(+++ WARNING: This review contains spoilers for the final episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier +++)
If you thought the big reveal of the final episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier would be Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) donning the Captain America costume, then you would be wrong. With a revelation of the Power Broker’s true identity being that of none other than Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp), ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. and ex-good guy. But now – as seen in the post-credit secret scene – cleared of all charges and reinstated into a government she is clearly working against in her new role. A very interesting development indeed. Even if it is completely out of character for Carter.
Juts like murderer John Walker (Wyatt Russell) who’s rehabilitation is rather remarkable to witness and a step out of key with the rest of this series. A series that has a good deal to say about contemporary America, but doesn’t seem to have too much to say about a man out of control. Why would adopting the U.S. Agent monicker at the end of this series make him a better man? Although his new role is hinted at being something far darker, more Black Ops. Looks like if a bad guy kills, they have to pay. But, if it’s a true-blue American, then his war crimes can be easily brushed aside it would seem. Hell, he even shares a joke or two with the new Cap and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan). It’s the one sour note of an otherwise storming series.
What we get is a gung-ho, grand finale worthy of any Marvel cinematic outing, But then this has felt like an extra-long MCU film anyway, and given the genre it’s no surprise that this would end in fisticuffs and blood shed.
Sam Wilson gets to strut his stuff in his fan-pelting new threads and even has time to remind viewers that not all corners of America will support a black Cap. But, nonetheless, this is a reaffirming ending in many ways. Even Isiah Bradley (Carl Lumby) finds peace in his decades-long struggle in seeng Sam in his new role. It certainly suits him. And the mopey Bucky finally gets to smile too. Just.
Hats off must go to Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, who once again steals the one scene she appears in when giving Walker the good news that he’s back on the government’s payroll. Or is he, given her own role as “Madam hydra’ in the comics? Are we really seeing a resurgence of this group in the MCU? Or, is her role connected to the recently revealed Secret Invasion series? Let the guessing games begin!
The divide between good and bad continues to blur, even at the end and after the episode is completed. It’s a series that’s questioned what it tales to be a hero and certainly set up a good deal of new avenues for Marvel Studios to explore, on the big screen and the small.
All episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier are now available on Disney Plus
You can read the reviews for the entire series here.