Episode 2 is strewn with surprises and strong social commentary
Spoilers alert. On your left, spoiler alert.
Don’t be fooled by the headline, this episode wasn’t flawless.
Following last week’s opener, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier left us with an unexpected bombshell: a new Captain America. This week’s episode lines us up with several threads that weave into the bigger story while keeping up the action that we’ve come to expect from a series like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
It’s not a bad follow up, but it’s not one that had me salivating and screaming for more. Save for Isaiah’s reveal towards the end of the episode, I would say this week’s drop carries very powerful tones and yet felt a little flat, as contradictory as that might seem. What got to me most (or least) was how indifferent I was towards the new Captain America. Not even a real blip on the emotional radar.
I really wanted to dislike him, I just couldn’t find a reason.
Read on and let me explain.
Nothing wrong with the new Captain America but…meh
The episode starts with a bit of background into John Walker. He’s nervously practicing his speech and, just like any other person who would be in his shoes, his doubt and authenticity are on full display. Further into it, through a conversation with Falcon, he says that he’s just trying to be the best Captain America he can be, which in itself seems admirable. There’s no reason to dislike him, but I don’t feel much for him as a character yet.
He’s been granted the honor of being Cap, which one would think is one of the highest honors anyone in the Marvel-verse could ever dream of. This crosses the border from the perspective of characters inside the MCU to the eyes of the fans—Captain America is a symbol, a hallmark, a cornerstone of the Avengers, and yes, we were given a new one in John Walker. For such a huge character shift, I would’ve wanted to feel something at the onset. I want to feel invested, whether that means I cheer for the new guy or tell myself that Sam Wilson would’ve done a better job.
Right now, there’s nothing there. Call it build up or genuine lack of punch—either way, I wish I had something to tug on.
More than one Captain America
One of the episode’s highlights is definitely Isaiah’s big reveal: he was a super soldier, just like Steve Rogers. He got injected with the same serum and did the heroics but somehow no one had really heard of him. Even worse than being relegated to behind the scenes, he became the lab rat that the government experimented on for 30 years. A far cry from the poster boy that Steve Rogers was for the US and, while this works perfectly for the Flag Smasher and super soldier mini-army storyline, it tackles the theme of racism that the first episode incepted in a very powerful way. The irony at the end of the sequence being that, as much as we saw the fingers pointed as Sam during the arrest scene, it was Bucky that the police apprehended.
While in general, the possibility of super soldiers isn’t new, I’m glad they made it a point in the show to reference that the enemies would be just as strong as Bucky and by extension Steve Rogers. While we aren’t exactly dealing with Sam’s “big three” (aliens, androids, wizards), it’s worth mentioning that they’re at least dealing with one of their own kind (superhuman) to give the viewers an idea that the enemy is just as powerful as the heroes. It’s a constant point that will need reminding at least until Marvel unravels the story of the Karli Morgenthau and Flag Smashers and the truth behind what they’re doing as well as who they’ve stolen from.
A less enticing episode but still a worthy one for sure, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier moves away from the character set ups and pushes the story forward. While the story path and conflicts are clear (I’m definitely looking forward to Zemo and the loop back to Hydra), the emotional draw to a coming antagonist in John Walker could have been made more enticing. After all, wouldn’t you love to hate someone that replaced Steve Rogers as Captain America?
Overall for this The Falcon and The Winter Soldier S1E2 review? A 7/10.
Words Yosu de Erquiaga
Art Alexandra Lara