by Sam Acosta
This episode gives us a deeper look into the mind of Sam as he wrestles with whether he should take up the mantle of Captain America. Boasting one of the greatest fight scenes to ever grace the MCU and some truly moving moments, episode five continues the upward trajectory of amazing quality and high expectations started in episode four. I loved this episode so much, and there is a lot that I want to unpack here.
First, let’s talk about the intro scene. After Walker brutally kills one of the Flag Smashers with his shield, he runs off to a nearby warehouse. Sam and Bucky follow him and try to reason with him, telling him that he can be forgiven for what happened and that all he needs to do right now is hand over the shield. Convinced they only want the shield for themselves, he quickly retaliates, leading to one of the most intense and thrilling hand-to-hand combat fight scenes in the MCU.
This fight felt so realistic and grounded, even though it involves two super-soldiers and a man with a mechanical wingsuit. The moment when Walker tears off Sam’s wings is so powerful, as if the show is symbolically telling us that the Falcon is now gone, and Sam must now begin his transition into Captain America. Sam and Bucky are finally able to get the shield away from Walker after nearly snapping his arm off in the process and then knocking him unconscious.
Another aspect I appreciated was Sam’s journey throughout this episode. He goes to talk to Isaiah about becoming the new Captain America. Isaiah advises him against taking up the mantle, detailing the horrific abuse and mistreatment he and his fellow African American super-soldiers experienced. How could Sam, a Black man, take up the symbol of a nation that historically has acted so oppressively towards his own people? Sam seems convinced by Isaiah’s moving testimony.
This discussion leads Sam back home where he works to restore the old family fishing boat that Sarah had considered selling. He calls in many family favors to help get it up and running. Even Bucky comes to help out, and during a practice shield-throwing session, he admits to Sam that he and Steve had no clue about the historical baggage the mantle of Captain America would come with when it was handed to him.
Nevertheless, Sam eventually decides to take up the mantle, believing he can work to redeem its troubled history through his own example. He begins to train, practicing his shield-wielding. I’m normally not a fan of montages, but this training sequence was genuinely fun to watch. Not only do we see the hard work and dedication Sam is putting into his new role, but we also get to see the impact that the role of Captain America can have as his nephews watch in wonder and look up to Sam. This moment is really sweet, making me feel like Sam is going to be the hero that the world needs right now.
This episode ended with another big mystery that is currently driving fans crazy. To quote Brad Pitt in the film “Seven,” “What’s in the box?!” Bucky brings Sam a box from the Wakandans, but we don’t get to see what is inside. The common theory is that it contains a new suit for Sam, probably his new Captain America suit. Even this answer begs a lot of questions: will it be star-spangled, will it provide Sam with any new abilities to make up for the fact that he doesn’t have super-serum, and will he get his wings back?
The final thing I want to talk about is the first mid-credits scene of the series. We see Walker making his own crude version of the shield, making it clear that his role in the story is not done yet. Whatever role he has left to play in the finale is still a mystery, but it’s exciting to know that he is still grasping onto the title of Captain America. I hope that we get to see a climactic final fight between the two men vying to hold the title.
Overall, I loved this episode and am excited to watch the finale. This show has worked hard on redeeming itself, and I am truly hoping that the finale follows through with that effort.
Episode five of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” is now streaming on Disney Plus.
Sam Acosta is a sophomore Theatre Comprehensive Major and an A&E writer for Cedars. He likes spending his time watching movies, drinking Dr. Pepper, and writing plays.