Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Spoilers)

In some continuities his hair regenerated just as vigorously as the rest of him.

I thought this episode was a big drop in quality over the first two. Two main issues:
(1) Generally confusing editing and filming. For instance, was it supposed to be clear to us who had shot that bar owner lady, and why? Was it implied that it was Sharon, who showed up shortly thereafter? And right when the break-Zemo-out-of-jail sequence started, there were a few shots of people handing things to people and things inside books where I just couldn’t figure out who was giving what to whom. And how did Zemo end up with Bucky’s notebook later on?
(2) Really hacky plotting. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen “bust a bad guy out of jail and then trust him”, but it’s too many. Don’t our good guys care about a prison riot which probably killed a lot of people? Not to mention the “someone has been in prison for years, but somehow their information is perfectly up to date but also can’t be obtained any other way”. And Sharon seemed out of character. And the flagsmashers suddenly started killing more-or-less innocent people.

Basically, MCU tends to be better than generic-silly-plot-get-from-point-a-to-point-b-with-punching. This time it definitely was not.

It did seem like a bit of a “let’s introduce new players A and B and get the main characters from circumstance 1 to 2”. But that’s sometimes necessary. I enjoyed it, even if it wasn’t as great as the previous episode.

It clearly wasn’t clear to Sam, Bucky, and Zemo, who just knew that someone had killed her to set them up. The fact that Sharon is also there, with a sniper rifle, is, I think, supposed to make us, the audience, suspect that she was the one setting them up. It’s certainly odd that no one, not even Machiavellian villain Zemo, notes how convenient her presence is.

Zemo somehow signaled his jail break plan to Bucky, and I think passed him a note with some indication of who to pass it on to. Bucky then passed the note on to a prisoner on his way out, which provoked a fight which provoked a lockdown, which…somehow gave Zemo cover to escape in the confusion. It…didn’t make a lot of sense honestly.

The only thing I could come up with is that Zemo just pickpocketed Bucky. There really seemed to be some bridging scenes missing throughout that whole act.

Well, they’re leaning into mismatched maverick cops tropes, but…yeah, I mostly agree.

I think it was a limited brawl which got put down pretty quickly. I don’t think we actually saw any violence other than than the initial fight and the riot response squad. And Sam is clearly unhappy, but Bucky handed him a fait accompli, so he reluctantly went with it. And Bucky is clearly willing to go to some fairly extreme measures, by MCU standards, to accomplish his missions.

Well, the idea is supposed to be they need his knowledge of the inner workings of HYDRA, and with Strucker and Pierce and much of the rest of HYDRA’s leadership dead, he’s their best source of info. On the other hand…he basically seems to be using his knowledge of the generic underworld, not HYDRA specifically, so…yeah, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Well, she’s been through a lot. But, I agree, and upthread, I speculated that her new “bitter, cynical rogue agent in exile working as a criminal” personality is actually a cover.

Well, yes, they’re bad guys. I think this is one thing the show is actually handling well. The Flagsmashers aren’t HYDRA, they aren’t randomly evil, they have legitimate grievances and some of their goals are understandable, even admirable, but they’re still terrorists. Every episode, we learn a bit more about them, and the series is pretty clearly wanting us, the audience, to go back and forth on them and whether to root for or against them.

This was meant to be ambiguous, I think. Someone set up our guys during the meet with the fixer - they already had a bounty set up for them that they mass emailed all the headhunters in the vicinity, the minute the trigger got pulled. Who pulled the trigger and setup the bounty is not known, although Sharon Carter does seem like a strong candidate - it sounded like the same gun was used to kill both the fixer, and the bounty hunters right before Sharon revealed herself. The scene at the end, where Sharon gets in a car and says something like, “We’ve got problems,” suggests that there’s more going on with her - she’s either working for someone else (Nick Fury’s new SHIELD? SWORD from WandaVision?) or isn’t actually Sharon Carter at all.

Without re-watching, I think there were two main things happening there. Bucky passing a book with a security pass to Zemo, and Bucky handing a note to a random hardcase in the common area that said, “He’s going to kill you. Kill him first,” which was a ruse to start a prison riot, and give Zemo the cover to escape using the security pass.

I think it had just been lying on the table, and Zemo picked it up and started flipping through it.

The leader of the Flag Smashers (Karli) did suggest they were going to ramp things up, so the explosion wasn’t a huge surprise. I do wish they gave her more to sink her teeth into-perhaps we’ll see that in the future.

I’ve heard there was a disease subplot dropped from the series for obvious reasons-remember at one point they 'Smashers were said to be stealing vaccines? Perhaps that explains some of the choppiness.

Regarding the Zemo retcon, this is pretty much the only information we’re given about him in Civil War:

The fake doctor is actually Colonel Helmut Zemo, Sokovian Intelligence. [ Tony projects the image. ] Zemo ran Echo Skorpion, a Sokovian covert kill squad.

Considering they kept him alive at the end, I figure they thought Zemo would be used again in the future, so kept the information about him as minimal as possible so they could change as needed.

There’s also a scene of Zemo listening to a voice mail from his wife, who is describing how excited their son is to be getting an Xbox for his birthday - apparently, the last message he ever got from his wife before she and their son died. Which was humanizing in the original film, but now seems oddly Dickensian when you know Zemo has a private jet and a fleet of Bentleys. I mean, good job not spoiling your kid, I guess, but I keep picturing Zemo wearing a fur robe in a great hall, being served 100 year old claret by his personal manservant, explaining to his 12 year old kid that maybe he can have a $300 piece of consumer electronics for his birthday.

Not having seen this show but having seen too much Downton Abbey and other period dramas, this posting created the image in my mind that Zemo was the second (or third or fourth) son of the old Baron Zemo, who went into the military because he wasn’t going to inherit, but then did suddenly inherit the barony (baronetcy?) due to a “King Ralph” scenario after the battle of Sokovia. :slightly_smiling_face:

yeah, I agree with everyone who said episode 3 felt choppy and disconnected.

Sharon’s clearly working some angle. She’s not the disaffected rogue she’s pretending to be.

I was amused to see Zemo’s mask show up as a bit of fan service. But it was really odd that he put it on for a few minutes to beat up a few guys, then took it off right away. What was the point? (from an in-character point of view) “Man, my face is cold. Good thing I’ve got my purple balaclava. Oh wait, that’s right, it’s Indonesia… getting pretty warm in this thing. Better take it off again.”

Don’t know why it took me so long to place the actress who plays Karli. I knew I’d seen here somewhere, but couldn’t remember until it clicked this episode: Solo.

Unless that was a deleted scene I think you’re misremembering. I just watched that scene again and there’s no mention of his son getting a gift.

Yep, it was a deleted scene. Sorry - could have sworn that was in the released film.

Good thing they cut that out.

Really, the biggest retcon for me is not him being rich but positioning Zemo as some Hydra/Super Soldier expert. My understanding from Civil War is that he only did the research he did to find the proof that Bucky killed Stark and drive him and Steve apart.

It’s sort of a shame that wasn’t in there originally - the idea that the Avengers were destroyed by someone who had previously dedicated their life to hunting down Hydra synergizes well with the general Civil War theme.

Yeah, I think it is a problem in a lot of media that tries to have a political debate or relatable villains while still having “root for the good guys” as the source of entertainment is that eventually the villains will have to do something evil that isn’t always very well connected to the side of the debate they are on.

Just dropping into the thread after binging those first three episodes. The first two were decent enough, though even by then the bickering between the two leads was becoming an annoying effort to introduce tension to a plot that was struggling to find it.

Episode three was pretty much a trainwreck, however. It was like one of those writing games where one person writes a starting sentence, the next person adds a sentence, and then another person adds a sentence, etc., except instead of writing sentences, they were writing new plot actions.

I almost turned it off when Zemo found the gun tucked under the desk. It’s one thing to have a gun tucked under the desk of an office where you sit all day facing the door, it’s another to put that gun there when you have a big sprawling laboratory and about a hundred faster places to put a gun.

I don’t know, maybe by day he refuses bank loans to angry Madripoorian families.

I’ll give it one more episode just because I like the two actors.

Not sure this still needs spoiler tags, but erring on the side of caution:

How would that work, though? If Sharon is the Power Broker, then why would she lead Bucky, Sam and Zemo to her scientist’s secret hideout, where he’s brewing the super soldier potion for her? I mean, she could’ve just said, sorry guys, never heard of this guy, can’t help you out…

She killed the scientist to protect her identity - and to be able to set Bucky, Sam and Zemo on the ‘hit list’ and get them out of town while conveniently being there to assist them. She knew that even if she told them she didn’t know, they would still find - so what better way to control the narrative then the way she did?

Zemo killed the scientist.

This video is worth watching. (14 minutes plus two minutes of sponsor thanks and other promo stuff.)

It’s speculative, but it makes a very compelling case about why the Flag Smashers story has been so choppy and vague. If the hypothesis is correct, it would have pulled together a lot of threads that currently feel a bit dangly.