Spoiler alert: This blog is for people who watch The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney +. Don’t read on unless you’ve watched episodes one through three.
The return of Zemo
After appearing in the closing seconds of last week’s installment, this episode was pretty much the Baron Zemo show. And Daniel Brühl, finally managing to develop the role he first had in Captain America: Civil War, did it perfectly. He probably had more lines in the plan scene alone than in the entire Civil War. Zemo is charming and eccentric one second, extremely threatening the next, according to his jail cell meeting with Bucky: “I just wanted to see how the new you would react to the old words.” Considering how the Winter Soldier ripped through thug after thug in the Madripoor bar brawl on Zemo’s orders, let’s just say Bucky hasn’t changed as much as he thought. Or do you think he was just playing the same way Sam was pretending to be the Smiling Tiger?
This scene was so smooth, and the Ocean-esque device 11 of narrating a proposed plan when the entire time was a flashback worked perfectly. The interaction between Bucky, Zemo, and Sam was the highlight of the series so far, particularly Zemo’s revelation that his family has long been rich. His mini review of Marvin Gaye’s Trouble Man soundtrack was wonderful, and correct, the soundtrack is a masterpiece, as is his goading on Bucky by starting to read his list of wronged people.
There was tension in that scene on the plane, and when I saw Sam and Bucky board, my initial thoughts were that they would soon be falling from the sky or poisoned by Zemo’s petty butler.
Maybe I’m overthinking it, but there was something about the bar fight and the shooting in Madripoor that didn’t quite sit well with me. As nice as it was, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was Zemo’s plan from the beginning, unfolding as he intended. Maybe not. Whether that’s the case or not, Wilfred Nagel ends up dead and his lab is on fire, meaning that Zemo has finished another Super Soldier program. It was very convenient that he had that car hidden in a shipping container, and also that he has a house in Riga that everyone can stay in.
Flag Smashers … smash
We now know that Flag Smashers stole 20 doses of Super Soldier Serum from the Power Broker. If there were seven or eight of them, that means they still have 12 or 13 doses left. My hunch is Captain America and Lemar will end up taking one each, leaving around 10 up for grabs. Will Sam get one?
We also learned more about Karli this week, seeing that the medication she wants is primarily for fighting diseases like tuberculosis, while food is also high on her agenda. The Nobel causes, sure, but blowing up buildings with people still inside is not the way to do it. Dovich, his partner, seemed to feel the same way. Is Karli, now driven by pain, too long for the rest of the Flag Smashers, or will they line up with her more direct tactics?
After the initial raid, it was a quiet week for John Walker and Lemar, who had to settle for being one step behind Flag Smashers and Sam and Bucky for the entire episode. My prediction for next week is to see Walker’s true colors as things continue to not go his way. His ruthless streak is already starting to show, he barely managed to contain himself after Rudy spat in his face so I don’t think it will be long before he freaks out and becomes more violent.
Welcome back Sharon Carter, played by Emily VanCamp. She was last seen handing Steve and Sam their gear before the airport fight in Captain America: Civil War, before having a long-awaited kiss with Steve. She has been on the run ever since, stealing art, among other things. She saved Sam, Bucky, and Zemo multiple times here, but there was something about the way she and her bodyguard (why does she have a bodyguard?) Got into the car at the end of the episode that made me question her intentions. . Could you work for the Power Broker? Considering how difficult it must have been to stay on the run all this time, it wouldn’t be surprising if he had made some dodgy deals along the way.
“When half of us returned, it was time to rejoice and reunite,” read the announcement from the Global Repatriation Council that opened the episode. “We are here to help you find your way.” Cut to the sliding door of a military vehicle that opens and Captain America jumps out, the true face of the GRC. I hope to learn a lot more about that organization and its true intent before the series comes out.
The globetrotter continued, from Berlin prison and the fictional island of Madripoor in Southeast Asia, to Vilnius in Lithuania and Riga in Latvia. Madripoor appears extensively in Marvel comics, particularly in the X-Men titles. Now that it has been introduced into the MCU, it is expected to appear on screen in the future.
Baron Zemo killed his king. And while Sam hinted at the beginning of the episode that the Wakandans hadn’t forgotten, it was a surprise to see one of the Dora Milaje, hello Florence Kasumba as Ayo, last seen fighting Corvus Glaive in Avengers: Infinity War Riga. How are Sam and Bucky going to get what they need from Zemo and prevent Ayo from getting justice? Rhetorical question: I think Zemo will run away next week, leaving all parties unsatisfied.
Dispatch of names and other matters
There were so many callbacks this week, going through them all would take almost an entire blog. But here are a few:
“I’ve seen that book, it was Steve’s when he came off the ice. I told him about Trouble Man. “I originally thought that the notebook Bucky was writing in was a nod to the one Steve was using, actually, I hadn’t realized it. is Steve’s notebook, the one first seen after the jogging scene in Captain America: Winter Soldier. As the memories go, it’s beautiful. Who needs a flashy shield when you can have something so personal?
“Do we want to live in a world of people like Red Skull?” Zemo asks. No, obviously, is the answer. But if Zemo is so against the Red Skull, why does he wear a mask that makes him look quite like the old Nazi villain?
There was a nod to Isaiah Bradley, who was revealed to be the American super soldier who provided the blood sample Nagel worked on. I really hope we get to see Carl Lumbly again before the series comes out.
Nightclub scenes in movies and TV shows are still horrible, although we did get to see Baron Zemo dancing.
Mel Tormé’s Comin ‘Home Baby sounded as the trio entered Nagel’s lab. Is that Bucky, born in a lab like this, coming home? Or Zemo, coming home to a life of murder and terrorism?
Bucky refuses to move the car seat forward for Sam. We’ve been here before.
Oeznik, Zemo’s butler, was played by Nicholas Pryor, who appeared in the 1985 spy thriller The Falcon and the Snowman with Sean Penn. A commenter jokingly asked after the first episode if Private TFATWS was a sequel. Maybe not, but at least now there is a link between the two.
That you thought? When are we going to meet the Power Broker? Is Karli too extreme for the rest of the Flag Smashers? Was Bucky under Zemo’s control? And still no sign of Redwing, what’s up? Say your opinion below the line.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism