Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Spoilers)

I thought the third episode was a bit like late-series Game of Thrones: mostly composed of set-pieces, with little attention to how they connect. Now, they were good set-pieces, but I was left scratching my head at some points—

I thought the whole ‘let’s get Zemo out of jail’-thing was awfully handled. This should’ve been a last-resort measure, but instead seemed like, eh, I’m not really sure what to do, so let’s get the guy that nearly managed to destroy the Avengers out of prison, he’ll probably know something. Then let’s just follow him into a lawless city where he’s got connections without any backup, no way that’ll turn sour or anything. Sam randomly looks like some criminal guy everybody knows there, but nobody knows well enough to identify. Oh look, here’s Sharon; we’re at a party now. Somebody gave Sharon some information, so let’s go investigate some containers and fight random bad guys. Zemo gets away, but he’s got a good day so he finds a car in a random container, comes back and saves the guys that put him into prison.

It all just seems a bit like a brainstorming session that went on for too long, so in the end, they just went with ten random ideas that were floated at some point, and sorta stitched them together into an episode. Maybe I’m not seeing the big plan—and despite my griping, I did largely enjoy the episode—but I think the writing needs to get a lot tighter for the series not to fall apart.

Not “nearly”, he did destroy them. Everyone forgets that he is the only villain in the MCU besides Thanos who won.

So when did Zemo become Evil Batman? In Civil War he was just a regular guy until he lost his family and he became very very dedicated to destroying the Avengers.

Yeah, Zemo seems like a bit of a retcon. In Civil War he was portrayed as a fairly average guy who just happened to know enough about Hydra and the Winter Soldier to make use of them.

Suddenly here he’s a Baron who still has a butler and a private jet on standby. It doesn’t actively contradict what was previously established about him, but it does feel like it should have come up before now.

I mean, the character has always been Baron Zemo. Just because it didn’t come up before doesn’t make it a retcon.

In the comics, yes. In the MCU, he was never referred to as a Baron during Civil War. He was pretty much just presented as some Sokovian guy with a military background.

Both Punisher & Daredevil had their share of gritty violence. I think streaming TV just allows for more than movies (who risk the possibility backlash over high ratings) and definitely more than network TV. Daredevil’s fight scenes were just brutal.

It’s rare that I think that shows need to be longer, but I think this could have used less editing? more explanation? something. Not sure, but it feels like there’s exposition that got cut and I could use it.

Also, Sharon’s character arc doesn’t ring true to me. It’s narratively convenient, but it doesn’t seem like the person from Winter Soldier/Civil War would be the person in this show just because they were in exile.

I am very much doubting that it will turn out to be so random. The hit on Selby (?) was already on. She was there because of that maybe? She not just living the hustler life with no country, she’s part of something bigger.

What I like is that there is no one yet who is clearly a complete bad guy, even Zemo. Flag Smashers sympathetic in one breath then blow up a bunch of people to make a point. Zemo clearly Machivalian (a bit on the nose the book) but still saving their asses. NewCap and Battlestar not bad guys. Alliances? Who will help who when why? It’s complicated.

This is definitely a recon of the character from Civil War, who was presented as a “grounded” version of the character by making him a special forces guy instead of a baron, and ditching his distinctive purple ski mask. (Which was a weird call, because ski masks are very much a special forces thing, and purple face masks could have been a sign that they were ultra-elite, like a red beret.) I fully support it, though - Zemo was great in CW, but the only thing he had in common with his comic book origin was “guy who hates the Avengers.” I love that they’re bringing him back closer to his original concept, and at the same time, I also love that they took a literal, actually-worked-for-Hitler-during-the-war Nazi and turned him into a Marvin Gaye fan.

Incidentally, depending on how intent they are on bringing Zemo back to his comic roots, things could go very badly for him by the end of the series, considering that the two villains from the comics who went by Baron Zemo wore that purple mask to either cover up his hideous burns, or because it was permanently glued onto his face.

Also, everyone was combing through every minute of WandaVision looking for an X-Men connection that didn’t exist, and then they drop Madripoor on us in F&WS. Which was gorgeous - up there with Blade Runner in depictions of urban dystopias. It did bug me that Sam had never heard of it, though. How does an Avenger not know about a place like Madripoor? How does an Avenger who spent two years on the run from every legitimate government in the world not know about Madripoor?

Also, how is there no traffic on that massive bridge leading to the giant cyberpunk metropolis?

I agree that there’s more going on with Sharon than meets the eye. The shot that killed Selby looked and sounded a lot like the shots that killed the bounty hunters in the ally. Heh. Here’s a theory: since this is set in Madripoor - did they just introduce Mystique into the MCU?

More grounded speculation: the guys who attacked them at the lab. Those were Flag-Smashers, right? That’s how Karli knew that Nagle was dead when she’s talking to her lieutenant on the street?

Pretty sure the guys who attacked them at the lab were supposed to be people trying to claim the bounty that went out on Bucky, Sam, & Zemo earlier in Madripoor.

I’m not clear on how Karli was supposed to know the scientist guy had just died. The writing in this episode was… a bit loose.

I think we were supposed to think that at first, but that the scene with Karli was meant to recontextualize it as part of her plot.

Or there are reveals to come that explain some of what just seems loose. Maybe.

Who could have let her know that?

Based on their conversation, my interpretation/guess is that she and the other guy lived there for a while as part of the lower city and eventually got involved with scientist guys. Of course she’d still have friends and contacts who would be in the know about something happened to the scientist who made her a supersoldier and would take the time to tell her (even if she weren’t directly involved).

That was my take as well.

And Sharon is clearly involved in something bigger. After she parts ways with Sam, Bucky, and Zemo, she gets into a car that’s just waiting for her, and tells the driver something like, “We’ve got a bigger problem.” Which, I guess, could just be a random assistant from the gallery, but it sure played like a contact/handler for an agency. We know from Age of Ultron, Infinity War, and Far From Home that

Nick Fury has basically rebuilt SHIELD. Sharon Carter was one of his top agents before SHIELD imploded and she went to work for the CIA. I’m betting she’s back with SHIELD or whatever the successor organization that Fury is now running, and the hustler living in exile in Madripoor is just a cover. That would be consistent with her character from the previous movies.

Sharon may be a part of the Secret Invasion show coming next year. Seeing her and Maria Hill kick butt together would be cool.

Also they are not MCU :stuck_out_tongue:

Ish. The Marvel Netflix shows were in loose continuity with the MCU. The first season of Daredevil had as a major plot element that Kingpin was involved in the clean-up and reconstruction after “The Incident”, which was clearly the Chitauri attack on New York in The Avengers. Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor were name-checked as actual, real-life people, and there were thinly veiled allusions to various other characters and events in the MCU throughout the various series.

They now appear to have been retconned out of continuity, but at the time they originally aired, they were clearly part of the MCU.

I’ll make some guesses, and some flat-out wild speculation.

  • Sharon is in some sort of deep cover position; whether that has anything to do with Falcon and Bucky’s current situation or not, I would guess not. Wouldn’t surprise me if the CIA and/or SHIELD would like to keep an eye on Madripoor, if nothing else.
  • Something’s off about the GRC; its representations have been slightly creepy, and what was with that line that “they’ve been sitting on these supplies for six months”? Six episodes doesn’t leave much time for extraneous exposition; it doesn’t feel like they’re just commenting on bureaucratic inefficiency.
  • Wild speculation: the GRC is connected to the Power Broker. The more the GRC screws up, the more power and influence the Power Broker can have behind the scenes.
  • Who is the Power Broker? More wild speculation, based on the knowledge that Shang-Chi is coming up. I’m speculating that the Ten Rings and the Mandarin are involved. Other possibilities like HYDRA or Ultron aren’t really satisfying; I think the MCU wants to move forward, and I also think they’d like to start leaving breadcrumbs for future projects.

A German police van rolling up, opening its door, and Captain America stepping out was a great visual.

IIRC, that van had “GRC” on the door, but otherwise I agree.