Well, after a brief break we are back with yet another Season’s Writings article for The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. For the sake of brevity, we will be covering both episode three and four in this week’s write up—and there is quite a bit to get through, to be sure.
Episode three picked up on the cliffhanger ending of episode two, with Bucky and Sam confronting Baron Zemo in gaol, to get more information from him regarding the Flag Smashers. Without Sam’s approval, Bucky aids Zemo in busting out of prison and we are off to the races. Zemo makes a fantastic foil for our heroes and it is hard not to like the guy—despite his being a bad guy and what not.
Zemo guides Sam and Bucky to Madripoor, which in the Marvel comics has a lot of significance in relation to the X-Men, but that isn’t of importance in this show. Instead, Madripoor is the location of the mysterious Power Broker, a shadowy figure who had ordered the manufacturing of a new super-soldier serum. After things go awry, our heroes reunite with Sharon Carter, who aids them in finding the scientist making the serum. Which is great and all, until Zemo decides to straight up kill the man.
We learn a bit more about the Flag Smashers and their motivations, but I still can’t help but feel like they are a relatively underwhelming group of antagonists for Sam and Bucky. I also find it strange that these Flag Smashers are considered a big enough threat that Sam and Bucky can’t help themselves but try to get involved. We know that the Flag Smashers want things to return as they were during the Blip, but why? There is a lot of vagueness in regards to the Flag Smashers, and it is hard to empathise with them—especially when their actions lack logic.
Episode four is where the series really kicks things into high gear. John Walker is back on the scene with his buddy Battlestar and is growing increasingly frustrated by the lack of respect and reverence he is being shown from Sam and Bucky. Both men don’t think John is up for the job of Captain America and the bloody finale of this episode paints that picture pretty clearly.
The bulk of the episode revolved around the gang trying to get information on the whereabouts of Flag Smashers’ leader, Karli. Zemo proves to be excellent in this regard, whereas Bucky just seems cold to those he tries to extract information from. This all leads to Sam meeting with Karli; however, just as he is making progress with her, John busts in and completely blows the entire mission.
One thing leads to another, and Zemo winds up destroying pretty much all of the serum vials, except for one—which John quietly pockets. I must say that Wyatt Russel is doing a fantastic job portraying John Walker as a sincere man with an inner turmoil he is barely containing.
The episode reaches its shocking climax with John Walker—having injected himself with the serum off screen—losing his shit and decapitating one of the Flag Smashers, after his mate Lemar is killed by one of them. This all happens in full view of the public, with many filming the incident on their cameras. With blood splattered all over the shield, one can’t help but wonder what fate awaits John Walker from here.
All in all, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is really starting to hit its stride. While I feel the Flag Smashers are relatively weak antagonists with poorly defined motivations, the character arc of John Walker is proving to be must watch TV. Wyatt Russel is doing a fantastic job in the role, and I eagerly await our final two episodes. Let’s see how things play out now that this new Cap has been exposed as a bit more of a bad boy than initially thought.