The world is still reeling over what John Walker did last week, standing tall over the body of a super-solider…with a bloody shield.
This week is the aftermath, with someone very unexpected willing to lend John a hand. The episode is a set-up to the final battle with the Flag Smashers, but it also talks about who gets to be a hero. It also looks at some odd decisions that may mean something else.
After Walker (Wyatt Russell) killed Nico for the death of Lemar (although Karli really did it by accident), it was clearly the end of his status as Captain America. For much of the first act, he tries to hang on to the shield and his status. It’s to Sam and Bucky’s credit they try to convince him to come clean over what he did, and that his record would ease the consequences.
Russell does another fine job showing Walker’s internal turmoil. He knows he made a mistake, but he just can’t lose super-hero status.
This leads to a major battle with Walker, Sam and Bucky fighting over the shield and the right to be a hero. At one point, Walker strangles Sam, insisting he’s the real Cap. Bucky saves Sam, and eventually defeat Walker.
Walker is stripped of his hero status, although he tells the government it built him. He may have a point. Making a new Captain America may have been a quick-fix to recover from the Blip, but Walker has to be sacrificed.
Then a mysterious woman arrives. She calls herself Countess Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. Marvel fans know her as Madame Hydra, and the one person who could make Nick Fury lose his cool (at least in the 1960’s). It’s hard to say what’s more puzzling, her first line (“These boots were not made for walking.”) or that she’s played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. It’s hard to picture her as a major Big Bad, but she might surprise us.
For now, it seems she may provide Walker with a future, maybe sooner than we think.
Walker is still trying to hang on to his Captain America status, still thinking he could still be a hero. He even tells Lemar’s parents Nico was the one who killed their son, to hide the fact Karli’s (Erin Kellyman) still out there.
Meanwhile, it looks like things are winding down. Zemo’s (Daniel Bruhl) turned over to the Dora Milaje, and he’ll head to the super-max prison known as the Raft. Somehow, though, maybe we have not seen the last of him.
Sam and Bucky are out of action, but Sam uses the time to talk more with Isaiah Bradley (Carl Lumbly). He was one of several people who were subjects in efforts to recreate the super-serum. He had a dark story about how the government tried to “erase” two of the subjects, and how he tried to save them. He wound up being experimented on for years until a nurse faked his death. His point: an African-American would never be accepted as Captain America, and it would be difficult for any African-American man to try.
Sam Wilson will try. The fight with Walker shattered his wings, and he’s not interested in a new pair…yet. He decides, though, that he should be the next to use the shield, as Steve Rogers insisted he would. It’s best for anyone to decide what to do, rather than let others decide.
He also suggests that Bucky should atone for what he has done as the Winter Soldier, but also show he can help others.
However, they’re also aware Karli and her Flag Smashers are still out there, and they are planning something. While Sam and Bucky admit they are not partners, they will definitely be working again.
Meanwhile, Karli is getting ready for something. She and her hidden Flag Smashers are in New York, where the GRC wants to pass a measure to bring back 20 million people to their homelands. It seems a Senator is pushing the rest of the council to pass it, even if the plan is not ready.
This raises the question of why the GRC wants life to be back to normal as soon as possible. This won’t really help people forget Thanos’ Blip. What is the real purpose?
Whatever it is, the Flag Smashers are ready to strike, now that the council is cracking down on “enemies” even more. Even Batroc is ready to help out with a lot of weapons, with a determination to kill Sam. Does Sharon know about this?
Sam, though, is ready to fight, Thanks to Bucky and Wakanda, he has a very special suitcase. Does it have a new shield, or new wings?
Some also think it’s a new uniform. That would be big,
At least someone will have a new shield, namely John Walker. Thing is, will some Americans still consider John Walker their Captain America?
That’s a plot in itself, and goes back to what Isaiah said.
The finale, though, may be Sam vs. the Flag Smashers, but the war over what a post-Blip MCU should be may not be over
for quite some time.
Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s season finale airs April 23rd on Disney Plus.