Sam Wilson may have surrendered Steve Rogers's shield in the series premiere of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, but in the action-packed finale, "One World, One People," he reclaims it as his own. Swooping in to stop a hostage situation orchestrated by the Flag Smashers, the former Falcon got his own "I'm Batman" moment as he reintroduces himself to the world. "I'm Captain America," Uncle Sam tells one of the Smashers, shouldering Cap's shield like he's been carrying it his whole life.
That's a declaration Marvel fans have been waiting six episodes to hear.
Even without the super-soldier serum, Sam's maiden flight as Cap demonstrated that he has got the battle skills to follow in Steve's footsteps. More importantly, though, he's got his friend's desire to fight for the powerless. The standout moment of the finale wasn't any of the action sequences: It was Sam's passionate speech where he encouraged the government higher-ups on the Global Repatriation Council to "do better."
He also had words for anyone unhappy about the identity of the world's newest Captain American. "I'm a Black man carrying the stars and stripes," he said pointedly — a statement that directly reflects one of the driving themes of the series. "Every time I pick this thing up, I know there are millions of people out there who are going to hate me for it. The only power I have is that I believe we can do better"
The closing credits updated the show's title to reflect the new Marvel Cinematic Universe status quo. And Marvel Studios wasted little time revealing that a fourth Captain America feature film is in development courtesy of FAWS showrunner, Malcolm Spellman, presumably with Mackie front and center. That suggests that this series is a one-and-done affair, but if and when there's a Season 2, FAWS will now be known as CAAWS — Captain America and the Winter Soldier. And the finale sets up new identities — and new missions — for some of the other characters introduced during this six-episode run.
Sharon Carter, for example, is officially identified as the Power Broker and even though she receives a pardon in a post-credits scene, Peggy's great-niece hasn't abandoned her villainous ways. On her way out of her hearing, the younger Agent Carter has a one-sided phone conversation where she boasts about now having access to all sorts of state secrets — secrets that'll help her "broker" some "power" deals. Don't be surprised if Sharon returns in Marvel's planned Secret Invasion series, starring Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury, Ben Mendelsohn's Talos and Emilia Clarke as a character to be named later.
Meanwhile, everyone's least favorite Captain America, John Walker, got a bit of redemption to go along with his new name: U.S. Agent. During the hostage crisis, Walker teamed up with Sam and Bucky and went toe-to-toe and blow-to-blow with Flag Smasher ring-leader, Karli Morgenthau, who ended up joining dearly departed Lemar Hoskins in the MCU graveyard. While John didn't earn an invite to Sam's family cookout, he did share a joke with Bucky over a Lincoln quote without getting punched in the face.
Although fans might have preferred if the Winter Soldier had given Walker a beatdown. Fans were torn about the show seemingly forgiving the character for his crimes as Cap, in the rush to set him up as an agent of Selina Meyer's... uh Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine's yet-to-be-determined agenda.
In lieu of a second season of CAAWS, fans would also happily take an Isaiah Bradley prequel series. Sam literally canonized the elderly super soldier in the history books, including an Isaiah statue in the Smithsonian's Captain America exhibit. If Isaiah doesn't get to put on the suit, though, his grandson, Eli, has a bright future. In the comics, Eli joins the Young Avengers as Patriot. And with WandaVision previously introducing two other junior heroes — Wiccan and Speed — Marvel is clearly laying the groundwork for a YA-aimed Young Avengers.
And what about the second half of the show's title, the Winter Soldier? Bucky ends the series in a better place than he began, having completed his mission to ensure that Steve's wishes were carried out and making amends to those he wronged along the way. He's more than earned his retirement... and may have someone to spend it with.
Whaddya think — Sarah and the Winter Soldier anyone?
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is currently streaming on Disney+.
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