The Falcon and The Winter Soldier: Episode 2 Review

A High Flying Adventure

(Center): Falcon/Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) in Marvel Studios’ THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

In The Falcon and The Winter Soldier episode 2, aptly titled The Star-Spangled Man, we finally get to see Sam and Bucky team up to beat up some baddies. As The Flag Smashers turn out not to be more complicated than expected, and a certain hero steals the spotlight for the day. 

This episode explores the origins of Captain John Walker, who was revealed in the cliffhanger of last week’s episode, as the government-appointed agent assigned to be the new Captain America. And though John has Captain’s shield, along with a commanding presence on the battlefield, he lacks some of that heartfelt pazazz that Steve Rodgers was well known for in conveying. Most especially, to Captain’s old wingmen.

Though there is less backstory in this episode than in comparison to last week’s, Sam and Bucky do get to play off each other rather well. Since their meeting in Civil War, the two have always had somewhat of a rivalry, and it showcases itself here in delightful comedic moments and challenges. Besides this, there isn’t too much into this one, as it’s mostly plot setup and action sequences galore. Here’s a recap.




The New Captain


John Walker shakes hands as the new captain america

In episode 2 of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, we meet the new Captain America, special agent John Walker. A three-time medal of honor veteran who wants to simply do the job. During a televised interview at his old high school, a reporter showcases John’s immense talent and history as a highly decorated soldier that looked up to Steve Rodgers. Though watching his interview on the television, are none other than both Sam and Bucky, who are less-than-excited to see a new Captain. 

The day after, Bucky visits Sam to scold him for giving up the shield Steve had given him. After some heated exchange, The Winter Soldier agrees to help Sam on his mission to go after the Flag Smashers. Who, as revealed in the last episode, is a type of super-soldier. After a heated truck chase where the two friends confuse the Flag Smashers’ leader for a hostage, Bucky and Sam are nearly defeated. However, they get barely bailed out by the aid of none other than the new Captain America and his partner, Lemar Hoskins, also known as Battlestar. Together they were in the area on a government mission to keep the peace in the war-torn environment but had followed Falcon by tracking his Red Wing drone.

If you’ve ever seen Evil Dead, John Walker’s Captain gives off plenty of Bruce Cambell vibes. He is arrogant, charismatic, and has a noticeably big chin, and though he’s able to prove himself as a capable fighter and coordinator, he is also someone that upsets both Bucky and Sam, as both men find him as undeserving of the mantle. He does, however, prove himself resourceful yet again later when he bails Bucky out of jail for missing therapy.


Androids, Aliens, Or Wizards?


Karli Morgenthau is the new series villain

Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman) in Marvel Studios’ THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

Early on in the episode, Sam and Bucky argue that it seems like every encounter boils down to androids, aliens, or wizards, which thus far in the series has proven true except that this time the Flag Smashers appear to be super soldiers given their strength and speed that are on par with Bucky and Steve’s level of ability. 

It’s soon revealed that the red-headed girl who led the soldiers’ team during the escape was a woman named Kari Morgenthau. A refugee who had apparently stolen something from an ominous character who wants to kill her. Together the group wipes their tracks as they plan their next big event.

Concerned over the rise of these terrorists with supersoldier abilities, Bucky takes Sam to Baltimore and introduces him to a black man named Isiah. It’s revealed that Isiah was a fellow super-soldier. Still, one put him in jail for 30 years to be experimented on despite how much he had helped the American government stop people like The Winter Soldier. 

Falcon is furious that a black supersoldier nobody had known about was treated like discarded garbage and kept hidden. Shortly after, the police arrive to confront Sam due to his heated argument with Bucky, racial profiling him as a black man. When they discover who the two Avengers are, Bucky is then taken to jail for missing his court-mandated therapy. 


Couples Therapy


Freed from jail by John Walker after he talks with Bucky’s therapist, Doctor Christina Raynor, refuses to let James go before doing an assessment. This time with Sam. Besides the James Raynor Starcraft reference, there are many cool references and funny bits in this final scene.  Because while the two are friends, they can’t seem to stop fighting with one another and even having a staring contest while locking legs. While in therapy, Bucky finally admits why he’s so upset that Sam gave up the shield because it meant that perhaps Steve was wrong, and in turn, could be wrong about Bucky’s chances of being saved. Sam admits he just did what he thought was right. 

Shortly after, the two are met by John, who reveals that Karli has been in hiding and taking medicine from the camps (maybe super-soldier serum?). Though they have similar goals, Sam tells John that he will work off the grid to get the job done, leading to John threatening the duo to stay out of his way. Decidedly out of options, Bucky and Sam see only one lead that ties all these threads together and head off to go visit Baron Zemo. The antagonist from Marvel’s Civil War.


What’s Next?


The Falcon and Winter Soldier episode 2 took a look at the legacy left behind by Captain America as both a heroic icon and as a  super-soldier. Now past the internal conflicts of Sam and Bucky from last week, The Star-Spangled Man takes a look at these two former best friends of Steve Rodgers and sees how they measure up in his shadow. Both men, mistreated and upset by a country that doesn’t respect them. One that even goes so far as to not uphold Steve’s final wishes. All for a decent setup episode filled with fast action sequences and more villain setup. 


Final Verdict: 3.5/5


A screenplay and comic book writer who grew up on playing everything Blizzard and Final Fantasy, Christian is a part-time entertainment journalist who covers just about everything. He loves attending conventions, meeting fellow creatives, and of course, gaming.

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