Warning - This article contains spoilers for The Falcon and The Winter Soldier .
THE NEW CAPTAIN AMERICA
There he is, our new Captain America. Right out of the gate in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier 's finale titled "One Word, One People," Sam’s new suit is showcased in all of its glory—and damn, does it look good. It seems like it was ripped straight out of the comics. Seeing it in action was even better, not to mention Red Wing’s reincarnation.
The entire series has done a fantastic job at building Sam up to this decision, and the payoff hit the mark. It was awesome to watch Falcon pull off all sorts of new moves with his new shield, with some of them being direct evolutions of what we have seen from him in the past.
The show did have a few tongue-in-cheek moments revolving around Sam’s new job, moments that the show could have done without. None were ever enough to drastically affect any particular scene, just enough for a minimal eye roll here or there. Even Sam’s big speech was a little much at times, though he certainly earned that pep talk—and you can’t be Captain America if you aren’t good at speeches.
Another thing that worked perfectly was Sam’s connection to Isaiah, the linchpin of his choice to pick up Steve’s mantle. Carl Lumbly continued to wow. His role in the show was easily one of the best surprises that Marvel Studios had under its sleeves (sorry Val). Fans can only hope that there will be more of Lumbly in future projects. With whom his son is , it’s likely only a matter of time.
BUCKY BARNES, THE HERO
The other half of the titular duo got his own time to shine. This was the first time that Bucky has really ever gotten to be a true hero, saving people in ways he never had before. Sebastian Stan did a fantastic job at letting that shine through his performance. The most notable example is when he frees the citizens trapped inside the armored vehicle. Viewers can see his surprise and genuine happiness that he is now directly helping others.
Of course, after last week’s episode, all signs pointed to the long-anticipated scene of Bucky’s confession. Another great performance by Stan led to an emotional sequence, one that shined a spotlight on how much Bucky has grown over the course of these six episodes. It would have been nice to have seen more of the aftermath of his admittance, though, at the very least, fans know Yuri seems a little more at peace knowing the truth.
IT'S U.S. AGENT TO YOU
Let’s talk about the newly dismissed Captain America. It was a little strange that when John Walker got back in the action, he veered pretty sharply towards the heroic side of things. Gone was the unstableness that he seemed to be drowning in with Walker now seeming like a pretty good team player. He even got his big hero moment, which while good, came a little too soon after his break in the last episode.
It would have been a little better had Walker maintained some of the roughness that he has built up. But, hey, he’s U.S. Agent now! Not only that, but he seems to officially be a part of Val’s new operation. While no further details are revealed, it’s worth stating again that it’s most likely to be for a Thunderbolts or Dark Avengers team. Also, how useless was that new shield that he made himself?
It’s likely that the heroic shift was played more favorably, so audiences would like the idea of seeing the character in a bigger role in future projects. Wyatt Russell has been great, so the prospect of seeing him more down the line seems okay...for now.
THE POWER BROKER...SURPRISE?
As for Sharon, she came back into the picture, where her full hand was finally revealed. The show confirmed what many people were already thinking: she’s the Power Broker. It is a little disappointing that the answer to that mystery was so glaringly obvious, and even more so that the show didn’t really dwell on that revelation all too much. It seemed a little strange that by the very end, neither Sam nor Bucky got even a hint of her true identity. The after-credits scene seemed to want to pump up excitement for Sharon’s future, but it fell a little short.
The most important thing Sharon did this week was kill off the main "villain." Karli’s ultimate demise was slightly disappointing. When she got shot, the whole moment happened oddly quickly, almost as if the writers felt they needed to get it out of the way and move on. That said, she was still a terrific antagonist for the show’s run.
The grey area that the Flag Smashers operated in worked fantastically (when Karli wasn’t blowing up innocents, of course), as did their unique motivations.
CAPTAIN AMERICA AND THE WINTER SOLDIER
The finale for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was a messy affair, stumbling at the finish line. While some characters got great development and resolution, others were left out, and not given the time they needed—namely Walker, Sharon, and Karli. On top of that, everything wasn’t quite as tight and efficiently put together as some other episodes, but that’s a high bar—one that it's a shame the show couldn't stay above.
There is certainly plenty of room for the story to continue in the form of another season. As of now, there really aren’t any obvious signs of when these characters will be seen in the MCU again. Shame the show never let us visit Steve Rogers on the moon. Maybe next time.