The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode five review

David Eckstein-Schoemann, Reporter

We’re finally at episode 5 and things seem to be gearing up for the big finale next week.

The episode begins with John Walker in the aftermath of killing one of the Flag Smashers in public. He is soon confronted by Sam and Bucky who are forced to take him down after he refuses to give them the shield. Uncertainty seems to be at an all-time high as the Flag Smashers are only getting bigger, and Walker is forced to resign after last episode’s controversial events. Along the way, Sam understandably begins to doubt if he is the right person to take on the mantle of Captain America. 

 Courtesy of Disney Platform Distribution.

This episode has a lot to unpack here as it’s showing the consequences of the last episode and how it affects the characters. It is made evident early on that John Walker is beginning to go down a dark path. His brawl with Sam and Bucky is clear evidence of that, as he mercilessly attacks the duo declaring himself to be the true Captain America. It has been stated in the past that the super-soldier serum brings out the key aspects of that person and amplifies them. So to see Walker lose it and go nuts made this an intense confrontation. While the action here is very inventive like in the past episodes, something about the way they do it here made it feel more brutal. In that, you feel the impact when someone throws a punch or knocks the other down. It was very well handled and serves as a satisfying endpoint to Sam and Bucky’s mission to take back the shield.

I also like how this episode takes its time to assess the situation of these characters. Even though the shield is back in good hands, Sam is still unsure of what right move to make. This is especially shown when he revisits Isaiah Bradley, a black super soldier from the past who was mistreated by the government. This conversation was one of the episode’s many highlights as you’re listening to a character recount all the past abuses he suffered in his life. It’s a sad scene as it shows how much injustice there is in this world, and it’s something Sam will have to keep in mind going forward. I know this is a universe with space gods and talking trees, but this series does an excellent job at acknowledging that everything is not black and white. 

 Courtesy of Disney Platform Distribution.

Some of the plotlines are handled pretty well despite not being this episode’s main focus. The conflict between Bucky and Zemo ends with Zemo being arrested by the Dora Milaje and being brought back to Wakanda. Though I don’t think this is the last we’ll see of Zemo as there are a lot of marketing images of this character that we haven’t seen in the series yet. The plotline with Walker in the aftermath of giving up the shield is also shown here, as it does lead to a lot of effective scenes. Particularly when he visits Lemar’s (Battlesstar’s) family who is grieving his death. Despite this, it’s still made evident that Walker is not gonna stop here and is going to be one of the antagonists in the series finale.

 Courtesy of Disney Platform Distribution.

The main focus in the latter half of the episode revolves around Sam spending some downtime with his family. While nothing monumental is happening, you still enjoy it because you’re spending time with these people. I like when the community comes to help Sam’s family fix their boat. I like Sam’s nephews playing with Cap’s shield. I even like the bond between Sam and Bucky here. Nothing speaks of bromance more than two guys fixing a boat together. I really like that they made the choice to take a step back and have the characters reflect on their situation. It really makes you look at these people in a new light.

 Courtesy of Disney Platform Distribution.

Sam’s training sequence with the shield was also really cool to see. It actually reminded me of the training montages from the “Rocky” films. It not only shows the character reaching his potential, but it also solidifies the fact that Sam is ready to take up the mantle of Captain America. The plotline with the Flag Smashers isn’t given much attention, but they do give some surprising reveals. One of them being how much their movement has grown with people in plain sight ready to act at any moment. Another is how Sharon Carter, who we saw two episodes ago, has broken out Batroc from episode one to work with the terrorist group and get revenge on Sam. I’ve had people come up to me and tell me that she’s the “Power Broker” character behind the scenes. I was unsure of this at first, but seeing it play out here makes that theory all the more likely. 

 Courtesy of Disney Platform Distribution.

So yeah, episode five was an engaging sit-through filled with a lot of standout moments. I can definitely see why the people in production see this as their favorite episode to work on. It has a lot of character, knows how to move the story forward, and it knows when to get the action going while also taking time to reflect on its themes. The season finale is less than a week away, so let’s see if they finish this story off with a bang.

Rating: 5 / 5 Spinnaker Sails.


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