Cap Doesn’t Want to Fight
After taking up the Captain America mantle at the close of “Avengers: Endgame,” Sam Wilson makes it clear why he’s worthy of the title. Becoming the new Cap isn’t just about donning the patriotic uniform, though – it’s about adopting the original mindset.
Before Sam’s culminating battle with Karli Morgenthau from the Flag Smashers, Sam states, “I’m not gonna fight you.” In exactly the same words as Steve when he told Bucky in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” This proves the point the Sam and Steve share the same outlook and attitude when it comes to conflict.
Zemo’s Out of Line, But He’s Right
In the third episode, titled Power Broker, Bucky, Sam, and Zemo take a flight to Madripoor with Zemo’s private plane, hence Baron Helmut Zemo’s name, making him a well-off member of Sokovia’s aristocracy. The three end up discussing the nature of heroes while on the flight.
Zemo argues that Steve Rogers is pretty close to perfect, but that also means that he will be placed on a pedestal. That’s an excellent recall to “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” when Steve came face to face with Zemo, and he made it a point to find a flaw, however minor, in Steve.
Last Tribute on the Left
Sam made his first appearance with Steve in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” while on their morning jog in Washington D.C. Whenever Steve overtook him, he would utter that famous line – “On your left” – which Sam would later repeat to him during their climactic fight scene in “Avengers: Endgame.”
However, “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” offered an incredibly subtle tribute to that line that many may have missed. After Sam leaves the Smithsonian in D.C., following his speech about Steve and handing over his shield, a tremendous farewell banner for Captain America looms large over him. In that photo, we see Steve, and as Sam glances at him, he appears on his left.
During “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier,” Bucky finds himself struggling to readjust to civilian life. He suffers from PTSD that comes from fighting for nearly a century, and in the first episode, we witness him sleeping on the floor of his nearly unfurnished apartment.
Sam expressed his difficulties to Steve during a revealing scene in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” Sam says he’s become accustomed to sleeping on the hard ground while using rocks as pillows, and now he finds his bed too soft. Steve concurs, saying it’s like a marshmallow, and this makes him feel like he will sink to the floor.
Very Different Lists
During one scene, we see Bucky’s list of the names; these are the names of people he hurt when he was Hydra’s brainwashed assassin, AKA, the Winter Soldier, in a notebook that almost matches Steve’s to-do list in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” In the third episode, we find out it IS the same notebook.
While the purposes of the lists prove to be very different – Bucky’s was made to right some wrongs from his past, while Steve’s was about catching up on recent history, discoveries, and pop culture.
Right Out of the Comic Book
Both Sam Wilson and John Walker settle in peacefully to their pivotal roles as Captain America and U.S. Agent by the show’s end. While Marvel’s cinematic content is tonally very similar to the movies in the franchise, their suits fared even better when compared to their counterparts in the comic book series.
Sam’s Cap suit nearly matches the one in the comic books, while Steve’s suit, inclined more towards deep blues, Sam’s is predominantly white. Walker’s U.S. Agent suit stayed true to the original comic book drawings, with black making up the prime color with a dash of white and red on the front.
Was Cap On the Moon?
There’s one rather odd running joke but, at the same time, could be potentially revealing. Steve Rogers is shown to be an old man in “Avengers: Endgame,” but his exact location remains obscure. With some reluctantly referring to him as “away,” we still don’t know where he is or what he’s doing.
During episode one, Joaquín Torres makes a strange remark, saying some people think Rogers was chilling in a secret base on the moon. While in the last episode, when Sam announces he’s the new Captain America, another guy also mentions he thought the Cap was on the moon.
Now That’s a Cool Disguise
During the last episode, we find Sharon Carter is back in New York while hiding from the government. The ex-CIA agent helped Steve, Sam, and Bucky in “Captain America: Civil War” and is now on the run. In true spy thriller fashion, she wears a hi-tech disguise so she doesn’t get caught, and it’s so nifty it also alters her voice.
She’s wearing a nano mask which works as a photostatic veil. You may remember it from “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” it made an appearance when Natasha, who we all know as Black Widow, used one to sneak into a World Security Council meeting.
In episode three, Marvel drops us into the messy world when Sam and Bucky visit the imprisoned Zemo; we see Zemo reading a book in German titled “Fortuna ist ein Reissender Fluss.” At first, we can’t help but wonder why they would feature this book at all – the book details Leonardo da Vinci and Niccolo Machiavelli’s friendship.
It would seem that there’s nothing noteworthy about this book, but when scrutinized a bit, it would make sense for Zemo, who’s strategically trying to befriend the man whose name inspired “machiavellian.”
Two episodes in, the storyline begins to feel more straightforward, with thematic elements coming to light, especially the concept of heroism. Bucky convinces Sam to go visit Helmut Zemo, who’s been imprisoned since “Captain America: Civil War” and discuss if Hydra was involved in the arrival of civilians with Super Soldier powers.
Just as the episode is about to end, we catch a glimpse of security camera-like footage with Zemo in his prison cell. His cell number happens to be 2187 – harkening back to “Star Wars: A New Hope,” which was Princess Leia’s cell number.
Fans were expecting more reveals from the fifth episode, titled “Truth,” when John Walker finally faces off against Sam and Bucky, after John’s violent instincts got himself into a fervid fight, which he almost had the upper hand in before Bucky managed to take him down and Sam snatched away his shield away.
In the penultimate episode, Bucky’s help proved essential in taking John down – as he was already in a two-on-one exchange with Captain America. The only difference in “Captain America: Civil War,” the original Cap was on his side when together they fought Tony Stark.
Who’s the True Captain?
When John Walker made his first appearance during the first episode’s final scene, fans went crazy over him. But as we discovered more about this cryptic character, we grew weary of him. One thing that set off alarm bells was how John exaggerated his own importance when he made a point time of reminding everyone and their mother that he’s Captain America.
While Steve would refer to himself as Steve Rogers – John declares he’s Captain America during his hearing, and then again to Sam before he tears his wings off. With his claims and clamor, he only proved how much he ISN’T Captain America.
We learn a bit more about Walker, which also reveals why he’s unfit to be the new Captain America. Both Walker and Steve used their shield as a weapon by lifting it over their heads and crashing it down in a fight.
But what separates them is the extent to which they used it. When Steve fought Tony Stark, he walked away before inflicting permanent damage. But Walker lost control when it to a member of the Flag-Smashers, and his violent rage proved deadly.
Who’s the New Falcon?
When the show began, Sam Wilson was on a mission for the Air Force with help from Joaquín Torres. Following his fight with John Walker in the fifth episode, he’s left with broken wings; Sam Wilson takes the Captain’s shield and returns home to Louisiana to his family.
When Torres tells Sam that he left his wings, Sam replies, “Keep ’em.” This scene may not seem significant, but in the comics, Sam Wilson eventually became the new Captain America… and Joaquín Torres might eventually become the new Falcon.
Star Fox 64
Sam’s sister Sarah is quite dismissive when it comes to her brother being a superhero, referring to his career as “doing a barrel roll.”
The barrel roll meme dates back to 1997 when the console game Star Fox 64 included an order to “do a barrel roll” while approaching turrets firing lasers. Sam has, of course, done many barrel roles while serving as an Avenger, so Sarah isn’t really wrong.
Sam & Sarah’s Boat
Even as Sarah jokes with her brother about being Captain America, she does later insist she’s proud of Sam.
In one scene, we see their boat, and on the side, the names written are Paul and Darlene, which are the names of their parents in the comics.
What’s Her Name?
Val makes her first appearance in the show’s fifth episode, her full name being Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, and she emerges again during the season finale to present the title of U.S. Agent to the power-hungry John Walker.
In true dramatic fashion, Val’s worked as a spy alongside Nick Fury in 1967, and before she became Madame Hydra, she was also an agent for the Leviathan group.
Black and White
Staying in tune with Val’s quirky ways, she gives John Walker her business card, saying she’ll be in touch before leaving. Baffled by her, John Walker and his wife find that the business card is white on one side and all-black on the other, but it’s also blank.
The move on her part can be relayed back to Walker’s black-or-white worldview. What’s more interesting, Val considers herself more open-minded as she presented a “legal gray area” when disputing property rights to Steve’s shield – and the fact that the MCU is all about different shades of gray within the world with no moral absolutes.
Warning: we’re about to divulge a trade secret from director Rian Johnson that might ruin every thriller movie you’ll watch from now. The “Knives Out” director once revealed that only non-villainous characters are allowed to use iPhones in movies – as stipulated by Apple.
This means that if you see a character using anything other than an iPhone, the odds that they’re a villain are pretty good. For most of the series, Sharon Carter is a good and trusted character, or at least that’s how she’s been portrayed. But in the final episode, it’s revealed that Sharon was the Power Broker the entire time! This would be a surprising twist if you didn’t notice her using another phone in the previous episode!
Turkish Delight, Anyone?
Marvel has done a great job crafting compelling, three-dimensional villains who each have their own distinct personalities. After Thanos’s sincere yet insane scheme, we have Baron Helmut Zemo. While unquestionably evil, Zemo masks his true motives with phony lies and a Turkish delicacy.
With three words, Zemo would reveal to all bookworms his true character – “Turkish delight. Irresistible.” Zemo’s ploy involving Turkish delight has been used to persuade as an incentive to bribe children into betraying their loved ones. This sweet treat was also used in “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe “by the evil witch Jadis when she gave it to Edmund to sell out his siblings.
When John Walker and Lemar Hoskins discuss taking the Super Soldier Serum after they first encountered the Flag Smashers, John questions Lemar whether he’d take the Serum if he could. Lemar responds that he absolutely would; seeing it only amplifies the traits you already have– it won’t change your essence as a person.
Dr. Erskine, who is the Super Soldier program’s chief scientist, told Steve Rogers that the serum can make good people great, while bad people will only become worse. This is exactly what happens to John; when he resolves to take the serum, it only enhances all of his worst qualities, and he becomes violently dangerous.
X-Men in MCU
The Marvel Universe is a massive and intricately connected one. Now, with Disney’s recent acquisition of Fox, fans are excited to see X-Men appear in this already complex world. The first time we witnessed this merge came not as a character but as a place. With Sam, Bucky, and Zemo traveling to Madripoor, X-Men comic fans already knew about its drawn-out and storied history.
Using this location only became possible after the acquisition was finalized, but creators of the series managed to make some preparations for its appearance, albeit brief, by having its name show in the closing credits.
Are Those More Easter Eggs?
While the triad made up of Sam, Buck and Zemo were traversing through the seedy underbelly of Madripoor’s downtown; they came across another easter egg. Their first stop is known for its patronage of tough guys, despite being called Princess Bar.
Despite the girly-sounding name, it’s a regular hangout for tough guys like Patch… which is an alias used by none other than Wolverine! However, the place Zemo, Sam, and Bucky do end up actually patronizing is a bar called the Brass Monkey, which previously appeared in several Captain America comic books. With that name, we can’t help but wonder, but it also happens to be one of Patch’s regular hangouts – which is Wolverine’s alias in X-Men! They also visit the Brass Monkey, another bar that is featured in Captain America comic books.
MCU loves taking a retrospective to connect fans to their favorite movies. Take the third episode, where the trio needs to leave Madripoor as soon as they can. Zemo is able to get them a stolen convertible as a getaway car. Once Bucky calls shotgun, Sam dryly says, “You’re not going to move your seat up, are you?” With Bucky replying, “No.”
This is a fantastic throwback to one scene in “Captain America: Civil.” When Steve managed to steal a VW Beetle, Sam gets the front seat with Bucky sitting in the back. “Can you move your seat up?” Bucky appeals. With Sam replying, “No,” unaware that it’ll come back to him one day.
Those Pesky Grenades
Before John Walker takes a turn for the worse, Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes have a poignant conversation while working together with the makeshift Captain America. Barnes asks Walker if he ever had to jump on top of a grenade. Turns out this is a loaded question.
During “Captain America: The First Avenger,” Steve Rogers leaped on top of a grenade, and his selfless act of heroism is exactly what gets him in the Super Soldier program. Walker replies that he has, with thanks to his reinforced helmet, which further highlights the difference between Steve and him.
Carl Lumbly receives a lot of well-deserved pat on the back for his moving portrayal of his grandfather, Isaiah Bradley. With many fans cheering him on, even though he remains mostly in the background, he’s known as a Patriot in the comics who got superpowers from his grandfather after getting a blood transfusion.
As one of the Young Avengers, we see a few of them appear in the show. There’s also Tommy and Billy, who we saw in WandaVision.
Not all characters in the Marvel multiverse get a detailed backstory, as we see with most of the Flag Smashers. Except for Nico, his grandfather was an Allied Soldier in the Second World War, and when he was a young boy, he used to idolize Steve Rogers.
Nico reveals to Karli Morgenthau that Steve Rogers made him believe there were still decent people in the world. This later results in bitter irony as he ends up dying by Captain America’s shield.
An Intricate Easter Egg
It’s obvious why the Marvel franchise has come to be the cultural phenomenon that rakes in billions of dollars. From the acting, directing, and writing, it’s all stellar but what really makes Marvel so successful is the obsessive attention to detail.
Back when Sam and Rhodey took a tour at the Smithsonian exhibit of Captain America, there’s even a photo from a scene in “The First Avenger.” Rather than using a movie shot, a photo that perfectly lines up from the viewer’s eye-line was taken when Steve Rogers fought against a Hydra operative.
The Star-Spangled Man
Once the show introduces John Walker as the newly appointed Captain, it’s the band from his university that performs an updated version of the Star-Spangled Man with a Plan, with an upbeat tempo.
If that detail sounds slightly familiar- then you’re on the right track. It was composed by Alan Menken, and it was also performed during Steve Roger’s first tour of the United States when he was Captain America in the “The First Avenger.” During that montage, it was made to sound a little more old-timey.
White Wolf’s Legacy
While sneaking around in the second episode, Sam jokes that Bucky emerged as the “White Panther” after he spent some time in Wakanda. Bucky makes sure to correct him in his typical deadpan way, saying he was called “White Wolf.”
Bucky did, in fact, spend time in Wakanda while he was recuperating after the Civil War, and during the final credits scene, we see locals giving him the nickname White Wolf. This is a name that was first uttered by T’Challa in “Infinity War” and in the show by Ayo once she meets him. Incidentally, the name also appeared in the comics as the guy who crash-landed near Wakanda.
John Walker and Tony Stark
The shows fifth episode also featured a scene during the credits, which shows John Walker trying to hammer his own copy of the shield after the original was taken from him, as was his title as Captain America.
This scene calls back to Tony Stark, where he was seen hammering away at what would eventually become his Iron Man Suit in the first movie in the MCU. While this scene may be reminiscent, it’s clear that the two men couldn’t be more different.
Are You Sure?
Once Zemo is captured by Dora Milaje, for some reason, he isn’t taken to Wakanda. Ayo, along with the team, take Zemo to the Raft, which is the prison submerged underwater, first seen in “Captain America: Civil War.” While they seem quite sure that he will live out the rest of his life there, it seems unlikely.
A few others have been imprisoned there, from Ant-Man to Wanda, but they are all rescued by Steve, and Zemo seems aware of that.
The Only News Network
There’s only one destination for news in the MCU, and that’s WHiH World News. Making appearances throughout all the movies and TV shows, the news network dates back to 2010 in Iron Man 2, when Chess Roberts, played by Olivia Munn, was reporting on the Stark Expo.
Since then, the news network has appeared several times in the show. WHiH also appeared in Marvel Studio’s first show, “Wandavision,” when Wanda first saw coverage after The Blip.
This is Strictly Personal
When Sam, Bucky, and Zemo arrive in Riga, Latvia, in search of any information leading to Karli Morgenthau. While walking around, they discuss the future of Sokovia, which is Zemo’s homeland in Eastern Europe, and its capital was destroyed in the Avengers movie “Age of Ultron.”
Zemo ponders if Sam or Bucky ever bothered to visit the memorial in Sokovia, and later in the series, we witness Zemo paying his respects at the monument’s site in memory of Sokovia’s fallen. Of course, his loss is personal, as both his beloved wife and son passed away in battle.
In episode five, Bucky finds Zemos at the memorial site of Sokovia’s fallen. He holds up his gun at Zemo, not yet telling him the bullets have been taken out, before handing him over to Dora Milaje. This may seem like a simple act, but it’s a massive shift in character for Bucky, who used to be a Winter Soldier.
This proves that Bucky was able to break free of Hydra’s mind control and take control of his own narrative. This also harkens back to the beginning of the series, when his therapist reminds him that a big part of moving on and making amends means nobody gets hurt.
A Connected History
One major theme weaved through the series is the struggle that African-Americans face. When Sam Wilson pays Isaiah Bradley a visit, he tells Sams that he could only free himself and his compatriots by going beyond enemy lines. This only lead him to be erased from history so that he could be experimented on.
Isaiah’s story is eerily similar to Steve Roger’s account in “The First Avenger Movie.” Once Steve rescued Bucky along with the Commandos from a prison camp, but he gets a reward for it and becomes America’s hero. The polarity is as painful as it is inescapable.
During Bucky’s regrouping with Zemo and Sam in the fourth episode. We see Zemo questioning Bucky if he was followed to their Latvian hotel; Bucky emphatically answers no. Seeing as Zemo is understandably paranoid, he furthers asks how he can be so sure; Bucky subtly responds with ‘I know when I’m being followed.’
This is a throwback to the previous episode’s final scenes when Bucky realized someone Ayo and Dora were on their trail, while the other two had no inkling of the sort.
No Luck Here
Since Zemo fanned the flames that broke up the band of Avengers in “Captain America: Civil War,” we first caught a glimpse of him in the third episode. It would appear that Zemo is still up to no good, with him saying the three trigger words to Bucky he poached from Hydra, which would reinstate programming for Winter Soldiers.
While these words may have worked before, Bucky had gone through deprogramming in Wakanda, meaning he was immune to the trigger. These trigger words were featured in the show credit roll of episode one.
Captain America’s Exhibit
Sam and War Machine, AKA Rhodey, toured through the exhibit in honor of Captain America in episode one. We saw the episode before in the “Winter Soldier” movie, but it has since had some renovations.
With a section detailing the battle from “Avenger: Endgame” with Thanos, as well as Captain America’s final mission when he handed back the Infinity Stones. There are also some incredible artifacts that cover the first comic books dating all the way back to 1941.
Someone Else’s Shield
The opening words in the series aren’t original at all; the dialogue actually comes from Sam’s conversation with Steve in the last Avengers movie. Once he came back from his trip through time, returning the Infinity Stones back to their rightful places, Steve Rogers bestows his shield to Sam.
Summoning him to give the shield a try and see how it feels, Sam tells Steve that he feels like someone else’s. This serves to convey Sam’s entire arc through the series, at first uncomfortable with the role but eventually accepting Steve’s choice.
If you happened to miss the credits following the final episode, you missed more than just the scene that came up mid-credits. During the first five episodes, the credit roll always closed with a card titled “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.”
But in that final episode, the card read “Captain America and The Winter Soldier,” showing Sam’s acceptance of the Captain America mantle. This leaves us wondering what the next season will be called? If there is another one, of course.
As the mentally unstable John Walker struggled to cope with the heavy price that came with the Captain America mantle, he was given a glimpse of redemption.
While Walker was no longer the world’s Captain America, but he has a new role as the U.S. Agent for the future. This rebranding of his identity should tee up a cool future for the character, whether as an anti-hero or a full-blown villain.
Sharon Carter’s turn to the dark side doesn’t actually make complete sense; with the final call in that credits scene, a bigger threat may still be coming.
Some fans have speculated that this could technology from Oscorp. Many signs point to Spider-Man’s villains playing a role in the events of FATWS and suggesting his next movie will directly pick up after the show’s finale.
The Evil Butler
Some might have thought Zemo was a cool guy with good dancing? But remember that he killed loads of people at the UN? Murdered T’Challa’s dad? Oh, and he took down recently captured Flag-Smashers.
Just as it seemed they were headed to the Raft, they were blown up. So who was the old guy in the car who blew them up? Zemo’s own weird evil Alfred butler.
Sarah isn’t the only one who’s proud of Sam Wilson. In one later scene, one of Sam’s nephews can be seen wearing Falcon colors – when he’s reverently touching the shield, no less.
This is no coincidence, rather suggesting a degree of hero-worship and also that these kids are quietly confident their uncle Sam should become Captain America. No doubt they’ll be delighted when he takes to the skies in the stars and stripes.
Episode 3 saw the introduction of a criminal named Conrad Mack. a.k.a. Smiling Tiger, who Falcon pretends to be to blend in Madripoor.
In the comics, Conrad is a human mutate and has powers due to his exposure to magic, radiation, and other outside factors. He’s also gold, has a pointed face, no nose, and sharp, red claws.
In the comics, Hector is a part of a super-strength trio known as the Bold Urban Commandos. When John became Captain America, he took one of their team, a.k.a. Lemar Hoskin, as his sidekick.
That left Lennox and the third BUCkie, Jerome Johnson, with nothing to do. Together, Johnson and Lennox became teamed up to get revenge on John.
The Global Repatriation Council, abbreviated as The GRC, is an international council that manages resources for refugees displaced by the Blip.
Now, the GRC is tasked with resettling 20 million…MILLION refugees worldwide. Would anyone care to guess how many refugees were resettled worldwide in the entire world at the all-time peak in 2016? 189,000.