The Falcon And The Winter Soldier Season 1 Episode 5 Review: Truth
Marvel delivers a quiet, thoughtful episode raising pertinent questions.
After all the action we’ve seen in the show, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier takes a step back to let the characters breathe. This results in some of the show’s finer moments and is reminiscent of the premiere with its introspective nature. Questions are raised as Sam wonders about the right person for the role of Captain America and whether society is ready for a black man to pick up that shield. And the introduction of a new MCU character sends forums abuzz.
Picking off from last episode’s troubling ending, Wilson and Bucky chase down John Walker with an intent to stop him and take the shield back. What follows is a very Civil War like fight and a deja-vu for Bucky as he fights Walker with Wilson as they disarm him. Despite the heavy editing, it’s a well-executed sequence that ends with Wilson getting the shield. The question he must now ask is: is he ready?
That remains the focal point as Sam wrestles with his identity and history in the face of the responsibility staring at him. He’s seen what disavowing the shield lead to and knows its better suited on his own hands rather than the government’s. He looks for advice and reaches out to Isaiah Bradley who further discourages him by retelling his own history of how he was slaved and tortured and experimented upon instead of celebrating his legacy as what could’ve been the first black superhero known to America.
Carl Lumbly does a seriously poignant job with Isaiah in the limited scenes that he has. His reasoning that nothing has changed with regards to racism is spot on and hits a different note as discrimination continues into the third century. Sam meanwhile is heavily conflicted; he knows on one hand how society perceives him, and yet he cannot relinquish his duty and let the mantle fall into irresponsible hands. He has to make a choice and it seems by the end of the episode he’s made up his mind.
Bucky has his own struggles and even gets some advice from Sam on truly making amends: it’s all about making the other people feel better. We’re witness to some great camaraderie between Sam and Bucky as the duo fix Sam’s boat, Bucky flirts with Sarah and they bond and counsel each other. Steve was the only family that Bucky had and he’s now found that in Sam. A lot of the episode is just spent watching these two share their experiences and get to respect each other and it still makes for more compelling viewing than the MCU movie level action.
Which isn’t to say the MCU stuff isn’t there. The most impactful is Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ cameo as Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine who is widely being compared to Nick Fury and is suspected as forming a team of evil supervillains, with Walker as her first recruit. Beyond that, she remains a mystery but casting a big name here obviously means Marvel will have her be the Claire Temple of Disney+ only with a sinister event. And now that Walker has been spared a court-marshal but stripped of his title as Captain America, he’s going to be further driven into the well of insanity.
We’re down to one episode now and if the penultimate moments are any indication, Wilson’s costume and Walker’s fake shield should be in full display as they thwart whatever attacks are in store in New York City. It’s fitting in a way then that just as 2012’s The Avengers saw the city serve as the backdrop to reintroduce Captain America to the modern world, so too shall The Falcon and the Winter Soldier introduce the decade’s new Captain America in a fight that once again takes place in New York.