Wow, so we have a LOT to unpack from the latest episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
We’ve brought you the hidden details we’ve seen in episodes one, two, and three. But, number four is so much grittier than perhaps anything we’ve ever witnessed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe previously. So, without further ado, let’s hop right into the things you may have missed in this week’s episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier!
Zemo’s Got Some Catching Up to Do
If there’s one thing that’s certain about The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, it’s totally the fact that Zemo HATES super soldiers. While he pretty much compares the Avengers to terrorists, he notes that there hasn’t been another Steve Rogers. And, of course, there’s some truth to that. We don’t have another Captain America like Steve who is saving the world with his moral compass and great heart (we’ll swing back around to John Walker soon).
But, there HAS been a history of super soldiers. So, does Zemo not know about Isaiah Bradley? Where does he think Nagel found the compound to create more of the serum? Has he been too focused on his Turkish Delight?
The Lion, the Witch, and Zemo
You might remember Turkish Delight as a tool of manipulation in C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The White Witch specifically uses the candy to put a spell over Edmund in order to convince him to bring his brother and sisters to him. Of course, the White Witch’s intentions were to kill the family in order to rule Narnia. And, Zemo hasn’t revealed his REAL intentions behind why he is helping Sam and Bucky.
So, could the use of Turkish Delight be a hint towards the fact Zemo has ulterior motives? We wouldn’t put anything past him, especially since he’s playing a little too nice right now.
Wakanda’s in Control
It’s been asserted time and time again in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that Wakanda’s warriors are unlike any other we’ve seen previously. After the Dora Milaje appeared in the last episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, we knew they meant business.
In flashbacks, we see that Ayo helped Bucky overcome his past as the Winter Soldier in Wakanda using the same phrases that once made him turn evil. This time around, though, he was able to fight it instead and finally become free during his transformation into the White Wolf.
Regardless, freedom isn’t what it always seems for Bucky in particular. The Dora Milaje are able to disable Bucky’s metal arm, referencing the fact that he will always have a part of himself that can be controlled. If the Dora Milaje can basically flip a switch with their handle on Vibranium, Bucky has to come to terms with the fact he will never completely be his own person.
The Dora Milaje then went on to defeat Walker even by using the Captain America shield against him. This further focuses on their control of Vibranium and Walker’s unworthiness of it, in turn.
The Whole World Is Watching
And, now we’re onto the most shocking part of this episode. The ending really had us feeling a mixed bag of emotions — anger, sadness, and fear, among others. Zemo talks about the fact that the desire to become a super soldier can end up equating to a supremacist mindset. Steve Rogers was the only person who was able to prevail against power. We know that Karli has already begun to lose her conscience in the name of her cause, but John has taken things to the next level.
Lemar used to be the voice of reason for John as his partner. He would pull him away from destructive instincts and guide him towards better decisions. After Karli accidentally kills Lemar, John has lost that helpful voice and turned towards the influence of the serum. After striving to be like Steve Rogers, John mimics small parts of the hero with his exits, smashing through windows. He tries to maintain authority over others while he wears the suit and carries the shield.
But, he is reminded MULTIPLE times in episode 4 that he isn’t Steve Rogers. And, as a matter of fact, he will never live up to his name as Captain America. People relied on the symbol of Captain America, which the Flag Smasher, Nico, noted he used to do too. So, it’s an even bigger deal when John literally tarnishes the shield, covering it in the blood of rage.
John’s use of the shield to kill Nico was a direct parallel to Captain America: Civil War when Steve held the shield above Tony during their fight. Both sets of characters were battling in defense of their best friends. Yet, Steve realized his error, choosing to disable the Iron Man suit and not hurt Tony.
Yet, John chose the path of corruption, not even hesitating to murder Nico with the shield. He may have even decapitated him (we aren’t sure), showing the absolute brutal wrath the serum has only solidified in him.
The title of the episode, “The Whole World Is Watching,” refers to the fact that now EVERYONE will see that Captain America — the symbol of hope —has become depraved of honor. The fear of the civilians and the horror of both Sam and Bucky really brings out the fact that John looks devoid of regret over his actions.
John won’t live up to Steve in any way, since he isn’t a “hero” like the Captain America before him. So, what does being a “hero” exactly mean in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier?
What Does Being a “Hero” Mean?
Groups of characters have various thoughts on the situation. The Flag Smashers believe it has more to do with defending the people who were forgotten or tossed aside. John and Lemar saw it as making the right decision in battle or difficult situations. Or, maybe it’s down to the moral values of a character, which Bucky emphasizes in his references to Steve.
Yet, each of these groups falls short of their own definitions of heroism, showing that maybe they cannot be defined by that term. John has behaved as if the world is in black and white of who is evil and who is not. Sam, on the other hand, recognizes that it’s much more of a gray area.
John has felt that he deserves power because he wears the Captain America uniform. But, there is the focus on heroism in humbleness as a character like Sam understands that he may never live up to Steve. Instead, he can only continue his legacy.
Sam is one of the very few people in this show who genuinely believes that “blood isn’t always the solution.” He didn’t hesitate when asked if he would become a super soldier, since he recognizes that power can consume someone. Zemo drives the point home, talking about how many super soldiers will continue to escalate until they kill you or you kill them.
There are some gray areas in this statement too, though, as the rare breed of super soldier actually cares about the good of the people. Moving forward in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, we might start seeing less of that and more of a divide, however. After the shock of episode 4, we cannot WAIT to see what else Marvel has in store for fans. And, you can stay tuned to AllEars for more Disney entertainment and news!
What are your thoughts on this week’s episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier? Let us know in the comments below!
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