The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Truth
April 16, 2021 5:58 AM - Season 1, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Sam Wilson, Bucky Barnes, Baron Zemo, John Walker, and Karli Morgenthau must all deal with the fall out from their actions.
posted by ellieBOA (109 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Post credits sequence!
posted by ellieBOA at 5:58 AM on April 16 [1 favorite]


Julia Louis-Dreyfus!
posted by dforemsky at 6:07 AM on April 16 [7 favorites]


Marvel Has Big Plans for That Surprise Falcon and the Winter Soldier Cameo. Apparently, Julia Louis-Dreyfus was supposed to show up in Black Widow first, before everything got shuffled around.

And of course, the first thing that came to mind when she said her name was that she and Fury used to be fuckbuddies, just like in the comics.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 6:11 AM on April 16 [4 favorites]


yeah, i've been reading up a little! the Madame Hydra one (maybe in combination as the Power Broker) seems quite likely.

oh, how much do I love Sam? Also, Sam's superpower really is heart - that's narratively the one person who could've offered a path for psychological breakthrough for Bucky after all, so perhaps that's among the reasons why the therapist needed to be written the way she was.

heavy episode, but i am feeling well pleased i caught most of the thematic cues they've been laying down. I really hope that means, if Sam gets his emotional climax (hmmm is that even the right term for this story moment?) here, the final ep will have Bucky's.

plot-wise, it's still shaggy, but with one episode to go, i don't expect that to change. otoh, the emotional and thematic resolution in service of the characters are shaping up to be a lot more solid than WV.
posted by cendawanita at 6:42 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]


Just two bros bonding, throwing a frisbee around.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:11 AM on April 16 [14 favorites]


Pretty bold choice to make the penultimate episode of your comic book tv show an introspective meditation on heroism and the black experience in America.

The show is not a perfect engine by any stretch, but in at least trying to tackle this subject matter with some nuance, this feels like progress.
posted by wabbittwax at 7:42 AM on April 16 [24 favorites]


RThere isn't going to be a second season of FatWS and that's ok.

Because those no names no longer apply to the characters, particularly Bucky. The White Wolf named has been repeatedly dropped through the series and the WS name hasn't applied to him for a while. Sam might still be called Falcon, but I'm guessing not, we'll see next episode.

It's been a interesting and awkward journey with these two, but this episode ties the various threads together nicely for final episode. A lot of much needed talking and character development occurred, which was sorely missing before.

The show doesn't have lot answers re: Isaiah, the treatment of Blacks in America, and the country itself and that's ok in this context, this story. Things are still messy and there are no quick and easy fixes. It'll take time and effort and while that isn't fair, it is what it is. Sam is a great character to move forward on those lines.

No crazy about Elaine showing up, but rolling with it.

Walker is a great character, though obviously detestable. But so good to see a character who's clearly close to being good just not be able to make that final leap.

Hopefully they keep Sharon in that morally grey area for a while, it's good development for her.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:53 AM on April 16 [3 favorites]


THIS IS WHAT I WANTED
posted by sixswitch at 8:04 AM on April 16 [7 favorites]


No crazy about Elaine showing up, but rolling with it.

In my head cannon this is Selina Meyer in a MCU-Iannucci shared universe.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 8:12 AM on April 16 [11 favorites]


Two quick thoughts:
  • Bucky & Sam seem to have forgotten their promise to help Sharon
  • interesting implications of a black Captain America wearing a suit of Wakandan tech

  • posted by cheshyre at 9:11 AM on April 16 [2 favorites]


    Feel out of place to anyone else that Sebastian Stan got top billing over Anthony Mackie, particularly on this episode?
    posted by bfranklin at 1:25 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


    I think as with Bettany and Olsen, they alternate billing order. I just checked the previous two episodes and Mackie was first last week and Stan the week before.
    posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:35 PM on April 16 [4 favorites]


    Nice catch. Still think, thematically, would've been better to have Mackie top billed on this one.
    posted by bfranklin at 1:43 PM on April 16


    Malcolm Tucker as the new Professor X
    posted by sixswitch at 1:44 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


    Nice payoff this week on Sam's go-to solution throughout the series, which is, "Let me call somebody and we'll get everything fixed up." Love that his superpower is his personal connections.

    I also love a training montage. God, do I love a training montage.
    posted by merriment at 1:44 PM on April 16 [15 favorites]


    What is in the box?!
    posted by annathea at 2:17 PM on April 16 [3 favorites]


    A CA suit, I assume.
    posted by transient at 2:24 PM on April 16


    Julia Louis Dreyfus is magnificent.

    So, is Valentina the new Nick Fury, now Fury's off in space with the Skrulls? I would appreciate that.
    posted by Grangousier at 2:24 PM on April 16


    I'm thrilled with Julia Louis Dreyfus as Valentina, even if they've decided to make Val terrible. In fact, especially if they've decided to make her terrible. I'm convinced JLD ad-libbed at least half of her dialogue and they just went with it. And I really hope there are at least some groans about her having an old relationship or just friends-with-benefits with Fury.

    The gov't judgment on Walker was simultaneously nowhere near enough and yet way more than I expected. Clearly "gov't super hero" enters some murky territory in the legal process if you've got a Senator heading a panel of officers who can hand down an other-than-honorable and revocation of retirement on an O-3, but hey, supernonsense. But it still says all it needs to in that a white guy in uniform murdered a surrendering foe and all he got was "you're fired."

    They played up Walker more than I would've liked in that fight, taking on both Bucky and Sam, but it's kinda how superfights go. I'm hoping we get to see Sam take down Walker all on his own in the finale, among all the other heroics he'll have to pull off.

    But most of all, I'm happy to see Sam's counseling experience get more attention. I'm sure some folks will read his early interaction with Walker as too forgiving, but I felt like it made sense. He wanted to talk the guy down without a fight because stupid things happen in fights. None of that was Sam forgiving or forgetting.

    Also, Sharon backing the Flag Smashers isn't what I wanted, but it makes a hell of a lot more sense thematically and in story points than her turning out to be the Power Broker.
    posted by scaryblackdeath at 3:12 PM on April 16 [3 favorites]


    Best episode by far. One good fight scene and a lot of character building after that. No gratuitous chases, no crazy camera work on action sequences that went on boringly long times. The scene of Walker lying about the man he killed to Lemar's family made him seem more a dangerous psychopath than anything he'd done up to that point.

    I didn't love everything. Sam doing the "it takes a village" thing was awesome, but I was disappointed how quickly it became just a buddy thing between two Avengers, instead of the whole community. (Ending that thread with Sam's sister throwing

    And the training montage didn't work for me. Sam starts in peak physical condition, and he could fargin' fly before, now he's got a frisbee, so I didn't get the power up vibe. It's like a movie devoting a lot of time watching a ninja train to replace a nunchuck with a sai, I mean sure they're different fighting styles but why do I care? Maybe if I was emotionally invested in the symbolism of the shield?

    But those are quibbles. I'm now sad there's only one episode left.
    posted by mark k at 3:24 PM on April 16


    They played up Walker more than I would've liked in that fight, taking on both Bucky and Sam, but it's kinda how superfights go.
    I was thinking the same thing. My explanation for it in this case is that Sam and Bucky were holding back; trying to take down Walker with minimum harm. Walker wasn't fighting under any such compunction.
    posted by Tabitha Someday at 4:23 PM on April 16 [5 favorites]


    Yes. I'd have liked a line along the lines of, "We're trying not to kill you, moron," but it makes sense with or without exposition.

    Anyway what I'm really hoping for now is some kind of Avengers team movie that really shows Sam anchoring the team on and off the field. I'd love to see him connect with more of the team. Marvel has done pretty well in depicting trauma as something that lasts and matters, so I'd like to see more of his ability to address that shine.

    Not for nothing but I still feel like Rocket Emotional Labor Raccoon absolutely stole the show of Infinity War, so...
    posted by scaryblackdeath at 4:51 PM on April 16 [10 favorites]


    God, yes. I kind of aspire to being as good a person as Rocket. I think I might be in trouble.
    posted by Grangousier at 5:01 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


    We should form a club!
    posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:33 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


    This episode was excellent and what I wanted to see wrt Sam taking on the Captain America mantle. I definitely think if he's rocking a Wakandan suit, perhaps in colours that suggest his African heritage, then it allows him more leeway to carry the shield - as in, he doesn't have to compromise, he can blend those two sides of himself. Carl Lumbly's scene was incredible and brought in the complicated history of black men in service to the United States, compared to John Walker who was equally stripped of his titles but got to walk away because of his white privilege. Isaiah Bradley's line about Sam have a "white man's shield" was really telling - yes it was literally the shield of a white man, but it also alludes to privilege which Isaiah lacked. And that Bucky got to articulate that he and Steve didn't know what it meant to hand a black man the shield, that's really insightful. I'm glad Bucky got to have that moment of realisation.

    The plot is messy as hell and I'm not sure what we're going to be left with next week, but the promise of an interesting story about black masculinity paid off here. And the politics of it were delicious; I expected Marvel to flinch, but I'm glad Malcolm Spellman got to tell this tale. That moment when one of Sam's nephews traced the star on the shield with his finger, now THAT is why representation is important.
    posted by crossoverman at 5:50 PM on April 16 [13 favorites]


    the other kick in the gut to me was Isaiah's backstory of disobeying command to save his comrades... is literally Steve's plot in The First Avenger. And yet.
    posted by cendawanita at 6:03 PM on April 16 [45 favorites]


    Yes, the same plot, different results. That hurts.
    posted by crossoverman at 6:09 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


    Maybe a combination of the fantasy of a world where an agent of state committing a murder on camera results in instant, automatic consequences and the sheer number of hours I have personally spent sanding, scraping and fixing an old boat, but I absolutely LOVED this episode. I don't really think next episode can possibly offer a fully satisfying resolution given the sheer number of balls they have up in the air right now, but that's okay now. This episode was worth the whole show, IMO.
    posted by mstokes650 at 6:13 PM on April 16 [14 favorites]


    What is in the box?!

    Probably some vibranium wings.
    posted by Fleebnork at 6:15 PM on April 16 [6 favorites]


    It's interesting the speed of change considering the small amount of time since Sam was offered the shield to this story's examination of the reality of what that means.
    posted by fullerine at 6:16 PM on April 16


    Lovely episode. And left me wondering who exactly Valentina Allegra de Fontaine is allied with. A SHIELD faction that remained after the official disbandment? The same geniuses who thought that giving John Walker the shield in the first place was a great idea? H.A.M.M.E.R.?
    posted by Halloween Jack at 6:46 PM on April 16 [1 favorite]


    the fantasy of a world where an agent of state committing a murder on camera results in instant, automatic consequences

    Well anyway I'm excited for next week's fantasy episode where presumably people storming a government building to stop a vote will get their comeuppance in short order
    posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 7:22 PM on April 16 [11 favorites]


    I don't think Sharon is in a gray area. The guy she sends to Karli is there specifically to kill Sam. Also he's providing weapons to murder politicians, he doesn't know that but Sharon does.

    The speed we went from Isaiah saying no self-respecting Black Man would ever be Captain America directly to "that's not my story I'm going to be Black Captain America" gave me whiplash.

    Wakanda stepping in where it would normally be Stark is sublime. I really hope they lean into that and Ironheart is working with Shuri instead of being some sort of Stark disciple.
    posted by M Edward at 8:47 PM on April 16 [3 favorites]


    The whole premise was that the Flag Smashers had gone into hiding and there was nothing they could except wait until Karli makes her move. Then they show Karli and her gang walking around the exact same building they were in last episode. Wouldn't that be the first place you look for them? I guess my no-prize explanation is that they thought Sharon was monitoring the location but she's not on their side.
    posted by Gary at 9:13 PM on April 16


    Walker getting totally kicked out of the military was well deserved. Not sure about this Val chick, but she looks shady.

    This was the buddy cop show I wanted. Adorbs.
    posted by jenfullmoon at 9:35 PM on April 16 [2 favorites]


    I was thinking the same thing. My explanation for it in this case is that Sam and Bucky were holding back; trying to take down Walker with minimum harm. Walker wasn't fighting under any such compunction.

    I texted a friend who is a super comics guy complaining that Winter Soldier and Falcon should just totally smoke even a Super-Serum John Walker and this was his exact reply and I think it really makes a lot of sense. It is apparently a trope in comic books that bad guys willing to go beyond constraints are able to punch up the good guys who work with self-restraint.
    posted by absalom at 10:22 PM on April 16


    Yeah, it makes sense. In Winter Soldier, Bucky was trying to kill Steve and half the time Steve was trying not to fight Bucky at all. But I was still kinda miffed at the idea that Bucky Barnes and his Wakandan Vibranium Arm would have trouble putting down this bozo with all of five-minutes experience as an off-brand super soldier, much less need Sam's help to do it.

    I imagine the box from Wakanda has wings and a super suit that looks something like Sam's Captain America uniform in the comics. But I'm really intrigued wondering what kind of colors and symbolism Wakanda would choose for a black man in the nation closest to being any sort of rival to Wakanda, to help him become the closest thing America has to a Black Panther.
    posted by straight at 2:17 AM on April 17 [1 favorite]


    Just two bros bonding, throwing a frisbee around.

    They did spend part of the episode literally working on a ship.
    posted by chrisulonic at 5:51 AM on April 17 [21 favorites]


    I imagine the box from Wakanda has wings and a super suit that looks something like Sam's Captain America uniform in the comics. But I'm really intrigued wondering what kind of colors and symbolism Wakanda would choose for a black man in the nation closest to being any sort of rival to Wakanda, to help him become the closest thing America has to a Black Panther.

    This is a great question, and it's now one of the things I'm most interested to see in the final episode.

    There's a way that it would make thematic sense for the Wakandan gift to bear some symbols of Wakanda, but I'm not positive it's a great fit, either fully thematically or in-universe. This show has spent a good amount of time investigating Black identity in America and how it interacts with American identity, and, in our real world, Wakanda plays the role of an African homeland that can be more broadly claimed by any Black person, including those whose records and accounts of their actual ancestry were wiped out in the course of enslavement.

    But see Jolie A. Doggett, on Wakanda:
    Wakanda was supposed to change all of that. Wakanda was meant to be a place for us, by us. An Afrofuture where blacks could make a home away from the racism of America and reclaim our roots. But to me, “Black Panther” merely reiterated the uncomfortable point that we don’t really belong to Wakanda.
    And in-universe, what connection does Sam have to Wakanda? Less, in direct heritage, than Killmonger did. Perhaps more in terms of ideals, but we're not shown any of that--I don't recall any particular interactions between Sam and any Wakandans in the movies that address is identity as a Black American. To the various writers' credit, they don't try to shoehorn him into a homogenized global Black identity. We know where Sam's home is, and it's Louisiana, not Wakanda.

    Maybe that means that the Wakandans built a suit for Sam that bears the markings of the Falcon and America--most international arms manufacturers (vibranium arm joke here) happily stamp the symbols of their client countries onto the weapons they provide, and keep their own trademarks relatively subtle, or just indicated by the overall design language, which provides a more understated indication. Maybe it's just in making it somehow personalized to Sam, as if to say, "this isn't a gift from the people of Wakanda to the political entity of the USA or its military; this is a gift to this particular American, Sam Wilson, but one that recognizes what he has chosen as his mission in service of an ideal of America."
    posted by pykrete jungle at 6:24 AM on April 17 [2 favorites]


    Something else about Sam's lack of superpowers. From Sulagna Misra, in the AV Club:
    Unlike Steve’s re-entry into the modern world, and Bucky’s time being deprogrammed in Wakanda, Sam’s story has lain fallow in the MCU. He seemed somewhat un-mysterious: He’s not a man out of time, he doesn’t have superpowers, he doesn’t feel like an abandoned rich boy like Tony did. He was born human and he’s determined to stay so. The part of him that is intriguing is what this show explored—his goodness, his trustworthiness, his anchor-like quality to the people around him. How he actually feels about the people around him, despite his fierce loyalty. And of course, what is must be like to be a Black man surrounded by white men who are given so much license to do whatever the hell they want—more so than usual, because they had those superpowers, those gadgets, the money he doesn’t have.
    In a darker timeline than even ours, there's a Disney+ miniseries called Hawkeye and the Falcon. One that puts the two of them in a buddy-cop format, since they're both non-superpowered, all-American Avengers. A show that's all nice and colorblind.

    Maybe J.D. Vance has a writing credit.
    posted by pykrete jungle at 6:37 AM on April 17


    I'm a bit confused about Bucky's powers TBH. I thought at the start he was just an elite human soldier with a bionic arm. But he can jump from planes, throw people and jump like he has super-strength and damage resistance. Did he get the supersoldier serum, when and from whom? If he got the Forties version, why doesn't he have jacked muscles?
    posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:38 AM on April 17


    The Winter Soldier program was a Hydra initiative. They gave Bucky the serum.
    posted by Pendragon at 6:46 AM on April 17 [2 favorites]


    Also, Sharon backing the Flag Smashers isn't what I wanted, but it makes a hell of a lot more sense thematically and in story points than her turning out to be the Power Broker.

    I'm confused. Did this episode not pretty much explicitly show that Sharon is the Power Broker? She was in that room with all the paintings - wasn't that supposed to be the Power Broker?

    And those who know, how does/did Sam as Captain America work in the comics? Was he the Falcon AND Cap? i.e., does he fly around with his wing suit and have the shield at the same time? Because it kind of seems like that's where we're headed.

    And Captain America with big angel wings sort of feels off to me...
    posted by Naberius at 10:40 AM on April 17


    An episode with both a boat repair montage and a Sam training montage was just the ticket. Give me all the montages!
    posted by medusa at 11:07 AM on April 17 [2 favorites]


    The Calm Before the Storm in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s “Truth” by Keith R.A. DeCandido

    He agrees with me about the training montage so obviously we have identified The Truth.
    THERE’S A TRAINING MONTAGE! Okay, as a martial artist of more than fifteen years’ standing, I intellectually understand that training montages are stupid and misleading and give you the impression that you can become super-duper-awesome in a ridiculously short time. (In my karate discipline, it’s a minimum of five years before you can be considered for a black belt promotion, and it’s only that short if you train several days a week for all five of those years.) But as a child of the 1980s, I LOVE THAT THERE’S A TRAINING MONTAGE. Especially because Anthony Mackie plays it so well, showing both his dedication and especially his frustration at not being able to catch the shield when he throws it around frisbee-like.
    Based on the Tor comments, apparently loving the montages marks me forever as a child of the 80s.
    posted by medusa at 11:18 AM on April 17 [4 favorites]


    Yes, Sam does use his wings when he's Cap. His wings function a bit differently from how they were conceived in the MCU (that was one of many things that made Captain America: The Winter Soldier my fave, the way they created a real-world interpretation of his wings by making him a Pararescue), but he does have the shield and the wings. It has some serious what the fuckery in it, but overall I enjoyed the Sam!Cap run and can see a lot of elements in this series, so it feels a bit like they might do more in the future with it. I would love to see the Serpent Society in the MCU!

    These past two episodes have had so much stuff I just loved. I don't know if they'll stick the landing, but this has given me so much Bucky and Sam stuff, where before they were not as fleshed out on screen as fans have made them. The boat montage was fantastic, and the tough love talk was everything I could have wanted--I felt like I was finally seeing my Sam and my Bucky on screen, as opposed to the juvenile I-hate-you crap of Iron Man 4 Civil War and the second episode here.

    The fight miffed me too--no way that 24-hour super soldier is besting the freaking former Winter Soldier in a fight. But that seems to be par for the course in these things. And Walker whining about no one understanding how hard it is to be Captain America--bitch, please, you've been Cap for like ten days. Shut the hell up, as Sam would say.
    posted by kitten kaboodle at 11:27 AM on April 17 [2 favorites]


    In the comics, both Bucky and Sam have carried the shield and worn variant Captain America uniforms, Bucky in a nifty Alex Ross design that alludes to Steve's first triangular shield, and Sam in a red-white-and-blue winged suit by Carlos Pacheco.

    (Those links go to comic book art, which might be a spoiler. If you Google, I think you might see some actual spoilers based on leaked pictures of toys.)
    posted by straight at 12:06 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]


    If Karli and Walker fought he would destroy her because he has had years of combat experience prior to being a supersoldier. We were also already shown he's really good with the shield pre-serum.

    The serum made Steve strong but it was his drive, his will that made him unstoppable. Apply the same drive to Walker (coming from a completely different place) and he absolutely could be a serious problem for Sam and Bucky. Part of Captain America (good or bad) has always been inner conviction. Not allowing for the fact that Walker is just as capable of such conviction, no matter how wrong, is underestimating the enemy. American Exceptionalism is a helluva drug.
    posted by M Edward at 12:09 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]


    One thing that's puzzling me. Is Steve Rogers actually dead? I know he showed up in the high school in memoriam montage at the beginning of Far From Home, along with Natasha and Tony. But I just thought that meant that the general public was told that Cap died, because explaining that one of the Avengers went back in time for personal reasons was not gonna happen.

    Bucky and Sam talking about Steve being "gone" is different. Did I miss some easter egg or end-credits scene somewhere?
    posted by creepygirl at 12:09 PM on April 17 [2 favorites]


    @creepygirl, I've been wondering the same thing. I feel like Sam would have at least talked it over with Steve before handing the shield over to the Smithsonian.
    posted by synecdoche at 12:13 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]


    You’re not missing anything, Steve was last seen in Endgame, at the end, as an old man.

    Where he is now is being kept purposely vague.
    posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:17 PM on April 17 [5 favorites]


    Steve could be still alive as a 106yo, the one seen in Endgame. But that's a man who lived a 100 years without either Sam or Bucky, knowingly avoiding them. The Steve Rogers that Sam and Bucky knew went to the past and never came back.

    Thinking about it just makes me angry about how that all played out again. The most altruistic hero in the MCU lives through 100 years of human history without doing anything about it for *waves hands* reasons.

    So yeah, Steve Rogers is dead.
    posted by M Edward at 12:18 PM on April 17 [4 favorites]


    Yep, Steve went back in time to a segregated, homophobic, and sexist era, to live happily ever after.

    I prefer my head cannon, where Peggy gets a super soldier serum made from modern day Steve’s blood.
    posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:37 PM on April 17 [4 favorites]


    If you don't want to be mad, I think the best explanation is Dr. Strange saying there's only one future in which Thanos doesn't win. If Steve changes any of the history that led up to the final battle with Thanos, half (or all, if they lose that final battle) of the universe dies and doesn't come back.

    Steve could have gone off and rescued Bucky from Hydra in the 1950s, but it wouldn't be "his" Bucky anymore, it would be the Bucky of a new timeline that he just created, a Bucky doomed to be dusted by Thanos along with half the universe.

    So Steve had the choice of returning to the present and growing old with the Avengers or going back to Peggy and being there at her side for all the things she had lived, enjoyed, and suffered without being able to step in and use his strength to change any of it.
    posted by straight at 12:41 PM on April 17 [5 favorites]


    I’m ok with being mad.
    posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:00 PM on April 17 [7 favorites]


    Not to derail too far but Steve escaping to the past as a display of supreme heterosexuality effectively abandoning not 1 but 2 male friendships and forcing himself to live with his true persona "in the closet", if you will, is certainly interesting.

    No wonder Bucky is insecure about whether or not Steve is right about anything.
    posted by M Edward at 1:21 PM on April 17 [3 favorites]


    Being with Peggy is hardly the only reason returning to the 1940s would feel to Steve like going back home, though. And the white dude personification of America deciding to sit down, shut up, and not try to rewrite history the way he thinks it should have gone has a lot of positive symbolism that's not "hiding in a closet."
    posted by straight at 2:50 PM on April 17


    I have started to build myself a narrative:
    Rather than just going back to dance with Peggy and lay low for 50 years doing nothing- after all, Peggy still has decades of her own work to do with founding SHIELD - Steve does find something to do with himself. Something that still allows the events of Endgame to happen, but without 50 years of Cap interference in the meantime.
    I'll have to see if there are any easter eggs or lore in the Loki series, though. What if the Steve and Peggy power couple is her working for the SSR/SHIELD, and him working for the TVA - not that one, I mean the Temporal Variance Authority? What if Steve becomes a timecop?
    posted by bartleby at 3:09 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]


    I'm confused. Did this episode not pretty much explicitly show that Sharon is the Power Broker? She was in that room with all the paintings - wasn't that supposed to be the Power Broker?

    No, Sharon makes a living by selling stolen art. This was established in the first episode we saw her.
    posted by Pendragon at 3:47 PM on April 17


    When Bucky meets Sarah, I was thinking, don't you dare do that movie star smile at Sarah! Leave her alone! Then I was glad that Sam told him not to flirt with Sarah.
    posted by medusa at 4:15 PM on April 17 [3 favorites]


    Thinking about it just makes me angry about how that all played out again. The most altruistic hero in the MCU lives through 100 years of human history without doing anything about it for *waves hands* reasons.

    What he did or didn't do is basically unknown. Nothing high profile or in the Captain America outfit (which he disdained anyway.) But if Disney ever wants to license it, there's a whole spin off series of novelizations about the Secret Adventures of Steve Rogers during this period. It was probably small scale stuff as he encountered problems during his time at inner an city clinic he founded, or while working with civil rights organizations.
    posted by mark k at 7:25 PM on April 17


    Aw I'm kinda rooting for Bucky n' Sarah. But only if he stayed home and helped her on the boat while Sam did his thing. It would give Sam's family some protection too...ooh maybe Bucky could take them on vacation to Wakanda. How cute and wholesome would that be?
    posted by emjaybee at 9:09 PM on April 17 [4 favorites]


    I'm all in for subtle Steve Rogers, since of the main two, despite everything, Tony Stark got a really complete character arc that felt in character and earned his superheroic status, while Steve's... The best I can say it took a left turn into a different genre, maybe an epic where the hero retired to be a farmer. I think it can work, but it definitely rewrote a lot of shared assumptions about that MCU version.

    But! It's this imperfect Steve that made the characterisation in this Sam and Bucky possible, so I appreciate that. In the long run there's an interesting set of essays that can come out of grappling with the themes he accidentally represented, including with this show, how your white/majoritarian friends can still let you down.... Hmm.
    posted by cendawanita at 10:37 PM on April 17 [1 favorite]


    Gericault's The Raft of the Medusa appears for a couple of seconds as one of Sharon's stolen paintings. Here is a interesting analysis of the meaning of this painting in the context of the show (from r/marvelstudios).
    posted by elgilito at 12:41 AM on April 18 [12 favorites]


    OK, look. I've tried really hard to appreciate this series in the way that Disney wants me to appreciate it and not to view it entirely through my very thick slash goggles. Buddies being friends! Guys being dudes! Please ignore any frisson of homoeroticism, because it is all in your head!

    HOWEVER. The thing with Sarah was super cute, but also such classic bit of triangulation that I am sorely tested in my resolve. Hey Disney, don't slide into Brideshead Revisited territory if you don't want me to think these thoughts! Don't set up a possible Fast and the Furious scenario and expect me to just ignore it! A guy making a move on his friend's sister (since he can't make a move on his friend) so he can join the family he so clearly wants to join is kinda gay!
    posted by merriment at 6:36 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


    I commented to my husband in that scene “oh here’s the reassurance of heteronormativity moment.” I mean - come on.
    posted by warriorqueen at 6:58 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


    It's funny, while I think the dual counseling scene did come across as setting them up as a couple, I don't feel like anything else did. Sam is too much the counselor, too detached.
    posted by emjaybee at 7:30 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


    I saw the Bucky/Sarah scene as Bucky starting to reclaim himself; a bit of ego stroking. While certainly my least liked side of him (oh did you one time feel invisible when your former weak friend, who you dragged out on “double dates” so you’d actually get the adoration of both women, caught someone’s eye and you didn’t?! GFY*), it’s immense emotional progress from Yori throwing him into a date that he wasn’t able to navigate in the first episode. Pissing off Sam b/c he’s flirting with his sister? Side benefit.

    With each episode I am more impressed with Sebastian Stan’s commitment to this role. There was something about his throwaway “okay” to Sam when he got admonished for flirting with Sarah that reminded me so much of my dad, born in the 30s, that i had to watch it a couple of times. I got all these delightful Archie Bunker/Carl from Up vibes from it.

    *apologies for the grammatically messy run-on
    posted by ovenmitt at 8:41 AM on April 18 [4 favorites]


    Steve's vague ending lets all us viewers decide for ourselves what sort of time travel retirement we're comfortable letting Steve have. I almost hope he and Peggy did abscond to some secret SHIELD moonbase rather than have to reconcile the Steve I believe in with a Steve who may have just stood aside and let the 20th century play out the way it did. Or, since that's some real "I got mine" shit that I don't think Steve would do, maybe I can comfort myself by deciding that he did intercede in secret, which is the only reason things didn't turn out any worse. And perhaps a different viewer can decide that if Steve let this or that atrocity take place, then perhaps Steve approves, or that the Hulk's time travel rules were just more important than any of that stuff.

    I can't recall if the date of that dance with Peggy is ever explicit, but we know it's after the war and possible also after the events of Peggy's series. So, maybe the 50s, when his comics entered the CAPTAIN AMERICA: COMMIE SMASHER!! phase, adventures which Marvel now disavows as the actions of an insane body double while Steve and his moral authority were safely frozen under the ice. It's not great.

    That's my Marvel challenge to the next few decades of American history, by the way: let's not fuck up so bad that the next Captain America reboot has to have him coming out of the ice like last week for it to make sense that he hasn't burned it all down by now. I'd also love it if we could go long enough between disastrous grinding foreign occupations that characters like The Punisher and John Walker could fade back into the mists like forgotten Golden Age heroes, no more immediately relevant than like the Blue Diamond or the Thunderer or that Daredevil with the boomerang and the spiked belt. Figures from another time.

    The Falcon & The Winter Soldier is wise to be vague about Steve, because this show is not about him. But in time they may decide that they did not resolve his story in a way suitable to the character. But what then? Chris Evans is done with the role, and I hope the dear man never has to eat another boneless, skinless chicken breast in his life. My proposal: use the notorious CAP-WOLF story arc to bring Steve back to the MCU present as a massive, snarling werewolf in a tattered, star-spangled costume. Once Sam / the Young Avengers / the X-Men / FF or whoever have him contained and cured, Wolf Steve can shrink back down to whatever young actor with a fresh six picture deal they like. Then he can complete his character arc in a satisfying way within his Nomad identity spectrum while Sam carries on as Cap.
    posted by EatTheWeek at 9:33 AM on April 18 [2 favorites]


    Ultimately, the problem is time travel stories.

    I don't begrudge Steve having a life, particularly with Peggy. I just find it hard to believe that he'd completely settle down and avoid any sort of public statements or actions, especially if he's with Peggy, who clearly had her own life's mission to do good. My mind refuses to accept that they'd totally settle down and quitely raise kids through the trauma of the last half of 20th century.

    Especially if Steve knows that Hydra is taking over SHIELD, which Peggy is head of. That story just doesn't work at all.
    posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:45 AM on April 18 [4 favorites]


    Speaking of Yori, with that blatant setup there damn well better be time in the last episode for Bucky to do the work and make true amends to him.
    posted by ovenmitt at 11:04 AM on April 18 [3 favorites]


    Should he though? Maybe that would be satisfying for Yori if he said, "I murdered your son, I'm sorry, I'm turning myself in to the police and going to jail for the rest of my life," but that hardly seems right.

    Maybe, "I was there when your son was killed. I saw what happened. I tried to stop the guy who killed him, but I failed," would be closer to the truth?

    But even that, like trying to explain the actual story, creates this situation where Yori is confronted with someone responsible for his son's death and expected—even if Bucky doesn't ask for it—to understand and forgive him. It seems way more about Bucky's closure than Yori's.

    Maybe just leaving Yori a note, telling him what happened and saying that the guy who killed his son is dead?
    posted by straight at 11:46 AM on April 18 [1 favorite]


    Yeah, it seems like Yori will come up in the last episode and it's a critical piece of Bucky's development. How its handled will speak volumes about the MCU, the show creators, and the character.

    "Maybe just leaving Yori a note, telling him what happened and saying that the guy who killed his son is dead?"

    That's the best suggestion I've seen so far.
    posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:22 PM on April 18 [1 favorite]


    For me, it’s not a question of whether he should - I think he should. You touch on the more nuanced point - it is a question of how he should. This shows starts the process of Bucky forgiving himself for what he was programmed to do, so aside from the pardon negating the idea of jail time, to turn himself in for a crime that the Winter Solder committed doesn’t track.

    I had to go back and rewatch the Yori scene - he says that he’ll never know what happened to his son. Bucky can tell him that. Anonymous note, conversation over sushi, telling him in front of the shrine to his son... however it’s done he is able to say “I can’t make right what happened to him, but I am able to tell you what happened...” What I really like about your note idea is being able to say “and the guy who killed your son is dead.” That is the character development for Bucky.

    A personal experience thought on amends - it’s none of my business what the person i’m making amends to thinks or says or believes. Amends aren’t tied into expectations of understanding and definitely not of forgiveness. Yori (and the Yoris in my life to whom I’ve made amends) always have the right to walk away forever once the words are said.
    posted by ovenmitt at 12:38 PM on April 18


    I'm assuming that Yori's going to say something like "You're the Winter Soldier, hanging out here, I watched an entire documentary about you being mind controlled, of course I put the basics together. I was just fucking with you to see if you were still a nazi and because I don't have anything else to do."
    posted by fomhar at 12:52 PM on April 18 [10 favorites]


    Well, Bucky was caught on camera as the WS in Madripoor...
    posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:06 PM on April 18 [1 favorite]


    My assumption with Steve was that, as per the slightly confusing set up, he went to a past where he did things differently, and had a life with Peggy. Who knows what he got up to. Then he travelled back to the original universe to say goodbye.

    The idea that he existed in the original universe doesnt seem to align with the time travel logiic of endgame and would, as everyone points out, make him a monster
    posted by Cannon Fodder at 2:24 PM on April 18 [10 favorites]


    it’s none of my business what the person i’m making amends to thinks or says or believes. Amends aren’t tied into expectations of understanding and definitely not of forgiveness. Yori (and the Yoris in my life to whom I’ve made amends) always have the right to walk away forever once the words are said.

    I absolutely agree that's how it ought to work, but I think in practice it's very hard to go back to someone, even if you explicitly frame your apology that way, and not have it come across as, "Hi. I feel guilty. Would you please revisit the pain of what I did to you and do a bunch of emotional work for me so that I'll feel better?"
    posted by straight at 2:25 PM on April 18 [6 favorites]


    My assumption with Steve was that, as per the slightly confusing set up, he went to a past where he did things differently, and had a life with Peggy. Who knows what he got up to. Then he travelled back to the original universe to say goodbye.

    Okay. That solves it. Because, despite what Doctor Strange said, there is a timeline in which Thanos never kills half of everyone. And that's the universe where Steve goes to return the Stones and Mjolnir. The Thanos of that universe died in ours.

    So Steve returns everything and then goes back to live with the Peggy of that universe. Together, they rescue Bucky, smash Hydra, and change history for the better in a whole bunch of ways, secure in the knowledge that Thanos is going to leave and get dusted by our Avengers before he can gather any of the stones in that timeline. (Steve and Peggy just gotta make sure the Tesseract is in the right places when our Avengers come to borrow all the stones. I think the Battle of New York is the only thing they can't prevent without screwing everything up. What we don't see in Endgame is how much of that universe's New York had been evacuated before the Chitauri Invasion.)

    And then for wibbly wobbly, timey wimey reasons, Steve gets a window to come back and say goodbye to Bucky and Sam when he has lived long enough to catch up to the moment he left our universe. After he gives Sam the shield, he gets sucked back to the other timeline that is now his home.
    posted by straight at 2:56 PM on April 18 [11 favorites]


    straight, you might enjoy this fanfic series since it has most of your beats. (This isn't a personal rec, since I have other things I would prefer from fic, but it might be someone else's fave.)
    posted by kitten kaboodle at 3:44 PM on April 18


    I feel like wibbly wobbly timey wimey might be the only way this works out with any sort of satisfaction... I, for one, approve of this crossover.

    And yeah, amends can be tricky. You make amends to people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. For Yori, years later and still grappling with the question of why his son died, is the injury worse to tell him, regardless of what it means for you, or to know your can help him lay to rest this mystery and grieve his son fully? My god that sentence had so many commas.

    AND YEAH WTH i thought those phones on Bucky in Madripoor were going to come back and bite him in the ass big time. “It’s okay! It’s not really me! I was just playing the part... for, um, for the guy that... I broke out of prison.” What pardon covers that?
    posted by ovenmitt at 5:22 PM on April 18


    I didn't mind Bucky flirting with Sarah. I did mind Sam telling Bucky not to flirt with his sister, I fucking hate the trope of the brother who "protects" his sister from potential boyfriends as if she's not a person with agency.
    posted by crossoverman at 7:37 PM on April 18 [10 favorites]


    Yeah, but I can't say I'm shocked at how Sam would not be thrilled at Bucky dating his sister either.
    posted by jenfullmoon at 8:06 PM on April 18 [4 favorites]


    FWIW, the directors said flat out that Steve traveled back in time to a parallel universe. Where presumably they created a very different history.

    Also, based on how they time travel works, he world be able to travel back to them original universe. My assumption is he went back home right after giving away the shield
    posted by happyroach at 8:40 PM on April 18 [2 favorites]


    I remember that, because it seems they disagreed with the screenwriters, who said they wrote it as a closed time loop. i know I've listened to at least one podcast or interview with all 4 of them arguing about this lol. The final compromise is go with whichever, the text has enough grey area for both. (Which will probably collapse at some point as more stories generate in the mcu)
    posted by cendawanita at 8:52 PM on April 18 [1 favorite]




    Amos! What are you doing?!?
    posted by The corpse in the library at 3:26 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


    Oh wow. I had very little interest in Shang-Chi, but Awkwafina and Simu Liu are so charming in that trailer I was sold pretty quickly. "But is this really a Marvel superhero movie?" Then he saves that woman in the bus with his foot. "OH YEAH IT IS."
    posted by straight at 4:18 PM on April 19


    I can’t imagine what it must be like to consume media as an MCU casting agent. It must be like being a kid in a candy shop.
    posted by bq at 7:37 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]


    For some reason the lead character falls flat for me, like the guy can't act. Yet I've heard great things about him, so I dunno.

    Hopefully future trailers will grab me.
    posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:45 PM on April 19




    As someone with two younger siblings, I would argue that if any of us could annoy the shit out of one of the others by dating Sebastian Stan, we absolutely would make that sacrifice. Good for Sarah. I hope she goes for it.
    posted by nonasuch at 7:52 PM on April 20 [9 favorites]


    I still can't get over seeing Walker's wife's face when the Tribunal / Hearing committee (?) stated that he would be denied a Veteran's Pension.

    That right there isn't just a punishment for him.

    Olivia Walker hasn't really appeared much, and I really hope hat she isn't just forgotten in the final episode.
    posted by Faintdreams at 5:47 AM on April 21 [1 favorite]


    The murder was very public, so it was probably thought the punishment had to be particularly harsh. Though he still managed to not be put in jail, based on the years of his excellent record. A record we know he's not proud of it, where questionable things were done.
    posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:33 AM on April 21


    Well I def assumed Mrs. Walker was going to get murdered so at least there’s that.
    posted by bq at 9:57 AM on April 21 [1 favorite]


    Yeah, me too, but we got one episode left to go, so....(I really hope I didn't just call that and he like, "accidentally" kills his wife or something.)
    posted by jenfullmoon at 3:30 PM on April 21


    i’m just excited that there’s only one more sleep until i can watch the series as god intended: interrupted solely by bathroom breaks
    posted by ovenmitt at 9:59 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


    I don't think we're going to see U.S. Agent in the MCU (much like we don't have the comics' version of Baron Zemo), least of all what kind of name is "U.S. Agent"?!?

    Also, Walker in a black version of the Captain America costume probably wouldn't make sense in this context.
    posted by Apocryphon at 10:54 PM on April 21


    Spoilers, but not really: Who Is Marvel's U.S. Agent?

    I made it half way to the Scourge section before giving up. That said, I'm fascinated by how much of Walker's comic backstory the showrunners were able to salvage and adapt into coherence for this miniseries. So that's why there's a shadowy villain with the completely unimaginative generic name of Power Broker. And, sadly, this explains why Battlestar was fridged, in the comics it was Walker's parents who were murdered by terrorists and caused him to snap.

    However, it's also absolutely bonkers that the whole reason why Walker became Captain America in the comics is because "the Commission" (is the council that sacks Walker in this episode a reference to them?) declares Steve Rogers to be violating the U.S. government's ownership of the Captain America intellectual property, legally seizes it from him, and gives it to Walker. That's like Silver Age Batman/Superman comics' level of bizarre.
    posted by Apocryphon at 11:22 PM on April 21 [1 favorite]


    > Also, Walker in a black version of the Captain America costume probably wouldn't make sense in this context.

    They could call him “black Captain America.”
    posted by mbrubeck at 8:16 AM on April 22 [8 favorites]


    I dunno, black with a blue stripe running down the center looks about right from here.
    posted by tchemgrrl at 10:27 AM on April 22 [12 favorites]


    FFS, somehow I missed from the Looper video that the black costume actually originally belonged to Steve Rogers, who became "the Captain" when Walker took over his role by government mandate. (Nerdist article) So later when he was no longer Captain America, Walker and Rogers swapped costumes. That's when he becomes U.S. Agent and joins the West Coast Avengers. So even in his post-Cap identity he was still cribbing from Steve Rogers. Damn this character's backstory is as convoluted as Cable's.
    posted by Apocryphon at 11:36 AM on April 22


    Nobody's backstory is as convoluted as Cable's.
    posted by sardonyx at 2:30 PM on April 22 [2 favorites]


    Final episode out,no spoilers or discussion here, but there is an after credits scene.
    posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:56 AM on April 23


    It's yet another indication of how bad Age of Ultron was that I scarcely remember Zemo from that one, when it turns out the actor playing him is fantastic and the character has considerable complexity.
    posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:41 AM on May 1 [1 favorite]


    I think you might (understandably) be confusing Baron Von Strucker in Age of Ultron with Baron Zemo who was introduced in Civil War (not to be confused with Baron Blood, another Captain America villain, who is a vampire, or Baron Mordo, the villain played by Chiwetel Ejiofor in the Doctor Strange movie).

    No idea why Stan Lee hated barons so much.
    posted by straight at 8:52 AM on May 1 [7 favorites]


    You know, I think youre right. Pity. I do enjoy making fun of Age of Ultron.

    Why didn't he make more of an impression in me in Civil War, then? Either I need to rewatch that or the tv show just did better by him.
    posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:08 PM on May 1


    Apparently the showrunner and writers don't know where Steve Rogers is, either, because Marvel refused to tell them.
    posted by creepygirl at 5:39 PM on May 1


    Bucky and Sam talking about Steve being "gone" is different. Did I miss some easter egg or end-credits scene somewhere?



    @creepygirl, I've been wondering the same thing. I feel like Sam would have at least talked it over with Steve before handing the shield over to the Smithsonian.



    You’re not missing anything, Steve was last seen in Endgame, at the end, as an old man.

    Where he is now is being kept purposely vague.


    Just after the opening credits of Far From Home, we see the in memoriam video (you remember, with the Whitney Houston soundtrack) made by Peter's high school. It shows Stark, Natasha, Vision and Cap as deceased. So at the very least some high school students think he is dead -- I think we are meant to perceive this as the world's general understanding of his fate.

    On the other hand, we the audience have seen different things than the general public of Earth-19999 has, and a quiet word and a farewell handshake is a lot less definitive than the farewell anyone else on that list got, so I think most likely no.
    posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:59 PM on May 3


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