Episode 3 feels like it has finally assembled the plot chessboard which we will play through last half of the season
Spoilers alert. Also, I’m running out of witty spoiler alerts.
Power Broker is a busy episode that brings back a couple of familiar faces from the Captain America movies in Baron Zemo and Sharon Carter. What is a huge reunion episode also opens up quite the backstory for Zemo, which, while taking a bit away from his original MCU characterization (a man that lost his family, wanting revenge), also calls back to his original story (and costume) in the comics.
While the show story plays out, episode three opens up more questions leading us into the thick of the season. Midway through this sentence, I realize: We’re already halfway through the promised six episodes and there’s still so much to be answered.
That said, it feels like we’re just getting started.
Lots of moving pieces
Now that the show has its feet planted there are at least four key things to track:
- John Walker AKA Captain America
- The Flag-Smashers
- The Power Broker
- Baron Zemo
Things haven’t come together yet, but it will be interesting to see how they are stitched. This isn’t like Wandavision where the weave comes much later, here there is a kind of loose net to begin with as while things are happening separately, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier does make it a little easier to imagine things together by defining the puzzle pieces, even if we have no idea how they come together yet.
While getting much less of the limelight this week, is it clear that Captain America is no longer the boy scout. What separates John Walker from Steve Rogers is now becoming apparently clear, John Walker’s moral compass is off by a mile. It’s one thing he has in common with the Flag-Smashers in their “the end justifies the means” philosophy. Wyatt Russel plays this to perfection as his character starts abusing his position, something you know deep down Cap would never do. While this feels like the worst is yet to come, I’m glad his flaws are finally out in the open.
Worth mentioning as well, though in a minor note, is the buildup of sympathy towards Karli Morgenthau that the episode tries to muster, while it isn’t the most powerful thread, it is telling. Admittedly, I first saw the Flag-Smashers as a super soldier Robin Hood gang but this episode makes their boundaries quite clear. Any shred of gray in their intention wiped away in an intentionally set explosion. While I don’t hate them, it’s clear that they have to be dealt with.
The show has started to put some of the haze into black and white where we ultimately know where we should be (different from the potential ticking time bomb that Wanda could have been set up as). At least in the case of Cap and the Flag-Smashers, we’re back to a more classic case of good vs. bad (with a healthy dose of who-is-the-mastermind), which isn’t exactly new but it is definitely tried and tested. Just to balance things out, we still have Zemo, who’s real agenda is yet to be seen. He is certainly helping them out, you can definitely expect a hidden agenda somewhere down the line.
A Small Detail Called Madripoor
Score one for the nerds with this one. Madripoor is actually a fictional location mentioned several times in Marvel comics lore originally within the Philippines and specifically used in many X-Men stories (bummer that our country wasn’t represented as a key Marvel location). While this isn’t exactly the most groundbreaking detail in the episode, it is worth noting simply because it could easily be used as a location in a future X-Men-MCU storyline. Or even better, an actual X-Man might even show up and surprise us.
The Power Broker feeds us answers but definitely opens up more questions. With no shortage now on plot pieces, the show sets us up well as invested members of the audience. We are far from a resolution but it will be exciting to see how the show runners will answer the questions that have been raised this early.
Words Yosu de Erquiaga
Art Alexandra Lara