NOTE: Here is my review from Soda & Telepaths that was posted back on April 13th, 2021
Falcon and the Winter Soldier: The Whole World Is Watching Recap
So, at the end of the last episode, Wakanda found out that Falcon and the Winter Soldier were the ones who now had custody of Zemo and sent Ayo and the rest of the Dora Milaje to go collect him. Bucky manages to make a deal with Ayo to give them a little more time with Zemo so they can use him in order to locate Karli Morgenthau.
Luckily for them, Zemo comes through and Falcon and the Winter Soldier manage to locate Karli at the funeral for her adopted mother. Falcon goes in alone to try and talk with her, they actually begin having something of a rapport… right up until John Walker comes in and ruins everything.
Fortunately, they manage to find Karli again and get another chance at maybe talking her down, but not only does John Walker mess that up but the Dora Milaje turn up and end up distracting our heroes long enough for Zemo to escape. How could things possibly get worse? Oh… the last 5 minutes of the episode will ensure that.
Review (SPOILERS CONTAINED HEREIN)
It’s weird to say this, but it feels like nothing in this episode of Falcon and the Winter Soldier actually matters apart from the very last moment. Everything is just building up to that one single shot that will change not only this series but a huge element of the MCU in general. There are certainly enough great action moments, in particular the fight with the Dora Milaje, to get the audience through the episode but realistically the moment that matters is that last shot.
Everything building up to that final moment is still pretty great though. Seeing Falcon trying to connect with the alleged villain to try to talk them out of doing something bad might be the second-best moment of the episode. Third best moment would probably be Zemo smashing the crap out of the vials of Super Soldier serum, and if only he’d gotten every vial then the episode might not have ended the way did.
So… John Walker straight-up murders someone. During a pretty major fight near the end, John Walker’s friend Hoskins ends up dead and Walker runs out and finds the first member of the Flag Smashers he can get his hands on (who he knows for a fact didn’t kill Hoskins) and brutally beats them to death with the shield while a crowd of tourists pulled out their phones and filmed the entire murder from start to finish. Just when you think the MCU can’t shock you, blood on the iconic Captain America shield is one of those images that I never expected to see but we got it now and it is terrifying.
Now, the reason that John Walker goes all murder happy is the moment the episode falters for me. See, it starts when Hoskins ends up getting captured and for some reason, the bad guys leave their captive with a knife he can easily use to free himself. The episode then moves onto a large fight where there are several close-ups of the knives that the Flag Stompers are using, making you believe that a knife is going to be important later on (you do not show a weapon that many times in close up without it meaning something)… and then Hoskins escapes and is killed when he’s thrown against a large pillar. Couldn’t have had someone use the knives you did three close-ups on? Maybe even had him impale on his own knife? No, just… slam, bam, thankyou maam?
Seriously, that was my entire train of thought until the final shot, at which point everything else kind of stopped mattering. I just wish they’d handled it a little differently, made his death a little more impactful for the audience instead of just an abrupt sudden slam but when you end this powerfully, a lot is forgivable.
Before now, John Walker was an annoyance, a wannabe Steve Rogers who never quite made it but now… now he’s actually someone to be feared because unless they somehow turn him around in the next few episodes he might just be this series’ version of Agatha Harkness (only without the goddamn awesome theme song). He’s looking like the surprise big bad guy who pops up right near the end of the show. He’s already killed once, I won’t be shocked if he does it again.
Not only has the new symbol of America been caught on camera seemingly murdering an unarmed man, but throw on top of that the fact that Zemo gets loose, Karli and the flag smashers mostly escape and there’s a bunch of very angry Wakandan warriors running about… we’re in for an intense pair of episodes.
While the bulk of this episode is mostly just moving people around to where they need to be for that final image, the final image is powerful enough to warrant it. This is the MCU taking everything it’s told us up to this point, combining it with real world horrors we know all too well (a man died at the hands of an American authority figure while a crowd watched on unable to stop him, start naming who THAT reminds you of) and turning it up to eleven. This might be the most flawed episode of the series so far, but all those flaws get forgiven when you end an episode like that.
- Sebastian Stan’s face during the opening scene where the Wakandan’s test out if he truly has gotten over the trigger words is some of the best acting this man has done since he started playing this character.
- Remember the LAF from episode 1? Are we just never going to bring them back up again? Did they have to go because their planet needs them?
- Zemo has slowly evolved into the best character of this series. He gets the best line, the scene of him smashing almost every vial of Super Soldier serum is incredible and the shot of him sipping a whiskey while all the heroes fight each other is just perfection.
- So the guy who John Walker murdered? Earlier in the episode he reveals that he was a huge Captain America fan… never meet your heroes.
- Falcon trying to talk the problem out is WHY Falcon should be the new Captain America. That is the closest anyone has gotten to solving a problem like Steve Rogers would, no wonder Steve handed the shield over to him in the first place.
- Best Mackie & Stan scene: It’s brief but the shots of them just standing and watching while John Walker fights the Dora Milaje are just perfect, followed by them joining in almost begrudgingly. It’s moments like this that make me so glad they’ve let Sebastian Stan give Bucky a personality.
- Best Line(s) “The desire to become a superhuman cannot be separated from supremacist ideals.”