With Episode 5 of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, we seem to have finally learned Steve's fate, gotten the latest tease of the Thunderbolts forming in the MCU, and got treated to a nice cliffhanger heading into the series finale this Friday. In the immediate reactoin video posted early on Friday morning, I rated the episode a 9.3 out of 10 and I'm sticking to that. Don't ask where the ".3" comes from. It just does. Now, spoilers follow as take a closer look at the fifth episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. You've been warned!
Going into Episode 5 we all wanted to know who the cameo that the filmmakers were teasing would be -- it was Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. This is a character who goes on to become Madame HYDRA on the pages of Marvel Comics -- also a character who dates Nick Fury -- but I don’t think we’re gonna see either of those happen here… unless she this is the sneaky return of MCU HYDRA and Fury’s ex-girlfriend. But if it is Fury's ex-grifriend and she’s not how he lost his eye... I’ll never forgive the Captain Marvel moment that explained the "Last time I trusted someone I lost my one good eye," moment when this could have been a much better explanation.
Val could be from the Russian equivalent of SHIELD known as Leviathan, she could be a secret HYDRA agent, or she could be forming the Thunderbolts -- which is kinda like Marvel’s Suicide Squad if we distill down the the most simple mainstream terms… and thee purple hair highlight could be an homage to Victoria Hand or oversees the Thunderbolts Initiative in comics but she’s recruiting John Walker and Zemo would have to be a part of such a team and it’s hard to imagine Zemo working with a super soldier. Valentina also works on a group called Femme Force with Sharon Carter, so with only this one scene, we don’t know yet what path Val is going to head down in the MCU.
Meanwhile, Zemo is no longer dancing… though that clip lives forever in our hearts, or for full one hour on a YouTube video. The Dora Milaje to the Raft which is the super villain prison we saw in Captain America: Civil War, but we also now people can be broken out of that prison because that’s how Steve Rogers got his pals out before Avengers: Infinity War. If we do see the Raft, it’ll be really interesting to see what other Marvel villains are laying in wait to join the inevitable Thunderbolts team up.
Speaking of villains… Sharon Carter? In last week’s breakdown, I was saying I thought she was the Power Broker, and now it really looks like she either is the Power Broker or is at least working for the Power Broker. She made a call to a dude who was yelling at her in French and then, boom, Batroc is back at the end of the episode with some big time ammunition to help raid the GRC so that he can get Sam Wilson. If you translate what Batroc said to Sharon over the phone, well, he says, “I lost my team on the last mission. I’ll never work for you again.” So, whether or not she’s the Power Broker, Sharon definitely had a hand in the opening action sequence we saw to start this whole series which the American military did not enjoy.
Not everybody’s evolution is into villainy though.
Joaquin Torres got his wings! Torres goes on to become The Falcon on the pages of Marvel Comics and after Sam’s wings broke, he leaves them with Torres in the episode. IIt gave me a very Iron Man 1 feeling when Rhodey looks at the War Machine armor and says, "Next time, baby." Now, it seems inevitable that as Sam takes on the Captain America mantle, Torres is his Falcon successor.
Earlier in the episode, Isaiah Bradley laid out the MCU’’s equivalent of the Truth: Red, White, and Black comic book story as it applies to his character’s history. The story he told mirrored that of Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger, but the difference is that when Steve snuck off of a base and rescued his war brothers, he was hailed as a hero. Isaiah Bradley was thrown in jail and experimented on, prompting him to believe the country would continue to chase the blonde haired, blue-eyed white boy as the Captain America dream -- but it looks like Sam Wilson is finally ready to change that.
In Louisiana, Sam does what he has been doing since Captain America: The Winter Soldier and helps a war veteran. In this case, he helps Bucky find a path to get better mentally. So, my guess is he’ll probably go back and apologize to or help Yori from Episode 1 in some way to wrap up that story.
Bucky delivers a briefcase which is a "favor" from Wakanda and it certainly has the Falcon Captain America suit in it which makes a lot of sense. Now, the suit and shield won’t be made of Vibranium stolen from Black characters in the MCU but Wakandans actually had their hand in crafting it and granting it to Sam Wilson. This feels extra good, considering the symbol was just seen being used by a white dude to bludgeon someone to death while the entire world watched and now the true owners of the MCU's strongest element have bestowed it upon Sam Wilson.
After the end, John Walker thinks he’s Tony Stark in a post-credits scene and he’s making his own Captain America shield -- it’s not gonna be made of Vibranium but it will include his miltary medals. There might be some kind of showdown coming in the finale but John is probably being saved for a larger story with De Fontaine down the line in the MCU.
What Easter eggs and references did you catch in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Episode 5? Drop yours and your rating out of 10 in the comment section or send it my way on Instagram!