The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – Season 1, Episode 5

FULL SPOILERS AHEAD

This week’s episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is a bit more laid back than the rest of the series with some frank discussions about America’s institutionalized racism, so I could see how some people would not like it. They’re wrong, but still. We get a lot of character development as well as a new character who has a… complicated history in the comics. So let’s get straight to it and talk about the fifth episode, “Truth.”

Immediately after John Walker murdered a Flag Smasher in broad daylight, Sam and Bucky corner the unstable super soldier and try to get the shield back. The fight we all knew was coming happens, and only through teamwork do our heroes disarm Walker (by breaking his arm) and avoid getting killed. Sam takes the shield, but he’s unsure what to do with it. Meanwhile, Karli and the rest of the Flag Smashers go deep, deep underground, and Walker is stripped of rank and benefits by the US military for his actions. Then in comes Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Mrs. Julia Louis-Dreyfus), who is a big fan of Walker’s work–more on her later. Bucky corners Zemo in Sokovia and they have a moment of understanding before the Dora Milaje come to take the villain (anti-hero?) to the Raft. Before they leave, Bucky asks Ayo for a favor. Back in America, Sam takes the shield to Isaiah Bradley, who tells the Avenger about the way the US government used duplicitous tactics and institutional racism to ruin his life and experiment on him for thirty years. Isaiah thinks that no self-respecting black man would pick up the shield, something that hits Sam at his core. Sam returns to his sister, Sarah, and together they pull their community together to fix up their parents’ fishing boat. Bucky shows up to drop off a mysterious gift from the Wakandans, staying to help and flirt with Sarah (much to Sam’s annoyance). Bucky explains that with Steve gone–heavily implying that old man Steve from the end of Avengers: Endgame has died–the shield felt like the only family he had left, so Sam giving it to the government felt like a betrayal. With some encouragement from Sarah, Sam has a training montage to master the art of ricocheting a vibranium shield. Meanwhile, Karli is in New York and meets up with Batroc–who is working for Sharon–and they team up planning on attacking the GRC (Global Repatriation Council) and killing the Falcon when he inevitably shows up. Realizing what’s going down, Sam opens the Wakandan gift, but we don’t see what it is (it’s absolutely a Captain America/Falcon suit).

A mid-credits scene sees John Walker–who absolutely believes he’s still Captain America–creating a shield of his own. Enter the US Agent?

Lot of talking in this episode, but character development through deep conversations has always been a deficiency in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Sure, most major characters had at least one solo movie, but the interpersonal interactions are few and far between. Sam and Bucky coming to an understanding as partners was great, as was seeing Sam struggle with the weight of the mantle of Captain America with the knowledge of all the horrible things the government did to keep the knowledge that there was a black Captain America secret. We do not live in a “post-racial” society, and this show isn’t afraid to touch upon the systematic racism that exists in the world. There was a particularly nasty minority of people who hated when Sam Wilson became the new Captain America in the comics purely for racial reasons, and those people would also exist in the MCU, sadly.

So, uh… pretty sure Sharon Carter is the Power Broker? Working with Batroc is shady, but sending him to work with the Flag Smashers is… interestin. We know the Power Broker is furious at Karli for stealing the super soldier serums and wants her dead, so either Sharon’s not the Power Broker, she is and the writers forgot her hatred of Karli, or this is all part of a plan and while Falcon and US Agent battle it out, Batroc kills Karli. I’m leaning towards that third one, personally.

So, the Contessa! Originally appearing in Strange Tales #159 (1967), Valentina Allegra de Fontaine was a top SHIELD agent who happened to be Nick Fury’s lover. The white Nick Fury, for reference, because… well, that’s a whole thing for another day. She was revealed to have always been a Hydra (and later actually a triple agent for the sinister organization Leviathan) in Secret Warriors #6 (2009), which was the same series that first had the revelation that SHIELD had been a puppet of Hydra since its inception. In the recent Ravencroft limited series (2020) she showed back up as an agent of JANUS, a new organization with mysterious intentions and some interesting members. Others include Malcolm Concord (the man behind the Weapon X program that gave Wolverine his adamantium skeleton), Monica Rappaccini (one time Scientist Supreme of AIM and the main antagonist of the Marvel’s Avengers video game), and Viper (high ranking Hydra official who had a loose adaptation as an antagonist in The Wolverine). With only 2 appearances/issues, I have no idea what JANUS’s goals are, or if they’ll be yet another organization lost to time when on other author wants to use it. The same issue where Sam took on the mantle of Captain America (Captain America #25 [2014]) introduced the Unknown Council, a group of villains who… never showed up again. These things happen.

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2 thoughts on “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – Season 1, Episode 5

  1. Pingback: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Season 1: Episode 4 | Chwineka Watches

  2. Pingback: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – Season 1, Episode 6 | Chwineka Watches

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