Marvel: The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Episode 3

Falcon/Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), Sharon Carter/Agent 13 (Emily Van Camp) and Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) in Marvel Studios’ ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’. Photo by Chuck Zlotnick. Copyright of Disney+ and Marvel Studios.

Hi! It’s Annie!

Today was another episode of this series and…I’m really not quite sure what to make of this episode. There was a lot packed into it that only made me more confused than I was before and I can’t say this show is confusing me in a pleasant way. Once again, as always, there will be SPOILERS, below. So if you want to watch the episode and then come back, by all means go ahead! But despite the presence of some long awaited characters, many are already calling this the weakest episode so far.

Sam:

Sam had very little presence in this entire episode. It almost seemed like he barely had any plot relevance here anyways. Bucky broke Zemo out of jail without telling Sam until after he did it, and Sam’s only purpose there was to have an incredulous response that he could quickly get over so that the plot could move on. When the new group was undercover in Madripoor (a fictional South-Asian city that was mysteriously devoid of Asians), we knew that Sam was there disguised as somebody. They referred to him by a different name and there was a fairly funny gag involving him having to drink something disgusting that was the real person’s regular at a bar. But we were also given virtually no knowledge of who that person even was. Sam almost felt out of place in this episode, which I found really sad. Zemo and Bucky both had reputations that preceded them that worked well for the episode, whereas Sam didn’t have that luxury. The only character moment we really got from Sam in this episode was him making the bold statement that he should have destroyed Cap’s shield. Obviously, Bucky wasn’t too happy with that statement. Why would he be? Just like giving the shield over to the government, Sam also would have no right to destroy it. I feel like he just keeps missing the point of the shield no matter how many characters explain to him that he shouldn’t have given it to the government but he didn’t have to wield it either. Even Sharon said it in this episode! I’m just consistently disappointed by the character writing for Sam.

Bucky:

Once again, Bucky is proving to be the best part of this series. Towards the beginning he released Zemo, which was the worst we’ve seen writing wise for Bucky so far. Honestly, it probably would have made more sense to have Sam release Zemo and it would have given him something to do this episode. After everything Zemo put Bucky through, it just didn’t really make sense for Bucky. Obviously they needed Zemo, but we all know this is a decision that’s going to come back to haunt them. The rest of the episode, Bucky was extremely interesting. In order to blend in with the criminals in Madripoor, Bucky was forced to pretend he was still the mind-controlled Winter Soldier. This ended up requiring him to beat up some people in the merciless way he used to; something that very obviously haunted him throughout the episode. If Sam had one thing going for him in this episode, it was that this was the first one where it actually felt like he cared about Bucky. He was constantly checking up on Bucky to make sure that he was ok. It was really interesting to see how the Winter Soldier effects Bucky constantly and how disturbed he is by his own powers because of what they were used for in the past. We also saw Bucky vow to pull the shield from the hands of John Walker himself this episode. At the very end Bucky found a mysterious piece of technology that belonged to one of the head warriors of the Dora Milaje (No, it wasn’t Okoye!) who is now after Zemo. I have no idea what her presence will mean to the series, but it was so nice to see her here! I really want them to go more into Bucky’s connection with Wakanda because that’s the place where he was healed. And really, I just want to see more of Wakanda and the Dora Milaje anyways.

Zemo:

The third member of the main group for this episode was Zemo, and it actually looks like he’ll be sticking around for a while longer. Considering how good the chemistry between these three characters were, I’m not entirely apposed to that. But that is with the asterisk that we need to actually have some character development for Zemo. We really didn’t see much character development for Zemo in Civil War and he really felt like an unneeded presence in that movie as a whole. He was a completely forgettable character who had a very bland and unexplored motive for what he did. And we didn’t really need the added motive for seeing the two teams fight each other. Zemo’s motives here are just as muddled as the plot and there’s a lot that I otherwise don’t understand about his character either. Such as why Zemo seemed to have just as big of a reputation as Bucky considering Civil War was the first time we saw him commit major crimes and he’s been in jail ever since. Though Zemo confuses me, he actually fits well with Sam and Bucky. I want to see more of him not because of his character, but because of how much fun the actors seem to be having together.

Sharon Carter:

Guess who showed up! Finally! Though I can’t say I was at all impressed with her introduction into the series. It is revealed that Sharon has been hiding away in Madripoor because, while Steve, Sam, and Bucky were pardoned for their actions in Civil War, Sharon received no such luck. I have no idea why this was the case and the fact that this was a plot point really confused me. But they find a hardened and not-as-nice Sharon who drops insults at them every chance she gets because she was abandoned and is actually a badass. Sharon’s fighting skills in this were insane and pretty much on par with Black Widow. She took down several groups of armed thugs, while she was unarmed, by herself. I loved seeing that, but we got virtually no character development for her in this episode outside of her being angry. At the end of the episode she even refused to go back with Sam and Bucky and join their team, which really makes me wonder how much we’ll even see of her in the little time this series has left. But we did see her get into a car to visit someone while saying there was a problem, making it seem like her loyalties are not necessarily with Sam and Bucky. One thing that I will give this show is that her character is no longer revolving around a man.

John Walker:

The false Captain America was, oddly, barely in this episode. It really made me question what his role in the show even is considering how little the plot developing in this episode had to do with him. We saw him a couple times losing his temper and doing immoral things, but they weren’t necessarily surprising. It wasn’t like we were being made to like him before this. He’s one of the elements of the plot I’m most confused about now. Is his presence even needed here?

The Villains:

I have absolutely no idea what the villains are even supposed to be doing in this series. The only threat we know of is that some of them have taken the super soldier serum. We still have no idea what they’re actually planning to with that. We were also given a potential new villain in this episode whose identity remains a complete mystery. We have a name I guess. One of the main villains talked about wanting to be a teacher after all of this is over for a little bit, but it really felt like forced exposition. Considering how little we still know about her, this moment that was supposed to be emotional barely made the audience sympathize with her character. The fact that I’m confused about who the villain is supposed to be or what the threat even is and we’re already half way through the show is not encouraging. I don’t think we’re going to have much villain development. I’m not sure the villain will even make sense at all at this point.

Steve Roger’s Legacy:

As each episode passes it feels like the writers are painting Steve in more and more of a negative light without really noticing that they’re doing it. I will admit, part of it is their fault but part of it is also the fault of the writers of ‘Avengers Endgame’. Steve leaving Bucky the way we see him in this series is nothing short of morally wrong. And in this episode we get the added bonus of seeing that he left Sharon in a precarious state since ‘Civil War’ and never helped her out even though there seemed to be a budding relationship between them that now feels really gross and creepy. The show also seems to keep forgetting how much Steve was anti government. Steve Rogers is definitely punched in the face by this show a lot.

Every time I leave this show I wonder what happened to the plot. Because I often find myself feeling that I knew just as much about the plot in the first episode as I do now. I know this is supposed to be a character driven show, but the plot should at least make some sense. I wish I had better things to say. I do have an update on the bisexual Bucky thing though, and it’s not looking good. It seems as though they referenced it by having Bucky be listed as searching for both men and women on the dating app he’s using. If that’s seriously all we get from what was promised, I’m going to be so angry. But honestly, it wouldn’t be too different from the type of character writing we’ve been seeing from this show so far. Even if Bucky does have some good character moments, it seems that he’s the only one at the moment. At least it’s somewhat entertaining because the actors seem to be having fun.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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