NOTE: Here is my review from Soda & Telepaths that was posted back on April 21st, 2021
Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Truth Recap
After the absolutely explosive events of last week, something clearly needs to be done about John Walker. Since it’s clear that Falcon and the Winter Solder can no longer let John keep the shield it’s time to take it back from him by any means necessary… which is to say, a brutal fight that ends with Falcon’s wings and John Walker’s arm broken. Still, at least the Falcon and Winter Soldier end the battle with the shield back in their possession.
John Walker ends up being relieved of his duties as Captain America by the US government, along with an ‘other than honourable’ discharge which leaves him without any benefits or rank, the perfect target for someone unscrupulous to come along and offer him a chance to have some power again.
Now that the Falcon and the Winter Soldier have the shield back in their possession, the time has come for one of them to properly learn how to wield the symbol of Captain America. Who will it be? Possibly the one that Steve gave the shield to in the first place, but that’s beside the point!
Review (SPOILERS CONTAINED HEREIN)
If last week’s episode was all about that final image, this week’s episode is pulling double duty by showing the aftermath of that event and preparing for what’s sure to be an epic finale next week. From the very opening battle between John Walker, Falcon and the Winter Soldier this episode just goes guns blazing. I’d say this might be one of the most brutal fights to ever be in the MCU, very reminiscent of the Steve/Tony/Bucky fight from Civil War except this time everyone is pretty OK with someone dying at the end of the fight.
I’m honestly a little stunned that they made John Walker face real consequences from a tribunal, but I guess they needed to do something so they had an excuse to bring in Julia Louis Dreyfus as Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. She only has one scene but already she’s a natural fit into this world. She swoops in, pushes John Walker to joining her side (Gee, I wonder if she’s in any way involved with Hydra?), then leaves. Apparently, she’s going to be returning in the Black Widow movie and I can’t wait to see it.
Once that scene is done, we no longer really see John, not until the mid-credits scene which clearly is setting him up to be a final boss for the series. No, instead the episode goes about tying up a few major loose ends before next week. Bucky confronts Zemo and hands him into the Wakandans in a scene that feels a lot more like closure for Zemo than we had before. Of course, I won’t be shocked if we end up seeing him again (no one dies in these kinds of shows, they just get pushed off-screen until someone wants to use them again). Sam has one more talk with Isaiah Bradley about his past (which gets us the line “They will never let a black man be Captain America”, because this series is going to hammer home this issue of racial inequality every chance it can) before we go off to fix a boat.
The last bit of the episode feels like they just needed to give the audience a chance to breathe, since most of it is either fixing the boat that Sam’s family owns or it’s part of Sam’s training montage where he learns how to effectively use the shield. It’s probably the last real quiet moment we’re going to get since we only have one episode left before we have to deal with the Flag Smashers… and whatever other bad guys pop up next week.
With most of the big loose ends tied up, this episode may not have the punch of the episodes before it (I’d say this is the weakest episode of the season, but it’s still really good) but it makes up for that with some great character work from everyone involved. Falcon and the Winter Soldier are about as ready as they will ever get to take on the Flag Smashers, but with John Walker still out there and hungry for revenge something tells me that next week’s ‘finale’ isn’t going to be as final as one might expect.
- John Walker angrily insisting that the guy he killed is who killed Hoskins (when he knows for a fact it wasn’t because that guy was literally holding John Walker at the time) has big “Cop insisting that the person they shot had a gun when they know they didn’t” energy.
- Bucky revealing that he’s right-handed which is why he doesn’t think to use his metal arm all the time is one of those hilarious details that I love about this new more human Bucky, so glad they finally let him have a personality.
- Bradley and Falcon’s discussion about Captain America and the reality of race in America is powerful, probably the high point of the entire episode. Honestly, the line “They will never let a black man be Captain America” was almost the title holder for best of the episode but it’s a line that works best in full context of the speech given by Bradley. By the way, god I hope they use him more often in the MCU.
- So, and I only know this thanks to the subtitles spelling it out, but Sharon got Georges Batroc out of prison… for those who forgot, that’s the guy who was running the LAF in episode one and she asks him for a favour before he turns up at the end to give weapons to the flag smashers. So, that tells me that Sharon Carter is a bad guy, DUN DUN DUUUHN… I’m honestly stunned this didn’t seem to trend that much, maybe it just got missed cos no one could quite tell who that phone conversation was with.
- Bucky apologising to Sam for not understanding what it meant for a black man to be handed the title of Captain America is basically the thesis statement for the entire series. It’s been about Falcon coming to terms with what being Captain America really means and also exploring the racist policies that lead to the need for a Captain America.
- Best Mackie & Stan scene: Every scene where the two characters are fixing the boat that Falcon’s sister owns is just some great character stuff, I could watch these two doing the most basic chores for hours and something about it would end up being fascinating.
- Best Line(s) “Why are you making me do this?”, that line is the signal that Walker is too far gone and easily the most terrifying thing anyone has said in this series.