Look At Me: I’m The Captain Now!
We’re at the penultimate episode of The Falcon And The Winter Soldier episode 5. Though things are finally coming to a head, it’s hard to deny that getting here didn’t feel rushed. With a short 6 episode run, the show feels like it ended awfully quickly.
Thus far, we’ve seen America treat its veterans rather poorly while folks at home glamoured a dancing Zemo, and got to watch John Walker, our new Captain America, taint Steve Rodger’s shield with blood. We also just witnessed the death of Lamar, AKA Battlestar.
Thankfully, this episode does a lot to address Sam and Bucky’s backstories finally as progress is shown for both of our titular protagonists. One, as a person of color whose mistreatment in the world highlights many racial inequalities about how we treat black people in America. Including our heroes. The other, well, it’s sort of a man’s search for meaning and finding his own path outside of America.
We break it down in this week’s recap.
FAIR WARNING. THERE WILL BE SPOILERS
I Am Captain America
While running along a train station track, we see Captain America (John Walker) haunted by the death of Lemar and his subsequent actions of murdering a Flagsmasher soon after. He is stopped by Sam and Bucky, who try reasoning with him, but asks for Captain’s shield back. Rejecting their proposition, a battle ensues, and it’s soon obvious that John now has the Captain’s combat moves down very well — emulating Steve Rodger’s form almost perfectly.
Eventually, Bucky and Sam finally pry Captain’s Shield away like a Thanos Infinity Gauntlet, though during the struggle, it comes at the cost of The Falcon’s wings. Angry and unable to let it go, John continues to attack both men, and eventually, the three take each other out, where in the aftermath, Bucky is left standing with the Shield… which he then concedes to Sam.
In a later debriefing, Bucky reveals that he’s going after Zemo. At the same time, Torrez tells Sam that Karli’s gone into hiding and has a lot of support helping her stay hidden, as the Flag Smashers represent many refugees whose lives were lost in the second blip. Sam keeps the shield but lets Torrez keep his broken wings.
John Walker returns home to be court marshaled and is stripped of his captain America title. Though he’s both angry and defensive as he’s been a soldier his entire life, the court chooses to strip everything from John, with no benefits or retirement pension. Defeated, John is visited by Contessa Valentina Allegra, who tells him that there would be plenty happy to utilize his services and then leaves John with a mysteriously blank calling card.
In Memorium Emporium
Karli soon returns home and realizes the sanctuary for refugees she’d been using a base was shut down. She calls it time and rallies others for her next move. Later on, Sharon calls Batroc for a job, revealing that she’s perhaps working somehow from the inside of the Flag Smashers.
Meanwhile, Buck finds Zemo visiting the Sokovian memorial and approaches him with a pistol, possibly to execute him as the Winter Soldier would. When he aims the handgun at Zemo’s head and fires, it’s revealed he removed the bullets, just as the Dora Milaje arrive to arrest him. In a surprise move, Ayo agrees to take Zemo to the raft to be imprisoned. She also warns Bucky not to return to Wakanda for a while. Accepting this, Bucky asks Ayo for one last favor.
Elsewhere, John Walker gives his condolences to Lamar’s family, lying and saying that the man he killed in battle was the one who killed Lamar. Lamar’s parents tell John how much he loved being his partner, making John want to be Captain America again.
They Will Never Let A Black Man Be Captain America
In Baltimore, Maryland, Sam brings Captain’s shield back to Isaiah, who reveals that he used to be a lot like Sam back in the day. That was until he was betrayed by his own government, by being given an injection thought of us as a tetanus vaccine, before learning he was being experimented on. Fulfilling his duty, Isaiah had bust out fellow soldiers who the enemy detained and was thanked by being tucked and away and experimented on as to why the serum had worked on him. Out of pity, a nurse declared him dead, who was later revealed to be his wife. And though Sam thinks things are different, Isaac doesn’t think it’s so. Both knowing that America would never allow for a Black Captain America.
Back at his sister Sarah’s, Sam lays low with his family and, in trying to help get the family’s boat back, calls in favors from the community of everyone their parents helped over the years. Bucky helps, too, revealing that he was there to drop a gift for Sam he’d gotten from the Wakandans. Choosing to say with his new friend, Bucky and Sarah flirtatiously meet, as our two titular heroes finally spend some time together, with Sam offering Bucky to stay overnight.
The morning after, Bucky wakes to see Sarah’s kids playing with Captain’s Shield. The two still work on the boat together, and later, Bucky and Sam play Frisby toss with Captain’s shield, as the Winter Soldier reveals that Steve’s shield was the closest he has to a family. Still uncertain as to who he is without Steve, let alone anybody. Sam tells Bucky to stop looking into other people to tell you who you are. That if he wants to get better, he has to make up for it, not by Avenging but by service. Helping those he did wrong, not just apologizing and taking down bad guys.
Thanking Sam, Bucky tells him to call on him when he’s ready to take on Karli. That evening, Sarah tells Sam they can’t sell their family’s boat as it means too much to them.
That Sam I Am, America, I Am
Seeing how much his nephews look up to him, Sam begins training. He gets in shape and teaches himself how to flip and bounce Captain’s Shield. Eventually, Karli gets her plan in place and meets with Batroc, revealing that the Flagsmashers are now in NYC. Karli’s built an army ready to stop the GRC Patch Act from being called to a vote. They attack the organization and take hostages.
Torrez calls Sam, who then agrees to take over the situation from here. Sam open’s Bucky’s briefcase revealing… we don’t know yet. But we’ll find out next episode (It’s probably a new Captain America suit). Also, after credits, John makes his own shield.
You Can’t Handle The Truth
Episode 5 of The Falcon And The Winter Soldier, aptly titled Truth was a desperately needed break from the action. Although John Walker’s fall as captain America wasn’t exactly compelling, as he’s barely held the job all that long, it did set up what’s expected to be a final confrontation. The best scenes were easily Sam’s transformation story. As Sam is just trying to do right as a black superhero in America, who reluctantly seems destined to be the next Captain America — however sad that may be.
With only one episode left, and the final confrontation between all of our Captain Americas and The Flag Smashers, the finale should be an epic battle. Frankly, I think all of us are just happy we got some backstory and bromance before it happens.
Final Verdict: 4.5/5