If we follow the logic that 'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier' is basically one giant movie divided up into six episodes, this week's episode is essentially tying up the loose strands before it goes into the big CGI finale.
After last week's shocking cliffhanger, John Walker is sacked as Captain America and discharged from the Army - only to be recruited by none other than Madame Hydra, or Countess Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfuss. Yes, it's weird. Yes, we did initially think it was VP Selina Meyer recruiting John Walker to be US Agent instead.
Anyway, with Walker effectively out of the way for the remainder of the episode and Zemo led off by the Dora Milaje, the focus shifts to Sam Wilson trying to come to terms with the fact that he's going to have to be the next Captain America. There's a great moment when he and Isaiah Bradley meet and discuss what happened with him, and why he - Bradley, that is - will never take up the shield. Why would he, after all? Having been betrayed and experimented on, citing the Tuskegee Airmen and their targeting by the KKK, not to mention Jim Crow Laws, institutional racism, it makes complete sense. Bradley spells it out clearly. "No self-respecting black man" would ever take up the shield of Captain America.
Yet, later on in the episode, Sam does just that. He admits that had he had the same experiences that Bradley had, he'd think the same thing and would most likely refuse the shield again. Indeed, the truth of it is that's what America is viewed as by the rest of the world is much the same as how Isaiah Bradley sees it. Still and all, Sam believes in it and is willing to take up the mantle of Captain America now.
As if to underline the '80s action credentials of 'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier', there's even a training montage with Sam getting pumped up and bouncing the shield off trees in his garden before he begins to suit up - just as the Flag Smashers land on the GRC and begin the final battle.
- Julia Louis-Dreyfuss is a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so let's just all let that sink in
- Is Sharon Carter actually the Power Broker? Why was she freeing Batroc and helping the Flag Smashers attack the GRC? What's going on there?
- Bucky and Sarah flirting with each other is *chef's kiss*
- Feels a little bit too arch that Sarah Wilson's kids keep referring to Sam as Uncle Sam
- Is the title of Falcon done now, or is Torres going to take it up?