EDITOR’S ALERT: This is the second in Stacey Jones’ ongoing discussion of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and its place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Ergo, like it says in the title of this post, a world of SPOILERS awaits below the thin red line. Oh and also an assumption that you’re familiar with the MCU!
THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER
S1:E3 POWER BROKER
by Stacey Jones
Power Broker opens with an eerily real ad for the Global Repatriation Council* (GRC), for those who Blipped out and returned, with a promise to help ‘return to normal’. The serenity is shattered by a GRC Police force escorting “Captain America”, as he investigates Flag Smasher.
Getting things ‘back to normal’ looks kinda scary, and the juxtaposition between the media image and the reality lays bare the truth of current conditions in the MCU.
For anyone paying attention to our real-life current events, the echoes and mirrors abound. ‘Getting back to normal’ has become a mantra during the pandemic, and alongside it, many raise a question: ‘why go back to what wasn’t working, when we could build something better?’
Karli Morganthau is asking the same thing.
John Walker’s pursuit of Flag Smasher grows darker at each turn, as the Shield casts a shadow too big for him to escape. His reason and logic deteriorate as his friend Lemar tries to shore up the dam against the flood, in what is a Good Cop/Bad CAP situation.
Walker is a product of modern America, which is not the same thing as being a product of 1930’s America. Not in the least.
As I watch this, a sick feeling grows in my gut. The man is going to break, that is certain. What tragedy will be the last straw?
There’s a lot of clocks ticking right now, plot-wise, but the one that is most important might be the one that counts the moments until Bucky takes the Shield. I want Buck to be able to save Walker from himself, but that’s not very exciting or dramatic.
I continue to talk about Buck and the Shield because the show itself is telling us as much. The role of Captain America NEEDS to be filled with the right kind of super-soldier. A human with the old-fashioned ideals that can be held up, and aspired to.
Bucky Barnes is that man, in large part because he is supported by Sam. Take a look at the gunfights and heavy action in this episode and Bucky is shooting to wound, every time. They’re showing us that for a reason.
Buck’s decision to spring Zemo not only triggers a fantastic middle act of action comedy with the stakes twisting real tension into it, but it reveals how desperate he is to stem off his own sense of impending disaster because the wrong man has The Shield.
Sam and Buck struggle to define themselves against Steve’s shadow, just like Walker is. As they tussle with the leadership role throughout the episode, finding their footing… more and more, Buck is taking point. It’s a sign of his healing and stability.
Sharon Carter’s presence is helpful, and a bit deus-ex machina… which means she still has hidden layers to be revealed. However, she does give the boys a bone to chew on as they consider the culpability of heroism.
Sharon’s interjection works into Sam like a thorn. The old world never had much to offer him and his family before, and he’s not vested in returning to that as a state of normalcy.
Karli’s choices at the end of the episode really muck up the whole works, not just for our heroes, but for the viewers.
Those of us who were supporting the ideal she’s espousing, now tainted by the irrevocable, find it extremely difficult to side with her, even if we still see value in the changes she wants to see.
How our heroes will deal with it will challenge the world they exist in, and those of us peeking in.
* Last week I mistakenly called the GRC the Global Restoration Council, my bad!
Stacey Jones is an award winning writer, composer, musician, and rebel philosopher who was, in fact, the overall winner of the 2nd running of TVWriter™’s now gone but not forgotten contest, The People’s Pilot. TVWriter™ is happy to welcome him back to the fold.