Marvel: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Finale

Screenshot from the final episode of ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ featuring Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson. Copyright goes to Marvel Entertainment and Disney Studios.

Hi! It’s Annie!

Well, we made it guys. This series has finally wrapped up, answered questions (?), and given us at least somewhat of a hint on what will happen going forwards. I called a couple episodes ago that this show was a bust, but last week’s episode did have some cute moments that I hoped would be brought completely into the last episode and round things out a bit. So, was I wrong for calling this show too early? Absolutely not. I think the finale might have been my least favorite episode, which is saying something. So strap in, because I have a lot of thoughts about this finale and what it might mean for Marvel going forwards. As always, SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

Sam Wilson:

I’m actually pretty pleased with where they left him. Sam became an excellent Captain America while still acknowledging what it meant for a black man to represent the Stars and Stripes that have continuously betrayed and de-humanized him. The issue is that his entire character arc seemed to take place over the course of three episodes and it felt like he was ignored for the rest of the time. When Sam came in to fight during this episode he was a complete badass. It gave you the same feeling that you get in a singular hero movie where the hero finally arrives for their big fight scene. This is what I wanted for Sam throughout the show, Captain America or not. If the culminating point for the entire show was having Sam come to terms with the shield and eventually become Captain America, then the entire show should have reflected this. Not just a couple of episodes. This is just one of many examples I will get into of the inconsistencies in this show. Sam had an amazing speech in this episode as well, my only gripe with this is that the speech went on a bit too long. And I liked seeing Sam with his sister in the ending of the episode. But it just feels like we were missing so much. It felt like we needed to see more build up before we saw Sam as Captain America. I’m just glad that we’re going to get a movie focused on him now so that other characters, hopefully, won’t get in the way. I also need to mention that I definitely cried when Sam gave Isaiah a statue in the Super Soldier part of the Steve Rogers exhibit. That was a nice touch.

Bucky Barnes:

I think they felt like they were closing Bucky’s arc, but that also didn’t feel built up to. I’ve said this several times before, but some of the only good character writing in this show went to Bucky. I absolutely loved Bucky in this show! And we at least see that he’s finally getting over the entire Winter Soldier thing, but there’s still no build up to it. They mentioned his list sparsely throughout and I wanted to see Bucky struggle more with his list before he just decided to throw it out. I also should mention that Bucky did almost nothing this episode. He saved some people, fought a little bit, and got a couple closing scenes at the end. There was nothing focused for Bucky in the finale episode of a show that’s partly about him except for one thirty second scene. This is one of the places I feel the show suffered. It just felt like the writers couldn’t balance between Sam and Bucky. It was either too much about one, too much about about the other, or too little character writing for either of them. Also, if you saw the Malcolm Spellman interview where he hinted at confirming Bucky as bisexual be prepared to be thoroughly queer baited. His hinting was relegated to one line in a past episode that could possibly mean Bucky is bisexual if you squint really hard. If you aren’t going to follow through and actually commit, then don’t promise anything. I’m really sick of Disney as a company queer baiting their audiences that they promised LGBTQ+ representation to. Bucky was at least cute playing with Sam’s nephews at the end of the episode.

John Walker:

This is where we start getting into the hard negatives. What was the point? I really don’t get it. In the last episode we saw John Walker making a shield out of steel that was crushed pretty early on in the battle. We all knew that was going to happen. But when he joined the battle against the Flag Smashers, neither Bucky or Sam questioned it. Even though this guy was pretty insane and killed a guy in front of them not long ago. Neither of them seemed to bat an eyelash. Bucky even worked with him the most throughout the battle despite the fact that no one hated John Walker more than Bucky in this series. It just made absolutely no sense, not to mention that John Walker was actually pretty useless to the plot when it came to adding him into that battle. Him not being there would have made no difference. Then in the end of the episode we see that he’s becoming the US Agent, which is what he becomes in the comics. While I didn’t really care about this in the context of the show, I ultimately realized that this means that they are going to bring him into the MCU. Why? For what purpose? It’s not like he was a useful or well-liked character. That ‘Captain America 4’ movie is starting to worry me.

Sharon Carter:

Again I ask, why was she even here? I’m so confused. At least with John Walker I can see his presence as a needed incentive for Sam picking up the shield. Nothing else really, but there’s that! It was revealed in this episode that Sharon was the Power Broker, a fact that we all already knew, but she was still pretty useless to the plot. I’m really just not sure why she was here at all. This show was absolutely awful at focusing on any female characters whatsoever. Giving Sharon a new title and deciding that she’s a villain now does nothing because it was done without any character development. She was not focused on once in this entire show. In fact, going back through the plot, I feel like this show would have functioned the exact same way without her. It feels like they threw her in just to say that they had a female character. Which is meaningless unless you actually put work into that character. She is so forgettable that the main characters forgot about her and left her wounded in an abandoned building in this episode. Then you got the ending where it was revealed that she was given her job back so she’s going to be a spy against the government. Big shocker there. Sharon has officially earned her place on the long list of female characters Marvel writers have treated horribly.

The Flag Smashers:

What were they doing? I’ve watched the entire series and I still have no idea what their goals were. What makes it worse is it seems like their morals kept changing. Karli has had no qualms with killing innocents to get what she wants and she’s also said that she doesn’t want to kill innocents because it goes against her morality. In fact, she expressed both of these sentiments in the first fifteen minutes of this episode. Karli was such an unfocused contradictory character that I have no idea what her personality was even supposed to be. I don’t even know what the Flag Smashers were doing in this episode. And the writers seemed to forget that Karli had taken the Super Soldier serum because she never used her abilities once in this entire episode. She just got randomly shot and died and I think it was supposed to be an emotional moment. But it wasn’t because the audience never connected to that character. She didn’t have enough character development and, as I said, some of the only development she got was contradictory. This entire villain organization felt useless in the end. For a hot second I was worried they were going to bring them into the MCU as well, because we did have a scene that promised a possible escape for the remaining Flag Smashers. But then they blew up. It was kind of hinted that Zemo might have had a hand in that, but we don’t know how and nothing was really confirmed. It was just over-all confusing.

Zemo:

Hopefully we’ll see him again. He was the only character other than Bucky and Sam that I found to be entertaining. But I wasn’t a fan of him turning into a Deus ex machina at the end of all of this and somehow conveniently getting rid of the Flag Smashers from jail. At least now the dancing Zemo meme exists.

This finale was confusing and showed just how useless all of the villains in this show were. It almost felt like someone had written the speech for Sam at the end of this episode and they decided to scrounge a series around that. The entire series was unfocused and confusing. For a show that claimed to center completely around character development, it felt like we came out of it with no completed character arcs. It scares me to think that the next movie is going to be written by this show runner. Because I definitely did not have fun with series. There were a few character moments that I liked, but I feel as though my life would remain unchanged if I had decided not to watch this. I might return to a couple scenes on Youtube (Looking strong John!), but there’s no way you’re getting me to watch this whole thing again. Here’s to hoping ‘Loki’ is better!

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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