This is the review/recap for the season finale “One World, One People” of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. As per usual, the following post is full of Spoilers and meant to be read after watching the show. Proceed with caution!
What was it about?
Sam takes on the mantle of Captain America and faces off against the Flag Smashers in one final battle (with the help of more than just his trusted friends).
Let me tell you, this episode was a rollercoaster of emotions for me! I cheered, I cried, I was in awe. In all sincerity, I don’t remember the last time I was so proud and appreciative of a character as I am of Sam Wilson. What Anthony Mackie brought to this role and what they allowed him to explore on this show was such a fantastic feast to watch and I’m forever grateful they chose these characters to dig deeper.
However, as much as I loved this journey I also have some small quarrels with the finale and as per usual, a lot to talk about. Without further ado (and because I know how lengthy these posts get) let’s dive in!
- Sam Wilson is now officially and without a doubt in the world Captain America. I think that’s the most important part of the episode, so I just needed to get that right out of the way. Not only did he get new wings from the Wakandans, but also a badass Captain America suit to go with it and I couldn’t be happier. I love how he called himself Captain America when he showed up, how the cc captions called him Captain America the entire episode and even bystanders, because he truly is everything Cap stands for. I’m not exaggerating when I say I squealed with joy every single time it was said.
- From last episode, we pick up again with GRC being on lockdown and getting evacuated but in actuality kidnapped by the Flag Smashers. Bucky is already on scene, Sharon is also there as support (for a second I thought she was a skrull, but she just wore a mask) and you can be sure that John Walker is on his way as well. As always, the fight choreography is outstanding and the action really goes on for the majority of this episode. There’s fights on different fronts and between different people, they really tried to cover their ground with everyone here. I don’t really see the point in rehashing all of them, but here are some noteworthy developments:
- Sam vs. Batroc: It was interesting to see Sam actually use the shield to fight for the first time. Not all moves worked perfectly yet, but he had a really good handle on it and that training montage from last week paid off.
- Bucky will always prioritize saving people over fighting someone and it was so nice to see him smile when people thanked him for that. He’s a good guy and the winter soldier no longer has a grasp on him.
- When Walker showed up, I wasn’t on his side. That man is deranged and needs psychological help. I am still shocked his DIY shield didn’t crumble to pieces, but I did feel sad when he confronted Karli and she said that Lemar’s life didn’t matter. It showed just how far she was gone and, once again, her willingness to sacrifice people for her cause made her inner circle waver in their trust and loyalty to her. They still went with her plan, but she was beyond jaded at that point.
- Walker was presented with a similar dilemma as Bucky. He could either go after Karli or save a convoy of GRC representatives and I was not sure what he would do, but he ultimately also opted to help people rather than fight. I honestly wasn’t sure that’s what he would go for, but I also don’t know how I felt about that “redemption arc” for Walker in general. As I said above, he is an incredibly unstable man and that’s due to untreated PTSD among other things, but his “team up” with Sam and Bucky just felt off. I get that they had a common foe in that moment, but it made me feel so uncomfortable to have him on the good side?
- I almost called it one of the biggest reveals of the episodes, but it really was pointing towards it all along, so, I’m going to call it one of the confirmations of the season and that’s the fact that Sharon is the Power Broker. I know that a lot of people will not be happy with that development and it is far removed from comic book Sharon’s persona. I don’t think it’s out of character for MCU Sharon, but I can definitely see fans being upset that a character they liked wasn’t treated right by the movies/shows … again.
In a heart to heart with Karli it is revealed that Sharon is indeed the Power Broker. She had taken Karli in because she reminded her of a younger self, but whereas Sharon wants to control the world that hurt her, Karli wants to change it, making their differences irreconcilable. I don’t think we got a lot of Sharon’s reasoning in that scene, the audience rather has to piece that together on assumptions what she had to go through while in exile. Believe me, I don’t fault Sharon for what she did and making the most of her skillsets, but I would love more depth to it.
- In a last battle between Karli and Sam, he refuses to fight her. No matter how much she wants him to hit her back, he stands firm, but in a stand-off, Sharon takes it into her own hands to save Sam and kills Karli in the process. I’m sure this hurt Sharon, because she was her protegee, but I can also see her doing it as an insurance policy so that no one knows her identity as the Power Broker (just like she presumably killed Batroc because of the same reason – I phrase it like that, because we never saw a body after the lights went out).
- Karli ultimately dies in Sam’s arms, apologizing with her last breath. I’m sad that’s how Karli’s story ended, making her a martyr when other characters were given redemption instead. All the while, Bucky and Walker use the Flag Smasher app to round them up and arrest them.
- One of the most beautiful and meaningful moments of the episode and the first real emotional scene after the fighting is done comes when Sam talks to the GRC. His speech is live-broadcasted everywhere as he presses for the GRC to reconsider their stance and does so masterfully. His words really hit home and I was with him every single second of that scene. It all boiled down to how you use the power you are given, a message that has been woven into the series as a whole.
- As the Flag Smasher super soldiers were supposed to get transported to the Raft, we can see their car explode. It was caused by Zemo’s butler, who ultimately made sure that Zemo’s plan to not let any super soldiers (aside from Bucky) live was being seen through. I honestly didn’t expect to see him again this episode, but oh wow, did he look happy when he heard that they did not survive the explosion. I can’t help but wonder what he would do if he knew that Walker had taken the serum too. Does he know?
- Valentina also came back this episode and is still as mysterious as ever. I cannot tell who she is working with, but she officially made John Walker U.S. Agent and I did not like that one bit. I suppose it was always going to go this way, but the fact that he gets to operate officially as U.S. Agent after what he did as Captain America is wrong on so many levels.
- Bucky really listened to Sam last week and made some more amends. We can see him telling Yori the truth about his son and then gifting his notebook with all the names crossed off, accompanied by a thank you card, to his therapist Dr. Raynor. It was brief, but none the less emotional and I am happy to see Bucky on a journey to healing.
- Whenever Anthony Mackie and Carl Lumbly (as Isaiah Bradley) have shared the screen this season, they have given us amazing scenes together. This finale was no exception and my heart soared when Isaiah admitted that Sam was someone special. You could really see that glimmer of hope returning to his eyes and it made me so happy. Even more emotional was the moment Sam showed Isaiah and Eli an installation in Steve Roger’s museum, which was specifically dedicated to Isaiah’s life and good deeds. Him returning his history to him, making sure people would never forget what he sacrificed ever again – I love when a story comes full circle!
- The season ends with Bucky in Sam’s hometown, joking with kids and letting them play with his arm and people fawning over Sam. The music, the atmosphere, the imagery – everything was so much brighter, happier and more hopeful and I adored that as a conclusion! Also, I could have just interpreted too much into it, but I liked that Bucky was on Sam’s right in that final shot, because Steve is always going to be on his left.
Post-credit scene: Once again, the final episode had a post credit scene where we see Sharon Carter getting her full pardon, as Sam promised he would make sure she’d get. It’s clear that she is going to use her reinstated title to further her business as the Power Broker, setting her up to be a future antagonist.
I think it was clear that I loved a lot of moments in this final episode. I do have my quarrels with the lack of depth for Sharon as the Power Broker, because that was all very vague, but could also be a potential set up for future seasons/movies. And in addition to that, I didn’t like this attempted “redemption” for John Walker. I’m not sure that really conveyed the right message there, but then again, they didn’t say he was good … for now. I’d much rather focus on the character development we got for Sam and Bucky and how much I’m going to miss them for now. I am sure we will see these characters again in some of the upcoming movies, but even more so, I hope we see them once more for a season of
Captain America and the Winter Soldier
(although I think it should be Captain America and the White Wolf, but baby steps)
PREVIOUS THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER REVIEWS
- Episode 1 “New World Order”
- Episode 2 “The Star-Spangled Man”
- Episode 3 “Power Broker”
- Episode 4 “The Whole World Is Watching”
- Episode 5 “Truth”