The finale of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is here and goes out with a bang.
Episode 6 begins with big action scenes that conclude the Flag-Smasher’s story and ends with a careful reflection of the characters and their places in the world. Sam shows Isaiah the exhibit in the museum of him; Bucky makes amends with those he has wronged in the past.
Going into this episode, I was a little nervous. WandaVision, despite having been an excellent series in all, had in my opinion a rather disappointing ending and I was worried the same would happen here. But I needn’t have worried, this episode was pretty strong – not the best – but strong.
Firstly, the action sequences were great – I’m so glad we got another big in-the-air bit since that one in episode 1 hadn’t really been replicated. Sam’s outfit was also great in my opinion, I’m delighted they kept the falcon’s wings and the reveal was brilliantly impactful. Anthony Mackie really shone in this episode in taking up the Captain America mantle. He gave some quite profound (borderline cheesy) speeches however they really worked because they felt sincere and I’m really excited to see more of him in this role. The reveal of Sharon as the Power Broker was also great, with her the post-credit scene offering an exciting glimpse of what’s to come for this character.
If I had one criticism it would be that I felt the episode was a little bit too saccharine, although I could understand why they did that. The whole series having a dark edge to it was something I really enjoyed and I missed that darkness in this episode (there was dark things happening but not on a psychological level). I guess this is still Marvel and Disney, but also I understand why the writers would want to end on a hopeful note otherwise it could be too depressing.
However, I’m really not sure about John Walker’s complete 180. The whole previous episode was like he was building this dark energy and felt dangerous in his intensity but to have that only really visible in one scene and then change quickly was disappointing – I just feel it could’ve been so much more interesting. I know they had to set up him becoming US Agent but still, a bit of a waste.
I did find Bucky’s ending very satisfying though. The conversation he has with the father of a man he killed felt quite unstated and emotional in a really effective way. But the actual ending with Sam and Bucky back at the boat with Sarah, all their friends around and everyone wanting a photo with the new Captain America – that was great. It brought it back down to Earth.
This whole series has been a fantastically nuanced and critical examination of Marvels content and how they reflect the real world. The themes of trauma; the complicated relationship between being black and American; and inequality have been surprisingly well handled all the while remaining a very entertaining piece of content. I hope there is more of this series – obviously I’m hoping for cinematic releases focusing on these characters too – but I feel like a series was the perfect format for such an in-depth exploration.
Episode 6 | Disney+ | 23rd April 2021