TL;DR – It deepens the world and brings on the banter.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no End Credit Scene
Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ subscription that viewed this episode.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Review –
There are few times that I have seen the internet come together and agree on something. Well, at the end of last week’s episode New World Order, we had such a moment when the world united and went, “That is not my Cap!”. This week we start unpacking that thought (because some of the cast have the same feelings) and look at a world on the precipice.
So to set the scene, at the end of last week’s episode, the world was introduced to a new Captain America, John Walker (Wyatt Russell). This week we open with a homecoming of sorts as John returns to his old high school with all the pomp one can circumstance. The sight of him wearing Cap’s shield finally forces Sam (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky (Sebastian Stan) back together, if only to bicker all the way to Munich. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.
We start our look at the episode by diving into the action scene that hits us near the start because it is a good look at all the character dynamics and the strengths of the show’s budget. In the build-up to the battle, we get both Sam and Bucky just continually bickering, which would be annoying if it was not coming from a place where they have known each other for a long time. They went into the fight because they thought there was a hostage, which there wasn’t, but it says a lot about them that the moment there was an innocent life on the line, the focus immediately shifted into helping them.
When we get to the fight, it is a roving battle across two semi-trailers as they power down a German highway. Super-powered individuals are fighting against Sam and Bucky, on top of the semis, below the semis, and just about every point in-between. While it might not be entirely at the same production level as one of the MCU films, you are still engaged from start to finish. This is before fake-Cap turns up, and half saves the day, and half gets in the way. Thus, this episode uses the action scene to tell story beats through show and fun banter.
This is also a series that takes the time to explore issues outside of the world, which is good from a character-building perspective and the way it grounds this reality. In last week’s episode, we saw the difficulties Sam’s family faced just getting a simple loan, even with such a name behind them. This week, we see how the police immediately assume they were up to no good because of the colour of their skin and only changed their demeanour when they realised who they were. Once again, this is something that happens in the real world. They don’t have to engage with these issues and use their platforms to shine a light on something wrong in society.
We also got our first look at what appears to be the main bad guys this season. What I am glad of is that they are not just the one-note villains as presented last week. When you heard that they wanted to “take the world back to the time of the blip”, it was almost an eye roll moment. But here, we got to hear exactly what they mean by that, which is a world where the powerful players had less self-absorbing control. This gives them more texture because it is not as clear cut as it first seemed.
Where the episode shines is in the one thing that was missing from last week’s opener, and that is the banter. There is some genuinely excellent banter between the two leads that plays into the chemistry of actors, which you see highlighted when Coke Zero Cap arrives in the semi fight and tries to join in. The highlight is, of course, when the doctor (Amy Aquino) tries to get them to confront the issues between each other, only for them to turn it into a staring contest.
In the end, do we recommend The Star-Spangled Man? Absolutely. This week deepened our understanding of many of the factors happening this season while letting Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan shine. I look forward to seeing where they go with the rest of the season.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier
Directed by – Kari Skogland
Written by – Michael Kastelein
Created by – Malcolm Spellman
Based on – Characters created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby
Production/Distribution Companies – Marvel Studios & Disney+
Starring – Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Wyatt Russell, Erin Kellyman, Danny Ramirez Carl Lumbly & Daniel Brühl with Desmond Chiam, Dani Deetté, Indya Bussey, Renes Rivera, Tyler Dean Flores, Ness Bautista, Amy Aquino, Elijah Richardson, Noah Mills, Gabrielle Byndloss, Mike Ray, Neal Kodinsky & Sara Haines