SPOILER WARNING: Don’t learn for those who haven’t but watched Season 1, Episode 2 of Disney Plus’ “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.”
Who takes possession of a superhero’s public persona as soon as they step down from the job, and who has the best to confer it? Catching a glimpse of the “new” Captain America on the finish of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” premiere final week, after years of solely ever understanding it to be Steve Rogers, was like seeing an impostor. The second episode of the sequence explores the weather of non-public and perceived identities — who you say you might be, who folks suppose you might be, who they need you to be, and maybe most significantly, who you aspire to be — which, as an Avenger, has a whole lot of different baggage concerned.
John Walker (Wyatt Russell) — aka the soldier that the U.S. authorities chosen to wield Captain America’s defend after Sam Wilson returned it — makes his official debut with nothing lower than a splashy “Good Morning America” section. The pomp and fanfare bring to mind the publicity excursions a newly super-serumed Steve Rogers was pressured to take part in 70-plus years in the past within the occasions of “Captain America: the First Avenger” — how can anybody overlook the catchy “Star-Spangled Man with a Plan”? Besides as a substitute of promoting battle bonds, Walker is promoting the thought of himself to an American public apparently in want of a brand new image of hope after the Blip.
Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) are understandably irked, however they’ve totally different priorities. Sam is on a mission to search out the Flag Smashers, the anarchist group who prefers the Blip life, and likewise seem to have just a few super-strong folks of their very own. Bucky desires Sam to take again the mantle of Captain America, however maybe for causes which are entangled along with his personal redemption journey.
The crowning of the brand new Cap prompts Bucky to hunt out Sam because the latter is about to fly to Munich, telling him, “You had no proper to surrender the defend, Sam.” To which Sam responds, loaded with which means, “Hey, that is what you’re not gonna do: You’re not gonna come right here in your overextended life and inform me about my rights.”
Lastly attending to see Sam and Bucky work together on this episode is a deal with, a Marvel-ized motion buddy comedy that has them turning a remedy session right into a staring contest and bickering over one of the simplest ways to fend off the baddies. But it surely additionally permits them to take the time to determine who they’re alleged to be not merely in relation to Steve Rogers. As Bucky basically implores of Sam, if Steve was flawed about giving the defend to Sam, was he additionally flawed about Bucky’s potential to be a greater individual?
As at all times, in typical Marvel trend, this week’s installment gave us so much to chew on, in addition to various unanswered questions.
Who’s John Walker, the brand new Captain America?
He went to highschool in Georgia. He’s the primary individual in American historical past to obtain three Medals of Honor. He’s a counterterrorism professional who is seemingly so bodily good the federal government has commissioned research about it.
Regardless of the knee-jerk “no thanks” to beforehand seeing him in Captain America garb, this episode takes pains to humanize John Walker, aka US Agent within the comics. The story opens with him sitting in his outdated highschool locker room, ready to take the stage for the primary time as Cap. The burden of expectation, like anybody moving into another person’s footwear, is heavy on his shoulders.
And possibly he has extra in widespread with Steve than we thought. His colleague Lemar Hoskins, aka Battlestar, warns him that he can’t simply “punch his manner out of this one” — the place have we heard that earlier than? — and we come to grasp that Walker simply desires to do the best factor. The man simply desires to be the most effective Captain America he may be.
However how he goes about doing that’s the place he diverges from Steve, surreptitiously monitoring Sam and Bucky by way of Sam’s drone Redwing as they observe a cargo of thriller meds throughout Europe. Walker says he desires to work with them, but it surely actually sounds extra like he desires Sam and Bucky to work for him as his “wingmen.” (Steve Rogers would by no means!)
The place is all this Tremendous Soldier serum coming from?
What the following battle with the Flag Smashers reveals is that there are eight extra Tremendous Troopers of their midst, after almost 80 years of simply Cap and Bucky. The group desires to return to life the best way it was in the course of the Blip, when half the world’s inhabitants was worn out with Thanos’ snap. Based on them, the World Repatriation Committee is much less preoccupied the residing and extra involved with those that have come again from the useless.
Karli Morgenthau, the chief of the group and a beneficiary of the serum, is hailed as a legend and a freedom fighter. Within the comics, one Karl Morgenthau is the Flag Smasher, an individual and never a gaggle. Right here, Karli in search of refuge along with her comrades as they outrun the authorities — and somebody named the Energy Dealer.
How precisely they’re going to create that change is unclear, although. Karli seems to need to assist those that have been displaced for the reason that Blip. However who’s formulating extra Tremendous Soldier serum? Bucky has an thought of who they will speak to — somebody he as soon as knew a protracted, very long time in the past.
Who’s Isaiah Bradley?
Bucky seeks out Isaiah Bradley in Baltimore, revealing that he has recognized for many years that one other Tremendous Soldier has been of their midst. (Between Agatha Harkness in “WandaVision” and now Isaiah, what number of different latent super-powered folks have simply been hanging again whereas the Avengers did their factor for the final decade?) Apparently they final noticed one another in the course of the Korean Warfare in 1951, when Isaiah had ripped off half of Bucky’s robotic arm.
Bucky’s disclosure that he’s not a killer for Hydra is roundly dismissed.
“You suppose you may get up at some point and resolve who you wanna be?” Isaiah asks Bucky. “It doesn’t work like that. Properly, possibly it does for people such as you,” he says pointedly to the previous Hydra agent. In contrast to the unique Cap, Isaiah was not given a hero’s welcome upon his return. As an alternative, the federal government put him in jail for 30 years and experimented along with his Tremendous Soldier blood. This seems to be a nod to his origin within the comics, the place Isaiah is also referred to as Black Captain America, certainly one of a handful of survivors of tremendous soldier serum experimentation by the U.S. authorities on Black troopers, in a parallel to the real-life Tuskegee Syphilis Research.
Within the episode, the revelation infuriates Sam — to suppose, a Black Tremendous Soldier, dormant and mistreated for many years. Instantly underscoring his outrage are a bunch of Baltimore cops confronting him till they realized they’ve pulled over a nationwide hero. It’s one more reminder that regardless of how a lot you imagine you’ve proved your self, some folks might be unable to see previous their very own preconceived notions of who you might be.
What does Helmut Zemo know?
We knew Daniel Bruhl’s Helmut Zemo would reappear in “Falcon” after final seeing him attempt to avenge his household and wipe out superheros in “Captain America: Civil Warfare,” so it was solely a matter of time earlier than Bucky and Sam took a visit again to see this Sokovian a couple of factor — particularly, somebody who is aware of each so much about Hydra and about Tremendous Soldier serum.
However locked away in isolation in a high-security cell, what might Zemo probably know? The one certainty is that we’ll quickly have solutions, simply not this week.