What. A. Ride! Disney+’s second MCU original The Falcon and the Winter Soldier just wrapped up and I have to say right off the bat, I really enjoyed the show. Was it the best the MCU has had to offer…no. Was it better than Wandavision…that’s a tough one and I’ll break that down a little later. Whether you found it to be the best thing Marvel has offered, or not so much, I’d be hard pressed to believe that anyone could say it wasn’t good or that Disney isn’t killing it with the originals for its streaming service at this point! Read on for a recap and our final thoughts on the show! SPOILERS AHEAD of course!
Episode 6 opens literally right where 5 left off, in the darkened room of the GRC where the Flag Smashers are attempting to prevent their immigration vote from going through. We see a little bit of the “rushed” feeling of the series as Bucky, Sam and even Sharon (all the way from the other side of the world) are already there or arriving. While Sharon’s entrance in disguise is cool, it’s Sam’s that makes the biggest splash. He soars in, crashing through a window rocking his new uniform and stating “I am Captain America”!!!!!! As the heroes begin searching (and fighting) for Karli, Bucky is the first to find her. She tries to convince him he’s “fighting for the wrong side” but Bucky instead tries to use his own past to warn Karli of the nightmares ahead of her if she continues down this path. This talk doesn’t really work and the show goes into a series of action sequences that take up about half of the entire episode as the Flag Smashers attempt to kidnap the GRC delegates and the heroes try to stop them.
We do get some really great scenes during this though. Sharon subdues a Flag Smasher in disguise using a “vapor bomb” essentially melting his face off and Sam has a great fight scene with Batroc during which he shows off his shield skills. Bucky gets in on the action chasing down the kidnapped delegates (trapped in an armored car) on a motorcycle he crashes to launch himself at the enemy! In a last ditch effort to “stop the vote” Karli decides to kill the kidnapped delegates and has Bucky breaks them free, John Walker shows up (with his cosplay shield in hand) to fight the Flag Smashers. He’s getting stomped on until Bucky steps in to help and the two start fighting “together.” Meanwhile, Sam is mid-flight chasing another group of Flag Smashers in a helicopter in a pretty awesome rescue scene. Back at the other fight, Karli makes another surprising move as she sends the other truck with the hostages off the roof a building leaving Walker with a choice…revenge on Karli for killing his friend, or being a “hero” and saving the hostages. Surprisingly he chooses the later by grabbing onto the falling truck, but is unable to succeed as the Flag Smasher attack. As the truck falls, our new Captain America (Sam) shows up to save the day!
The remaining Flag Smashers are able to escape as Batroc shows up causing a diversion. Sam, Bucky, AND Walker take chase! Bucky and Walker go in one direction as Sam takes another. Before they can find them though, it’s Sharon that finds Karli first. It’s outright confirmed she’s the Power Broker as she tries to convince Karli (her muscle) to come back, but that doesn’t work out and the interaction ends with Sharon being shot by shot by Karli. Sam shows up to find Sharon shot and a brief but cool fight breaks out as Sam uses the shield and his wings to block a hit and plant into the ground! Meanwhile, Bucky and Walker cut off the other escaping Flag Smashers with about 100 police officers in tow. They surrender without a fight. In the Karli and Sam fight, Karli gets the upper hand pulling a gun on Sam, but is taken down by the injured Sharon. The shots prove fatal as Karli dies saying “I’m sorry” to Sam. Will Sam ever discover that Sharon is the Power Broker?
After the fight is all over, Sam returns to find reporters and a large police force gathered on the city streets around the rescued GRC members, carrying the dead body of Karli with him. Sam gives an impassioned speech about what Karli was fighting for and how the government needs to step up and do what’s right (essentially agreeing with Karli that their plan pertaining to the “Blip” refugees isn’t right). All of this in front of the onlookers on the street and on tv. After some back and forth it seems as though he has gotten through to them and in my eyes, fully taken on the mantle of Captain America.
We do get a little more action before the end of the episode as we see the armored car carrying the other super soldier Flag Smashers who were arrested being explode only to find Zemo’s butler nearby watching. Cut to Zemo’s prison cell on the Raft listening to the report of this explosion and a smile spreading across his face. I have to say, I really like Zemo 1000% more in this than in his Avengers appearance. This transitions nicely into our newest character “Val” meeting with Walker who is now in his new uniform (its just a black Captain America uniform) and gets his new name “U.S. Agent” to which he exclaims “I’m back” and seems relatively happy…
As the episode ends, we get perhaps the most heart wrenching scene as Bucky returns to his friend Yori to reveal to him the truth behind his son’s death (that he had killed him when he was the winter soldier). It’s a very quick scene, but Stan does a great job portraying both the pain and healing Bucky is going through. Not to be outdone, Sam returns one more time to talk to Isaiah who for the first time seems to accept Sam’s actions and being Captain America. In another moving act, Sam convinces Isaiah to visit somewhere with him. That somewhere turns out to be the Captain America museum where he is led to a new exhibit, showcasing the service of Isaiah so that no one will ever forget what he did for this country.
As to not end on totally emotional note, the show ends with a Sam and Bucky returning to Sam’s home to celebrate with friends and family. The two embrace and the end credits start to reveal the “new” name of the show…”Captain America and the Winter Soldier.” BUT…we do get a mid credit scene as we find Sharon Carter receiving a full pardon from Congress and an offer to get her old job back. As she leaves she quickly jumps on the phone saying “line up our buyers. Super soldiers may be off the menu, but we’re about to have full access to government secrets…” (COME ON SHARON!)
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier had one major drawback in my mind before I even saw a single shot of the show…it was only going to be 6 episodes long. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think what they were able to accomplish is those 6 episodes was amazing, but I do think that at some points the story came across a little rushed as a result. While the show did it’s best to give us more backstory on the titular characters (which I think they knocked out of the park), some of the others were not so lucky, especially our “villains.” I really feel like they worked hard to get Karli’s story set up, but her arc still seemed a little choppy to make it great…although it was still good. Other than this, I really think that the show was very good. We got some amazing action sequences that I was craving after Wandavision’s lack of, the great backstories of Bucky and Sam, and just enough intrigue to keep me interested.
Even though I may not have been setting up a theory whiteboard like I had going for Wandavision and was basically able to call that Carter was the Power Broker rather early in her appearance (as it seems many of us were), the show kept me entertained in a different way. While I may have been able to figure out some of the things that happened, the show was done well enough to make me want to actually see it happen. Rather than a total mind-bending show like it’s predecessor on Disney+ The Falcon and the Winter Soldier came across exactly as I had expected and honestly wanted. An action packed, buddy-cop, spy-thriller.
Overall, the thing that I enjoyed the absolute most about the show was seeing Anthony and Sebastian together again. I have always enjoyed their chemistry on screen and the writers had done a great job playing that up with their banter in their previous MCU appearances, often to the point of wanting more. That’s exactly what makes The Falcon and the Winter Soldier so enjoyable as it provided more. I would be hard pressed to find another duo capable of pulling off the nuances of this relationship; one of both hatred and love and enough charm and charisma to bring us along on their journey. While the introduction of US Agent, the Power Broker, Isaiah, Val (ahem…Madame Hydra) definitely leads to the possibility of bigger roles for these characters in upcoming MCU films, and not to mention Sam now taking on the title of Captain America (Captain America 4 anyone?) I’d be lying that I wouldn’t want to see a second season of “Captain America and the Winter Soldier” on Disney+
With everything said and done, I am sticking to my original prediction that I would end up enjoying Wandvision more than The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, not because F&WS was bad in anyway, but because of how good (and different) Wandavision was. Understanding that you are getting two very different shows/stories in these two properties is vital when comparing the two though and makes it difficult to say one is significantly superior to the other. While I gave Wandavision a 4.5/5 stars, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will be very close at 4/5 stars. My main complaint was that it felt rushed at times and if they had a higher episode count to really flesh out the villain(s) and story arc I may have rated both shows the same.
Thanks for reading along with us and we’d love to hear what you thought about The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Be sure to continue the conversation either on the website forums or over on the FB group!