The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Episode 6 “One World, One People” Review (Season Finale)

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!

credit: Marvel Studios

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). 

My thoughts?

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.
credit: Marvel Studios
  • 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?
credit: Marvel Studios
  • 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.
credit: Marvel Studios
  • 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!
credit: Marvel Studios
  • 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.
credit: Marvel Studios

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.

credit: Marvel Studios

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)


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Now, let me bid you goodbye with these weekly Friday reviews for now! I might see you again when Loki comes around. Please let me know in the comments if that is something you would be interested in! And of course, let’s talk all things Captain America and the Winter Soldier!

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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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.


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

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Episode 1 “New World Order” Review

As promised, today marks the start for the Falcon and Winter Soldier reviews/recaps. As with WandaVision, these posts will be full of SPOILERS, so please beware. Hope you’re all caught up on your Marvel Legends (or the entire movies), so let’s dive in!

credit: Marvel Studios

What was it about?

Sam and Bucky both deal with the repercussions of Endgame and the changed world they live in on their own terms.

My thoughts?

The showrunner for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier made it very clear that this would be an anti-thesis to WandaVision (although, according to reports, it will still be connected to no less than three other MCU projects) in every way and I was prepared for that. There are going to be only 6 episodes in this series, however, they are all longer than any of the WandaVision episodes were. From trailers alone, you knew this was looking more like a buddy-cop-action-type storyline and what else would you expect from Sam and Bucky? Still, this first episode caught me off guard in a couple ways, so let’s dive in.

First of all, this episode there is zero interaction between Sam and Bucky. I’d just like to get that out of the way. I honestly thought we would start with them already being a team right away, but easing us into what TFATWS would be about was probably a better call. It’s a very humanizing show, giving us a look at the men behind the masks and suits, while still delivering on copious lengthy action sequences (what a great fist 10 minutes!) that are so very Marvel and adding that dose of humour that comes so natural with characters like Sam and Bucky.

credit: Marvel Studios

I did this thing in previous reviews/recaps where I broke down the show into it’s smaller parts and I’d like to do that here as well, but make it about the characters. Let’s start with what we learned about Sam’s state of mind and future storyline in the show:

  • After having returned from the blip, Sam has now already worked with the Air Force for 6 months. A new addition to the MCU here is Torres, an intelligence officer Sam works with, charmingly played by Danny Ramirez. If that name is any indication, he might be based on comic book Joaquín Torres, who eventually became the Falcon’s successor. He definitely looks up to Sam already and is involved in one of the villain plotlines.
  • Speaking of villains, Sam’s POV introduces us to the Flag Smashers, a group of people who thought the world was better during the blip (with less people) and want a world without borders, therefore gathering growing support. We only saw a glimpse of them so far, but they definitely seem to be physically stronger than an average person should be. The reason behind that is still unknown.
  • While I always liked Sam Wilson, I felt like I learned much more about him in this one episode than in previous movies. We meet his family (his sister and two nephews), find out about his family’s business and their struggles. It’s heartbreaking to learn that heroes don’t really get paid and that they are in the process of losing everything their family had worked for. They deserve better.
    I do realize that the bank scene is about systematic racism (why would the only reason Sam be well known be that he’s a Football player?) and the terrible treatment of veterans, but I still think Tony/Pepper should have set up a fund for the Avengers/heroes years ago. I know that all of Civil War was basically about how the governments didn’t want them to be a private army, but someone HAS to pay them and the Starks are rolling in money. The sentiment “it’s not a job, it’s a responsibility” is nice and all, but clearly you can’t live off of that.
  • I liked the little moment between Sam and Rhodey we got! They were once on different sides of the whole civil war, but now they have also both lost their best friends. I enjoyed seeing them connect and have a friendship of their own. I will always be in favor of Sam having people in his corner, which Rhodey seems to be since he asked him about why he gave up the shield.
  • Most importantly though, we need to talk about the shield. Sam never felt like it was his, but when I saw him hand it over to the Smithsonian in honor of an exhibition for Cap, it felt like he was coerced into giving it up, because someone mentioned “you made the right call in handing it over”. Even in that scene, it didn’t sit right with me, because while Sam might not have been ready to take up the mantle as the new Captain America, Steve intended for him to have it. It was even more grueling when the US announced their new Captain America, John Walker (played by Wyatt Russell, whose dad was also part of the MCU and played Ego, Starlord’s father) at the end of the episode and they had given him the shield. It was a pure insult to Sam and I suspect that this is how the show intends to tackle the topic of race and patriotism.
credit: Marvel Studios

All the while Bucky has to deal with his own demons. As mentioned above, I didn’t expect it to start off so separated, but it was still good to get a feel of where everyone is at. Let’s break it down again:

  • Bucky is where he is supposed to be – in therapy! As he said himself, he had a little calm in Wakanda (a place he loves), but has mostly fought for 90 years and done little else. Sure, the therapy might be a condition of his pardon to make sure he is not a danger anymore, but it’s still necessary. There’s so much to work through and I love the rules that he has to abide to in order to make amends, whether they are working for him or not.
    • Rule 1: don’t do anything illegal
    • Rule 2: no one gets hurt
    • Rule 3: *whole speech about making amends* “I am no longer the Winter Soldier. I am James Bucky Barnes and you are part of my efforts to make amends”
  • While he is really trying to rectify some of the things he has done, he is still plagued by nightmares. His therapist critiqued that he has no friends (and seems to be ignoring Sam’s texts), but we learn he is actually quite close with a 90-year-old man called Yori.
    They are the perfect combination of two grumpy old men buddies and Yori even proves to be an amazing wingman when he secures Bucky a date (it was adorably awkward! He brought flowers). However, I think all of our hearts broke when it clicked that Bucky (as Winter Soldier) was responsible for Yori’s son’s death, making that the reason Bucky got close to him in the first place. It feels similar to him having been responsible for the death of Tony’s parents and like something he might not be able to make amends for, even if he was not in control of himself at the time.
  • Ultimately, it seems that Bucky is still filled with guilt and on top of that, has no clue how to live as a civilian with freedom again. It especially shows that he is struggling when his age comes into play. He is 106 years old after all, even if he doesn’t look it and this is a vastly changed world from the one he was used to when he was last a civilian.

So, this show is set several months after Endgame, which also puts it several months after WandaVision. I do wonder if that will ever be mentioned, but am not sure it fits with what they are trying to tell here. All in all, I think it was a more than solid start to the show and am looking forward to what’s to come.


What did you think of the pilot episode for the Falcon and the Winter Soldier? Would you like me to continue with the reviews/recaps every week? Let’s talk!