Well, that escalated quickly. And to properly talk about this episode, I’m going to have to slap a hard spoilers warning onto this review — though most of you probably know how this episode ends due to the internet’s reaction to it.
Episode 4 sees our little group of Baron Zemo (Daniel Brühl) Sam Wilson/The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes/the former Winter Soldier (Sebatastian Stan) run into two key conflicts, with number 1 being the fact that Wakandan Warrior Ayo (Florence Kasumba) is determined to bring Zemo to justice for killing Wakandan King T’Chaka in “Captain America: Civil War,” and number 2 being stopping supersoldier and Flag Smasher leader Karli Morgenthau (Erimn Kellyman) from committing any more acts of violence.
Sam and Bucky need Zemo for leads, and he proves to be capable of standing his own during conflict, but he’s also a wildcard looking out for himself. Things only get more complicated when Wannabe Captain America John Walker (Wyatt Russell) and his partner, Battlestar (Clé Bennett) tag along. Ayo reluctantly gives them time with Zemo, but when it’s time to collect him, Walker and Battlestar start a conflict, letting Zemo escape.
Walker clearly has a superiority complex, as he sees the need to take control of Sam and Bucky’s operation even when it’s clear they know what they’re doing, and Walker does not, with Sam at one point getting very close to talking Morgenthau down from leading her revolution in the violent way she has been, until Walker ruins it, walking in with a chip on his shoulder to bring her to custody by force, which of course doesn’t work, because Morgenthau and her gang are supersoldiers, which only Sam and Bucky prove they can keep up with.
This reckless way of leading through violent authority eventually leads to the death of Battlestar, which puts Walker into a violent rage in which he murders a Flag Smasher with Steve Rogers’ shield in front of a bunch of people, who record it on their phones. Walker did manage to recover a vial of the supersoldier serum, but it’s clear that he crossed a line, and his days of being Captain America will soon be over.
Episode 4 builds on what the previously three episodes had been communicating about Walker and his illegitimate ascendency to the mantle of Captain America, as he in many ways is the opposite of Steve Rogers, as he sticks by the government even when they betray their own values (it’s hinted that he might have committed war crimes in Afghanistan) and unlike Steve Rogers, Walker might be a good soldier, but he most certainly is not a good man, as he crossed a line (murdering a helpless victim in cold blood) that Rogers would never do, even if it meant sacrificing his own life.
The episode ends with Walker holding the blooded Captain America shield — he literally tarnishes the symbol and the mantle of Captain America. Walker was clearly written to antagonize fans, with it being clear that only Sam Wilson can and should take up the mantle of Captain America, and it seems like Walker’s failures will pave the way for Sam to finally be the new Cap.
With that being said, I fully expect Walker to eventually take up the mantle of US Agent — what he is in the comics — which suits him much better. And while Battlestar appears to be dead, I wouldn’t be surprised if the show somehow brings him back, like Marvel did with Bucky when he supposedly fell to his death in “Captain America; The First Avenger.”
“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” Season 1: Episode 4 “The Whole World Is Watching” gets an 8.5/10