Time to bow out with a bang.
While I have preferred the more reflective moments of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier to the fisticuffs, which have at times been a bit exhausting, the show has just about earned its right to go into full Marvel action mode in its final episode.
Falcon/Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and the Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) enter a last showdown with the Flag-Smashers in New York, but they aren’t the only ones along for the ride.
Here is a recap of the major talking points from the season finale of Marvel’s show on Disney+.
*WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Episode 6 of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier*
1. Cap is Black
And so we come to the show’s big moment: Sam opens that mysterious case from Wakanda to finally suit up as the new Captain America.
It’s quite an entrance too, as he blasts into a skyscraper where the Global Repatriation Council (GRC) is under attack from the Flag-Smashers, led by Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman).
His old enemy Batroc (Georges St-Pierre) is waiting for the first of a series of one-on-one fights. The first half of this episode is the TV equivalent of a kid taking all their action figures out of the toy box and bashing them together.
The new Cap looks great, even if his suit is, well, a little…. white (to be fair, this version is straight from Marvel Comics when Falcon takes up the Captain America mantle), and he is aided in some helicopter dodging by a patched-up Redwing.
The moment where Sam uses his new shield and his wings in unison to protect a police pilot from their own exploding helicopter is well worth the applause it garners from watching onlookers.
2. Lucky Bucky
While Sam is testing out his new suit, Bucky is playing – and losing – a game of cat and mouse with Karli, who stalls him with one of those phone calls bad guys like to make when their plan is set in motion.
A hoodwinked Bucky hops on a motorbike and rides into action to intercept police vans filled with kidnapped GRC members (the Dark Knight vibes from this sequence are off the chart), then later gets his own back on the defeated Flag-Smashers by using their own phone to round them up (“It’s a great app”.).
On the whole, however, he takes a back seat to the new Captain America during the action stuff, but his character arc is rounded off later in the episode, when he finally crosses off those names in Steve Rogers’ old book and finds a family back at Sam’s dock in Louisiana.
3. Walker relief
Twitter’s most hated superhero is back… and this time he has a redemption story!
John Walker (Wyatt Russell) joins the fight in New York with his new handmade shield, which may as well have been constructed out of tin foil, but at least his heart is sort of in the right place.
He wants revenge on Karli after she killed his buddy Lemar Hoskins/Battlestar (Clé Bennett) but ends up ditching his pursuit of her to save some hostages instead.
Well, okay, he doesn’t actually end up saving the hostages because the real Captain America comes along to the rescue, but at least he tried… right?
The great thing about Walker is he still thinks he saved the day, cheesily quoting Abraham Lincoln at the captured Flag-Smashers and generally strutting around New York like he owns it.
His reward is a new suit and a new persona, finally adopting the US Agent mantra he had in the comics, with the help of the mysterious Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), who predicts: “Things are about to get weird.”
4. Bradley needed
One of the best things about The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has been Sam’s discussions with Isaiah Bradley (Carl Lumbly), known as the “Black Captain America” in the comics, who was subjected to government experiments and held for 30 years after he was given the super-soldier serum.
Sam promises Isaiah that things will be different with him holding the shield, and tries to prove it to him by bringing him to the Smithsonian museum to show him he’s finally getting his recognition, through his own exhibit next to one dedicated to Steve Rogers.
Whether it’s too little too late or merely tokenism is up for debate, but Isaiah is moved by the gesture.
5. Get Carter
Ready for the Scooby-Doo villain reveal? Yes, rogue agent Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) was the Power Broken all along! And she would have got away with it too, if it weren’t for you pesky viewers who spotted this “twist” as soon as she appeared three episodes ago.
Maybe Bucky spotted it too, albeit inadvertently. Remember his line in Episode 3, “Wow, she’s kind of awful now”? Makes a bit more sense with hindsight.
Carter conveniently kills Karli, mainly because Sam refuses to fight her, one of the threads in this show I just cannot comprehend. Don’t superheroes try to stop murderers?
The finale’s mid-credits scene, following up the stinger last week in which Walker fabricated his cereal box shield, shows Carter being pardoned by the US government, before plotting to use her new-found access to state secrets. Zoinks, Scoob!
6. Title match
You have to admire any TV series that changes its name before the end of its first season… hang on, what?
Yes, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is now Captain America and the Winter Soldier, hammering the point home with not one but two end title cards, surely paving the way for another series and confusing millions of viewers all at the same time.
Episode 6 and season verdict: The new Captain America is here and it’s Sam Wilson. Well, who else was it going to be?
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – or Captain America and the Winter Soldier (see, I’m already confused) wasn’t the show for those seeking shocks and surprises, rather a solid continuation of the MCU post-Avengers: Endgame.
Whatever the show is called, its final episode delivered shiny things hurtling through the air as per its fanbase’s demands, but it never quite came with that emotional gut-punch.
Overall, the season’s high points were when it tried to take us somewhere new – I would happily have stayed on that dancefloor with Zemo (Daniel Brühl) in Madripoor for two or three episodes, for example.
Things were less exciting when it retreated back into the safety of stock fight scenes and so-so ruminations on how the world has changed forever.
Should a second season be greenlit, let’s hope the new Captain America’s wings swirl off on a completely original trajectory.
If that doesn’t happen, perhaps Marvel will pull off the ultimate feat of trolling by giving John Walker his own US Agent spin-off, who knows?
By Ross McGuinness | Yahoo Movies UK