The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – Season 1 Episode 5 Recap & Review

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Episode 5 of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier begins with John Walker running, grief-stricken, bubbling with rage and conflicted over what he’s just done. On his knees, he cradles the shield before composing himself. “Time to go to work.”

As he walks off, he finds Sam and Bucky who both try and talk him out of doing anything stupid. Part of that includes handing the shield over – which John is not willing to do. This inevitably leads to a fight between Walker, Sam and Bucky. The shield is the ultimate prize here and with Walker eventually defeated, Bucky symbolically drops the bloodied shield by Sam, who picks it up.

Meanwhile, Karli has gone missing but her followers are all brought into custody. Torres briefs Sam and the others over the issues involving Walker and he admits everything has escalated to involve numerous government authorities. Sam is determined to intervene though.

John Walker is stripped of his title and authority, where he grits his teeth and tries in vain to speak his piece before the senate. Because of his reputation, he’s not court marshalled but he is disgraced – and evidently angry.

After court, Walker decides to go and speak to Lemar’s parents about what happened to their son. While sat on a bench he’s approached by a woman called Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. Or Val for short. She tells him that he’s valuable to her after the serum injection and promises to be in touch.

Despite what we’ve been led to believe, Karli and her followers march out into the open, back to their old hangout spot in Prague. Karli is not happy and informs them all that the movement is now ready. They’re going to strike.

In Sokovia, Zemo pays his respects to the fallen. However, Bucky shows up with a gun. He’s determined to finish this and fires. Only, the gun is empty and he symbolically drops the bullets to the ground.

Instead, he hands over Zemo to the Wakandans who, as we’ll remember, have authority anywhere and can do whatever they want.

In Baltimore, Sam returns to see Isaiah Bradley. He’s bitter and angry at the world. However, Sam eventually sits him down and the pair talk about the past. Bradley’s story is harrowing; a tale about saving his brothers but consequently being experimented on for 30 years.

Sam is determined to tell someone but Bradley is certain the world is unchanged. In fact, he even goes so far as to tell Sam no self-respecting black man would want to be Captain America. Instead, Sam decides to head home and fix up his boat. Bucky shows up too and decides this looks like fun, helping out.

In the morning, Sam and Bucky discuss the fate of the shield while playing a game of boomerang. Eventually this sees Sam train with the shield to become the new Captain America.

Elsewhere, Karli meets up with Batroc outside in Central Park (hey wait, aren’t all the authorities after her? How did she teleport to New York?) and prepares a coup to strike back against their oppressors.

The Episode Review

Well nothing screams exciting superhero action like fixing a boat. Honestly, 10 minutes of this episode could so easily have been cut out with this, and tonally the segments completely jar against the more sombre and serious issues at play throughout this episode and series as a whole.

The sudden political and racial slant this series has turned the MCU into is something that’s been a real issue throughout. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier feels torn between playing it straight and keeping to the goofy Marvel humour and in a way this actually undermines some of the more important topics being discussed.

Given the connection this has to the MCU, and the lack of racial issues being brought up in Civil War, Black Panther and all the other movies that have had a diverse cast, Falcon and the Winter Soldier stands out like a sore thumb. If this show had just decided to play it straight it perhaps wouldn’t be so much of an issue.

Having Sam talk to Bradley about his harrowing experience and then cut to fixing a boat joyously with a musical montage and cracking jokes with Bucky is a great example of this really not working.

With the finale up next, all the pieces are in play for another bombastic finish. In true Marvel fashion it looks like we’ve got a world-ending plot in play but on the whole, this has definitely been one of Marvel’s weakest entries in its expansive universe.

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