We’re finally here, at the end of the line. Marvel Studios’ The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has come to an end after six action-packed episodes, and its final episode was its most consequential yet. The Flag Smashers rounded up all their allies and executed a large-scale attack against politicians in the GRC. John Walker deployed his brand-new shield. Sam Wilson finally suited up in red, white and blue, and Bucky confessed the truth to an old friend. Zemo continued to be a rascal.
Episode 6 was packed with easter eggs and references to Marvel Comics and previous MCU entries, and it even set some stuff up for these heroes in the future. Let’s get into it!
The big headliner for this episode was that Sam Wilson finally found his way back to the shield. After debating with Bucky and Isaiah Bradley alike on the consequences of picking it up, he fully succeeded Steve Rogers and became the next Captain America. His new suit, a gift from Wakanda, is gloriously comicbook-y. Some elements of its design were changed from the comics, such as the gloves being replaced by two gauntlets - probably because MCU’s Sam uses them to control Redwing. The Captain America logo on his chest has also been toned down a little to bring it more in line with Steve’s suit, but his wings are just as red and massive as ever.
Sam’s new suit and shield unlocked some pretty interesting options in combat. He could throw the shield out into the sky without worrying about catching it, and use it with his wings to block incoming gunfire. His drone Redwing now comes in threes, each equipped with jets capable of lifting a truck. If Sam’s wings are also made of vibranium, he might actually have something better than the shield to fully protect himself from all angles - which is something Steve never had. Meanwhile, Bucky rode a motorcycle. That was cool, too. We didn’t want to make him feel left out.
Interesting side note: the first person Sam fights as Captain America is Batroc the Leaper, just like the comics! When Sam received his first Captain America comic series, All-New Captain America, he went toe to toe with Batroc in the first issue.
The Power Broker has been revealed, and absolutely no one is surprised. As if it needed to be spelled out for us, Batroc called Sharon Carter out as the Power Broker and threatened to reveal her true villainous identity, but was shot off-screen for his arrogance. All this time, Sharon has been funding Karli Morgenthau and the Flag Smashers, giving them powers and using them as muscle in Madripoor. Some of this big reveal doesn’t quite make sense - like the fact that she willingly took Sam, Bucky and Zemo to the super soldier serum’s recreator Dr Nagel when he worked for her. He died and the serums were destroyed, so… why? What was the point of bringing them there?
Sharon finally gets pardoned by the US government, as promised by Sam Wilson. She's referred to as ‘Agent Carter’. That's the writing team reminding us of just how much she’s besmirching the legacy of Agent Peggy Carter. How dare she. On her way out of the building during a post-credits scene, she gives someone a call and makes it very clear that all the new resources at her disposal are going straight to more evildoing. Of course, she’s not the only problematic character in this show going off to do bigger and better things.
When he was faced with a choice between taking down more Flag Smashers or saving lives, John Walker decided to step up and save them. This little move somehow totally redeemed him in Sam and Bucky’s eyes (though the latter continues to be irritated by him), and the trio teamed up to bring an end to the Flag Smashers’ violent revolution. After all of it is over, we see that he's decided to take up Contessa Valentine Allegra de Fontaine’s offer to recruit him. Fontaine gives him a blacker version of his previous Captain America costume and calls him ‘US Agent’. As you might’ve guessed, this is all lifted directly from the comics. After Walker’s short stint as Captain America was over, he wore the exact same black suit and called himself the US Agent. He also wields a Captain America-like shield, but with red, white and black rings.
We didn’t get to see the shield in this episode, but it’s certainly on its way. Contessa seems to be collecting superhumans like Walker for reasons unknown - though our theory is that she’s forming the Thunderbolts, a team of villains that might or might not fight the good fight. Regardless, we haven’t seen the last of Walker. He seems oddly cheery for a man who murdered someone, lost public favour and watched his best friend die, though.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier might have come to an end, but it left enough loose ends behind for a second season. We recently learned that Marvel Studios are working on a fourth Captain America movie and if it acts as a sequel to this series, it’s going to have a lot to work with. While WandaVision introduced two potential members of the Young Avengers in Speed and Wiccan, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier placed another two on the board.
Joaquin Torres still has Sam’s broken wings and despite not playing much of a role in this episode, he could still end up being the next Falcon like in the comics. When Isaiah Bradley finally saw his military service acknowledged in a museum, he brought his awestruck grandson Elijah along. In the comics, Eli Bradley eventually picks up his own Captain America-like shield under the superhero name Patriot, as a member of the Young Avengers. Several other young superheroes are poised to debut on Disney+ next year: Kate Bishop (Hawkeye, also a member of the Young Avengers), Kamala Khan (Ms Marvel) and Riri Williams (Ironheart). That’s no coincidence.
Most importantly, Sam and Bucky finally have a good friendship going. Bucky is learning to deal with the horrors of his past, and Sam’s has his work cut out for him as the next Captain America - so there’s still plenty of potential for further team-ups down the road. Baron Zemo is in the Raft, but he could always make a return. Sharon Carter being the Power Broker opens up new avenues for even more super powered individuals to start crawling out of the woodwork. Whether or not all of this is resolved in the upcoming film, you can bet that we’ll see Captain America and the Winter Soldier again.