The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 5 Review
You know, when I first saw Steve Rogers hand the Falcon the shield and wanted him to be his successor, I didn’t think much of it. I thought that Sam or Bucky were the best choices to be Captain America. I didn’t even give the fact that Sam’s African-American a second thought. However, the events of the last few years have reminded America that we are still struggling to deal with our racist past. And it’s something we’ll likely keep struggling with for a long time. However, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier reminded us of something important in its penultimate chapter. That if keep feeling sorry about our past, we’ll never fix anything. And this week, the Falcon and Winter Soldier learn to stop being sorry for themselves.
John Walker, You’re Fired
We all knew this was coming. Even before we saw him straight-up execute one of the Flag-Smashers at the end of the last episode, we knew John Walker wasn’t going to cut it as Captain America. On the surface, he looked like a worthy heir to the shield. However, the US Government took someone in over his head and threw him into the deep end. Without water wings. And the end result was him losing it with his best friend’s death.
The inevitable fight between Walker, Bucky and Sam is nothing short of genius. Brutal, bloody, and charged with emotion, these three men all fight desperately over the shield as we see just how unsuited Walker was. He doesn’t feel any regret to killing that man. He deludes himself into believing that the guy he killed had killed Lemar, when we know that wasn’t the case. He doesn’t even take the time to wash the shield clean of blood. In other words, he’s the wrong choice, and the Falcon and Bucky respond by taking the shield from him.
Even though I don’t like Walker, though, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. At the hearing in which his government throws him out of the military and strips him of his role as Captain America, it’s clear that they don’t want to even hear what he has to say. They only care about washing their hands of him even though they set him up for his eventual break. And that’s going to have consequences down the road.
The Falcon Finally Accepts the Shield
At this point, the Falcon understands that he made a mistake giving up the shield, and he’s not going to make it again. He’s keeping the shield this time, and he’s going to be the one wielding it. However, Sam’s all too aware that some people won’t accept him as Captain America because he’s African-American. When he goes back to talk to Isasiah Bradley again, the man tells him just this:
The intent is clear: Isasiah thinks that if a black man were to become Captain America, they would just be a puppet for the US Government. The same government that did illegal experiments on him and his friends, tried to kill them to cover it up, and threw him in jail to keep quiet about everything. And we can’t deny that Isasiah’s right.
But that’s why Sam Wilson decides to take up the shield for good. He knows that becoming Captain America won’t magically fix everything wrong in America. It won’t erase centuries of racism and mistreatment. But, as he points out to his sister, Sarah, if he gave up fighting, then all that pain would be worthless. He knows what the shield represents to everyone: hope. Hope that we can be better than what we already are. And that makes him all the more worthy of being Captain.
Bucky Starts to Move on From his Past
Bucky made it clear that he didn’t approve of Sam giving up the shield. He understands how important it is and the good it represents. However, in this episode, we see Bucky admit that he was wrong about Sam. He and Steve didn’t understand what it meant for a black man to become Captain America, and he apologizes for that. The thing is, the shield’s the closest thing he has left to a family, and he didn’t want to lose that. That almost made me cry!
In return for Bucky helping him realize that he should take up the shield, Sam helps Bucky actually move on from his past. Rather than keep avenging the wrongs he did for HYDRA and apologizing to everyone, Sam tells him to make himself useful to those he wronged. By helping to make the lives of those he hurt better, that will help him heal. It’s probably the best advice Bucky could ask for, and as a bonus, it helps him and Sam patch things up.
As for Zemo? Bucky tracks him down to the Sokovia memorial, but he doesn’t kill him. He turns him over to Wakanda, and they haul his butt back to prison. And I couldn’t be any prouder of Bucky.
The Falcon and Winter Soldier Are Ready to Fight Again
While all of this is going on, we have the weakest link to the show, the Flag-Smashers. After what happened with Walker, Karli Morgenthau’s doubled down on her mission. As a result, she and her followers storm a GRC meeting in their biggest attack to date. Thus, we get set up for the final battle of the series: the Falcon and the Winter Soldier vs the Flag-Smashers!
I don’t really care that much about Karli, as I don’t think she’s that good of a character. However, I think this next fight will be important because it can help cement Sam’s status as the new Captain America. His own Captain America, no government strings attached. Unfortunately, it looks like Walker’s not done yet. Look.
This is not going to end well for anyone. But I can’t wait to see what happens.
I Give “Truth” a 5/5
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