is always the smartest person in the room…but not much of a dancer.
While Batroc vacillates, the camera cuts to reveal they’re in Central Park. The terrorist action will occur in New York City, which is very Marvel.
Right on cue, global politicians sit in a giant room and plot their move.
Right then, two insiders reveal themselves as terrorists when they say, “One world. One people.” The power goes out, and an invasion begins.
To his credit, Sam has figured it out, something that Torres confirms. Captain America is heading to the Big Apple.
As the episode ends, he opens a package that Bucky has brought him. We don’t know the contents yet, but it’s something that the Wakandans built.
I suspect that Captain America is about to get some high-tech Falcon wings.
Scratch that. Two Captain Americas are going to New York.
During the credits, the camera cuts to John Walker, who is currently melting his medals. He’s using them as decorations on his new Shield.
War were declared.
Next week: EVERYBODY FIGHTS EVERYBODY!!!