This season’s Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s sixth and final episode was released last week. Personally, I thought it was great, and I have some of the best scenes to share with you. However, I have been reading a lot of articles with more negative takes on the show and reviews that express frustratingly low levels of satisfaction.
With Sebastian Stan back as Bucky Barnes/the Winter Soldier and Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/the Falcon, they gave us only six episodes this season to enjoy, and that seems to be the number one complaint. Most of the complaints I hear focus on the show having too much to say in too little time, and it is true that there was a lot happening at once. I think we need to take a moment to realize is that this is only season one. There is more to come and the story will continue. We may feel a little bit overwhelmed and over-loaded with the complex issues they tackle in the show, but that is only natural when these issues are all too real in our own personal lives.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier brought to light real-world problems that many of us are dealing with in our everyday lives. Issues like PTSD and the toll that military life takes on our soldiers are reflected in both Bucky Barnes’s story and John Walker’s. The most prominent issue in the show, however, is the ingrained and ugly reality of racism that runs rampant across the globe.
The series takes place shortly after the Blip, as the post-Endgame world was struggling to get life back to some sort of normal. Let’s take a look back on 10 of our favorite scenes from the season to take a deeper look into the struggles that our characters were facing.
10. Episode Two: Bucky and Sam Struggle to Work Together and Fight a New Enemy
One of my favorite fight scenes from the show was when the forever bickering Sam and Bucky are waring against the newest super soldiers, the Flag-Smashers in episode two. Thinking they are there to save the day they get their butt’s handed to them as they fight hand-to-hand atop two speeding trucks. The Falcon shows off some of his best skills and quick reflexes as he battles against the serum-infused rebels. Sam and Bucky have been arguing with each other the whole time over the newly appointed Captain America and who should show up but that very guy. John Walker played by Wyatt Russell, is easy to dislike after the loss of Stever Rogers. So, we are feeling their pain, and wishing he would just go back to wherever it is he came from. Meanwhile, Bucky nearly gets crushed under the spinning truck wheels when Sam gets to him just in time. It was a great scene full of high speeds and even higher adrenaline.
9. Episode Three: Zemo Makes Bucky Re-become the Winter Soldier
Bucky/the Winter Soldier has been going to therapy and trying to deal with the ghosts of his painful past when he is pulled back into a new fight alongside the Falcon. Drastic measures are taken in order to get leads and find the Flag-Smashers. Bucky goes to extreme lengths to release Zemo from prison and use him to get the information they need. In episode three, Zemo requires Bucky to play the part he’s been fighting so hard to distance himself from. He is faced in a real and obviously uncomfortable way with the truth of his past and we get a close-up look at that pain. At the same moment, we are getting some pretty intense and well-choreographed action fighting.
8. Episode Four: Bucky’s Flashback
Bucky’s flashback at the opening of Episode four is absolutely gut-wrenching. Every one of his nightmares was hard to watch but seeing this flashback makes us truly appreciate the struggle he went through. He has a flashback to his time working with Ayo in Wakanda as she helps to finally break the programming that had him under its control. She slowly repeats the code words used to control him as he fights against their hold over him. In the end, he is finally released from the grip of the Winter Soldier conditioning. The intensity of the scene has tears rolling down his cheeks from the relief he feels at his liberation. Sebastian Stan’s amazing acting skills as the Winter Soldier are enough to give you goosebumps.
7. Episode Four: Don’t Mess with the Dora Milaje
The Dora Milaje kick some major butt as always in episode four when they show up ready to take Zemo back to prison with them. The cocky new Captain America is already there making things harder than they need to be when they walk in. Next thing we know, John Walker’s arrogance and sense of entitlement has him on his back at the hands of the Dora. This scene is epic and shows the true skills and capabilities of the Dora Milaje. They are some of the world’s most skilled fighters and are able to make such short work of their opponents, especially this puffed-up version of Captain America. As they clash, however, Zemo slips away and extends his freedom just a little bit longer. At the end of the scene, the Dora takes the shield from defeated Walker making it oh-so-clear that he is unworthy of it.
6. Episode Five: John Walker Vs Bucky and Sam
At the end of episode four, we see our newly appointed Captain America take it a step too far when he brutally kills one of the Flag-Smashers after the death of his best friend and sidekick, Lemar. So, at the start of episode five, Sam and Bucky have to track him down and take the blood-covered shield away from him for good. This fight was another well-choreographed scene and was passionately done. Walker is deranged and full of adrenaline as he rips the wings from Sam’s backpack and yells into his face “I. Am. Captain America.”
This time, it’s Bucky’s turn to saves the Falcon, and he gets there just in time. Walker nearly takes Sam’s head off with the shield when Bucky stops him. It is a powerful scene that ends with a heart-broken Sam trying to wipe the blood from the shield that should have never been in the hands of Walker in the first place.
5. Episode Five: The Falcon Trains to Become Captain America
The training montage at the end of episode five is enough to get anyone pumped up and ready to work out. It shows Sam training his skills with the shield and working out as a man on a mission. Running, push-ups, acrobatics, and a lot of hard work preparing him physically for the role he knows he means to take as the new Captain America. The scene is topped off when his nephew traces the outline of the star on the shield, and he looks up to him in admiration. At that moment, you can tell he knows that he is doing the right thing.
4. Episode Six: Captain America/The Falcon
In episode six we get probably the best action and fighting scenes of them all as Sam and Bucky work to take down the Flag-Smashers.
A dim red-lit background and an intense fight with the French Batroc ends when Sam has better things to do. He shows off his newly honed skills when he chucks the shield out the window and then jumps out after it, letting his wings catch in the air as he soars out and catches the shield in mid-air. He is then able to out-maneuver not just one but two helicopters back to back. After nearly getting crushed under water, Sam is back with a vengeance and won’t accept defeat. He shows off his flying skills, shield skills, and high intellect all at once.
3. Episode Six: Saving the Truck
After doing his best to save all of the hostages kidnapped by the Flag-Smashers, Bucky is left to watch as the Captain America wanna-be, Walker, tries his best to redeem himself by trying to save a truckload full of hostages. Unfortunately, it’s just not enough and it seems that all hope of saving them is lost when Sam gets there just in time to stop the truck from crashing to the ground.
What makes it even better? When the spectators on the sidelines are there cheering him on and an older black man says, “That’s the black Falcon right there.” but is restored by another who says “Nah, that’s Captain America.”
2. Episode Six: Think About Your Impact
Descending like an angel on the scene, the Falcon/Captain America lowers down slowly and places Karli on the stretcher before going to talk to the GRC. They thank him for dealing with the terrorists, but he tells them “You have to stop calling them terrorists.” and tries to explain to them that Karli and her fellow Flag-Smashers were just desperate people fighting for a change and taking radical measures to make their voices heard.
They saved the best for last in my opinion with the powerful statements made at the end of the final episode. We’re more than ready for it when Sam finally takes on the role of Captain America in a suit true to the comics. He speaks loudly and for all the world to hear as he delivers a powerful speech to the GRC.
He confronts his role as a black Captain America outright with bold statements. “This isn’t about easy decisions. Yet, I am still here. No super serum. No blonde hair or blue eyes. The only power I have is that I believe that we can do better. Think about your impact.” he tells them and asks them how they plan to use their power.
1. Episode Six: Recognition
We are all feeling the pain of Isaiah’s backstory after he explained what really happened to him during the war and what he endured for 30 years as a prisoner. The loss of his wife and the essential taking of his own life at the hands of the government he was supposed to be fighting for. It was another scene with outstanding acting by Carl Lumbly.
At the end of the sixth and final episode, Sam takes Isaiah to the brand-new exhibit dedicated to Isaiah and his regiment. Lumbly’s outstanding performance portrays the emotions of a broken and defeated man finally getting some of the recognition he deserves. “Now, they’ll never forget what you did for this country,” Sam tells him. The perfect ending to Falcon and the Winter Soldier in my opinion.
There were a ton of extremely passionate and powerful scenes woven into this climactic and action-filled show. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier had a lot to say, and I think they did very well in such a short amount of time. From the first episode, we get a taste of what to expect when Sam, feeling unworthy of the shield, hands it over to the Smithsonian. At the same time, he tells them, “We need new heroes. Ones suited for the times we’re in.” Only, he didn’t think that there could ever be another Captain America, but through the course of the show, we see him come to realize that Captain America needed to live on and, in particular, through him.
The issue of PTSD is not something to be taken lightly, and although Falcon and the Winter Soldier could have gone into further detail, they still did an amazing job showing the effects of it and the struggle of dealing with it. All in all, the miniseries had a lot to say, and I commend it for taking the stand to say it. Just as we aren’t able to fix these problems in our own world, I don’t think it fair to expect that they will be able to fix it in theirs either. Our awesome new black Captain America puts it simply enough. “The only power I have is the belief that we can do better.” That’s the fight we struggle with every day – first, knowing better and then being better.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is here to entertain us with comic book-infused action and adventure. They will sometimes take it on themselves to say something real in the midst of a make-believe world. Good stories give us something we can relate to and connect with, but the MCU can’t appease everyone. There is always going to be someone left wanting or feeling unhappy, but I think we should take a moment to focus on the more positive notes and be a little less critical.
What was your take on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier? Let us know in the comments below.