Marvel delivers a calm, thoughtful episode that addresses current issues.
After everything we’ve seen in the series, Falcon and the Winter Soldier takes a step back to let the characters breathe a little. This leads to some subtle moments in the show and recalls the premiere with its introspective nature. While Sam wonders what kind of man is right for the role of Captain America and if society is ready for a black man to carry the shield. And the introduction of a new MCU character has infuriated the forums.
After the disturbing ending of the last episode, Wilson and Bucky pursue John Walker with the intention of arresting him and getting the shield back. What follows is a Civil War-style fight and déjà vu for Bucky, who fights Walker and Wilson as they disarm him. Despite the heavy editing, it’s a well-executed sequence that ends with Wilson getting the shield. The question he must now ask himself is this: Is it ready?
This theme remains central as Sam struggles with his identity and history in the face of the responsibility that awaits him. He has seen what refusing to use the shield leads to, and he knows that it suits him better than the government. Seeking advice, he turns to Isaiah Bradley, who further discourages him by telling his own story of slavery, torture and experimentation, rather than celebrating his legacy as America’s first known black superhero would have done.
Carl Lambly does a very moving job with Isaiah in the few scenes he plays. His argument that nothing has changed in terms of racism has nothing to do with racism, and since discrimination continues into the third century, it sounds different. Sam, for his part, is very divided: on the one hand, he knows how society sees him, but he cannot forsake his duty and let the mantle fall into irresponsible hands. He has to make a choice, and by the end of the episode he seems to have made a choice.
Bucky has his own problems, and he even gets advice from Sam on how to make it right: It’s about making others feel better. We witness the great camaraderie between Sam and Bucky: the duo repairs Sam’s boat, Bucky flirts with Sarah, and they support and advise each other. Steve was Bucky’s only family, and he found it in Sam. Most of the episode is spent watching these two share their experiences and respect each other, which is a more exciting visual experience than the action of the MCU.
This does not mean that there are no MCU products. Most impressive is the presence of Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Countess Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, often compared to Nick Fury and suspected of forming a team of supervillains, of which Walker is the first recruit. She too remains a mystery, but putting a big name here obviously means that Marvel will make her the Claire Temple of Disney+ with the occasional villainous event. And now that Walker has been spared by a bailiff, but stripped of his Captain America title, he is about to be plunged even deeper into a pit of madness.
We only have one episode left now, and if the penultimate moments are any indication, Wilson’s suit and Walker’s fake shield will come into their own as they prevent any attack in New York. Just as the city served as the backdrop for Captain America’s return to the modern world in 2012’s Avengers, Falcon and the Winter Soldier will introduce the new ten-year-old Captain America in a battle that will once again be set in New York.
The Hawk and the Winter Soldier Season 1 Episode 5
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