The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: The Truth

"I am Captain America."

There are a lot of quotes that can be used to accurately sum up this series, but I like the one above. Who is Captain America? Who has the right to be him, and when do they lose that right?

If I had to come up with a theme for this episode, it would be "tying up emotional loose ends." Essentially every relationship and character arc felt more or less resolved by the end. Sam and Sarah reconciled and decided to keep the boat. Sam fully accepted his role as Captain America despite what happened to Isaiah. Sam and Bucky have reached a kind of respectful friendship, even if they won't call it that. Bucky has a direction now that will hopefully give him closure. Bucky woke up on a couch to sunlight and smiles and children laughing as opposed to waking up on the cold, hard floor after a nightmare. It was all very neat and tidy.

And I was bored about halfway through. It didn't help that a significant portion of this episode consisted on montages. (Although, I did certainly appreciate the Anthony Mackie physical training portion.) It was very frustrating, especially since I was looking forward to these resolutions and generally enjoyed the episode's content. There was a lot to like! A lot of Sam and Bucky's banter made me smile, although it made me wish that we got to this comfortable dynamic a lot sooner. And everything with Walker was wonderful. I just wish that it was presented in a more engaging way.

That final shot of the blood on the shield had stayed with me all week, and it was still just as impactful in the opening as well. The MCU, in general, is so bloodless that it's a very shocking image. Both visually and symbolically. And especially for Sam and Bucky, who have so much respect for the shield and for the man who previously held it. But the real tragedy in that scene was Walker for me. He's not evil. Entitled, yes, angry, yes. Not evil.

He clung so hard to the idea that he had righteously executed Lemar's killer that I couldn't help but sympathize with him. The same thing happened when he was stripped of the mantle of Captain America. Walker is an incredibly decorated solider, and in his mind, he was tossed aside simply for the optics. I'm not quite sure where he's going to end up at the end of the series, but I hope that Val's introduction means that he'll have a role to play in the future.

Isaiah was another highlight, which should surprise no one. He carries so much pain and bitterness that it simply radiates off the screen. He did the same exact thing as Steve did. But while Steve was rewarded and hailed a hero, Isaiah was locked up and denied letters from his wife. The only reason why he could live the quiet life that he had now was because a nurse falsified his death reports. It was horrifying in its realism. All I could think about was the Tuskegee Experiment.

Ultimately, this was a very low key episode that was really about clearing the board so that we can have a (presumably) action packed finale next week. If there weren't so many montages, I probably would have enjoyed it a lot more, but the content itself was very enjoyable.

Random Thoughts

Very brief scene with Sharon, who seemed to have connected Karli and Batroc. Hopefully we'll get some answers about her next episode.

I did enjoy Bucky flirting with Sarah. That was cute.

I was actually very sad to see Zemo go. This series really made me love the character, and I hope that he doesn't languish on the Raft for the rest of time. Bring him back!

Val is comic book character, and I am thrilled that she's been introduced. I won't spoiler her identity for those who don't know, but it heralds some very fun plot lines.

There's an end credits scene!

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An Honest Fangirl loves video games, horror movies, and superheroes, and occasionally manages to put words together in a coherent and pleasing manner.

6 comments:

Baz said...

I actually enjoyed the episode a lot without the boredom issues you had. Zemo, the flirting, Walker, the chats with Isaiah all had me interested.

The only thing that got me was that they had the montage of Sam training AFTER they showed him being perfectly competent bouncing the shield off trees with Bucky earlier in the episode.

And I said this on the last review too, totally agree Walker isn't evil. He's an asshole, but damaged beyond repair and has some PTSD or something similar, which makes me sympathize with him more than I dislike him. I'm not familiar enough with comics to know, but I assume Val is known to readers, and she'll be using Walker for her own agenda?

Great reviews as always!

Anonymous said...

I thought it was a great episode. Slowed things down for all the characters involved and allowed them to breath. Got a good fight at the beginning that also had meaning to those involved. I like how Sam despite ultimately losing in all his exchanges with them is able to be fairly competitive against supersoldiers.
Loved Bucky throwing the Shield too Sam and the look of ''if you dont take it this time il beat you up too'' While Sam had a mixture of heartbreak that the Shield was bloodied and the guilt that all this may not have happened had he excepted the Shield.. Then Isaiah brilliantly voiced Sams concerns. Look how they treated John in the end and he was one of their more decorated and valued.
Cant criticise a penultimate episode for being a penultimate episode.
Thought the friendship montage was sweet cute and needed also didn't take up much time and it allowed some character stuff that had been touched on in episodes 1 and 2 to fully develop and have tangible progress.

Sometimes its the small details. Bucky being at piece, notice he didn't have a nightmare and Sam listening to the important views of the people around him so HE can make his final decision.
Only part of Sams training montage was the stunt double they decided to show in slow motion. Other than that Sam had to train with the Shield to be believable against Supersoldiers.

@Baz
I thought the same thing at first. But Sam and Bucky where effectively playing catch/frisbee with the shield in a therapeutic session. Sam was training for Combat use and was throwing the shield much harder further more angles etc..also had to practice doin it with the neat little flip thrown in.

Billie Doux said...

Fangirl, I get what you're saying. It felt penultimatey, all build-up and no pay-off. I think I liked it more than you did, though. I liked seeing Sam and Bucky this way.

The three-way fight scene in the opener was just excellent, too.

sunbunny said...

I REALLY enjoyed this episode actually. Although point taken with the montages. I love the Sam/Bucky dynamic and always have. This series has developed it EXACTLY like I wanted them to. I can’t wait to see Sam in the suit!!

I have a question for our readers, though. A huge theme of the show has been what it means to be a Black Captain America but this week a lot of people on Twitter were bringing up Iron Patriot/War Machine. What do we think, Douxers? Did Rhodey break that barrier?

Baz said...

Sunbunny; I generally try and ignore Twitter opinion (and enjoyed the WandaVision finale far more than most, based on the reactions on here!) but I’d say there’s a BIG difference between War Machine (who I still really see as somewhat of a sidekick hero) and Captain America who is the face of All the heroes. Otherwise why would we care at all, as Sam is already black and a superhero, so he’s essentially getting a promotion.

Richard said...

I always find it amusing that fans tend to want more character development and quiet moments and when those happen the episodes or segments get criticized for being too long, or not doing it the way the fans would want. It's stuff like that which leads to us getting nothing but "THE WORLD IS GOING TO END!!!" plots in every damn movie.

This isn't to say that was where you were going with this. I too looked at my watch at one point, wondering where this was all going, but ultimately I'm ok with watching these folks hang out and build boats and play Frisbee. I just find it odd that they nail all the characterization in scenes like these and they get critiqued for being too long yet they do split second character assassination's on others (Sharon) and people seem to have less a problem with that.

I could be reading too much into all of this.