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.


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

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Episode 2 “The Star-Spangled Man” Review

You know the drill, people. This post contains SPOILERS for episode 2 of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Read this at your own discretion.

credit: Marvel Studios

What was it about?

Sam and Bucky team up to deal with a global threat, while the world gets to know the new Captain America.

My thoughts?

After last week, I knew what topics The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was likely going to touch upon during its run, but I had no idea how they were going to go about it. I was surprised by the in depth character drama we got and so pleased to see it moving along quickly in terms of plot, however, still giving us plenty of introspection in this second episode. There are always one or two really well choreographed action sequences in the episode, but a lot of it is character work and I’m here for it.

We start the episode with neither Sam nor Bucky, but John Walker instead. I think it was evident by everyone’s reaction to last week’s final scene that he had quickly become one of the most hated characters in the MCU without ever having spoken so much as a word. We could have easily not seen his side of the story or his struggle with taking on the mantle of Captain America, but The Falcon and the Winter Soldier made sure this was a balanced way of portraying the issue (still doesn’t mean I have to like him though).

credit: Marvel Studios

From the glimpse we got, John Walker isn’t a bad man. He’s a soldier, and a very capable one at that. Having received several medals of honor and showing great skill with the shield, he knows how big a shoes he has to fill. I don’t think he takes it lightly to put on the mantle of Captain America (although he would likely prefer to punch his way out of a situation rather than use diplomacy) and I can see why the government took interest in him, but … nothing will change the fact that he is not Steve Rogers and Steve intended for that shield to go to someone else. Like Sam said in the pilot episode “these symbols are nothing without the men and women that give them meaning” and I cannot see Walker carry that same kind of hope.

Let’s check out what we learned about him:

  • He seems to have a good support system with a loving wife and a best friend, Lemar Hoskins, ready to be by his side. Lemar is Battlestar on the show. In the comics he staged attacks on Walker in order to build his brand, but I can’t see him doing that in the series. They seem to both be employed by the government and work as a team.
  • Not only has he physically trained to be Captain America, he also seems to have familiarized himself with the Avengers and notable associates. He was definitely fighting to get Sam and Bucky on his team, but I don’t think calling Sam a wingman, speaking of Steve as a brother without ever having met him or plain hacking into Redwing got him any browny points. By the end of the episode, he had burned quite a lot of bridges, showing a possible darker side to his persona.
credit: Marvel Studios

But on to more important things and the actual leads of this show – Sam and Bucky! As a lot of us predicted, it did not sit well with Bucky to find that Sam had given up the shield. He did not hesitate to confront him, despite not having talked to Sam and having ignored his texts the past couple of months. Immediately, as soon as they got back together again, they proved once more what an incredible duo they are. Not just are they able to carry emotional scenes, but their comedic timing is off the charts. I laughed out loud so many times and was really happy to have them paired up this episode.

Now, where are we moving with those two in terms of plot:

  • Bucky jumped on the plane with Sam and Torres to tag along for the fight against the Flag Smashers. I’m not sure whether Bucky just didn’t want to let go on the matter of the shield yet or if he was craving a new mission, but despite their constant bickering, Sam and Bucky are growing to be a really good team. They may not have won, but they have each other’s back when it matters.
  • We also found out that the Flag Smashers are indeed super soldiers, powered by serum and apparently led by one Karli Morgenthau. (So they are not one of the big three – aliens, androids or wizards – a joke that keeps on coming) They feel abandoned by the governments that care more about the returned people than those who were never blipped. It’s evident they already have a large following, although I’m not 100% clear on what their plan is. Giving everyone powers doesn’t really solve … anything?
  • After getting their asses kicked by the Flag Smashers, Bucky brings Sam to Baltimore to introduce him to a man called Isaiah he fought as part of Hydra back in the 50s. For those who didn’t know, Isaiah Bradley was the original Black Captain America (on this show as well as in the comics) and there was already a hint at his identity during last episode’s credits. He never got the same glory as Steve though and the government thanked him for his heroic deeds by putting him in a prison for 30 years, showing once again the double standard when it comes to race. Obviously, he wants nothing to do with Bucky or his past though, so they are left to seek help about the super soldier serum elsewhere.

Fun fact: Isaiah Bradley’s grandson Eli/Elijah, who opened the door, will likely become a hero called Patriot, who is a member of the Young Avengers. Not every, but a lot of the shows/upcoming movie of the new MCU phase have had teases for the Young Avengers, with Wiccan and Speed in WandaVision, Kate Bishop in the upcoming Hawkeye series, America Chavez in the Multiverse of Madness, Riri Williams as Iron Heart in the show of the same name, Cassie Lang aka Stinger in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantummania and ultimately Kamala Khan as Ms Marvel in her own show as well.

  • Sam is naturally pissed that he never knew about Isaiah, even if Bucky never told anyone else about him either (not even Steve). They have a small fight on the street when a cop car pulls over, which immediately made my stomach tie up, knowing what would come next. I know that Sam and Bucky could easily take them, but I was still afraid for him. Of course, the cops racially profiled Sam and only backed down as soon as they realized that he was Falcon. Something he shouldn’t need as a protection against discrimination when he never did anything wrong to begin with. In the end, they do arrest Bucky though, since he missed his court mandated therapy session, while profusely apologizing for having to take him in. This scene worked as a mirror to many people’s reality when it comes to interactions with the police and I am glad that Disney/Marvel isn’t shying away from showing that on screen.
  • John Walker is the one bailing Bucky out and calling his therapist, because he wants Sam and him on his team. He asks that the therapist do whatever needed to get them to ship out on missions again and I just think that was a terrible, terrible idea. Bucky is nowhere near done dealing with his trauma and neither has Sam worked through his own stuff. Still, the “couple’s session” did provide a little breakthrough when Bucky revealed why he was so angry at Sam. They didn’t exactly grow closer through the exercises, maybe even a little further apart, but they will work together for now. I just hope they both take up therapy again, I think they could profit from it.
  • Lastly, we finally learn how Zemo comes into play with this storyline. Since Bucky can’t think of anyone else to ask about the serum, he ropes Sam into coming with him to seek out Zemo for answers. Doesn’t sound like a great idea either, if we are being honest.

Overall, I enjoyed this episode very much, which was overall solid. I loved that Bucky and Sam are finally together on screen again, even though I very much understood how necessary it was to show their current state of minds apart from one another in the pilot. This show is moving at a really nice pace and I think it will be able to tell a good story in the remaining four episodes.


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What is your take on the episode? Did I miss something crucial? Let’s talk!