“Falcon and the Winter Soldier” continues the two Avengers’ world tour. Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) are looking for the source of the Flag Smashers’ super soldier serum, leading them back to the mastermind behind the Avengers’ break-up in “Captain America: Civil War” — Helmet Zemo (Daniel Brühl). This forces the heroes to work with him, leading to the classic comic country of Madripoor being introduced in exciting fashion.
This week’s episode makes Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman) more complex and expands on how some blipped people are reacting to their revival. Characters that haven’t been seen in a while return in the chaotic land of Madripoor.
After a brief visit to Zemo’s cell, Bucky realizes he needs Zemo out of prison to get them in contact with people. This leads to a hilarious hypothetical situation in which Bucky proposes a breakout to an annoyed Sam. The breakout displays Zemo’s genius and ability to adapt quickly, as he seems to coax Bucky into subtly assisting him.
Sam’s anger grows the moment Zemo reveals he already broke out to help them. Zemo’s motivation makes sense in this series, given that his hatred toward superheroes would justify working with some Avengers to stop the source of others gaining powers. This hatred for superpowers forces Bucky and Sam to restrain Zemo to avoid killing people with vital information. Keeping track of Zemo becomes an important detail for the audience to look out for, as he constantly tries to sneak away or attack people related to the super soldier serum.
Both Avengers’ mutual hatred toward Zemo brings tension. Any time he attempts to play mind games or discuss something, he’s immediately shut down and threatened, such as in his refusal to give important details at times. This includes not telling Sam how the person he’s disguised as acts in any way and only mentioning once in Madripoor that his connections are all low in the chain of command.
In Madripoor, the trio is thrust into a fascinating situation. With Zemo in charge, Sam and Bucky have to act like criminals so they don’t draw suspicion. This forces Bucky to act like the Winter Soldier again, listening to Zemo’s orders until the group got the needed information. In a rare display of respect, Sam made sure Bucky was still comfortable the first chance he could, hinting at both Avengers starting to form a genuine bond.
Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) also returns, explaining where she’s been since helping Sam and Bucky break the Sokovia Accords. On the run from the law, Carter managed to carve herself a tiny corner in Madripoor where she can work within the pirate-infested country. Her return is dramatic, as she argues with Sam and Bucky over their decision to free Zemo and never getting her a pardon. This leads to tension between the old allies that Zemo can exploit in the future if he desires. Her anger may also impede Sam and Bucky depending on the people she still reports to.
An obscure comics villain, the Power Broker, is referenced as a major power in Madripoor. Not only is this a fun nod for comic fans, but they’ll likely have an important future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, given their potential connection to the super soldier serum going around. For now, they’re just an odd name that people in Madripoor fear and respect.
John Walker (Wyatt Russell) makes a brief appearance, teasing his future role in the series. Falling behind Bucky and Sam, he goes to Zemo for information and quickly deduces that the two helped break Zemo out. His anger somewhat shows, which hints at Walker fighting the two Avengers and his strong desire to maintain authority and control in any situation.
“Falcon and the Winter Soldier” focuses on Zemo leading Sam and Bucky through Madripoor as they check different contacts. Along the way, several characters have been set up to have a larger impact on the story as it progresses, such as Carter and Walker’s anger towards Sam and Bucky. Fans should expect Zemo’s escape to continue to have a major impact along with Walker’s own reputation getting too big for his head. Next week’s episode should be exciting, given the tease for an international incident made at the end of episode three.
Contact Caleb Barbachem at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter and Instagram @Breeze_Culture.