The Falcon And The Winter Soldier Season 1 Episode 3 Review: Power Broker
Madripoor is introduced to the MCU in a rather bizarre and off episode.
In terms of reveals, Episode 3 of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier certainly takes the cake. Not only are we reintroduced to Zemo and Sharon Carter in the same episode but the MCU introduces Madripoor, one of the first elements belonging to Fox’s X-Men universe as a cacophony of thugs, criminals and the underbelly. And we’re also witness to the recreated super-soldier serum that continues to be a major plot device in the proceedings.
And yet, tonally, the episode felt off. I was completely put off by the overtly comic undertones and Zemo’s lightheartedness. I understand it’s a welcome change letting Zemo blow off some steam and Daniel Bruhl’s performance is a delight but it strays too far from the traumatic and therapeutic route the show was headed towards in its premiere episode. This changing of gears makes this an episode that looks like it’s from a different series altogether. And Zemo’s dancing seemed to have created quite a stir online. While I can see the reasoning from a distant lens, I just don’t buy it.
In terms of writing too, the episode packed in a lot of implausible or poorly scripted sequences, starting with Zemo’s escape. That was probably the lamest prison escape sequence I’ve ever seen and felt like it was only put to quickly reunite Zemo with Falcon and Bucky and move the narrative forward. It was equally convenient of Zemo to turn out to be rich and suddenly reconnect with his contacts to get them a plane.
Sharon felt completely off as well although her cynicism could be attributed to the character spending a lot of time in this murky place, laying low. Expositions were over the top, Sharon had no reason to believe Falcon so quickly so as to help her, Zemo abruptly firing a missile launcher to take out the goons so that he could have a comic Zemo moment – too much unbelievable stuff happened even for Marvel standards.
It had its fun bits though. As lame as it was for Sam to bring in a phone, the sequence with Bucky acting out the Winter Soldier persona had a neat ring to it. The action sequences were a bit shoddily cut compared to The Winter Soldier but that’s the sort of editing that viewers now have come to keep pace with. Bucky and Sam with their dynamics continue to inject humor into the proceedings. And Madripoor itself looks stunning with its neon-tinted Hong-Kong vibe, hosting shadowy criminals and is the kind of stuff ripe for a TV Show of its own.
We also get to see a human side to Karli Morgenthau as she harbors ambitions to become a teacher. And yet, that is so quickly undone by her blowing up hostages leaving 11 injured and 3 dead. I guess it’s meant to signify the morally complex nature of her mission where there’s blood on all sides but the transition still comes across as too abrupt. If writer Derek Kolstad was trying to make a case for supporting Karli, it definitely doesn’t work with this scene.
As promising as The Falcon and the Winter Soldier premiere was, it sounds like we’ve devolved into generic action film territory now. Only the action makes increasingly lesser sense and appears strangely bizarre and tonally off with the rest of the proceedings. If this is the way the show is headed now, I’m afraid it’s going to be a seriously average finish.