Hero to villain: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finale is full of surprising twists and turns
As always: Spoilers ahead!!
April 28, 2021
This is it, folks. The final episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premiered on Friday, April 23 on Disney+. The last episode was a roller coaster of emotions filled with a ton of adrenaline. But, before we get into that, let’s recap the second last episode, episode five entitled “Truth”.
This episode opens with the long-awaited fight between Sam and Bucky and Captain America (that “echoes the climactic sequence at the end of Captain America: Civil War”). While it is clear that everyone has their own reasons for fighting this fight, it is clearer that this fight shows how far John Walker has fallen since assuming the role of Captain America.
It takes all of Bucky and Sam’s strength but they eventually defeat John Walker, “with a grimacing Bucky dropping the blood-soaked shield in front of Sam as if to say, ‘if you would have just accepted it, none of this would have happened.'”
One of the episode’s main focuses is John Walker dealing with the consequences of his actions by being given a not so honorable discharge by the government, stripped of his rank, and set to receive no retirement benefits. Things seem to be taking a turn for the worse for this newly turned hero to villain.
Then, a familiar face from the comics shows up. Her name? Selina Meyer, or, Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, or Val for short. Commonly referred to as Madame Hydra in the comics.
I know. This girl has a lot of names.
Regardless, she offers Walker somewhat of a lifeline. Stating that:
Meanwhile, Sam leaves his wings to his friend Joaquin Torres to repair. Bucky finds Zemo in Sokovia to make amends and hand him over to the Dora Milaje, the Flag Smashers realize that their actions have consequences when their closest allies are deported, and Sam brings the shield to Isaiah Bradley. (“Leave it covered. Them stars and stripes don’t mean nothin’ good to me”).
These words are spoken by the inspiring Isaiah Bradley. They explicitly state the main focus of conflict in the series so far: Sam struggling to accept continuing the legacy of Captain America Steve Rogers passed down to him.
“His following monologue reveals the entirety of Isaiah’s story, from being infected with the Super Soldier Serum in a manner echoing the Tuskegee Experiment, to fighting against the will of his captors to save his fellow soldiers, to being separated from his love and finally earning his freedom, only when a kind nurse forged a form listing him deceased.”
This scene pulled at everyone’s heartstrings, and I couldn’t help but wish we were able to see his story in a flashback because it is just so inspiring. All the trauma and hardship that Isaiah went through for his country will never be remembered, but it should be because he got robbed and Sam knows it.
The episode then takes a more light-hearted turn and becomes what fans have been waiting for. It is impossible to not note the fun and positivity that Bucky brought to Louisiana as he introduces himself to Sam’s sister Sarah, (introduced in the first two episodes), in a fun and flirtatious way.
Bucky helps Sam fix up his family boat in a longer than necessary montage, but it is one of the deepest scenes between the two unlikely friends as well as the scene where they throw the shield around and have a chat.
The talk begins with Bucky apologizing to Sam, confessing that he and Steve never really understood what it meant for a black man to be handed the shield. Then, Sam offers Bucky a little tough love. Stating that:
This talk shows the chemistry and friendship that these two have built over time and feels like the start of something new.
Lastly, we cannot forget about the post-credit scene of John Walker that everyone is getting a kick out of:
The post-credit scene shows John Walker creating a make-shift shield and the reactions are hilarious, saying that it reminds them of a home depot ad.
I’ll let the Tik Tok speak for itself.
Switching gears, let’s recap the final episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier entitled “One World, One People”.
The last episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was relaxed, took its time, and coherent. However, it still has plenty of action and left us with some closure, but many viewers are unsatisfied.
The episode starts off with the Flag Smashers attack on the GRC headquarters in New York.
It is abundantly clear that Karli has grown more desperate for her movement to succeed, especially when she starts killing people. Even her most loyal followers are starting to question her motives, but they still follow her every command.
The attack was going well. It was transparent that the Flag Smashers’ goal was to get everyone evacuated out of the building to make the kidnapping easier. Sam, in his new Captain America Falcon suit, and Bucky soon arrive and see right through their plan.
While Sam got busy fighting Batroc, the Flag-Smasher who wants Sam dead, Bucky gets a phone call from Karli, and he tries to talk her down by talking about the nightmares he still has of the people he has killed.
However, Karli Morgenthau has dug herself in a deep hole that she is unable to get out of, at least alive.
Many fans find Karli’s last moments entirely unsatisfying. It is clear that Karli has grown more and more desperate for her movement to succeed and is willing to do anything, even kill innocent people. So, it seemed that Karli’s last moments should have been more dramatic than they were.
Karli meets up with Sam and demands a fight, but he refuses to fight her, taking every punch and hit she throws his way. Eventually, when Karli is about to shoot Sam. Sharon Carter, aka the Power Broker, kills her first.
This is to ensure that Karli would not reveal to Sam her identity as the Power Broker.
Karli’s last words to Sam as she is dying in his arms were “I’m sorry.”
Switching gears, let’s discuss the underwhelming return of John Walker. Throughout the season, they have built Walker to be an angry, unstable, and psychopathic character, so you would expect his return to be somewhat drastic. However, we get the exact opposite of that. The finale shows John Walker fight Karli, and fail miserably, and then help save some hostages while Sam and Bucky just accept it, after rejecting him the whole season.
According to an article on IGN, “The guy who murdered a man using Captain America’s shield in broad daylight is just accepted by our heroes, no questions asked.“
This just makes his character all the more confusing. Should we fear him? Should we salute him? Should we feel bad for him? We just don’t know.
The Valentina Allegra de Fontaine addition to the show is also less than transparent. We still don’t know if she is a villain and what her intentions are with John Walker after making him a U.S Agent.
Needless to say, good wins once again. Karli is dead. The Flag Smashers have been arrested, with only a few remaining. It is finally over.
Or is it?
You don’t think I forgot about Zemo and his final act from behind bars, did you? Oh no.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier grant Zemo one final opportunity to kill the remaining Flag Smashers to fulfill his goal of eliminating Super Soldiers from the world. It is never revealed, however, how he is able to do this from within a prison cell.
The best part about this whole finale is Sam Wilson’s ascension into Captain America, which honestly deserves a whole episode in and of itself. Sam spends this episode proving himself worthy of carrying the shield and he does a much better job than John Walker ever did. Especially with his final speech, which I will link here and encourage all of you to watch because it is truly inspiring.
The second best part of the finale was Isaiah Bradley’s closure.
Sam had a statue made of Isaiah and a description of everything that he did for the country and had it placed in the museum as a memorial so that no one would ever forget. It was enough to bring me to tears and was a heartwarming end to the series and for Isaiah Bradley.
Overall, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier deserves all the hype that it got and I definitely recommend that you watch it on Disney+!