The Falcon and the Winter Soldier finished up last Friday, so it is time to rank all six episodes. This is a weird show, because I don't dislike any of the episodes, but they all frustrate me because they all have a negative effect on the overarching plot line. However, I did enjoy each individual episode. Some more than others. And that is why I am ranking them.
6. Episode 1: New World Order
Like I said before, I liked every episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. This had some fun action, but it has a lasting effect on the rest of the season because it feels like a waste of an episode. It doesn't really start up the plot of the show. We don't know anything about the Flag-Smashers or what the main conflict of the season will be. This was the launch point for my main complaint of the season: Everything felt too rushed. If they used episode 1 as a way to start up the story, it might not have been that way.
5. Episode 3: Power Broker
I think that this episode is the most problematic on a story level. I love what they do with Zemo's character here, but everything else is a pretty huge mess. Why did they break him out of prison so quickly? What was the deal with the doctor who was making the serum? Who is the Power Broker and why do I care? These were questions that were presented and some of them answered too quickly, while others not answered at all. This was another bump in the road that threw the car way off track.
4. Episode 6: One World, One People
I'd say there's a pretty big jump in quality from episode three to the finale. I thought that episode six did a nice job of wrapping things up. The action was phenomenal and the stuff with Isaiah was so powerful. I loved how they finished off Sam and Bucky's arcs, as well as giving Walker a redemption while not making him a full-on good guy. The reveal of Sharon as the Power Broker is the single most predictable plot twist ever. And I felt it did rush to the finish a bit, not paying everything off in the most satisfying way. A good, but flawed finale.
3. Episode 2: The Star-Spangled Man
This episode gave me what the trailers teased: Sam and Bucky's childish banter. That's what I enjoyed most. I liked the introduction of John Walker. It humanized him, but also showed us that he's kind of a jerk. This showed us that the Flag-Smashers were a real threat. This is the intro to The Falcon and the Winter Soldier that I wanted, not New World Order.
2. Episode 4: The World Is Watching
This episode had some of the biggest moments in the series. You had the big battle with the Wakandans. You had Sam trying to show Karli his way only to have Walker interrupt him and try to arrest her. This was the episode that made you hate Walker and set up his redemption nicely in the finale. This had some very high highs, but I also felt like they didn't pay enough attention to some of the other storylines (like the Power Broker) that were rushed into the finale.
1. Episode 5: Truth
This was the better version of episode one. It had my favorite fight scene with Walker versus Sam and Bucky. This was a character-driven episode that allowed Sam to develop. I loved watching his Rocky-esc training montage with a Captain America twist thrown into it. It gave us space to get to know our characters, which I really appreciated. As an individual episode, it was my favorite. I don't think any of the episodes really contribute positively to the season (except for maybe episode two), but this was the one where it bothered me the least.