Right off the bat, it's worth pointing out a couple of things with this episode.
First of all, exposition dumps are tedious no matter how you string them together. 'Game of Thrones' literally had throw in orgies in order to get people to sit through them. 'John Wick', by contrast, is a movie series that effectively jettisoned them in the opening chapter, before grudgingly accepting them.
It's odd, then, that the creator of said series - Derek Kolstad - manages to write a fairly weak episode of exposition dumps. Again, it follows a similar line to 'John Wick'. Exposition dump followed by lengthy action sequence, followed by another, and so on. They even have Madripoor made to look like the neon-drenched cityscapes of 'John Wick' too, even though Madripoor has been around in the Marvel comics for 35 years.
Even though director Kari Skogland is a competent director and the action sequences are well done in this episode, with Emily VanCamp flinging herself fully into the fight with ease, it doesn't have the same sheen and style. Instead, it comes across as a pale imitation and lacking in any kind of conviction or imagination.
As 'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier' is a miniseries, there always needs to be an episode like this. It's got to lay the groundwork for the finale, but it's got to have some kind of style beyond function. It's also telling that, in essence, what 'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier' really is about is simply rehashing the idea of 'Captain America: Civil War'.
The super-soldier serum, for example, and it being utilised again and again for nefarious purposes was one that came up in 'Civil War'. The idea of our heroes being on the run, living outside the law, and recognising that the system they've protected doesn't always look out for them or do the right thing is another thing copped from 'Civil War' too. You might argue these themes are familiar in comic books generally, not to mention the idea of superheroes not being such super people.
But when it's going back over this much familiar territory, you have to wonder if it's because they haven't been explored enough or it's because they've run out of ideas. Either way, here's hoping for something a bit more substantial in the next episode.
- Shoutout to Emily VanCamp once again for those action sequences, she really did nail them
- What was up with that outrageously English villain who, like, died in a split second?
- Was Selby a reference to 'Peaky Blinders', even with the outrageous English accent?
- Continuing to love everything about Falcon and Winter Soldier being an old-school buddy-cop duo, especially that exchange after the firefight in the container yard
- Why are the Wakandans looking for Zemo? Surely they must have gotten over King T'Chaka's assassination by now, no?
- Riga really is a beautiful city, and made us very sad that we can't travel anymore