The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Episode 5 “Truth” Review

You know how it works, but I will repeat it either way that the following review/recap of episode 5 called “Truth” of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will include spoilers and is meant to be read after watching the show! You have been warned!

credit: Marvel Studios

What was it about?

Walker has to deal with the repercussions of his actions, while Sam turns inward to figure out his next move.

My thoughts?

I don’t believe a lot of the sites that spread rumors about cameos and episode lengths (we all know where that got us wit WandaVision), but “Truth” really was the longest episode of the season thus far. I’m phrasing it like that, because if we detract the endless credits, it really was only fives minutes longer than previous ones. Still, I enjoyed it a lot.

On the one hand, there was a lot happening and happening fast, but this felt like a more quiet episode compared to the others. We finally got some really great introspective moments with Sam and I cannot wait what it will lead up to in next week’s finale. Considering that this was the penultimate episode and we still had a lot of loose ends, I thought it made everything come together and moved it towards a singular destination quite well. I’ve mentioned this before, but I doubt any of the MCU shows will be completely resolved in their storylines, but I like where The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is headed.

Let’s break down what happened in “Truth”:

  • Sam and Bucky don’t hesitate to confront John Walker after his unhinged execution of the Flag Smasher. In his delusion, he still believes he can be Captain America and that the man he killed was actually responsible for Lemar’s death.
    The fight that ensues is brutal and results in a glitching arm for Bucky, ripped off wings for Sam and John Walker’s arm getting broken in order to take the shield from him. In a gesture that could be an admission that the shield is rightfully his (but had underlying tones of disgust for it being soiled with blood), Bucky throws the shield to Sam, who cleans it.
  • We haven’t seen much of Torres in the past episodes, but he still is as much of the upbeat puppy as when we first met him. I don’t know if I am projecting on him, but it always feels like he is fangirling over Sam and Bucky just as much as me. When Sam turns to leave and Torres reminds him of the broken wings he left behind, Sam tells him to keep them, turning this into another hint that Joaquín Torres will be the next Falcon.
  • John’s murder spree is a huge international incident and we soon see him stripped of his title, authority, benefits and retirement. I wish real life consequences for perpetrators like him would also be as swift, but at least they held him accountable immediately, even if he doesn’t seem to have to serve any kind of sentence? The people in charge credit their lenient decision on his infallible behavior thus far, making Walker get even madder, because he only ever did what he was told. I can’t help but agree that these people made him into who he is now, or at least were partially responsible for it. Letting him just walk off still seemed incredibly dangerous though.
  • As Walker and his wife talk about their next steps (he wants to run away, she wants him to meet with Lemar’s family) we get an appearance I did not see coming. Enter Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine! (played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus) I can’t tell who or what exactly she will be in the MCU, but in the comics, she was a former SHIELD agent turned terrorist, also known as Madame Hydra. She used to date Fury but also flirted quite a bit with Steve, which led to a frosty relationship with Sharon Carter, who was dating him at the time. All of this obviously won’t be replicable on the show, but there are many possibilities for her role in all of it. Is she the power broker? Does she work with the power broker? Is she feuding with Sharon here as well? It’s interesting to introduce a character like her so close to the finale and it definitely isn’t a good sign that she is interested in Walker.
  • Last week, Zemo ran off, but it didn’t take Bucky long to find him in Sokovia and confront him. While Zemo tries to convince Bucky one last time that the only option to contain Karli is to kill her, he eventually just seems resigned to his fate when he gets taken in by the Dora Milaje. I’m glad Bucky came around and worked together with them.
    It seems like this was the end of Zemo’s storyline, which was a little anti-climactic, but at the same time necessary? He will live out his days at the Raft to pay for his crimes (which will be much harder to escape from), he did what he needed to do for our heroes and he even took the liberty of crossing off his name from Bucky’s book. There’s not much more he could possibly add in my humble opinion, unless you were just here for his snark and charm, which was obviously fun.
credit: Marvel Studios
  • Sam, now in possession of the shield, meets with Isaiah to learn about what happened back in the day. The parallels of his accounts to real life events such as the Tuskegee experiments are still chilling. And you understand Isaiah’s anger and reluctance to have any part in this star-spangled madness, but at the same time you can see Sam struggling with what he learns. We as the viewers KNOW that Sam is everything Captain America is supposed to be. He deserves to carry that shield and title, but does America deserve him in that role? 

“They will never let a black man be Captain America. And even if they did, no self-respecting black man would ever want to be.”

  • After his talk with Isaiah, Sam goes home to his sister and nephews and a series of really amazing scenes follow. This episode showcased the importance of community, as Sam called in some favors and was gladly helped, because his family always made sure to help others as well. There’s a montage of Sam and Bucky, who joined him, fixing the family boat. Just two guys working side by side, no words needed.
    Sam and Bucky also finally have that heart to heart that they so direly needed, where Bucky admits that neither Steve nor he ever considered what it would feel like for a black man to be handed the shield. I liked that he acknowledged being unable to put himself into Sam’s shoes and apologizing for his previous behavior. That self-awareness is a great step in the right direction and their bonding moments are everything to me.
    It is followed by some tough love from Sam, resulting Bucky to want to do the work and not look to others to define who he is anymore. He wants to make those people on his list, the ones he has wronged, feel better instead of making himself feel better about what he did. And while there are many, he just needs to start with one and I wonder if we will meet Yori from episode 1 again. Either way – baby steps.
    They part ways, but it is pretty clear that they will always be there for each other when needed, because they are a team, whether they want to admit it or not.
credit: Marvel Studios
  • The montage of Sam training with the shield was everything! He doesn’t need superstrength to wield it either.
  • Sam also has a lovely moment with his sister after they fixed the boat. She ends up not wanting to sell it, making Sam incredibly happy, because that boat is part of their history and it would be a shame to let go of it. This mirrors the conversation he had with Isaiah, where he revealed that the government erased him, his history. They had been doing it to Black people for 500 years and to not let Sam get his history taken away was a great moment. Also, while Sam told Bucky to not let others define who he is, it is Sam who needs the reminder from his sister that Isaiah cannot dictate how he handles the legacy of the shield. The continued connection between the scenes was amazing.
  • Before I forget it, Bucky and Sarah meeting was the cutest thing ever! Despite Sam telling Bucky to not flirt with his sister, I ship it. Their smiles were so wide and genuine and adorable.
credit: Marvel Studios
  • Sharon, once again, was only briefly in this episode and I have no idea what to think. She called Batroc, who we remember from the movies as well as the first fight scene in episode 1 of the show, to get him a job. She was responsible for him not rotting in an Algerian prison and it sounded like she was the one calling the shots on his last mission. A mission where he fought the Falcon and now wants revenge on him. If you didn’t believe Sharon was involved in some shady stuff before (which you should, considering that she was literally an illegal arts dealer in a city full of mercenaries and pirates), you should now. I am unclear what her end goal is and I’m a bit impatient about the show holding back on her story so much.
  • At the end of the episode, a fed up Karli is ready to attack. The GRC is holding a vote on what to do with the refugees and she is not about to just let them to do what they want. In order to reach her goal, she is partnering up with Batroc, who wants to kill the Falcon in return for his help. (Did Sharon just set up Sam? Or did she use Batroc to get to Karli?) Every episode, Karli’s inner circle questions her more and we could see they weren’t thrilled to work with a known criminal. I wonder how deep their loyalty to her really runs …
  • Back home, Sam realizes what Karli has planned and gets the box Bucky brought from the Wakandans (a favor he called in and which Ayo seemingly granted, although she had just told the White Wolf to make himself rare in Wakanda) to join the fight in New York City where the GRC meeting is attacked. We still don’t know what’s in the box! Is it new wings? Is it a Captain America suit? It BETTER be the suit! I cannot wait to find out!
credit: Marvel Studios

We have a post-credit scene again! The first one of the season and it shows Walker making his own shield, clearly still not having let go of the idea that he is Captain America and has to avenge Lemar.

In general, I thought it was a really good penultimate episode. We moved along quite a lot in the plot, got great character moments for almost everyone, but especially Sam. I wanted that for him so bad and the show delivered, even if there is still a lot of pain involved. I honestly am excited and cannot wait to see what the finale holds in store for us! A showdown with Walker and Karli is more or less guaranteed.


Fun fact I posted last week, but wasn’t sure if everyone saw: Marvel has set up a tourism website for Madripoor, which you can visit under exploremadripoor.com. It will let you click through several pages with hidden images and wanted posters. If you need passwords to enter certain areas, I also got you!

The art auction can be entered with the code “sharoncarter” and the docks with “powerbroker”. When you are in the container area, you may also search for any random container you like by entering a four-digit-number. E.g. 1273 will show you Sharon’s wanted poster, whereas 4261 was the container Dr. Nagel was in and will show footage from episode 3. Allegedly, some containers used to show names of X-Men such as Mystique, but have since been removed.

AND the string of numbers on the wanted posters for each character feature the date and issue the characters made their comic book debut. As I said, Marvel and its little details.


PREVIOUS THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER REVIEWS


What did you think of Truth? Did you enjoy it or wanted something more action packed for the penultimate episode? Let’s talk!

Thursday Movie Picks – Female Cinematographers

It’s Thursday and I’m back with a new Thursday Movie Picks feature post. This series is hosted by Wandering through the Shelves and offers you a weekly prompt to post some movie recommendations/talking points according to the theme. Usually, you are supposed to post about 3-5 examples, which I find a very manageable amount.

Today’s theme was suggested by Brittani and is Female Cinematographers. I am really into this, because I enjoyed doing the Female Directors list a LOT! I’m always up for celebrating women in film and TV at any hour. For those who don’t know, a cinematographer, sometimes also known as the Director of Photography, is in charge of the camera and lighting, hence dictating a lot of the visual style (framing, look, color, light, etc.) of the final product. Let’s see who my favorites are!

A Quiet Place – Charlotte Bruus Christensen

I don’t usually do horror. People who know me are aware that I tried branching out and experiencing new things these past years, but as a general rule, I don’t do horror. With A Quiet Place, I was immediately engrossed though and honestly enjoyed the whole thing. I was never too grossed out by anything, but thought that it had a cohesive look and great embodiment of that post-apocalyptic hermit lifestyle.

Further examples of her work: Molly’s Game, Fences, The Girl on the Train, Life, …

Beastly – Mandy Walker

I cannot help myself in putting one the movies that catered to my teen heart like nothing else in these posts. I stopped trying to suppress that part of myself a long time ago and it is just facts that I enjoy and adore watching teen angst filled movies and Beastly is one I have seen more times than I can count. I just think it is fascinating how Mandy Walker has done those epic gorgeous gems that often did well during award seasons, but also does teen movies like this one and Red Riding Hood. I love a woman who can do both!

Further examples of her work: Mulan, Hidden Figures, Australia, Tracks, Red Riding Hood, …

Black Panther – Rachel Morrison

Do I really have to explain the cultural significance of Black Panther? I think not. Rachel Morrison’s filmography proves that she is more than capable and she was the first woman to ever get nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography (for Mudbound at the time).

Further examples of her work: Fruitvale Station, Cake, Dope, Mudbound, …

The Pretty One – Polly Morgan

I figured why not include a little indie movie? I probably remember this one more due to Zoe Kazan’s performance than the overall cinematography, but Polly Morgan has done a lot of work since then and has moved on to far bigger projects.

Further examples of her work: A Quiet Place II, The Truth About Emanuel, Lucy in the Sky, …

Gloria Bell – Natasha Braier

Gloria Bell is not one of my favorite movies, however, to my shame, the only one I have seen of Natasha Braier YET. Still, despite the narrative not being my thing, which really isn’t her fault one bit, it was an example of just how well Braier handles color. The remainder of her filmography showcases this as well and I am really looking forward to watching some of these movies some day for the aesthetics alone. It’s also interesting to me that she is quite in demand when it comes to music videos, but with her style, it’s really no surprise.

Further examples of her work: The Neon Demon, Honey Boy, Gringo, …


Who are some of your favorite women cinematographers? Let’s talk!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #57

I’ve watched a decent amount of shows and movies, so, I figured it was time to do mini-reviews again. It has gotten increasingly hard to get enthusiastic about content, which I know I’ve mentioned a couple times already, but I still hope you’ll enjoy the following recaps of my watch habits.

The Irregulars (Season 1)

I don’t know how many of you remember this from the trailer posts, but I was really excited for this show. I’ve always enjoyed stories in the Sherlock realm and this one seemed promising in terms of paranormal excitement. However, I found myself really struggling to get into the whole thing. Parts of it were a bit more horrifying than I might have imagined (getting all my teeth stolen and someone skinning faces and using it for themselves is some of the stuff my nightmares are made of), but I also just didn’t connect to the characters right away. In fact, I actively disliked people such as Jessica and Watson, which were essential for the story and integrity of the group.

All of that aside, I kept watching and while I found a lot of the plot predictable, the final two episodes is where the real heart of the show was lying. Especially in those final moments, I was close to tears and fully invested, so the pay off was 100% there in the end … but it takes its time.

For fans of: Sherlock lore, paranormal events, misfits and found family

Wynonna Earp (Final Season SPOILERS)

*full post on Wynonna Earp and my love for it from the beginning can be found here*

I’ve been a Wynonna Earp fan from the get go. I own a replica Wynonna necklace and a friend once gifted me one of Waverly’s necklaces (to date, one of the best gifts I have ever received and don’t know how to repay) as well as signed copies of the comic books topped with a personalized thank you video from Tim Rozon who plays Doc. So yes, I’m an Earper and not afraid to say it. But … the past two seasons have been a struggle.

With the network and production company struggles, adding the delays due to covid and the constant uncertainty of whether the show would find a new home or not had dampened my excitement considerably. I would be lying if I said I couldn’t wait to tune into each episode, because I just let those episodes pile on and … now the show is over. I know there’s still some hope out there for it to get picked up by someone else, but I was actually pleased with the ending we got.

If you think about it, that final episode gave us almost everything we wanted (cause no one can give us Dolls back and that’s the real shame). I felt like a lot of the past seasons skimmed on Wynonna and Doc thinking or talking about their daughter, so them seeking her out is my ultimate happily ever after. The WayHaught wedding was the pinnacle of what I had envisioned for them and all the remaining characters got a hopeful outlook as well. It was just such a generally sweet goodbye that anything more would ruin that in way?

For fans of: supernatural westerns, badass female characters

Godzilla vs. Kong

Do you watch these movies for plot? Cause then I can promise you this will be a painful experience. The humans are more of a detriment than helpful in most cases, and when they do add to the narrative, they prove to have miraculous insight in something they had no prior knowledge of before. When I’m being completely honest though, it does not matter one bit. I loved seeing Kong communicate and bond with a little deaf girl – she is truly the star of that movie! (And we are going to ignore that she is from the Iwi tribe, which is like saying Chai tea or naan bread … cause Iwi in the Māori-language just means people or “tribe” … so they’d be tribe tribe. But whatever … that’s way beyond my expectations for this movie anyway).

These movies are really supposed to be watched for the monsters bashing each other and for plotholes to be conveniently forgotten or ignored. AND THAT’S OKAY! Do we need to discuss how a high ranking officer’s teen daughter got from the US to Hong Kong? No, let’s just watch Godzilla in Hollow Earth instead. Isn’t Hollow Earth powered by radiation dangerous to humans? Who cares, we have a research center down there now and apparently sunshine as well. You get my drift …

For fans of: monsters fighting each other

Thunder Force

This movie is ridiculous! I am sure there’s people out there who enjoy the humor, but I’m afraid it’s just not my cup of tea. The man who was half-crab … I will never be able to forget that imagery of her buttering him up. I just won’t.

Don’t get me wrong, it also has some really nice moments about friendship and family and I enjoyed those very much. It’s just that I didn’t find the funny parts all that funny, but cringy instead, so it was a bit of a mediocre watch. I don’t think it’s a must watch.

For fans of: ridiculousness in the superhero realm

Endings, Beginnings

TW: rape, drug use

People don’t hate this movie, but I barely know anyone who actually liked or enjoyed it a lot – then *I* came along!

Endings, Beginnings is 90% vibes and 10% plot. It’s slow and disjointed and introspective. The storytelling is anything but straight forward and I believe you have to be in a very specific mood to be able to fall in love with it as much as I did. 

Aside from the fact that I know that a lot of the performances were improvised and seemed genuinely authentic, this will make you fall in love with these actors and actresses even more than you possibly were before. I know people mostly watched it for Sebastian Stan (and I GET THAT), but I connected to Shailene’s character so much more than I anticipated. Not allowing yourself to be loved, being adrift, finding your purpose – it hit home way too hard. I really do believe that I will think about this movie and its message for a while, even if you never get a neat end to it.

For fans of: more vibes than plot, non-linear storytelling, “moment in time” rather than conclusive storytelling


Have you watched any of these or do you plan to? What have you been watching lately and do you think I’d enjoy? Let’s talk!

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Episode 4 “The Whole World Is Watching” Review

As I say every week, here is your little Spoiler warning for the following post, which is a review/recap for episode 4 “The Whole World Is Watching” of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Proceed with caution if you haven’t watched yet!

credit: Marvel Studios

What was it about?

Bucky buys some time with the Dora Milaje in order for Zemo to help them find Karli. All the while, John Walker and Lemar Hoskins are also on their trail.

My thoughts?

This episode – there’s a lot to unpack!

When Sebastian Stan said that episode 4 was one of his favorite episodes (please don’t make me look up that particular interview, there’s been so many), I thought it would be full of banter and fun, but this episode was really dark. I’m not sure if it was just me, but even some of the one-liners that were put in for comedic relief didn’t hit home as much as in previous episodes and just felt out of place at times.

With only two more episodes to go, the narration is getting tighter, although I still feel like we are far from being able to tie things up. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has brought up so many different topics and while they start to all come together instead of being separate stories, it’s still a big undertaking for the remaining screentime. I’ve thought about this ever since WandaVision ended, but I am not sure The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will end on a real conclusion either. I could see them using these shows to set up future movies in a more elaborate way, especially since they are so hell bent on making all the content one big universe and interconnected.

credit: Marvel Studios

After last week’s appearance of Ayo, which really shouldn’t have come as a surprise considering that Wakanda would never let Zemo just walk free (Sam warned Bucky), we start off this week with a little flashback. Six years ago, Ayo (alongside Shuri and possibly other members of the Dora Milaje) was instrumental in freeing Bucky from the grasps of the Winter Soldier. I don’t think anyone could feel untouched at Bucky’s smile when he finally realized he was free. He owes so much to the people of Wakanda, for giving him a refuge when needed, restoring his arm and mind and you can see he does not enjoy having to barter for Zemo’s life, but he needs him. Ayo grants Bucky an 8 hour extension until they come for Zemo, therefore setting the timeline for the episode.

Side note: Marvel has not been great at featuring a lot of LGBTQIA characters so far. I am not saying there are none, but they are few and far between, so, please don’t ship Ayo with Bucky? I know it’s tempting, but Ayo is a canon lesbian in the comics and I’d really love it if they didn’t erase her sexuality.

So, let’s try and break down what all happens:

  • Sam, Bucky and Zemo visit a GRC camp of internationally displaced people in order to get some information on Donya Madani. Sam suspects that since she was such an essential mother figure for many people in the camp, there would be a wake or funeral with Karli in attendance.
    While no one really seems to trust Sam or Bucky, Zemo made some new friendships with children by offering them Turkish delight. Not going to lie, I was very conflicted about how to feel. For one, don’t let strange men give your kids candy and second, it just had very odd White Witch of Narnia vibes for me. Ultimately, he did get the information they needed, but ever since Zemo’s return he has always made sure to stay useful.
  • While Sharon is still in Madripoor and not a huge part of the episode, Sam remains in constant contact with her, after asking for some more help. She uses her resources to be the eyes and ears of the team via some surveillance. Sharon also mentions that the power broker went “apeshit” when he heard about Nagel’s death. Despite last week’s episode title, we still don’t know much about who the power broker is. Sharon having taken on that mantle was just one of the theories, but there have been many indications that we have not met all the players yet. With only two episodes to go, I hope they won’t take until the last minute to reveal the identity.
credit: Marvel Studios
  • John Walker and Lemar Hoskins unfortunately intercept Bucky, Sam and Zemo before they can get to Donya’s funeral and therefore Karli. However, the scenes that follow are the beautiful proof of why Sam Wilson should be the next Captain America instead of John Walker.
    While Walker is eager to just grab Karli and fight, Sam can sympathize with her struggle and would rather want to talk. During their scene together, you can clearly see Karli opening up and realizing that her actions could be perceived in different ways than she intended and that Sam has a point. If it hadn’t been for John waltzing into their conversation, Sam might have actually gotten through to her and a lot of the coming pain could have been avoided.
  • In the ensuing chaos, Zemo manages to shoot Karli (not fatally) and destroy the serum she had kept safe until then. That is, all except for one syringe, which John Walker pockets for himself.
  • Back at Zemo’s hideout, things escalate further. When Walker and Sam almost go head to head (without the shield), the Dora Milaje interrupts to take Zemo. Like so many times before, Walker makes an utter fool of himself and starts a fight with the Dora Milaje. Time and time again, he proves that he does not know when to stop or when not to fight. His first go to response is violence, even when he cannot win, maybe because it is the only thing he has ever done.
    Eventually, Bucky and Sam step in because Walker and Lemar thoroughly get their asses kicked, which Zemo uses to his advantage and flees. A noteworthy observation from that fight is that the Dora Milaje knows how to disarm Bucky (quite literally, by removing his arm), which he wasn’t aware of prior and seems like a huge deal to me. For those wondering what she said to him in Wakandan after the arm fell to the ground, she said “Bast damn you, James”. Bast is a Wakandan deity.
credit: Marvel Studios
  • Karli, trying to regroup with her fellow super-powered Flag Smashers, realizes that she can’t fight on several fronts at once. Not only is the power broker after her, but also the new Captain America, so she makes a decision to contact Sarah Wilson and suss out if she can get Sam on her side. I think contacting and threatening Sam’s family was not only a bold but dangerous move. There’s no way he would have ever taken to that threat lightly.
  • The meeting gets interrupted by the fact that Walker found the Flag Smashers hideout and is attacking them, sending Sam, Bucky and Karli on their way to help. While Lemar gets taken in order to separate him from Walker, it turns out that John already took the serum to be on an even playing field with the other super soldiers. As everyone fights to support their side, Lemar eventually gets free and jumps in to have his friend’s back. Karli, possibly underestimating her strength, but maybe just trying to win, deals a fatal blow to Lemar. This is the final drop for Walker, who had been on edge for a while now and cannot take the loss of his friend. In a frenzy, he pursues one of the Flag Smashers and publicly executes him with the shield. This scene is all the more darker when you think back to the fact that this particular Flag Smasher was a fan of Captain America when he was a child. As I watched on in horror, the people witnessing the scene filmed it in shock, making the episode title come true in this devastating moment.
    Not only was this scene a gruesome reminder of real life footage of police and other people committing violence against people on tape, but it was also a direct cinematic parallel to Civil War. Steve Rogers once held that shield up to crash down on Tony, but instead of decapitating or killing him, he disabled the power source of Tony’s suit instead.
  • I am furious that it was Lemar who died. That viewers once again had to see a black man brutalized on TV (just like it was really unnecessary to show Monica get shot in slow motion in the finale of WandaVision), but the show set it up this way, so that it could not be any other character. He was the only one Walker would care about so much that he would snap. And while I do not like John Walker, who has forever disqualified himself as a worthy Captain America, I think Wyatt Russell is playing the nuances of the character great. As much as it pains me to watch him.
credit: Marvel Studios

A lot of this episode talked about whether the super soldier serum should be taken at all. I loved Sam’s quick answer to never wanting the serum compared to Lemar’s immediate opposite response when asked the same question. The episode showcased different opinions, such as Zemo’s radical belief that all super soldiers are a form of supremacy, the Flag Smasher’s need for action and their conviction that superheroes no longer have the luxury of keeping their hands clean, but also the thought experiment that it might just amplify your inner self and with that who you truly are. There was a lot of talk about how it never corrupted Steve Rogers, but at the same time, I can’t help but wonder if they squandered the chance of others doing great with the serum. People like Isaiah Bradley for example.

In general, while I do enjoy the emotional depth this show has given Bucky, I hope they will refocus more on Sam in the final episodes. We know there’s more coming with him and the shield as well as in his hometown with his family, but he deserves the spotlight. His name comes first in the show title and in terms of depth, he has taken a bit of a backseat so far, even if some seeds have been sown about his personal struggles. Mostly though, he has just been worrying and wanting to take care of others, be it Bucky, Sarah, Sharon or now also Karli. He cares a whole lot, as a true Captain America would, but I also want him to be taken care of.

It’s not often that I have to sit with an episode for a while and I am not sure I found all the right words to express myself in this recap. Something about an unhinged John Walker just terrifies me apparently, because I felt sick by the end of that last scene. The end credits, while I didn’t see any changes in the imagery, also reflected my dampened mood with a more somber outro song. It’s the little details that Marvel takes care of that I appreciate so much.


Fun fact: Marvel has set up a tourism website for Madripoor, which you can visit under exploremadripoor.com. It will let you click through several pages with hidden images and wanted posters. If you need passwords to enter certain areas, I also got you!

The art auction can be entered with the code “sharoncarter” and the docks with “powerbroker”. When you are in the container area, you may also search for any random container you like by entering a four-digit-number. E.g. 1273 will show you Sharon’s wanted poster, whereas 4261 was the container Dr. Nagel was in and will show footage from episode 3. Allegedly, some containers used to show names of X-Men such as Mystique, but have since been removed.

AND the string of numbers on the wanted posters for each character feature the date and issue the characters made their comic book debut. As I said, Marvel and its little details.


PREVIOUS THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER REVIEWS


How do you feel about the events of The Whole World Is Watching and the progression of the show? Let’s talk!

Thursday Movie Picks – Amateur Sleuths

It’s Thursday and I’m back with a new Thursday Movie Picks feature post. This series is hosted by Wandering through the Shelves and offers you a weekly prompt to post some movie recommendations/talking points according to the theme. Usually, you are supposed to post about 3-5 examples, which I find a very manageable amount.

The theme for this week is amateur sleuths, and I’m not going to lie to you, I was completely blanking on what that even means. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s basically … amateur detectives, who don’t do this professionally? Either way, that’s what I’m going with.

Scooby-Doo (2002)

I know that these movies were kind of corny, but I really loved them and had a lot of fun watching. I think at this point, with the amount of memes that go around, it has reached some kind of cult status though, because those outfits – they were something!

TKKG (2019)

*please use auto-translated subtitles for the trailer, they’re not perfect but the only way for non-Germans I’m afraid*

If you grew up in an English speaking country, the teen detectives you probably knew most were Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys and their likes. But in German speaking countries, we had Fünf Freunde and TKKG instead. I couldn’t find an English trailer, but there was one movie in 2006 that I adored and a remake of the entire franchise just in 2019. To be honest, it was not a hit in cinemas, but I watched it and enjoyed it quite a bit, because for the first time you found out how the gang met each other.

Enola Holmes

As much as I liked Sherlock Holmes, I was really surprised by how much I adored whip-smart and fun Enola. I hope they’ll continue to adapt the books for Netflix, because I can see it being a great franchise.

Veronica Mars

This movie was nothing but fan service, which is alright, because it was also financed by fans through crowdsourcing. I had a good time with it anyway, although I’m not sure you can call it sleuthing when I’m pretty sure Veronica has a PI license … Anyway, I think this movie showed how invested Marshmallows still were and paved the way for another season … although I refuse to acknowledge the last couple minutes of that last season.


What are some amateur sleuth movies you enjoy? What did you think of my picks? Let’s talk!

Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin (ARC Review)

Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Page Count
: 368
Release Date: April 13, 2021

*I was provided with an eARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!*

CW: racism, Islamophobia, racially motivated hate crimes, loss of a loved one

Hana Khan Carries On releases soon and I cannot wait for everyone to get a chance to read this book. Set in one of my favorite places on this planet (Toronto), the book is a bold romantic comedy playing out in the world of rivaling halal restaurants, but it is also so much more than that. Let me explain!

Hana is a fantastic narrator, which makes sense as she hosts her own podcast and pursues a career in the radio industry. I loved following her thoughts and quarrels from the get go. We quickly learn that she is a South Asian Muslim woman in her twenties and daughter to immigrant parents, who juggles many things in her life even before the real drama starts. While there were always hints at what all this book would ultimately deal with, it starts out with all the makings of a romantic comedy that promises rivals to lovers excellence. There was an immediate attraction and familiarity between Hana and Aydin even when they clashed. They are not afraid to play dirty in order to come out on top, which leads to many a regretful decision. The fire and sparring between them was definitely fun, even when it was easy to guess the big revelation they’d both eventually have to face.

Around the halfway point of the book, the story shifts into something more serious though. As I said, the groundwork for this was laid, because this book was never going to be “just” a romantic comedy. While out with Aydin and her cousin, Rashid (who is visiting from India), Hana encounters a group of hate-filled racists and the situation soon escalates on a much grander scale than she could have ever anticipated. It’s never easy having to come to terms that there are people out there who want to harm you and push you out of a country you were literally born in. It was even more painful when no one came to Hana’s aid (please never be that person when you see someone being attacked. Not doing anything is being complicit), that is until she found the courage to seek refuge in her community.

As much as Hana Khan Carries On is about love and finding your place in the world, it is also about family – the one you are born with and the one you choose. This was an excellent example of how gratifying being part of a community can be and how they can help you through the darkest times. Hana always had to deal with people who were willing to talk over her (a boss using covert racism to undermine her ideas, a co-worker so desperate to fit in that they sold out and a myriad of other characters that show up and will have you wringing your hands not to punch them), but she also had people in her corner willing to go to bat for her and you were right there with them, rooting for her when she found her voice and spoke up. And that’s not an easy thing to do, to stand up to people knowing that it will leave you vulnerable. But she had a life made up of choices, choices she was very grateful to have, and she wanted to make the right ones.

I really loved reading this book and to follow along as Hana uncovers family secrets and finds her voice. I cannot possibly put myself in her shoes, but I was filled with pride and joy at her development regardless. There’s no denying that I would understand if people would rather not be faced with reliving that particular trauma when seeking out a romantic comedy, but I personally appreciated that there was no sugarcoating of racist situations like it happening still. Those parts will never get easier, but we’re not doing anyone a service by ignoring them either.

Fazit: 4/5 stars! An amazing romantic comedy, if you are also prepared for hard-hitting reality.


Would you like to read Hana Khan Carries On? I seem to pick up at least one “You’ve Got Mail”-esque book per year now and I have no regrets! Let’s talk!

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Episode 3 “Power Broker” Review

As always, the following review/recap for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will include SPOILERS! Read on at your own discretion.

credit: Marvel Studios

What was it about?

Sam and Bucky break Zemo out of prison in order to investigate the provenance of the new super solider serum, meeting an old friend on the way. In the meantime, Karli proceeds with her own plans to help the people.

My thoughts?

Can you believe we have already reached the halfway point of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier? The plot keeps on moving, clearing some things up while also raising new questions. This episode felt a bit slower to me than previous ones. There were a lot of locations involved with beautiful but lengthy exhibition shots that felt like filler and made it seem a bit scattered at times. Still, I cannot help but praise the stunt coordinators and choreographers, because every episode delivers on top notch action scenes that never get boring to watch.

We’re also at a point in the show where we have met most (but not all) the important players and it becomes more difficult to balance showcasing each character each episode. I enjoy that they, for example, had very few shots of John Walker this episode, because he got a lot of screen time last week. Instead, we meet old friends and new foes. Let’s dive into everything in a bit more detail.

  • We start off the episode with an ad (which we should be accustomed to from WandaVision by now, but always feels a bit odd to me still) for the Global Repatriation Council – or GRC in short. This organisation is supposed to help people who have returned find their footing in this new and changed world again. They make it look wholesome and good, but Karli and her group know that people are forced to live in crowded camps, getting little to no medical assistance and that governments regularly withhold necessary provisions.
    We also get introduced to someone dear to Karli, who ultimately dies because of the conditions at the camp, furthering her struggle. It adds more depth to Karli’s and the Flag Smasher’s rebellion and explains why people want to rally behind them. During a heist for provisions, Karli shows that she is done playing nice though, causing an explosion and killing several people in a building and therefore proving that she is dangerous in her grief. If she isn’t careful, it could soon create doubt in her character as I don’t believe everyone will like her radicalization.
  • All the while John Walker and Hoskins are scrambling for clues concerning the super soldier serum, showing a growing darkness and Walker getting more unhinged, Bucky and Sam follow their own lead by visiting Zemo. I think the show gave Zemo a great reintroduction to the universe, making his character shine in his own way. There wasn’t too much detail we knew about him, but he now carries himself with more bravado and charm than what I remember from the movie. His prison break was well crafted (when did Bucky have time to set all that up?) and he is sure to cause much tension. There is no way he can be trusted, but within a couple scenes he proves that he is useful (and not just because it turns out he is filthy rich).
credit: Marvel Studios

Once the new team consisting of Sam, Bucky and Zemo arrives in Madripoor, this is where things really kick off. So much information is learned there, but as always I’m going to try and break it off into smaller bits and pieces:

  • In order to not get immediately killed, the threesome have to pretend to be their old selves or someone different entirely. While Sam offers some great humor-filled scenes as The Smiling Tiger, it was jarring to see Bucky having to be the Winter Soldier again. Aside from people filming this and me worrying that the footage getting out could possibly nullify his pardon, I cannot imagine this didn’t take a toll on his mental well being. It warmed my heart to see Sam constantly checking in with him to ask if he was okay. They can pretend to be annoyed by each other all they want, but in the end, they care!
  • Things get a bit more complicated from here on out and I hope I won’t make it too confusing. It basically boils down to the boys making a mess and having a bounty put on their heads, them learning about the doctor who created the serum and having to get saved by the one and only Sharon Carter.
    She is different from when we last saw her. After being on the run for years and still not welcome in her home country, she is disillusioned of star-spangled awesomeness and has hustled her way up in Madripoor instead. She doesn’t hesitate to tell things as they are and the boys probably couldn’t have made five steps in that city without her. Sam ultimately convinces her to help them in exchange for a pardon from the US government. I’m not sure he has the sway to really make that happen, but she does agree to it.
  • Once they find Dr. Wilfred Nagel, (a reference to the comic book doctor who actually gave Isaiah his super strength) we learn that he was originally recruited by the CIA and was given genetic material from Isaiah in order to recreate the serum. After the blip, his project had been abandoned and he was employed by the Power Broker to continue his work. Zemo, who likely doesn’t want to see any more super soldiers in his lifetime and has made a point about how people glorify them and put them on a pedestal, goes to the drastic measure of simply killing Dr. Nagel and destroying the entire lab. It takes a shootout with the mercenaries that are at their heels to get them out of that place.
  • So, who is the Power Broker? There’s many theories going around about this. We know the Power Broker is an independent third party, not affiliated with a government. They have considerable amount of money and obviously power. They, too, are on the hunt for Karli since she stole the serum, but who is behind them? My bet is on Sharon Carter herself for now.
    Her appearance was mighty convenient and the way she exited those docks seemed like she was backed by someone powerful, or is possibly that powerful person herself. As always, I could definitely be wrong, but I also wouldn’t necessarily be surprised. I don’t think it would make her villain either. She had to do what she did to survive and no one can blame her for thriving and being good at what she does. Did you see how she took out a dozen mercenaries by herself? I would not mess with her.
credit: Marvel Studios

The entire ordeal in Madripoor made Sam reconsider his stance on the shield. He felt like he shouldn’t have given it up to the museum, but rather should have destroyed it, to which Bucky immediately replies that it has too much meaning and that he would rather take it for himself to become the new Cap than see it gone entirely. Such a small statement, and yet it carries so many implications with it. We know that Sam doesn’t feel ready to carry the shield, despite Steve having left it to him. Imposter syndrome is real and we have additionally seen the struggles he faces because of race and how a Black super soldier was treated by the government before, I understand his hesitations 100%, but I also think that statement hurt him a little bit. There was this flicker in his eyes and I hope it was the spark needed to get Sam Wilson on the road to actually becoming Captain America one day! It’s the ride I am here for.

Towards the end of the episode, we see Walker and Hoskins puzzling together the pieces of Zemo’s prison break with them going off the books and on the hunt for Sam and Bucky. I would be surprised if this doesn’t end in some sort of showdown between the duos.

At the same time, Sam, Bucky and Zemo are following their next lead already. When Bucky first said he needed to go for a walk to get some air, I thought he actually needed alone time (silly me), but he found trackers like bread crumbs and followed them to let us meet another surprise appearance – Ayo!
As Sam mentioned earlier on in the episode, Wakanda would not take lightly to Zemo being freed. Ayo, as part of the Dora Milaje, having been King T’Chaka’s security detail on that fateful day in Vienna when Zemo caused his death, would definitely be the last person to let his escape slide. I loved that Bucky immediately recognized the Wakandan tech and I’m very interested to see how he is going to stall her so she won’t go killing Zemo while he needs him. They definitely left us on a great cliffhanger here.

credit: Marvel Studios

Ultimately, I keep enjoying the show. I keep feeling engaged by the storyline and wanting to know what happens next. I am not trying to decipher as much as I did with WandaVision and rather try to just enjoy the ride, hoping that they will make it all come together in the end. By now, they have so much previous history to consider and need to be careful not to contradict themselves, but by adding small and fun callbacks to old scenes (e.g. the mention of “Travel Man” by Marvin Gaye or Sam/Bucky refusing to move the car seat for the other person, …) they seem to be on the right way, making it all feel connected.

Side note: Marvel has got to stop putting their characters all over the world and then having the actors and glorified extras butcher the languages. It’s painful and completely takes you out of the setting at times, because all authenticity is gone. I appreciate the efforts of making it global, because the world is larger than the US, but there’s a better way to do that.


PREVIOUS THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER REVIEWS


What did you think of this week’s episode? Are you enjoying the show? Let’s talk!