6 Thoughts on the (First?) Season of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier

Six weeks of action and excitement have come and gone and I declare that the first season of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was awesome! I loved the whole darn thing, from beginning to end. A lot of chatter online has this show as flawed, but I disagree entirely. I had fun the whole way through and loved pretty much every minute of it.

TV Rating: 9/10 – Great.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was everything I wanted and more. Going into the series, I expected an action show on par with the action-heavy Marvel movies, and we got that. I expected some fun banter/butting heads between Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes. We got that. Then the show took things even further with some truly memorable side characters and a deeper exploration of race than I would have ever predicted. I thought that part was great as well!

What can I say? I love me some Marvel Cinematic Universe content!

Join me after the jump for my thoughts on The Falcon and the Winter Soldier! Expect FULL SPOILERS for the show!

6. Really great show

Superheroes just get to wander off

Everything about TFATWS worked for me, simple as that. I see people complaining about underdeveloped characters or how they didn’t like this character or that storyline. But I disagree entirely. I thought everything worked great and I had a very enjoyable time with this show. The action was top notch, and once again we were treated to Hollywood-level digital effects on a TV show. Since TFATWS started, I’ve been watching Doom Patrol and The Nevers on HBO Max, and the difference in digital effects is shocking. Disney is not skimping on the budgets for these shows and I love it.

First and foremost, though, this show was about its characters and its themes. And, again, I thought it all worked great. The show was primarily about Sam Wilson’s journey into accepting the mantle of Captain America. He had his hesitations and the show explained those right at the top. And while Sam may have taken a back seat here and there throughout the show, his growth was always the foundation of each episode and he rose to the mantle by the end. I’m very pleased with his journey.

How it started

Likewise, Bucky had a lot of growth as he shed his past as the Winter Soldier and embraced a newer, happier life. This was achieved with Sam’s help, through their friendship and partnership, and the two actors clearly had a lot of fun together. I liked Baron Zemo’s guest appearance on the show. Some people seem to think he was superfluous, and maybe he was, but the actor brought a lot of charm to the middle part of the series and it worked for me. I also enjoyed Karli Morgenthau as the leader of the Flag Smashers, even though her character and storyline are getting the brunt of the dislike online.

Redwing’s back on the menu, boys!

For me, the Flag Smashers were not the point of the show. There was so much more to TFATWS than the good guys punching the bad guys. The Flag Smashers provided the catalyst for there to be a show and forward momentum, but they weren’t the point. And I liked how the showrunners attempted to give them a little ambiguity instead of being mustache-twirling villains, a point I’ll get to more in a bit with John Walker. And I feel like Karli and the Flag Smashers served an extra purpose in being yet another example of the super soldier legacy. Here is what can happen with the Super Soldier Serum if its used on a group of people, and if it’s misused by radicals with what they believe is an important cause.

Karli’s story served a lot of purposes, but I’m fine with her character being underdeveloped because the show wasn’t about her. She and her people were a catalyst for the other, far more important and interesting characters.

Speaking of whom…

5. I especially enjoyed John Walker’s story

This is the perfect image for his storyline

I thought John Walker’s story was the strongest in the series. It’s definitely the story I enjoyed the most, for how it weaved this complex tale around this flawed character. The show could have very easily made him another mustache-twirling villain. Instead, they opted to show a character with layers, and that is always better when crafting an antagonist. John Walker was a man struggling with a lot of pressure, both from outside and within, and that pressure eventually got the better of him. But he was not a bad guy, and he made the right decisions in the end. I think it was just a very well done story, expertly crafted and acted, that paralleled Sam’s story in some interesting ways.

John Walker is what you get when you allow the military to pick a good soldier to be Captain America, which was one of the main plot points in the first Captain America film. And I love that Walker is still around in the MCU as U.S.Agent. Can’t wait to see him again!

4. I guessed the Power Broker right!

Let her be evil!

I am perfectly down with Sharon Carter’s heel turn into the Power Broker. It was my guess from the beginning. A lot of people online continued to…I guess hope…that Sharon wasn’t going to be the Power Broker. There was a lot of speculation. A lot of people seem to think she’s a Skrull. But in the end, the most obvious thing happened and she’s the bad guy. So I got one guess right! And I also guessed that she was helping Sam and Bucky because she wanted that pardon, and said pardon would grant her access to a lot more Power Brokery stuff. She was a big fish in the small pond of Madripoor, and now she has access to America again. Good on her!

A lot of people really don’t like this twist/reveal for some reason. Sharon Carter had minor supporting roles in two Captain America movies 5+ years ago, and then was completely forgotten about. Bringing her back as an ongoing bad guy is a great use of a character that wouldn’t have had anything else to do. And the fact that Sharon being the Power Broker was the obvious thing…that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

3. Predictable endings are not a bad thing

Oh my gosh, Sam became Captain America in the end?!

That’s how narrative structure works. You set things up and then you pay them off. Out of left field surprises would have been dumb! Of course Sharon was the Power Broker. Of course Sam became Captain America. Of course the Flag Smashers were defeated. Of course Walker became U.S.Agent. These are all logical conclusions from the story we were presented. It would have been weird for some rando to be revealed as the Power Broker. It would have been weird for some last-episode swerve that changes everything just for the sake of changing everything. And just because we comic book nerds know John Walker becomes U.S.Agent doesn’t mean every person watching knows. They were probably still surprised! And the Marvel shows are as much for general audiences as they are for us hardcore comic fans.

2. I thought the race storyline was perfect

A “Truth” mini-series, anyone?

I’m not comfortable talking in detail about race. I’m a white dude with a ton of white privilege and it’s not my place to talk about the Black experience. But I can watch a TV that touches on the Black experience and like what I see, like how they handle it. I’m glad the show took that on as a theme. I’m glad the show made a huge deal out of Sam being a Black man becoming Captain America, even in 2020/2021. I liked how they introduced Isaiah Bradley and his storyline in order to tell this story and confront it head-on. I liked the scene in episode 2 where the cops stop Sam and Bucky in the street. Some people may say it was on the nose, but that was the point. It was a blunt, easy-to-understand example of what Black people face in this country, and it’s part of the reason why Sam didn’t want to be Captain America at first.

I am the last person who should be writing about the Black experience…but I just wanted to say I thought that storyline was one of the strongest in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and I’m glad the show and the MCU went there.

1. Bring on Captain America 4!

He’s earned this

It has been announced in the Hollywood trades that TFATWS showrunner Malcolm Spellman will be writing the script for Captain America 4, alongside at least one of his show writers. And that sounds great! As much as I’d love another season of this show — and we may still get one — I think it’s a great idea to take Sam’s Captain America to the big screen. Let this show serve as his origin story and now we’ll get a full-sized, big budge action blockbuster! And we’ll once again feed the growing Marvel pipeline of movie to show to movie to show! I love that idea. I love how the connected MCU now includes very awesome TV shows. I can’t wait to see what Marvel does with the move from show to film.

And I can’t wait to see Sam Wilson get a full-sized, fully appreciated Captain America film. Should be fun!


About Sean Ian Mills

Hello, this is Sean, the Henchman-4-Hire! By day I am a mild-mannered newspaper reporter in Central New York, and by the rest of the day I'm a pretty big geek when it comes to video games, comic books, movies, cartoons and more.

Posted on April 28, 2021, in Avengers, Lists of Six!, Marvel, Television and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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