(SPOILER-FILLED) TV Review: Marvel's The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Episode 4

Original series streaming now.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is a 2021 superhero series created by Malcolm Spellman. It is now streaming exclusively to Disney+. It will run for six episodes until April 23, 2021. The series stars Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan. It is based on various Marvel comics. This series runs parallel with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, acting as the second original Marvel series and a sequel to Avengers: Endgame. It was preceded by WandaVision and will be followed by Loki.


"If you're doing something, and it makes you scared, it's probably because it's the right thing." -Nico

Plot


After the Flag-Smashers blow up a building full of people, Sam, Bucky, and Zemo intensify their search for Karli Morgenthau. With the Wakandans now on their tail, the stakes are higher than ever. As they try to sneak in to the funeral of Donya Madani, John Walker suddenly catches up with them, losing patience and taking things into his own hands.



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Episode 4 "The World Is Watching" Review



Karli's Development / Wakanda Storyline / Sam and Bucky's Dynamic / Zemo: Bad Guy or Good Guy? / Hatred for Walker and Ending / Final Score


Karli's Development


The reason that this episode is so good is because of Karli Morgenthau. They do a great job with her character, fully fleshing out her backstory, motivations, and showing us that she truly is not that different from Sam and Bucky. The one major difference is her method of action, which involves murder and terrorism instead of handling things the correct way.


I loved what they did with her in this. It made us fully understand where the character was coming from and why she was doing what she was doing, even though we still don't really know what her plan is. They delve even deeper into her liking things the way that they were during the Blip.


That conversation with Sam after the funeral is, even with all the action, probably my favorite scene. It's a great way to deliver something that the audience and characters need to know without getting too talky and completely bored.


That was really the big scene for her character, but it did do a lot. The rest of the episode, she is still acting like the main villain of the show, even though I don't think she will end up being the final antagonist of the series. We'll get into that later.


Wakanda Storyline


I hope that this isn't the last we see of the Dora Milaje and the Wakandans. I liked their inclusion and the tension that it added into the mix, but they didn't have a ton to do. They didn't actually complete their mission, which was getting Zemo. The action sequence with them was also really cool, because even in Black Panther, we didn't see the Wakandan tech used like that.


I don't have much on this, but I feel like it could increase the tension of the show near the end if the Dora Milaje reappear and want to take Zemo with them again while the team is fighting Karli or Walker.


Sam and Bucky's Dynamic


And, still, my biggest problem with the show is Sam and Bucky. Actually, not them specifically, but the inclusion of them, or lack thereof. They feel like they are secondary characters to Zemo, to Karli, to Walker. The show is called The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, yet they get the least focus. Episode 1 is the only one that I feel like focused on them. Episode 2 focused on Walker. Episode 3 focused on Zemo. And, now, Episode 4 focused on Karli.


The draw of the show is the banter between Sam and Bucky, and, besides a few lines here and there in episode 2, that hasn't really been present inside of the show. I said this in my last review, but the two biggest sins a superhero movie or show can commit is taking away a superhero's powers or sidelining the main heroes for the side characters. And that's been a looming problem in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.


Zemo: Bad Guy or Good Guy?


I still think that Zemo may be the best thing about the show. Besides Sam and Bucky, the usage of characters in the show is great, and that centers on Zemo. He really seems like he is an ally, but you still cannot trust him. Even though you now like him, you know that he is a manipulative terrorist. In a sense, he is the Hannibal Lecter of the MCU. He has a moral code and wants to destroy the Super Soldier Serum, which he does.


I also like that they make sure to emphasize his honesty. Even though we know Zemo as the person that tore the Avengers apart and the person who was indirectly responsible for Thanos snapping, he is more likable than Walker and Karli because he doesn't lie. I was originally going to put manipulative liar in the paragraph above, but that simply isn't true. He is an honest man. Still a sadistic murderer, but an honest one at that.


The only way I see Zemo turning into a villain is if he ends up being the Power Broker. And I think that that is unlikely.


Hatred for Walker and Ending


Easily my least favorite character (in a good way) is John Walker. And this is the guy that will probably end up being the main villain. Either that or he'll have a great redemptive arc in the end that will make you actually like him. But, as of right now, he is one of the most hatable characters in the MCU.


He simply ruins everything. When something is about to be okay, Walker has to come in and ruin it. Even though his intentions are good, he just is so full of himself that he ends up screwing everything over. And then he kills one of the Flag-Smashers with the entire world watching because his friend, Lemar, was killed by Karli.


When comparing him to Steve Rogers, this man is very unfit to be Captain America. And I think that a part of him realizes that. I think he will fully embrace that and go rogue next episode, running away and taking the vial of the Super Soldier Serum that he stole. I'm intrigued to see what they have planned with this character in next week's episode.


This is what I have really liked about both WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. A main antagonist and main protagonist are implied, but the lines between good and evil are truly blurred. Is Zemo good? Could Wanda end up being the true main villain? Where does Walker stand on the spectrum?


Final Thoughts


This is likely my favorite episode of the season. It dealt out great action, character work, and a good setup for the final section of the show. I am still very excited for next week's episode.


Fun Factor: 8.5/10

Acting: 8.5/10

Characters: 9/10

Story: 8/10

Quality: 8.5/10


"The World Is Watching"


Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson/Falcon

Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier

Daniel Brühl as Baron Helmut Zemo

Wyatt Russell as John Walker/U.S. Agent

Erin Kellyman as Karli Morgenthau/Flag-Smasher

Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter

Adepero Oduye as Sarah Wilson

Clé Bennett as Lemar Hoskins/Battlestar

Florence Kasumba as Ayo

Noah Mills as Nico