SPOILERS FOR THE FALCON AND THE WINTERSOLDIER EPISODE TWO
The second episode of the new Disney +/Marvel Studios limited series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, debuted on the steaming service in the wee hours of the night. After the slow burn of last week’s episode, some people were anxiously hoping this episode would be paced quicker. I am not in the same boat. I loved the slower burn character development that was all over last week’s show. However, this week’s show brought both and elevated itself above last week.
This week’s episode, entitled “The Star Spangled Man,” did not waste time in bringing Sam and Bucky back together and we see the real key to the show. Yes, there is great character development that makes us care for these people more, but the real standout of the show is the relationship of James “Bucky” Buchanan and Sam Wilson. Their chemistry is off the charts and the bromance is amazing. The banter between Bucky and Sam was great and the show gives us plenty of examples of it.
Even before we see Sam and Bucky meet up, we get some background for the new Captain America, John Walker. While he is set up to be hatred by the fans last week, we see some info on Walker that humanizes him. Some have claimed that he is the “evil” Captain America, but I think that is way too surface for this show. Walker is not a villain. He may be a character being set up for a fall, but his motivations are understandable and relatable. However, he is certainly not the most likable person in the show.
The scene with Walker arriving at his old high school to a band playing the song “Star Spangled Man” from the movie Captain America: The First Avenger was fire.
My favorite scenes in the episode were the scenes where Bucky took Sam to meet a certain person that Bucky had known in the 1950s. Carl Lumbly, a veteran movie/TV actor, had been rumored to be playing the Marvel character Isaiah Bradley, who was a black Captain America back after Steve Rogers had gone into the ice. Apparently, Isaiah had previously had a battle with The Winter Solder in the 1950s. Lumbly brought the tragic character to life with a few powerful moments that showed that he was still a dangerous super soldier. This is a character I want much more from movie forward.
Then, directly after this scene with Isaiah, Bucky and Sam encountered some local police officers who stopped because they saw Bucky and Sam arguing in the middle of the road and we see that the lives of a black man are not any different because he is an Avenger. There was some subtle racial connotations last week with the bank loan stuff, but this week the police, who only see Sam as an angry black man, is anything but subtle. It is real though. Seeing the race issues in the MCU is both interesting and painful. Watching the police backtrack when Bucky said to them, “Do you know who this is?” was, once again, too real. This theme is layered throughout this show and I am here for it.
We got another scene of therapy, this time with Sam joining in. This scene truly highlighted the connection between Buck and Sam. Bucky kept going back to the issue of why Sam gave back the shield, and it revealed why it was such a blow to him. Bucky said it was Steve’s decision to give Sam the shield and if he was wrong about Sam being able to handle it, he would be wrong about giving Bucky another chance. Depth of character once again.
We got a great fight with the Flagsmashers and Falcon, Bucky, Walker and his sidekick Battlestar atop of two semi trucks driving down the road.
The end shot showed us the next step… Bucky heading to see the still imprisoned Helmut Zemo. Daniel Brühl appeared at the very end, bringing yet one more great piece to the chess board. This episode was tremendous and always feels like it ends too soon.
This has been awesome so far.