The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – Season 1 Episode 2 Recap & Review

The New Captain America

Episode 2 of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier begins with a look at our new Captain America. Or, more specifically, our great pretender. John Walker is nervous, which is hardly surprising given the big shoes he needs to fill. This is something he even admits himself later on when John is paraded around as a public figure on tour.

While he’s interviewed on TV, Bucky watches and seethes with anger. He heads straight for Sam who admits he has bigger things to deal with right now. The Flag Smashers are rallying behind our disposable villain and Sam is heading up to Munich to check it out. After all, this could be the next in a long line of the Big Three; androids, aliens and wizards. After disagreeing over whether Doctor Strange is actually a wizard or not, Bucky decides to tag along with him.

High up in the air, Falcon gracefully soars out the plane while Bucky unceremoniously tumbles to the ground. With Redwing buzzing around, Sam guides Bucky to his exact location as they prepare to go after the Flag Smashers. After bickering about the number of goons outside, Sam uses Redwing to suss out they’re holding hostages in the two lorries.

The lorries take off and the pair rush out the building in hot pursuit. Bucky jumps aboard the first while the truck behind remains completely nonchalant to his presence. Anyway, those hostages actually happen to be Super Soldiers, as the leader – Karli – punches Bucky square in the chest and launches him out the back.

A fight ensues atop these two lorries, a well-choreographed, slick affair which immediately sees John Walker shows up as Captain America to lend a hand. Unfortunately everything goes awry.

The Flag Smashers are too much and the group eventually find themselves thrown off the trucks and stuck on the road. Sam and Bucky are eventually picked up by John Walker though as banter ensues between the group. It turns out Walker found the pair thanks to Redwing. He hacked their location and head up as soon as he found out.

The constant gag regarding Bucky’s stares continue, as Sam and Bucky eventually walk away from Walker and back to the jet.

Together, they fly to Baltimore where Bucky introduces Falcon to Isaiah. He’s an old war vet, someone that Bucky knew back in ’51. As we soon learn, he actually has powers himself but was thrown into prison for 30 years.

As Falcon and Bucky head outside, cops stop them both and ask to see their ID. Unfortunately, Bucky is arrested thanks to missing his court-issued therapy session. While things momentarily look bleak, John Walker shows up and manages to pull some strings, helping to free him.

Meanwhile, the Flag Smashers regroup with Karli who’s referred to as Robin Hood by her comrades. However, she receives a message from a private number, someone who tells her she’s taken what’s theirs and she’s a marked woman.

Back with Sam and Bucky, they’re taken in to therapy with Dr Raynor where they’re told to face each other. Well, therapy doesn’t go well, eventually leading to Sam walking away and Bucky reminding Dr Raynor of rule 2.

When they leave, John Walker suggests they team up but both Sam and Bucky reject that notion. Instead, they head off to learn more about the Flag Smashers themselves. Skipping back to Slovakia, the gang load supplies on a plane. One of the soldiers sacrifices himself for the cause, throwing himself into a barrage of bullets from soldiers on the ground, as the plane flies off.

As the episode this week closes out, Sam and Bucky decide to visit Zemo in prison.

The Episode Review

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier returns with more action, more comedy hijinks and lots more racially charged commentary. Instead of organically adding all this into the series though, the three different tones feel awkwardly jarring and conflict with the story being told.

Racism is a hot topic at the moment and racial equality is obviously something we should all be striving to make happen. However, injecting it into a movie series like the MCU that’s had absolutely no issue with it until now just feels awkward.

The gag surrounding “Black Falcon” in particular felt really forced and it’s even more surprising that Black Panther isn’t even mentioned during this conversation. Instead, he’s referenced elsewhere with Falcon calling Bucky “White Panther”.

Away from that though, the action is good and well-choreographed, with lots of jokes that work well as far as Marvel humour goes. However, alongside such serious societal issues like racism, one can’t help but feel the show is trying to have its cake and eat it too.

The characters are undoubtedly interesting though and there’s definitely a lot of intrigue with this new dynamic featuring John Walker. At the same time, this series doesn’t really offer up anything that original or different to what we’ve already seen before from the MCU – especially off the back of WandaVision.

Still, it’s early days and there’s plenty of time for that to change across the coming episodes. For now though, Falcon and the Winter Soldier isn’t quite soaring as high as it could.

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