The Falcon and the Winter Soldier season finale review

David Eckstein-Schoemann, Reporter

It took us six long weeks, but we finally reached the finish line with this series. Even though it’s only been six episodes, a lot has happened in terms of story and character. We’ve seen big moments, surprise reveals, and, right on cue, a new Captain America. So how does the finale live up to the hype? Let’s see.

 Courtesy of Disney Platform Distribution.

The Flag Smashers, led by Karli Morgenthau have infiltrated the GRC (Global Repatriation Council) meeting in New York City and are preparing to take the board members hostage. With no time to lose, Bucky and Sam take action. Sam dons the red, white, and blue suit for the first time and it is awesome! If that wasn’t enough, characters such as John Walker, Sharon Carter, and Batroc converge on the scene, tying several storylines together in an epic fight. Through it all, the country watches its new symbol take a stand.

Right out of the gate, we see Sam in his Wakanda-made version of the Captain America suit. I couldn’t be happier about the payoff. The production team did an amazing job pulling this image straight from the comics while adding modern updates that come with live-action. It was at this point that I was watching and I thought to myself, “Now we have a new Captain America in this universe.” While I’ll always love Steve Rogers, seeing Sam Wilson take to the skies with the shield was really great. What’s great about Sam’s version of Captain America is that he is the consummate hero with both his actions and his words. He does what is right, even if many people will not like it. This entire series has been building up to this moment, the moment Sam takes the baton from Steve Rodgers, and on that most important front, they succeeded.

 Courtesy of David Eckstein-Schoemann.

The rest of the episode plays out how you would expect it would, with our heroes sort of banding together to stop these super soldiers from killing the GRC and otherwise wreaking havoc. Much of it was action-heavy with characters fighting on multiple fronts, though I felt that there were a few things that they sped through. For one, the plotline with the Flag Smashers wasn’t given much attention here, at least when compared to the previous episodes. While you understand their motives and why they are committing these violent acts, the flag smashers–with the exception of Karli–are mostly played as traditional antagonists. Though I will say that the actions of this group do bring to light a lot of issues that need to be addressed, such as questions about how we view others or how we should understand everyone’s point of view before branding them as bad. So, while this plotline wasn’t given a great deal of focus, themes such as this do help it stand out.

 Courtesy of Disney Platform Distribution.

There were a few things that played against my expectations–John Walker and how he was used here is one of them. Like a lot of people, I thought this finale was going to have this character play out as one of the antagonists. However, that’s not the case here as he actually helps the heroes, even letting his revenge for his best friend go so that he can save some people. I will admit it feels like a reversal, as in the previous episode he was unstable to the point of fighting the main characters. Here, he is semi-redeemed. While some can see this as sort of a reversal, it wasn’t implausible as this is a guy who has done well in the past. This choice was probably done so that people would want to see what they do with this character in the future as he’s given his comic book title U.S. Agent, complete with his black suit. While it’s still up in the air as to how this character will play out, it will be interesting to see him in future shows or films.

 Courtesy of David Eckstein-Schoemann.

As much as I enjoyed this episode, there were a few elements that I felt were rushed and didn’t necessarily have enough time dedicated to them. For example, Sharon Carter being revealed as the Power Broker didn’t have as big an impact on me as I thought it would. I guess that’s primarily because there wasn’t much time dedicated to this plotline as it was followed pretty loosely throughout the series. While it is kind of a bold choice to take one of the good-side characters in this universe and make her a villain behind the scenes, it didn’t feel like it was given the time it needed to let this sink in. In fact, even Zemo doesn’t have a part to play in this episode. Aside from one scene of him in his prison cell, we don’t see him do anything here. I feel like, if they had given this season one more episode, maybe these plotlines would have had a greater impact. My guess is that the production of this show was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic similar to “WandaVision,” which was originally scheduled to run ten episodes instead of nine. Despite my feelings towards this, it didn’t detract from the series for me, not even close. I know that people are split on this, but for me it works just enough to where I can say this was a cool finale.

 Courtesy of Disney Platform Distribution.

While this episode does rush through a lot of things, it still manages to deliver on what it promised. Sam Wilson is now officially Captain America. It works because it feels earned and because Sam is the right man to take the mantle. I enjoyed Sam’s speech toward the end, as he’s a character acknowledging that while we’ve made a lot of mistakes, it’s not too late to change. I will admit it did remind me of the speech that Rocky gives at the end of “Rocky IV,” this speech feels appropriate.

 Courtesy of Disney Platform Distribution.

The episode ends with fully satisfying conclusions for Sam and Bucky. My favorite is definitely Sam showing Isaiah Bradley that he had a memorial dedicated to him in the Captain America museum. It’s a beautiful payoff for a character who has experienced a lot of tragedy in his life finding out that his heroic actions will forever be remembered. Even Bucky finds closure with him making amends to all the people he hurt as the Winter Soldier. For people who are often seen as side characters in the films, it’s nice to see that they’re given the focus and writing that makes the characters in this universe so great. 

Despite season one being over, I can see these characters coming back for future seasons and films. That seems to be the case as the title of this series was changed to “Captain America and the Winter Soldier” in the credits. I for one am excited to see what they do with this character as a feature film starring Sam has recently been announced. 

That about sums up my thoughts on this series. While it did stumble a bit at the finish line, there’s no doubt that it did an excellent job with its dynamic characters, mature tone, and relevant themes. The world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has experienced many changes in the past two years, so let’s see how they handle changes going forward.

Rating: 5 / 5 Spinnaker Sails.


For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].