I Am America, (And So Can You!)
The final battle begins in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier episode 6, so strap on, put those tray tables up, and place those seats in the upright position (We’re looking at you, Bucky) because this one was a doozy of a finale.
Last week, Karli went full smash with the Flag Smashers and their plans to effectively end the GRC with their fists. We also saw Sam do what it takes to finally embrace this mantle, along with the court marshaled John Walker, who is starting to don a suit of his own. Bucky, meanwhile, continues to spend every episode brooding and looking pretty, while Sharon Carter seems like she’s about to plan something major.
This finale was packed with all of these character resolutions and more, with some powerfully compelling speeches by some very beloved characters (be ready to shed a tear in this one because it cuts in America’s heartstrings), and a whole lot of action.
The only downsides I saw in this one were that we’re yet again in NYC, and a lot of what you see felt somewhat like Spider-Man from 2002 in the CGI action and some of its transitions. Easily the worst thing about the series is its short run time, as it felt like Game Of Thrones the final season at times. However, the ending was a lot better and had degrees of sentiment and heart that leave the audience happy. We’ve got a recap below.
In The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, episode 6, Karli addresses the Flag Smashers and holds the entire GRC summit hostage along with America’s senators. The NYPD block off the area and build a perimeter. Bucky sneaks onto the scene anyway, along with a surprising Sharon Carter using one of the face-changing masks S.H.I.E.L.D. had used in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Falcon arrives at the fray with Steve’s shield calling himself The New Captain America. Gas grenades and battles ensue as the flag smashers seek to capture hostages and escape, though there are many hostages held and misdirection as to who’s the priority. Batroc The Leaper returns yet again and battles Sam, where he showcases his new mixed Captain America, and Falcon moves with the shield.
As the evacuation begins, Karli calls Bucky to tell him he’s fighting on the wrong side. Bucky tells her not to do this, not realizing the call was a distraction as vans filled with hostages escape the building. Bucky gives chase on his bike as Sharon takes out a Flag Smasher who sought to drive off by using mercury vapor.
As this is happening, Sam concludes his battle with Batroc and jumps out the window to stop some helicopters of hostages Bucky saw in passing during his drive-by. Sam skillfully flies and scans if any of the hostages can pilot the chopper. He takes out one filled with bad guys (and skillfully gets them out alive) and then messages a woman whose profile his drone scanned that can fly. Almost failing several times, he finally coordinates a shield throw and takes out the pilot just as the woman takes over for flying the chopper.
Do Or Die
Karli is determined to have her people go out like Martyrs, but before they can load their trucks of hostages and escape, Bucky arrives to take the smashers on single-handed. Karli lights an entire van of people on fire to distract Bucky. He then goes on to be the hero and uses his metal arm to rip the door off.
Before Karli can escape, however, John Walker arrives, and the two battle. He’s angry at Lemar’s death, whom Karli considers a necessary casualty, and in the battle, John’s new shield cracks. Before he loses, Bucky rejoins the fight and battles other Flag Smashers. As the battle rages, so does the fire on one of the vans, and though Karli wants to save them, John Walker won’t as he’s out for revenge.
Karli gets the jump on him and then uses the time to steal the Van and move it… though not into safety because she drives it near the edge of a building towards Bucky, who’s battling on a level below. John Walker gets back up and sees the choice between Karli or the Van, and he chooses to save the latter. He stops the Van from falling, at least, until more Flag Smasher’s arrive and it drops, only for Falcon to arrive to save it from falling.
That’s The Black Falcon. No, That’s Captain America
Karli is upset Sam bought into the Captain mantle BS, but Sam retorts that he’s trying something different. A gas grenade is fired, allowing her to escape as the three men (Sam, Bucky, John) chase after. In the haze, Karli meets with Sharon… who holds her up with a gun revealing that she’s, in fact, The Power Broker! As many fans theorized, given how Sharon broker’s an art gallery in the city of crime.
Batroc arrives and reveals he spied on Karli for The Power Broker. He also wants 4x the pay, leading to a Mexican standoff where he gets killed, Sharon gets shot, and Karli looks pretty awful, especially as Sam arrives in time to see the bloody aftermath. The two battle. Just as elsewhere, Bucky and John Walker stop and arrest the other group of escaping Flag Smashers.
In the battle, Sam won’t fight back against Karli. In a powerful moment, She, a freckled white woman, holds a gun up to a beaten and helpless Sam, a black man (Marvel wasn’t going for any subtleties here). Before anything happens, Sharon shoots Karli several times. Karli apologizes in Sam’s arms as she dies, as Sam carries her body out.
We Can Do Better
Probably the whole purpose of the show, Sam hands Karli over and finally speaks his truth. That he thinks the settlement relocation is bad and that now’s the time to finally band with a common struggle. Though the senator tells him he doesn’t understand how complicated the matter is (half the population disappearing and reappearing does cause supply issues), Sam thinks they can do better and tells them in a powerful speech. Saying it’s up to them to make the hard unlikable decisions as he did as a Black Man carrying the stars and stripes. Because likely, lots of people hate him for it. Especially for not having blonde hair and blue eyes.
Afterward, Bucky says good job to Sam and Sharon says she’s sorry for how things ended. The cops call Sam to track down a final group of Flag Smashers in the area now fully embracing the title of Captain America. Meanwhile, the transport at the Raft seems to have been tagged, but before the super soldier’s escape, the car explodes. A setup by the butler of Baron Zemo, who looks on from his cell at the raft with glee.
Val and Walker’s wife give Agent Walker a look of approval of his new black suit. He is now officially, U.S. Agent. Bucky, meanwhile, tells the truth to his friend Yori that he’s the one who murdered his son as The Winter Soldier. He then thanks his therapist and shows that he’s finished crossing off the names on the list.
Sharon Carter is reinstalled as a government agent with a full pardon along with her old job back in the after-credits. She is granted full access to government secrets and weapons, and though she abandons the Super Soldier project, she seems to have a plan of her own.
Finally, Falcon visits Isiah Bradley, who now approves of Captain America. Sam promises to fight for this country, then asks Isiah to follow him for a surprise. At the Captain America museum, a new wing is dedicated to Isiah Bradley for what he did back then. Isiah hugs Sam in return. The gang does a final New Orleans BBQ with Sam’s sister. Bucky and Sam together at least, along with the show’s new title.
Captain America And The Winter Soldier
For what it was trying to accomplish in introducing Sam’s embracing of the mantle and addressing Black American culture, Captain America And The Winter Soldier succeeded with flying star-spangled colors. All through fearlessly addressing some powerful themes about race and having Sam at its heart and center. Still, the pacing in this show was incredibly off due to the short run count, though the endpoints were excellent, including the smart usage of the redone title at the end. A powerful series overall that deserved another 2 episodes to build character.
Final Verdict: 4/5