This review contains spoilers so please tread lightly or watch the show first.
Alright, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Episode Four. There was a lot to unpack with this episode, wow.
Anyways, I don’t know how long this one’s going to be, but check out my Mid-Season Review for the show which covers Episodes one to three.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Episode 4: The Whole World Is Watching
In which Sam ultimately proves that he deserves to take the mantle of Captain America
Quick Recap 📝
We go back six years ago in Wakanda, where Ayo recites the Winter Soldier activation words to Bucky. Bucky struggles as memories come back, but the codes didn’t work and Ayo reassures him that he’s free, much to Bucky’s relief.
Back in Latvia, Ayo warns Bucky that he’s got eight hours before they come for Zemo for killing King T’Chaka. Zemo helps Sam and Bucky find Karli Morgenthau, and Sam tries to talk her down.
As Sam was seemingly able to break through Karli, John Walker and Lemar Hoskins intercept to arrest her, leading Karli to believe that she was set up in a trap. Bucky loses Karli as she escapes but Zemo finds her, shoots her, and destroys most of the serum. Walker again interferes by knocking out Zemo and takes the last vial of serum.
Breaking into their place, Walker and Hoskins demand Sam and Bucky turn Zemo over, but the Dora Milaje interrupts as the eight hours are up. Walker refuses to turn Zemo over, but the Dora singlehandedly beats him and Hoskins.
Sam and Bucky reluctantly try to help, which ends with Walker and Hoskins getting their asses kicked, Ayo literally disarming Bucky’s vibranium arm, and Zemo escapes.
Karli threatens Sarah and uses her to send a message to Sam. Sam and Bucky meet with Karli and she tries to get them on her side. Walker and Hoskins engage with the other Flag Smashers, which slowly reveals that Walker has taken the serum. During the fight, Karli accidentally kills Hoskins which makes Walker snap.
Walker chases Nico, one of the Flag Smashers, and violently bludges him to death in public using the shield, with everyone watching and filming.
Episode Thoughts 🧠
Wow, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier continues to deliver. Every episode they release becomes my favorite and this one is going to be the turning point for the series.
Bucky’s Relationship to Wakanda
Just when I thought that we’ve probably seen the last of Wakanda during the last scene of Episode Three, this episode actually opens in Wakanda!
Man, this whole scene was so powerful for me. I never thought that they’d show Bucky breaking free from the Winter Soldier program, but they did. AND I WAS NOT READY FOR THAT.
Bucky was crying, so I was crying too. And I cried A LOT, maybe like full-on ten minutes. I had to hit pause and drop the show for a couple of hours because I had to process my emotions. Two hours after, I replayed the scene
because I love pain and continued on 😏
Anyway, even with Ayo getting angry at Bucky for breaking out Zemo, she still gave him time as he explained that Zemo was a means to an end. They have great respect for each other. I love it because it sort of gives an insight into what Bucky’s stay in Wakanda was like and the deep gratitude he has for Shuri and everyone who helped him. I mean, I’m pretty much sold to the idea that Bucky’s javelin throw stunt in Madripoor was something he learned from the Dora.
Walking into Sam’s Wheelhouse
Sure, everyone’s talking about how the symbol of Captain America has been tainted, but I just want to take this moment to highlight this:
Sam literally outshone everyone in this episode.
This episode really proved why Sam was chosen by Steve to take up the mantle of being Captain America. I mean, the way he handled things was in stark contrast compared to Walker’s actions, even from the very beginning. But this episode just emphasizes why Sam is perfectly capable of taking up the shield.
While Walker uses his arrogance, Sam uses his reasoning and empathy before anything. Remember what Dr. Erskine said in The First Avenger, “not a perfect soldier, but a good man.”
Walker is the perfect soldier, but Sam is ultimately the good man.
Sam really made it a point that Karli can be reasoned with, and that “she’s just a kid”. He wanted to be able to level with her and reason with her, much to Walker’s disagreement. And Sam was definitely qualified for that, given his experience as a grief counselor back in The Winter Soldier.
I love Sam’s approach and his whole exchange with Karli when he was trying to make Karli look at the outside perspective of her whole agenda. Even the body language that he elicits during the whole exchange was remarkable and it slightly referenced Steve and Wanda’s conversation after the Lagos incident in Civil War. Sam approached her with ease and even had his back on her at proximity to show comfort and trust. PLEASE I LOVE SAM WILSON HE DESERVES THAT SHIELD!
And I think that Sam was able to break through Karli a little because she’d rather trust Sam since he’s not hiding behind a shield.
Don’t Mess with the Dora Milaje
John Walker was oozing with arrogance in this episode, he even challenged Sam to a fight. But the fight Walker deserved comes as the Dora Milaje shows up.
What happens when you patronize someone you shouldn’t? You get your white ass beat up. And that’s exactly what happened to Bootleg Cap. Gosh, I loved every second of this fight scene. The Dora literally put Walker in his place and he deserved it.
Also, the scene where Ayo deactivated Bucky’s arm with the pressure points was so badass. Poor guy didn’t see it coming and neither did I. 😲
John Walker’s Descent
I think the Dora Milaje fight scene was Walker’s breaking point. He got humiliated so bad, that he decided to take the serum he kept. Sure, it was cool that he had a conversation with Hoskins about taking the serum if he had a chance. I just think that he’s already dead set on taking the serum regardless of Hoskin’s response.
Like I get it, he’s extended a lot of olive branches to Sam and Bucky since episode 2. Sure that seems cool, he’s just doing his job. There’s a lot of pressure filling the shoes of being Captain America, and the circumstances aren’t really making it easy for him. The constant pressure, Sam and Bucky constantly shooting him down and being one step ahead of him every time. This is eating him alive.
But the thing is, he’ll never really see Sam and Bucky as equals, just as Cap’s sidekicks. Remember in episode 2, Walker called Sam “Cap’s Wingman” and referred to Bucky as a “valuable asset”.
This is what’s dangerous with Walker taking the serum. The serum doesn’t really change you, it only amplifies what you already are. So what do you get when you have the perfect egotistical white soldier full of arrogance, micro-aggressions, misogyny, and a superiority complex takes that serum?
A white supremacist. The very anti-thesis of Steve Rogers.
Erskine must have been rolling in his grave.
Meanwhile, Sam straight up told Zemo that he’s not taking the serum even if he was offered it.
The Last Straw
What’s sad about Walker is he’s a veteran soldier put into the battle without any weapon since the government is only using him as propaganda. Even with the shield, he can’t do anything. He’s probably dealing with PTSD too, and he mentioned that being Captain America felt like the only chance he had to actually do something good. I fully empathize with that, but I still condemn his actions.
The last straw for him was Hoskins’s death. I don’t believe that Karli had intentionally killed Hoskins because it would be meaningless, recalling her conversation with Sam earlier in the episode. But for John, losing his best friend was losing his moral conscience.
Lemar Hoskins was the only person who believes in him. He was his voice of reason and his moral conscience. It’s sad because I actually liked him.
His rage consumed him, plus the super-soldier serum amplified everything in him. He killed a Flag Smasher by bludgeoning him with the shield in broad daylight with everyone watching and recording him.
Yep, the whole world is watching.
His PR team is never gonna see the daylight again.
The Sad Reality
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Episode Four continued to show us the parallels and allegories of this show with real life. In the previous episodes, they already tackled racism and white privilege. Marvel said let’s amp it up a little more.
Remember Nico’s last line?
“It wasn’t me!”
His hands were held up in total surrender.
This scene was an allegory to police brutality. He’s in complete surrender, yet John Walker still bludgeons the man to his ironic death. Nico used to idolize Captain America when he was growing up.
And if I may, John Walker is the living allegory of present America.
My world doesn’t matter to America, so why should I care about its mascot?SARAH WILSON, THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER EPISODE FOUR
What scares me a bit about the next episode is the US Government might justify Walker’s actions since The Flag Smashers have already been painted as terrorists. Sure, get that man his fourth medal and deny him the therapy he obviously needs.
This further solidifies Sam’s reasons for giving up the shield, knowing full well that America is not ready for a black man to take up that mantle. All the more reason for him to get that shield tbh because he fully understands the responsibility it entails.
Overall Thoughts 💡
I spent quite some time simmering down my thoughts because there was a lot to unpack in this episode.
There were a lot of moments that I loved but I really enjoyed how the show managed to weave in the stark contrast between Sam and Walker in the narrative. I also enjoyed the slow build-up of revealing that Walker has taken the serum, that was such an excellent choice of storytelling.
Big props to Wyatt Russell because he’s killing it (no pun intended) as John Walker. Every time I think about his dead empty eyes, I instantly get chills. And to Sebastian Stan for again breaking my heart for crying. I’ve never seen Bucky more vulnerable.
I hope in the upcoming episodes we get to see more of Sam opening up about his hesitation for the shield. PLEASE MARVEL I AM BEGGING YOU JUST GIVE ME THIS. The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Episode Four might be my favorite of the bunch because it really showed how deserving Sam Wilson is to be Captain America. He really nailed talking some sense into Karli for that small moment.
As always, quick shoutout to Henry Jackman for the musical score. They changed the end credits song into a more somber and chilling tune that really gave me chills.
I’m equally excited and scared because I have a running history of penultimate episodes breaking me, but I’m ready for episode five!
- Who do you think should take up the mantle of being Captain America?
- What’s your most anticipated MCU show/movie?