Last week’s episode ended with the huge reveal that the U.S. government has replaced Steve Rogers with John Walker (Wyatt Russell) as Captain America, inspiring a predictable and clearly intentional backlash against the character, as it goes not only against the wishes of Rogers, but also his chosen successor, Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) AKA The Falcon, who chose to retire the shield and the title that comes with it.
Buckie (Sebastian Stan) confronts Sam about his decision not to take up the Captain America mantle, arguing that if Steve was wrong about Sam, he probably was wrong about Buckie, too, who is rehabilitating and trying to make amends after spending years murdering people while he was brainwashed as Hydra’s Winter Soldier. He gets nowhere, but does join Sam on a mission to stop the terrorist group the Flag Smashers, who believe the world was better before the blip and want to restore things to the way they were.
Buckie and Sam try to intercept one of their shipments, but get the snot kicked out of them, as it appears that they have a number of supersoldiers exactly like Steve Rogers, prompting where they obtained the serum to create them. Walker comes and tries to rescue them, with his own sidekick, Lemar Hoskins (Clé Bennett) AKA Battlestar, but they also end up getting defeated. Walker tries to recruit both Buckie and Sam, but they both reject him as Captain America, as while he masquerades in Rogers’ aesthetics, its clear that he has no idea what he stood for, and he acts as if he’s automatically owed the same respect Rogers got.
Walker is talented as a fighter, but he shows little leadership qualities, or understanding of who Steve Rogers was or what his mantle of Captain America stood for, because if he did, he would have realized that overriding Rogers’ wishes was the wrong choice. Walker is completely loyal to the U.S. government, doing tours and giving speeches on their behalf, much like Rogers did in the first “Captain America” movie, before they let him do real missions (at least Walker has that freedom).
We also get to see more of the Flag Smashers leader, Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman). A supersoldier herself, she proves to be a foil to Sam and Buckie, as her and her followers rely on the goodwill of everyday people, as they believe she is starting a revolution of sorts. She doesn’t seem to be a generically evil villain, and I do hope there are layers to her character.
The episode ends with a promise that Sam and Buckie will visit Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl), the “Captain America: Civil War” villain who probably has something to do with the Flag Smashers.
Overall, a decent episode.
“The Falcon and the Winter Solider” Season 1: Episode 2 “The Star Spangled Man” gets a 7/10