Following brutal and shocking ending last episode, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier picks up this week with the fallout, and delivers with a very character-driven episode. Running longer than any other episode, “Truth” gives its characters time to breathe, just before what will hopefully be a climactic finale.
(Spoilers Ahead – You’ve Been Warned)
Just as John Walker was getting started, his brutal murder of an unarmed suspect while the world watched has certainly taken its toll. He’s stripped of all titles and rank, and even dishonorably discharged from the military.
Despite the intense amount of hatred the character gets, he’s actually very well developed and fascinating to watch. He started as something of a flawed hero, like Boromir from Lord of the Rings.
The title of Captain America meant the world to him, and deep down he always felt that he wasn’t good enough, which was why he obsessed over the serum. He was visibly shaken and defeated when he was beaten by the Dora Milaje, lamenting, “But they’re not even super soldiers”, yet still they won.
He’s the textbook case of a character whose own ego is leading them down a dark path, and with the introduction of Julia Louis Dreyfus as Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, that dark path is all but assured.
Like Walker, both Sam and Bucky face their own demons. In a moment of seemingly mutual respect, Bucky tracks Zemo down to the Sokovia memorial. They seem to have an understanding, which continues with Bucky turning Zemo over to the Dora Milaje to face justice in Wakanda for the assassination of King T’Chaka in Civil War.
Zemo seems to accept his fate, and we the audience can accept that he was used just the right amount in this series. He was certainly entertaining to watch, but he’s no Loki, so sadly (but rightfully) there will probably be no Disney+ spinoff for him.
While Bucky comes to term with his past and how to move on, Sam wrestles with the legacy that the shield leaves behind. He’s infuriated at the great injustice that Isaiah faced, being a black super soldier that the world never knew about.
As he relays more of his story to Sam, it becomes eerily and poignantly similar to that of Steve. During the war, Isaiah disobeyed orders to save his fellow soldiers, and rather than being praised and given the name Captain America like Steve was, he was subject to years of imprisonment and experimentation.
Even now, Sam wants the world to know and to give Isaiah his due, but because faking his own death was the only way he escaped, Isaiah fears what will happen if he goes public. In a sad but true sentiment, he’s much safer just living quietly in bitterness.
While spending time with his family and continuing to fix up the family boat, Sam (with the help of Bucky) begins to realize that maybe the shield can represent a new legacy. That’s what this series has really been all about.
Under the guise of the spy thriller and twists and turns involving the “Power Broker” (who may or may not be Sharon after this episode), what this series has done exceedingly well is build up Sam to be the next Captain America.
His turning it down at the beginning was the necessary humility he needed to possess to prove that he was worthy of it all along. And the awesome training montage of him using the shield serves as further proof as well!
There are certainly a lot of moving pieces to be resolved, but hopefully the finale is received better than that of WandaVision!
What did you think of this week’s episode? What do you hope to see next week? Let us know in the comments!
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is streaming exclusively on Disney+