Many folks I spoke to thought this episode was filler; The Falcon and The Winter Soldier doesn’t seem to be a show featuring inconsequential episodes. The way the writers at Disney weave their scripts, there’s always a long-term plan. Some of that planning can feel a bit dull at times. My initial reaction to each episode is usually indifferent, leading to me looking back fondly at each chapter. If I were to go back in time, last week’s episode was something of a moral game-changer for the MCU, warranting a higher rating than I gave it. Although Isaiah Bradley (Carl Lumbly) has been covered in the comics, he wasn’t mentioned in the MCU.
I wasn’t aware of his existence, let alone was I compelled enough to research most of these characters when they’re introduced. Isaiah changed that. A black Captain America who was overlooked by the history books escalates comic books beyond the cliche of being kids stuff. When The Power Broker didn’t continue with that story, I was sorely disappointed. I’m sure they’ll get back to Mr. Bradley’s character; they’d better. In the meantime, I felt like I was watching what is a bit like the Iron Man 2 or Avengers: Age of Ultron of MCU shows. It spends most of its time building up to things that will pay off in spades; in the meantime, it can be a drudge to get through.
Why Sharron Carter (Emily VanCamp) is upset will be revealed. For now, she comes off like a whiney white girl. To the director’s credit, when she gets into a scuffle, she takes some hits that not anyone, no matter what sex, could usually take. The return of Baron Zemo is welcoming, mainly thanks to Daniel Brühl’s knockout performance. I could hear him do antagonistic monologues all day long. Zemo’s rant about the idolization of superheroes hits on many levels beyond the amount of philosophical excess that Zack Snyder can throw at me. References dating back to Captain America: Civil War rears its momentous head to harm the present. Elements of darkness loom in what may prove to be some tremendous future entries to come.
Wilfred Nagel couldn’t have arrived at a better time. An evil scientist is usually a tired subplot. With COVID, we’d all love to pound a scheming doctor’s face in. When Nagel starts going off about his evil plan in his nasal voice, I wanted to pour a vile of Coronavirus saliva straight into that nerd’s mouth then see him choke on it. As you can tell, I have a lot of pent-up anger from being isolated during the last year. The writing staff of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier are aware of that rage we all feel. Adding GRC’s generic post blip commercial is a highly effective call to the despair we face during “these difficult times” ads is a nice touch keeping everything topical but not zeitgeist to the point of nauseam.
With everything set up, I feel filler would be the polar opposite of The Power Broker. A lot like seeing Infinity War and Civil War, things are possibly going to go south after this week with the super-soldier serum running its course across society. One character who can only be defined as “not my Captain America” is John Walker (Wyatt Russel). After proclaiming “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM” to a goon spitting in his face, it would be predictable that John isn’t meant for Cap’s shield or is an antagonist himself. My money is on him being a sympathetic character who is genuinely trying his best. If we go back to The Winter Soldier, Steve Rogers wasn’t a perfect guy despite his cheerleader for the United States attitude. Like any conscionable man, he questions if he’s patriotic or complacent. His devotion to Bucky complicates his duty not only as a hero but a man that can’t let go of his past, harming others along the way.
Disney knows all about nostalgia and how it can create false perceptions of reality in our minds. Look no further than the official catalog on Disney Plus for proof. We love Steve Rogers in the end, almost forgetting how he caused many to get killed due to his selfishness. When we see John Walker in Steve’s former outfit, he intentionally looks out of place in it with his chin and nose looking entirely out of place in Steve’s old outfit. When we get to know him in the next episode, we begin to understand him. Now we hate him again. Within a single moment of ego, we’re ready to toss out the new Cap without thinking twice. Where John’s journey will lead, I hope, will involve the same amount of subtext that Steve Rogers was given. Although ultimately a tad bored, I respect the chess pieces placed within Phase 4’s map. I hope that things don’t work out in a direction we can see coming. My level of respect for Marvel’s planning almost leaves no doubt in my mind that they know what they’re doing. Having said that, Wandavision’s brain-dead lazer shooting-centric finale reminds me that every dog has its day. Hopefully, The Power Broker isn’t the precursor to that day.
Do you agree with my rating? Let me know why, and politely.