What happens when the world finds out its favorite hero is no hero at all?
If the man who invented the Super Serum tapped John Walker’s chest, he’d find a hollow soul.
The final image of this week’s episode turns the MCU upside down. It’s understandable why it happened, but it shouldn’t have happened.
How did they get there, and how does Walker having something in common with Karli?
For a while, it looked like the episode was one long discussion what’s the right approach to battling the Super Soldier threat, and recovering in the post-Blip world. Karli Morgenstern (Erin Kellyman) thinks that she’s making a better world by attacking the elite that, in her mind, ruined the world. She keeps saying the Global Repatriation Council isn’t helping people as it keeps promising. She thinks she’s doing what it can’t or won’t, and if people wind up getting killed, it can’t be helped. Life under the Blip was so much simpler, but once those who disappeared (especially the elite) came back, Karli thinks “normalcy” makes things worse.
This is where she has something in common with John Walker (Wyatt Russell). He and Lemar (Cle Bennett) enjoy the fame connected with being Captain America and Battlestar, but they both admit they had to make some uncomfortable decisions to be war heroes in Afghanistan to get medals and fame. They were defending their nation and freedom, that’s all America knows. They’d prefer America doesn’t know what they had to do.
Both also admit they’d take the Super Serum if given the chance. They hope it would make them more than they currently are. That can be good…or bad.
As Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) points out, people are worried about Super Soldiers because they become supremacists, thinking their point of view is the only one. After all, who can stop such a person? It’s always tricky when you agree with the bad guy.
Sam quickly admits he’d refuse the serum, even if he also admits it was never offered to him. He knows he is the best he can be already.
Still, Zemo has to answer for killing T’Chaka, and Ayo (Florence Kasumba) from the Dora Milaje is getting impatient. She gives Bucky eight hours to get Zemo to surrender, but that doesn’t seem likely.
Sam, at least, tries to meet to meet Karli halfway, since he has experience in helping soldiers. He talks to her after a funeral, and her trust wavers but she listens. Walker butting in and trying to arrest Karli ruins everything. Zemo even shoots her, and she loses her remaining vials of super-serum. Zemo destroys all of them, except one.
Yes, Walker finds it, and he wants to take it.
At this point, Karli thinks killing Walker might get them the attention the Flag-Smashers want. They’re getting more fans, even if they are becoming more violent.
Ayo and her group eventually try to capture Zemo, but they’re more successful at neutralizing Bucky’s robotic arm, and showing Walker he’s not that good of a fighter compared to the Wakanda women. That bugs him.
Finally, Karli and her Flag-Smashers try to take out Walker. During the battle, Karli attacks Lemar, and he dies from his wounds. This upsets Karli, but Walker even more. Before the attack, he takes the last vial of super-serum. This means he’s a Super-Solider, too, but he is no Steve Rogers.
Some people in social media pointed out that Steve attacked Iron Man with his shield in Civil War in anger, but he stopped himself in time. He still dented Iron Man’s armor, but he knew when to stop.
With Walker, Karli killed his sidekick, but she realizes that her super-strength is a double-edged sword. Maybe she thinks people have to die so she can have her pre-Blip world, but this is, for all we know, the first time she killed someone with her own hands. Could that change her mind of what she has become for what she thinks is the greater good?
What happens next is even worse.
In blind rage, Walker kills Super-Soldier Nico with his shield…and doesn’t stop.
No remorse, either. Karli sees this…and so do a lot of people with smartphones.
So much for the dreams of a happier world. An unrepentant and unrestrained Captain America with blood on his shield: is this our hero, or our greatest fear? Have to admit, Wyatt Russell plays it very well as a guy who’s literally drunk with power. He thinks he’s replaced Steve Rogers completely with the suit, serum and shield. Try to explain to Walker that he isn’t.
Will this mean the Flag-Smashers will get more support? Karli’s still the target of the Power Broker, whoever that person is.
How will Zemo fit into all this? He’s against super-heroes, but he still wants to avoid punishment from Wakanda.
At least Sam and Bucky have each other because they know they’re on the same side: deal with the Super Soldier threat. Now that Walker is a Super-Soldier, too, that just got a whole lot more complicated.
Falcon and the Winter Soldier airs new episodes Fridays on Disney Plus