Verwoester waarskuwing: This blog is for people watching The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney+. Do not read on unless you have watched episodes one to five.
So much to discuss this week, as plot lines come together and characters explain themselves in an hour-long instalment that felt more like a standalone film than an episode of a series.
We picked up exactly where things left off last week, immediately after Walker killed a Flag Smasher in a town square, watched by hundreds of people with smartphones. He’s unravelling further; just as the series opened with Steve Rogers’ words ringing in Sam’s ears, so Walker is plagued by Battlestar’s warning about the Captain America mantle coming with expectations. True, natuurlik, it’s a symbol, as we’ve been told time and time again, but it’s perhaps not quite as profound a sentiment as Lemar might have thought. How many jobs don’t come with an expectation that you won’t brutally beat someone to death? Rule No 1 of all employee handbooks: show up on time and don’t bludgeon anyone with a vibranium shield.
“I killed him because I had to,” said Walker. Sam countered: “You gotta give me the shield, man,” optimistically offering that Walker’s service record may be taken into consideration when it comes to sentencing.
As the three of them got to it, there was a strong callback to the final three-way fight of Captain America: Civil War, although nowhere near as finessed. Perhaps I’m being uncharitable – perhaps it’s just the limitation of TV budgets – but the choreography seemed a bit rudimentary. Has Bucky forgotten how to fight? Or is Walker just that much stronger? jaar tot die begin van die Covid-pandemie, it wasn’t without tension: the moment Walker had Sam on the floor, shield raised over his head ready to recreate what has quickly become his signature move, was chilling. Gelukkig, Bucky woke in time to stop him; our heroes overpowered Walker and retrieved the shield.
In a hearing in Washington, Walker was disciplined and stripped of rank, pension and – perhaps most importantly – the title of Captain America. In a further sign of him losing his grip, or maybe another indicator that the version of the serum he took isn’t stable, he shouted back at the panel and stormed out. A quick nod to Wyatt Russell here, who continues to do great things in a complex role.
He later went to see Battlestar’s parents. When asked by them if he killed the Flag Smasher because he was the man who killed Lemar, he said yes. “I would never let the person who did that get away.” Now, there is a lie in there – it was Karli who killed Lemar – and it could be that Walker is just offering Hoskins’ parents some peace or kidding himself, maar, regtig, I think it’s a promise and a hint at what Walker will do next.
It was a quiet week for Karli and her gang. They spent most of this week licking their wounds and plotting something big for the finale. I’m not entirely sure how they all managed to evade capture in Latvia, returning to the scene of their meeting with Sam and Bucky, and then travel to New York to plan their forthcoming attack. Just another reason why I’m not in charge of an international brigade of revolutionaries.
In an interview with Malcolm Spellman, he said there would be a new character introduced to the MCU in this episode, and dropped a number of clues – it was a character known in the comics, not an Avenger and would be played by a famous face. Natuurlik, the theory mill went into overdrive, but none were right. Enter Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine, dressed from head to toe in black and looking fabulous in high-heeled boots, oversized shades and hoop earrings. 'Kyk, I would have killed the bastard, ook," sy het gese, before dropping a state secret that Cap’s shield doesn’t really belong to the government. “It’s kind of a legal grey area,” het sy bygevoeg, before handing over a blank business card.
It’s highly unlikely this will the last we see of “don’t call me Val” – you don’t cast Selina Meyer for a brief cameo – and I hope she has a part to play in next week’s finale. Spellman said in his interview that he would like to see this character cross over with Thor; given her rich storylines in the comics, there’s plenty of opportunity to see her pop up elsewhere, ook.
Talking of actors so good you don’t cast them for small roles, I was pleased, if not surprised, to see Carl Lumbly return as Isaiah Bradley.
Next time someone tells me the MCU is for kids and is all just cartoonish fighting and explosions, I’m going to show them this scene. Isaiah meets Sam, old meets young. Their differing viewpoints were profound, Isaiah shocked by Sam’s naivety – “If you’re not bitter, you’re blind” – while Sam continued to stick up for what the symbol of Captain America represents, or at least should represent, and believed times had changed enough for him to consider donning to outfit for himself.
Isaiah’s story was heartbreaking, enraging and – sadly – wholly believable. His fellow soldiers being experimented on while being told they were receiving tetanus shots is all too similar to the Tuskegee syphilis study conducted by the US government between the 30s and 70s, while Isaiah mentions the Redtails, the 332nd Expeditionary Operations Group, a predominantly black unit of the US air force founded during the second world war.
“They erased me, my history … but they’ve been doing that for 500 jare," hy sê, in a line no one thought they would ever hear in a Disney property. “They will never let a black man be Captain America. En, even if they did, no self-respecting black man would ever want to be.”
Isaiah’s speech could cause a dilemma, but given Sam is becoming less and less conflicted about taking the mantle and he already has the shield in his possession, it’s not surprising things are now different enough for him to make a change in the world.
En, uiteindelik, the moment we had all been waiting for, so heavily featured in the trailers: Sam and Bucky practicing with the shield. A bit shaky at first, Sam soon got used to the physics-defying ways of that disc, and we got what must be the first montage in the MCU since Tony Stark built Iron Man Mark II.
Om dit eenvoudig te stel, I cannot wait for next week.
When I originally wrote this, I said Sharon Carter made a small appearance and asked what the job was she was handing out. As a couple of commenters correctly and helpfully pointed out, it wasn’t a mystery – I just missed it. She was clearly on the phone to Batroc, hiring him. This does make me wonder what his werklike mission is, aside from killing Falcon. Has Sharon hired Batroc to kill or capture the Karli? And is this yet more proof she’s the Power Broker? Personally, I still think it means she works for the Power Broker, maar, as I literally just admitted, I have been wrong before.
Will they ever get that boat’s engine running? When will we see Zemo again? What is Walker planning? Have your say below.