This week on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Captain America is reinvented.
After last week’s twist ending, episode two begins with Wyatt Russell as John Walker taking up the mantel of Captain America accompanied my marching band and cheerleaders. This is, naturally, to the displeasure of Bucky who blames Sam for giving away Steve’s shield. Bucky follows Sam out on a mission where they intercept the Flag-Smashers again but as the fight goes south, John Walker and Lemar Hoskin’s (portrayed by Clé Bennett), arrive to save the day – they all get away alive but don’t succeed in the mission.
After a heated discussion between the two pairs of men, Sam and Bucky decide to do some investigating of their own and end up with Bucky being arrested because he missed his therapy session. Sam and Bucky then undertake some very amusing couples therapy and the episode ends with them planning on visiting Zemo (Daniel Brühl), last seen in Captain America: Civil War (2016) being arrested by the authorities.
This episode was a big step up from last weeks. This is mainly due to the fact that Sam and Bucky are actually in scenes together and their chemistry is fantastic. There are some hilarious interactions between the two from the argument about the existence of wizards to the rolling through a field of flowers together. The therapy scene was the obvious highlight in this regard, managing to be both moving and comical. Let me just say my excitement for this whole series tripled after that first scene together, knowing it’s this duo that will carry the show.
There were other interesting aspects of this episode too. For a villainous group titled the Flag-Smashers, they have so far been portrayed almost sympathetically with a promising degree of nuance. Also they seem genuinely powerful and difficult to defeat but that’s by the by. I don’t want to get ahead of myself but could we possibly get a critically thought out exploration of nationalism in this series? Feels too good to be true.
But there is always the possibility. For example, this episode featured a striking and relevant scene where Sam is questioned by a pair of white cops on the street who ask Bucky “Is this guy bothering you?” which highlights one of the many less attractive elements of American culture. Added to that, the scenes of the new Captain America walking across a football pitch in red, white and blue to a version of the “Star Spangled Man” seemed more ridiculous than the same happening in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and even more out of place. Perhaps, this show is considering who appealing the title of Captain America really is.
Although, again, I don’t feel like we should hope for too much – the “Flag-Smashers” have been repeatedly linked to ex-Soviet countries so the classic American anti-Communism narrative might not be that far off.
Overall, a very good episode – Bucky and Sam are a delight – and I look forward to what the following weeks have to offer.
Action, Adventure | USA, 2021 | Episode Two | 26th March 2021 | Dir.Kari Skogland | Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Wyatt Russell, Adepero Oduye, Emily VanCamp, Desmond Chiam, Clé Bennett, Daniel Brühl