The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Episode 5: First Thoughts

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier title art

Episode 5 of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier released today on Disney+. You can read my thoughts on the previous episode here or continue reading for my initial thoughts on episode 5. Be warned – spoilers below!

The penultimate episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier has arrived! After last week’s episode ended with arguably the most graphic scene to ever hit the MCU, this week the action picks up right where it left off.

The episode starts with a distraught John Walker running away from that shocking incident where he brutally uses the shield to kill one of the Flag Smashers in broad daylight. He is quickly confronted by Bucky and Sam who demand the shield from him which results in an epic fight sequence between the three characters. It’s funny watching John Walker’s contrast in this opening fight scene with Sam and Bucky where, for the most part, he is bossing the fight, compared to when he came up against the Dora Milaje and got his ass handed to him – it’s impressive what a Super Soldier Serum can do!

I genuinely do feel sorry for John Walker. Throughout the series there has been a constant theme of the pressures of stepping up to the mantle of Captain America and taking the shield and no one has had this battle harder than John Walker. Becoming Captain America, losing his best friend and then losing the Captain America mantle and feeling betrayed by his country, all in the space of a few weeks, would be tough for anyone. I’m looking forward to seeing where his character goes now and following that mysterious scene with Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (who in the comics goes by the alias Madame Hydra), could we potentially see Walker working for Hydra?

There were a few minor developments in the episode which will be interesting to keep an eye on to see how they develop! Early in the episode after John has ripped Sam’s wings off, Sam is speaking with Lieutenant Torres and tells Torres that he can keep the damaged wing-suit. This could have huge significance as in the Marvel comics, Joaquin Torres takes the mantle of the Falcon and becomes Captain America’s sidekick! 

Similarly, it’s worth keeping an eye out for any developments with Zemo. In episode 5, we saw the Dora Milaje arrest Zemo and state that they were taking him to the “Raft”. We’ve seen the Raft before in Captain America: Civil War, when a number of the Avengers were imprisoned there following the clash of the Avengers at Leipzig airport. I can’t imagine Zemo will be staying in the Raft for too long, but time will tell whether he manages to break out during this series or not.

There is some brilliant character development in episode 5 for Sam and Bucky, but I’m particularly impressed with Sam’s development over the course of the series. Giving up the shield initially was a tough decision for him, but I think it was the right decision as he wasn’t yet ready. We’ve seen him grow over the series and I really feel like it is his ‘coming of age’ and he’s now mature enough to step up and become Captain America, like Steve Rodgers wanted. Sam advising Bucky on how to deal with his past trauma also felt very much like what Steve would have said to Bucky in that situation.

Bucky hasn’t had quite the same rollercoaster of development like Sam but I think this suits his character. Let’s face it, Bucky has faced so much terror in his past that it will ultimately take a lifetime to overcome. Next week’s episode sets up for Bucky to speak to Yori (the old man whom he had lunch with in episode 1) and explain to him that he killed his son, all those years ago. I’m already bracing for the emotional encounter between the two characters but I feel as though confronting his past in this manner feels like the right arc for Bucky’s character.

Towards the end of the episode we see the Flag Smashers team up with Georges Batroc as they attempt to plan an attack on the GRC, in New York. I do find it pretty fascinating that international terrorists can travel across the world with apparent ease, but hey, I’m sure it’s possible! The attack on the GRC has very much a similar feel to that of the Sokovia Accords bombing in Captain America: Civil War and no doubt if the Flag Smashers are successful, there will be global implications. 

With the final episode setting up for a dramatic ending in New York, could we potentially get a cameo from a local superhero? Perhaps Doctor Strange or Spiderman, both of whom live in New York, could make a cameo appearance? I’m both sceptical and hopeful that this will happen, but we shall see next week!

I’m really looking forward to next week’s episode and like with any good Marvel cliff hanger, there are still plenty of questions left to be resolved!  

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is available to stream on Disney+.

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