NOTE: Here is my review from Soda & Telepaths that was posted back on April 27th, 2021
Falcon and the Winter Soldier: One World, One People Recap
After the last episode where Falcon trained up to use the shield, it’s about time for him to come into his own as the new Captain America. His chance to show off just what he can do is provided to him when the Flag Smashers make their move to stop the GRC (Global Repatriation Council) from having a meeting to vote on forcibly moving refugees from the blip. Will Falcon be able to somehow stop the Flag Smashers while also helping the refugees? And just who is the power broker, I could swear we found out last week but this week we’re going to have it made as blunt as possible.
Review (SPOILERS CONTAINED HEREIN)
I’m not going to lie, this is the weakest episode of the series. Now, that’s not to say it’s bad, at this point I’m starting to think it’s possible for the MCU to have something objectively bad that involves the cast of the films (Look at me, making an Iron Fist sized loophole) but compared to everything that’s come before, this is the most muddled and rushed episode. It’s still enjoyable, and for some characters it’s a very fitting ending, but this is definitely a weaker ending than expected.
The one storyline that objectively works from top to bottom is Falcon’s, or should I say Captain America’s. His entire arc for this season has just been trying to reconcile the history of racism that is associated with the title of Captain America and his desire to help people and seeing him in his own version of the Captain America suit is a powerful iconic moment of the entire franchise. Seeing him choosing to not fight Morgenthrau even when she’s throwing everything at him has the exact same vibe of the Cap/Winter Soldier fight from the second Captain America movie.
The high point of the episode comes from our new Captain America giving a big speech to the GRC right at the end, proclaiming that the GRC need to do better to those who reappeared after the blip. It’s a pure Captain America moment, almost like Steve Rogers’ ability to give a big dramatic speech is actually part of the power that suit brings.
The Flag Smashers as a group kind of turn into their own version of Thanos, we can understand their goals and maybe even agree with them (Thanos’ goal was to ensure there were enough resources for humanity to survive, just a reminder) but it’s their methodology we’re meant to be against. It doesn’t end up working quite as well as Thanos did because the Flag Smashers just haven’t been that interesting, and maybe that’s why this episode isn’t as good as it could be. We’re meant to really feel bad for these characters who we’ve seen kill multiple people but they aren’t anywhere near as compelling as Thanos or Killmonger were, so it just doesn’t work.
This episode isn’t weak due to the muddled politics, that’s a standard for almost any product made by a multi billion dollar corporation trying to use politics as an element of its story. No, it’s just not as powerful as everything before it, because everything before it was basically a sledgehammer and this is a sharp poke with a stick. It’s still a decent ending, I’m excited for the inevitable season two, but it could’ve been greater. Probably didn’t help that this had to follow Wandavision’s ending, the bar was set obscenely high and this just couldn’t clear it, but it was still a decent way to end.
- Look, I’ll buy a lot in the MCU. Titans destroying half the population? Sure. Gods who are either the most muscular humans you’ve ever seen or stringy beanpoles with bad hair? Makes sense to me. A man as pure as Steve Rogers? Stretching the limits but OK… I might have to draw the line at a facial recognition system that can tell which passenger knows how to fly a helicopter. It’s a fun moment, but oh boy is that stretching.
- John Walker getting a minor redemption moment and actually working with our heroes is a bit overdue, but welcome. Now, I don’t trust him far as I can throw him and fully expect he’ll come back as a villain at some point in the inevitable second season but seeing him actually show why anyone would’ve trusted him with the Captain America title in the first place was nice.
- Zemo getting one last hurrah against the Flag Smashers was great, I really hope we get to see more of him in the coming years.
- Sharon is the Power Broker, and now also works for the CIA… yeah, that’ll end well.
- The title change at the end to “Captain America and the Winter Soldier” had me feeling all the emotions. I can’t wait for Captain America 4 now, which we have confirmed is being worked on with this new Cap.
- Isaiah Bradley being put in the Captain America museum where he belongs might be the moment that got me the most choked up.
- Best Mackie & Stan scene: The big cookout at the end. I’m just a sucker for these two being good friends hanging out, that’s when their natural chemistry shines.
- Best Line(s) “That’s the Black Falcon right there” “No, no that’s Captain America.”