Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) in Marvel Studios' THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER ... [+] exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Eli Adé. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Well, I can’t say the season finale of Falcon in the Winter Soldier was exactly full of mind-blowing twists and turns, but we’ll just have to settle for it being really quite good instead. Spoilers follow.
I’d rather Marvel tell a coherent story than a “shocking” one, and that’s what they did with the final episode of the season in a show that is destined to return for a second outing down the road. As everyone understood, the main journey of this series was getting Sam to pick up the mantle of Captain America, and now we’ve reached that point.
This happened in two ways, both physically and emotionally. This episode we got the grand reveal of Sam’s Wakandan-made costume which is, quite frankly, awesome. One surprise was that I did not expect them to fully combine the Falcon suit and the Cap suit, which is more or less just…the Falcon suit with stars and stripes and Sam throwing the shield. But it works, and it works without super strength, which seemed like an obstacle until you realize Sam gets to keep his wings and jetpack.
The more important level of Sam becoming Captain America is taking the mantle. He did not wait for the government to “anoint” him Captain America, he just took the shield like Steve wanted and declared himself Captain America. And it works, unlike John Walker, and Sam is able to give an impassioned speech about the plight of refugees and the fact that the world’s politicians have as much power to change people’s lives as Thanos did. It could have come off as cheesy, but I really thought it worked.
Sam’s other half, Bucky, finally makes peace with his past by telling his friend that he murdered his son when he was the Winter Soldier. He’s effectively burned that part of his life, but it’s clear he has a new one as Sam’s backup and best bud. I could watch Bucky eat shrimp and party in Louisiana all day. It’s just nice to see him happy.
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Sharon Carter/Agent 13 (Emily VanCamp) in Marvel Studios' THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER ... [+] exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Eli Adé. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.
The least surprising twist of the series was revealed as we learned that (shocked Pikachu face) Sharon Carter was the Power Broker the whole time. While this is a departure from the comics where the Power Broker is just…some dude, this has probably been my least favorite angle of the series because it’s been just so obvious from the jump and in hindsight, it feels like they probably could have cut the entire Sharon/Power Broker character and nothing of value would have been lost. But I suppose they have plans for her for future seasons, as the post-credits scene gives her a pardon and a job back at SHIELD or SWORD or somewhere like that. But the conspiracy theories are already starting that the real Sharon Carter would never do this, and she’s a Skrull in disguise as we head toward the events of Secret Invasion.
I was actually caught off guard to see the return of John Walker with a little mini redemption arc for him, culminating in a nice moment where he chooses to save civilians over pursuing revenge on Karli, who ends up dying anyway at Sharon’s hands. In the end Walker has indeed teamed up with Julia Louis-Dreyfuss’ Valentina, and does not suspect anything when the woman known as “Madame Hydra” in the comics gives him a new suit in literal Hydra/Nazi colors, donning him US Agent (yes, yes, I know that’s the look from the comics, but still). I am glad to see that it seems like he will continue to be part of the MCU, even if he’s an unwitting tool of the enemy at the moment.
(L-R): Sarah Wilson (Adepero Oduye), Falcon/Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Winter Soldier/Bucky ... [+] Barnes (Sebastian Stan) in Marvel Studios' THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Chuck Zlotnick. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Of course, the series ends with a title change, as Falcon and the Winter Soldier will now be known as Captain America and the Winter Soldier with Sam taking up the mantle. Kind of a bit unfair to Bucky who has been trying not be the Winter Soldier for years now, but I guess one name change is enough. And I would expect Torres to show up as the new Falcon in future seasons, which has already been teased. Expect an adorable flight training montage with him and Sam.
I was a little wobbily about the nature of this show at first, but I think it really picked up in the back half, and it has made me a fan of Anthony Mackie, who I haven’t liked in all that much else before this, honestly. But he’s finally found the perfect role for him, it seems. Not Falcon, but Captain America. And I can’t wait to see more from him and the gang in a year or so, as his adventures seem destined to continue.
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