Monday, April 5, 2021

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier - Power Broker

The third episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier takes a bizarre turn as Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) work with an escaped Zemo (Daniel Brühl) whose knowledge of Hydra's former super-solider program they hope may give them their first break in finding the Flag Smashers. Visiting Zemo in person and helping him on the outside are two very different things, Bucky even apparently helps trigger his escape, and working with Zemo certainly stretches the credibility of our heroes (even with Sam's weak initial objections). The episode also weaves in grittier version of Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) who Marvel is apparently going to keep sticking into projects until the character works.

The episode is notable for the characters' trip to Madripoor, a X-Men related locale which turns out be far less interesting without mutants. Bucky and Zemo playing themselves works well enough, but the idea that there is a villain out there who looks exactly like Sam (who conveniently isn't around and has never been mentioned before) is pretty shoddy writing. Why not make Smiling Tiger one of Sam's undercover identities? Zemo might think he is real, but Sam could take the character's place far more naturally. As with the previous episodes, "Power Broker" also offers more time with Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman) and the Flag Smashers who we learn are not above mass murder to bring back "their world," and we see some frustration for the new Captain America (Wyatt Russell) possibly foreshadowing something to come. And, because apparently ever episode has to end exactly the same way, yet another character is brought back for the epilogue.

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