Another fantastic episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier jumping headfirst and setting up so much for the show. I know after last episode everyone hates the new ‘Captain America’, but we got a better look at him this episode. Was it enough to change your mind?
The opening of this episode really parallels the opening of last episode. Sam was reflecting about his choice to give up the shield because he felt that it didn’t belong to him. In this episode John Walker is reflecting about the weight of this role. Haskins even mentions to Olivia about John throwing up which just tells us how overwhelmed he may actually be.
John’s wife, Olivia Walker, is there with him and talks about how they used to sneak in this locker before game, plus we saw the JW on the locker. This lets us know that this is where he went to school and played football as a teenager. This is like the hometown stop on the press tour. She assures him that everyone is just going to love him once they really get to know him.
His partner Lamar Hoskins is there with him. They talk about being on a mission just a few short weeks ago and now with Walker taking on this role everything had changed. Hoskins is very aware that this is a huge deal for Walker and points out just how important the uniform is to people. I thought it was interesting that for Lamar and John the mantle rest in the uniform, something new and designed for him that differs from what Steve wore. However, for Sam and Bucky the mantle rests with the Shield itself because it belonged to Steve at one point and was what he chose to pass on.
In the interview we see how they are promoting new Captain America and is really a modern version of how Steve was introduced. Steve did his tours to raise public opinion of the military and their war efforts while John’s are really to promote the work of the Global Repatriation Council. This interview featuring Sara Haines from Good Morning American really paints John as the good old all-American guy who has served his country valiantly. He has served in counterterrorism and hostage rescue earning three Medals of Honor. They had the running scene which mimics that scene from Camp Lehigh in Captain America: First Avenger that Steve remembers several times, it was one of the first examples that Steve was a better problem solver than the average solider. There is some of him boxing, another hobby of Steve that we saw in the opening of Avengers. Then the scene with him throwing the shield for training backed by them remarking on his high speed and endurance which I think is a nod to himself being a super soldier. There isn’t public knowledge of their being a super soldier other than Steve and Bucky because the government has held firm that there hasn’t been another, but we know that is a lie and we see it in detail this episode.
In the last moments of the interview, we see him talking about never meeting Steve but following his career which makes Steve feel like a brother to him. We see Bucky watching this noticeably angry because for Bucky Steve was a brother.
What is More Important Than This?
Next, we see Bucky confront Sam about giving up the shield. Sam first sees the poster of John Walker’s Captain America followed by a conversation about Torres. Torres asks Sam if he has ever met Walker and Sam says that he hasn’t, but Torres makes a point to say that he seems like a good guy. Then Bucky comes in and he is just in disbelief that Sam didn’t see this coming and wants Sam to figure out a way to get it back. Unfortunately, Sam just can’t undo it no matter what Steve did or didn’t want.
The conversation then leads into the one with have seen in the trailers about the Big Three and the mission that Sam is about to embark on. Red Wing has found a location outside Munich that he thinks is connected with the Flag Smashers. Once Sam makes the point of telling Bucky that these guys are ‘too strong’ Bucky comes along to help. We again had another scene from the trailers with Bucky wanting to know the plan and Sam just heading out. The addition here was Bucky jumping out of the plane without a parachute in a little less than graceful manner. Of course, Sam doesn’t let that slide.
In the warehouse there is a quick White Wolf reference which is a call back to Bucky’s nickname and his time in Wakanda. I think it would be interesting for him to go on using this name to separate himself from the Winter Soldier mantle and to remember the time of peace he had in Wakanda. Anyway, they find the Flag Smasher group loading up a semi of stolen goods. They are obviously not shy about using their strength because they are all just lifting whole pallets. Bucky is ready to meet them head on, but Sam wants to observe more and learn what they are up to first.
When they pull away Redwing sees that there is an eighth person in the back that they believe is a hostage. Once the Semitrucks pull away they head into action to get the hostage. Bucky runs up, opens the door, but this hostage isn’t a damsel in distress at all. Instead, she is the super powered leader of the Flag Smashers and punches Bucky out of the trailer and into the windshield of the other truck. This led to the action sequence on the trucks that we have seen as well. This time though they get help from John Walker and Lamar Hoskins. Together they fight the Flag Smasher but don’t really fair much better. Falcon struggles to keep up through the weaving traffic and Bucky is just flat out hanging from the bottom of the truck. Falcon saves Bucky by sweeping under the trucks and they land in a near by field. Bucky makes the point of saying that they were all Super Soldiers which is basically going to be the theme of the series.
Meanwhile, John and Lamar end up out of the fight as well as both are punched off the truck. First Lamar with John using the Shield to protect him. Then John is punched by Karli and lands in the windshield of another vehicle.
Let’s Team Up
Sam and Bucky are walking back to the air strip to head out. They know they have to figure out how these new Super Soldiers were made and put a stop to it. They are approached by John and Lamar. At first Sam and Bucky have no desire to ride with them, but eventually cave. John wants to do a team up with all of them going after these super soldiers, but that is just not something Sam or Bucky are interested in. Bucky makes a point to tell him that just because he has the shield doesn’t mean that he is Captain America.
We also learn that the government has been tracking Sam with Red Wing. Sam feels this is a violation, but John reminds him that it is government property, and he is the government. This isn’t the only time he makes a statement like that which really shows that he feels self-important, not something that we would have seen from Steve. Steve did what was right regardless of government. The final straw of the conversation comes from Lamar’s addition. He explains that he is John’s partner, and his name is Battlestar. I know some people thought that Bucky’s reaction meant that he knew the name, but I think him having a ‘hero name’ was just the last ridiculous straw in this ridiculous mess.
Bucky hops out and Sam has some final works with John. John says that he isn’t trying to be Steve, that he is just trying to be the best HE can be which isn’t a bad sentiment. The flub up here is when he refers to Sam as the wing man, like he is just some sidekick or something. Steve would have never made that distinction; Sam was a partner.
The Robin Hoods
I want to talk about the remaining two Flag Smasher’s scenes together. The first is the group as they find refuge with a supporter of the cause. This group is getting increased support after the blip returned. I get the idea that they’re real problem lies with the people in power that returned. They mention the GRC and speak of them as an enemy, but Karli also gets that mysterious text that claims she has taken something and whoever this person in wants it back. Oh, and they are going to kill her. Even with her super strength you can see that she is scared.
In another scene we see them loading their haul onto small planes to take it to a camp when they are found by the Power Broker. I believe this is who the text was from. Matius, one of the men, volunteers to hold them off for the others to escape and you can see that watching him sacrifice himself is extremely hard for Karli to watch. I think we are going to find that this group isn’t the bad guys here. As for the Power Broker, we don’t see who is in charge but there is a call made to him/her to deliver the news that they got away.
Sam and Bucky are headed home. Bucky is just ready to take the shield and get to work themselves, but Sam being the more rational one says that he is not ready to live on the run again. They also mention Sharon Carter which we know will be popping up soon. I guess for her involvement in Civil War she has been branded and enemy of the state. I’m interested in see how she is doing now.
To get to the bottom of what is going on Bucky has an idea and it is someone that Bucky thinks Sam should meet. In Baltimore they head to the home of Isaiah Bradley. It is his grandson Elijah that answers the door who I think will eventually be a Young Avenger. Bucky gets through the door by recalling when these two met in Korea. Isaiah tells the story from 1951 during the Korean war. Apparently, the US government had heard that Bucky was in the area but everyone they sent after him disappeared. Eventually they sent in Isaiah who managed to take half of Bucky’s arm and whoop his ass. His first thought that Bucky was here to kill him, but Bucky says that he isn’t a killer anymore. Isaiah scoffs at this because for him there wasn’t a choice in who he got to be.
When Bucky brings up that there are more like them out there Isaiah gets upset throwing a box through the wall. He explains that after the government was done with him, they put him in jail for 30 years and experimented on him. When he says, ‘you people’ to Bucky he means Hydra. I do believe that the experimentation on Isaiah may have led to the new super soldier serum that has been used on the flag smashers. At this point Isaiah is so upset that he kicks them out of his house.
Sam and Bucky leave, and Sam is super upset that no one was ever told there was a black super soldier. Bucky admits that he didn’t tell anyone because he thought that Isaiah had been through enough which is a good enough reason for Sam to not be mad at Bucky about it.
Before this conversation gets to finish, they are interrupted by the police that instantly think that Sam has done something wrong or is in someway being rude to Bucky. It isn’t until the one tells the other that Sam is an Avenger that they change their tone. Unfortunately for Bucky he does get arrested because he has missed on of his scheduled therapy sessions.
Dr. Raynor arrives at the jail to meet with Bucky before he is released. However, Bucky is already being released because John bailed him out and also wants his therapy schedule to be reduced because he is an ‘asset’. No John, he is a person. While Bucky is going to leave, he and Sam first have a session with the doc.
This is a hilarious scene that end on a sad note. The staring contest made me laugh hysterically only to cry in the next minute when Bucky finally take it seriously. He feels that by Sam denying the shield that Steve was wrong about Sam, and if Steve was wrong about Sam then he was wrong about him too. This really shows how fragile Bucky is in this moment. His whole anchor was Steve and what Steve thought of him. His goal is to be worthy in Steve’s eye whether or not Steve ever sees it. Sam finally says that he is willing to squash the current beef with Bucky if they never see each other after the mission. Sam then walks out, but Bucky stays behind to be reminded about rule number two, no hurting anyone.
Outside of the station John and Lamar are waiting for Sam and Bucky. John again urges them to join up for the sake of the mission. Ultimately Sam says that John and Lamar have to operate within the rules of engagement while Sam and Bucky are free agents and can do whatever they want basically. SO, it doesn’t make sense for them to team up. John is annoyed by this and just lets them know that they need to stay out of his way.
In the final scene with Bucky and Sam, Bucky raises the idea of seeing someone that they know that has the secrets of Hydra. Since Hydra experimented on Isaiah, they may be linked to the Flag Smashers being enhanced. Sam isn’t sure that seeing Zemo is a good idea because of everything that happened in Civil War, but right now it is their best option. Then we briefly get a view of Zemo in prison.
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