Warning: This recap contains spoilers from the season one finale of Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier “One World, One People”
While it’s not clear what MCU features The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will tie into next, the groundwork was laid tonight for a definite part two of something, whether it’s a second season of Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes, or a spinoff series involving John Walker’s U.S. Agent.
In a surprise, but no surprise, we finally learn who the Power Broker is, and it’s Agent Sharon Carter. She’s been the one pulling the strings behind the scenes, and getting into the Flag Smashers’ ears specifically when it comes to the superhero serum. We had bigger hopes of a more nefarious figure in the MCU, such as William Hurt’s General “Thunderbolt” Ross who had his own agenda with recreating the super serum in The Incredible Hulk, but alas, it was you, Sharon. Frankly, it doesn’t make any sense that Sharon would be the Power Broker: Why in the world would she lead Sam, Bucky and Zemo to Nagle, the architect of the super serum in Episode 3? And why would she let Zemo shoot Nagle? Nonethless, EP Malcolm Spellman leaves us with an intriguing cliffhanger as to what Sharon will do next.
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In the midst of the Flag Smashers’ raid on the GRC’s committee meeting (which is a big wink to January’s U.S. Capitol unrest, however, this group is significantly more orchestrated and planned-out than QAnon), Carter comes face to face with leader Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman), guns pointed at each other.
“When you came to Madripoor, you reminded me of a young me, I took you in, gave you an opportunity and you betrayed me,” Sharon tells Karli.
“Because you wanted to control the world that hurt you, but I wanted to change it. I’m not interested in power or an empire. I have a bigger dream,” Karli tells her.
“Come back and work for me, all of you, and we can make a difference together,” Sharon answers.
“You just want me, because you want your muscle back. Without us super soldiers, how much power does the power broker really have?” responds Karli.
“More than you,” answers Sharon. And she’s right. Read on.
Anthony Mackie’s Falcon –now the newly christened Captain America with a brand new blue and white swanky suit that comes with little flying robotic redwings which assist him (similar to the flying drones which Iron Man uses)– interrupts their conversation, unaware that Sharon is the Power Broker. Karli shoots Sharon. Sam knocks Karli down, but she’s ultimately shot by Sharon.
Later on in the coda scene, Sharon gets that pardon Sam promised her from the U.S. Intelligence Committee (the same one that de-shielded Walker in the previous episode). Given that Sharon is the niece of Agent Peggy Carter, it’s easy for the U.S. government to forgive her. She’s offered an opening in her old division. Sharon shakes her head, and says “It would be my honor.” Before we really fade to black, we see Sharon phone someone up (hmm, someone bigger than the Power Broker?), giddy about her new post: “Start lining up our buyers. Super soldiers might be off the menu, but we’re about to have full access to government secrets, prototypes, weapons, you name it, it should be something for everyone.” Double agent Sharon Carter.
The season finale was jam-packed with action scenes galore. We have two Captain Americas at the onset of this episode: Sam’s new Captain America, and John Walker, who doesn’t yield the shield easily (as Wyatt Russell told Deadline). Walker arrives on the scene and he’s more of an ally this time around to Sam and Bucky in the Flag Smasher fight. There’s a great scene with Sam’s Captain America saving a falling truckload of GRC politicians. And we have a cool cameo here by Zemo’s butler taking out the remaining Flag Smashers, who are in an armored prison truck, with a bomb.
After the Flag Smashers are defeated, we get a big speech by Sam to the GRC members in the streets of Manhattan before TV cameras, which seems to address all topics effecting the U.S. now, i.e. the Mexican border, #BLM, anti-immigration and Al-Qaeda: It’s not the Power Broker who’s the real enemy, but the politicians. Their insensitivity to resetting borders is what makes anti-government groups like the Flag Smashers rise, not to mention their hasty decisions can have the same negative impact on the world as Thanos snapping his fingers.
“People believed in her (Karli’s) cause so much, they helped her defy the strongest governments in the world,” Sam scolds them, “You people have as much power as an insane god or misguided teenager. The question you have to ask yourself is how are you going to use it.”
“You have to stop calling them terrorists,” Sam castigates them, “Your peacekeeping troops carrying weapons are forcing millions of people into settlements around the world, right? What do you think those people are going to call you? These labels ‘terrorists’, ‘refugee’, ‘thug’, they’re often used to get around the question, why?”
“The only power that I have is that we can do better. We can’t demand that people step up if we don’t meet them halfway,” says the new Captain America.
The other big tease in the final episode is Walker’s second meeting with Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. While it may not be Thunderbolt Ross putting together the anti-Avengers Thunderbolts team, it looks like Contessa is assembling a group akin to that. Zemo is also expected to be part of that team, and it’s not shocking to hear Contessa giving him props after his butler takes out the Flag Smashers.
“Couldn’t have worked better if I planned it myself,” quips Contessa to Walker’s wife Olivia (Gabrielle Byndloss), “Oh, well, maybe I did. No, I’m kidding, I didn’t. Or did I?”
Walker then reveals himself in a new superhero get-up, a darker-looking Captain America suit. The Contessa appoints him to his new title: U.S. Agent. Walker is over the moon: “I’m back! I’m back! I’m back!”
Next up on Disney+ is Marvel’s Loki on June 11, and then Black Widow on July 9 in theaters and on Disney+ Premier.