falcon

This week's "Falcon and the Winter Soldier" leads up to a finale that's sure to be exciting.

After last week’s episode of “Falcon and the Winter Soldier” ended with John Walker (Wyatt Russell) brutally murdering one of the Flag Smashers, many questions are still in the air. This week’s episode shows the consequences of these reactions with brutal action, surprising legal repercussions and Sam Wilson’s (Anthony Mackie) further exploration into how various legacies should be handled.

From the very beginning of the episode, Walker is seen to be unhinged. He runs away from the city into an empty storage building for construction equipment and immediately drops to his knees panicking as the death of Lemar Hoskins fully catches up with him. When Sam and Bucky (Sebastian Stan) catch up, Sam decides to use his past experience with PTSD support groups to try to calm down Walker. 

Unfortunately for the two Avengers, Walker feels he’s being manipulated by them to give up his shield and goes on the attack. The fight is a brutal and scary display of how Captain America’s powers can be misused. Walker shows no mercy, often going for the kill on Sam and Bucky, by trying to thrust his shield into their heads. 

It only gets more stressful for the audience as the fight gets bloodier — especially as John proves he can break Falcon’s wings with his bare hands. Bucky also feels useless, given his lack of determination compared to Walker — who’s more than prepared to kill again.

For such an exciting start to an episode, the rest of it is slower yet still important. With Karli Morgenthau’s (Erin Kellyman) deep support and resource supply, she’s able to stay hidden until she can form a plan. This provides Sam and Bucky with a moment to breathe and search for Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl). Sam uses this time to talk with Isaiah Bradley (Carl Lumbly) again and discuss his legacy with the super soldier serum as opposed to Steve Rogers’ time with it.

The discussion with Bradley is tragic and wonderfully handles racial injustice. Bradley talks about the unfairness of being experimented on without his knowledge, noting that several men were given different forms of the serum under the cover of the serums being vaccines. Being the only survivor, Bradley describes how he was hidden away to be experimented on for 30 years in a bitter retelling of his torturous existence. While Sam tries to argue in favor of Steve’s past actions, Bradley refuses to believe America would let anyone be their superhero mascot besides a blonde-haired, blue-eyed white guy.

Back home in Georgia, Sam also works to preserve the legacy of his family’s boat. Though it’s not very exciting, the scene feels like an important closure to Sam’s personal life as he begins to ask his community for help fixing the boat. This is an important stepping stone for Sam to realize getting help from others isn’t always bad — despite not wanting Bucky along with him for most of the series.

The conclusion of Bradley’s and Sam’s legacies helps Sam realize he can’t shirk the responsibility of being Captain America. In a satisfying sequence, Sam and Bucky discuss how they should be handling their lives while tossing a shield against reinforced trees to practice being Captain America. The moment is tender as Sam and Bucky define their relationship, and Bucky is given advice to give his victims some conclusion on what happened to their loved ones.

In a surprising turn of events, the government punishes Walker for his actions. Though his title as Captain America is revoked, Walker still claims to be the superhero, showing his deranged and bitter state of mind. The audience hasn’t seen the last of Walker in this broken state though. A mysterious contact offers him work, mentioning he might be able to hold onto the shield, given its ownership is a legal gray area.

With the final episode coming next week, there are many things to look forward to. Sam will have a new outfit, which — if similar to the comics — will look amazing. It’s likely that Sharon Carter’s (Emily VanCamp) plans behind the scenes will be revealed, including what she’s really doing in Madripoor. Walker’s future with the mysterious stranger will also likely be teased beyond the end-credits scene already shown.

Contact Caleb Barbachem at barbaccf@dukes.jmu.edu. For more on the culture, arts and  lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter and Instagram @Breeze_Culture.