Falcon and the Winter Soldier Finale Recap and Speculation

by Ryan Kirksey

042321C-300x157 Falcon and the Winter Soldier Finale Recap and SpeculationNOTE: This post contains massive spoilers for the finale of Falcon and The Winter Soldier.

That’s a wrap on the second Marvel Cinematic Universe television series on Disney+ as Falcon and The Winter Soldier (or, Captain American and the Winter Soldier, as the end credits showed us) came to its dramatic conclusion this morning. Along the way, we were treated to Sam Wilson’s first look as the new Captain America, the end of the Flag Smashers as we know it, and an uncertain future for both the newly minted U.S. Agent (John Walker) and Agent Sharon Carter.

Leaving Something To Be Desired

I’ll be straight with you. I absolutely LOVED this show. But this finale was not my favorite piece of content that has ever come out of the MCU. In fact, it might be one of my least favorites. In the end, most of the episode was spent in action scenes addressing a conflict that we knew would be resolved in some capacity. We knew the Flag Smashers would likely be crippled or destroyed, but we didn’t have answers to a lot more personal questions.

How does making amends impact Bucky Barnes? What is going to happen to Sam’s family in Louisiana? Where do we next see Baron Zemo and what was his overall role? What path does John WalkerHelmut_Zemo Falcon and the Winter Soldier Finale Recap and Speculation take now that he faces a fork in the road? They spent about 40 minutes taking down the Flag Smashers and about ten minutes tying up a whole host of loose ends.

Show, Don’t Tell

Beyond some of the more personal storytelling aspects that I wish were included, I prefer my television shows to have a good bit more cinematic exposition rather than character explanation. So when Sam went into a four-minute monologue to the GRC council that is basically “these are the themes and the reasons why we made this show,” I found it a little flat. He summed it up in one line in episode five: “what would be the point of all the pain and sacrifice, if I wasn’t willing to stand up and keep fighting?” That’s enough for me.

This show, in the end, was about heroes and what makes a hero. Can any man or woman be a hero? Must a hero have power and weapons?  Is being a hero about supporting a righteous cause? Is it the ability to offer self-reflection and make amends? Can a fallen hero be redeemed? Those of us that have been on the MCU journey for 13 years are aware enough to understand these themes, and I just didn’t feel that they treated us that way in this episode.

Questions Answered and Questions Remain

But, despite my personal criticism, there are still plenty of unanswered questions and nuggets that can point to speculation moving forward. Let’s dig into some character questions to try and decipher what’s next.

ca-25-198x300 Falcon and the Winter Soldier Finale Recap and SpeculationIs Sam Wilson Officially the New Captain America?

This was answered with a resounding yes at the end of episode five, but we got our first glimpse of the new Captain America in the finale. I had to chuckle when one of the extras on the show made the comment that “no, Captain America is actually on the moon,” citing an ongoing MCU theory, because Wilson’s new suit looks like it belongs in space. While I love Sam as the new Cap, I’m not really a fan of the flying astronaut Captain America.

Does this combo-suit also mean we won’t see Sergeant Torres as the new Falcon after he took Sam’s old suit? Probably. We will have to be satisfied with Falcon America or some kind of hybrid.

For comic book speculators, Captain America #25 – the first appearance of Sam as Captain America – has been on a steady climb for a while. We recently saw a CGC 9.8 copy break the $600 barrier a few days ago when the same book sold for around $200 in February. So unless you want to pay the premium, you may be waiting a while for this one to come back down.

Who is the Power Broker? 

Much like WandaVision, we didn’t get the big Power Broker reveal many were looking for. There was no Generaltos-75-196x300 Falcon and the Winter Soldier Finale Recap and Speculation Thunderbolt Ross setting up a super-team. It wasn’t the Kingpin as was speculated widely. It certainly wasn’t some of the wilder ideas like Ultron or the GRC creating havoc to make their own cause look better.

As many predicted, the coincidence that Sharon Carter was reintroduced in the episode titled Power Broker was too much to overlook and Agent Carter is confirmed to be the power-wielding head of Madripoor. In the post-credits scene, we see (Double?) Agent Carter accept her former SHIELD position again while simultaneously communicating with her nefarious partners that they now have the access they’ve always wanted.

This sets up Carter as a major player in the MCU going forward, which is great news for many of us. But we don’t exactly know why she pulled a WWE-style heel turn. She was that disenfranchised at the U.S. for abandoning her that she becomes full-on treasonous? Then why did she take Bucky, Sam and Zemo to see the scientist who designed the Super Serum? We may ca-22-195x300 Falcon and the Winter Soldier Finale Recap and Speculationnever know the motivation here, but at least Carter’s long-term MCU future is secure.

Seeing as how she will be a major force moving forward, Tales of Suspense #75 (coincidentally also the first appearance of Batroc) will likely see a major bump going forward. CGC 7.0 copies were selling for under $200 a couple months ago. This might be the last chance before a spike. Don’t sleep on Captain America #22, however, for reasons we will see shortly.

What Does Bucky Have Left To Do?

Unlike with WandaVision, there don’t seem to be many A+B=C, easy steps to the next projects for the characters on FATWS. Exhibit A with this is Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier. We have a few moments of Bucky making amends with the father of the young man he murdered many years ago. We know he crossed all the names off his list in his pocketbook. What happens next?

It’s not a stretch to think that after 75+ years of fighting, Bucky retires. I suppose he developed enough of a bromance with Sam that the duo could keep working together in the future, but the show sure did seem to try and provide a sense of finality with Bucky. At this point, the story arc of the Winter Soldier is complete, so the MCU would need to just shoehorn him into other projects if they want to keep using him. But if Sam’s Captain America gets his own set of movies, it’s a goodca-6-195x300 Falcon and the Winter Soldier Finale Recap and Speculation bet the best sidekick around shows back up again.

Could Captain America #6 finally start to see a slight decline after its sharp spike in recent months? A CGC 9.8 here also recently crossed $600 for the primary cover. If you would like some affordable (and well-written!) Falcon/Winter Soldier books, you might want to invest in the OTHER Captain America #25 (from the Civil War storyline) which is the first meeting of Falcon and Winter Soldier. A 9.8 copy of this book is still selling for under $100.

What Path is John Walker On?

After being unceremoniously stripped of his title and authority in episode five of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, we saw Walker fashioning a new shield at the end of the last episode. Walker inevitably shows up to the Flag-Smasher battle. He is presumed to be still out for revenge for the death of his friend, but instead has a mini redemption story. He chooses to save a truck full of GRC members instead of attacking an enemy. Not the Walker we thought we would see after this embarrassment in front of the committee.

But is that representative of the future John Walker? At the end of the show, we see Walker don the official black and white U.S. Agent costume made famous in the comics. It is provided by Contessa Valentina Allegra, who plays coy as to whether or not she had a role in the remaining Flag Smashers being blown up by Zemo’s butler. Clearly she has some evil plots up her designer sleeve. Even Walker’s comments upon seeing his new costume provide a clue. “It’s the same, but black!” Foreshadowing, much?

Walker was a character we loved to hate, so I expect much more of that in the future.

Dark_Avengers_Vol_1_1-198x300 Falcon and the Winter Soldier Finale Recap and SpeculationThat Leads Us To Contessa Valentina. What’s Her Endgame? 

Contessa Valentina replies to John Walker’s comment with “It’s about to get weird.” This leaves us with one of the biggest speculative moments of the show.

Is her future plan to form the Dark Avengers, which includes has included U.S. Agent, Norman Osborn, Mac Gargan, Hawkeye,  and Iron Patriot? Remember Captain America #22? This is the issue where Sharon Carter becomes Iron Patriot. According to Key Collector, Dark Avengers #1 sold 290% more copies this week on the appearance and speculation of Contessa’s future squad.

Is her plan to form the Thunderbolts? The group, originally formed by Baron Zemo, has ties to U.S. Agent, Batroc, and other super-soldiers. Prices for Incredible Hulk #449 have been rising for a month in anticipation. It’s still affordable in the upper range, however, recently selling for under $200 in a 9.2 grade.

Or will she become her most infamous personality – Madame Hydra? Does she resurrect an organization that was, for allhulk-449-198x300 Falcon and the Winter Soldier Finale Recap and Speculation intents and purposes, destroyed after Captain America: The Winter Solider and attempt to wield its global power for her own gain? Either way, her first appearance in Strange Tales #159 sold for a record $1,800 in a CGC 9.4 last week.

The MCU seems to be setting her up as the anti-Nick Fury. And I’m loving it, wherever it goes.

Now The Long Wait Begins

One positive piece of news for comic speculators? There has been very little news concerning the future of these characters, so there is time for them to percolate. Will there be a season 2 of Captain America and the Winter Soldier? No one knows. We do have a report today that a fourth Captain America movie is in the works, but it’s in such early stages it will likely be years before it’s in theaters.

Look at the themes of this show. The definition of a hero. Letting our pasts define us. Understanding we are all citizens of this planet. It seems the MCU wanted to just drop a lot of bread crumbs that could lead to different paths.

We have heard of Kevin Fiege and the team’s plans through the end of 2023. Will we really see none of these plot points resolved until after that time? Will these stories and characters be interwoven into what we see on the big and small screen in the near future? Can they write some of these stories into upcoming Disney+ shows?

That’s the end for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, it would seem. Like with most Marvel Cinematic properties, we are left with more questions than answers. But those questions are often the starting line for those of us who are speculators. Let the race begin.

Tired of reading? Watch instead!

Footer_Youtube_12.3.2020-1 Falcon and the Winter Soldier Finale Recap and Speculation

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5 comments

Voodoomaestro April 24, 2021 - 1:13 am

I really enjoyed the show. But the writing definitely left something to be desired. Most of the time, it was just a lot of bad exposition. Great action, mediocre writing. Overall, I’d give the series a B-.

And my guess about Sharon is that she’s a Skrull. Secret Invasion IS just around the corner!

Reply
Matt S. April 24, 2021 - 10:11 am

I think Anthony Mackie’s speech was spot on, raw and bold, appropriate for what’s been going on in our country concerning race and pain and inequality. For his character to not say those things would have left the show as weak and blind and insensitive to what is going on today. What he did and said solidifies who he is as Captain America now, something that John Walker tried, but could barely do with failure.

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Ricky thorton April 24, 2021 - 12:41 pm

Well I picked up a copy of Hulk 449 in a 7.5 for a 100 and copy of DA #1 in 9.8 for 220. One of these books is going to rise and I don’t know enough to put it all into 1. Tony Mack made a big stink about BLM on the set of Avengers and felt like the writing of this show was done to appease him ( Great Actor). Parts of this show made me think about the Scene of Avengers Endgame and all the females had the Girl Power Moment. We don’t need societal issues shoved down are throats in 5 minute speeches in the final episode. So in place of Mephisto we got White Vision? (Weak)The big character drop in episode 5 is Elaine from Seinfeld (weaker) They are realllly slow rolling these characters and I guess if they are going to keep this going they need to. Let’s Hope Loki steps up after this BLM propaganda mishmash

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John w. Ziffer April 24, 2021 - 11:56 pm

Ricky, you are dead on with your assessment. The MCU is becoming predictable. It’s way too preachy.

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L Deezy April 25, 2021 - 1:11 am

I think everyone is well sick and tired of hearing about racism all the time, every where we look. It was disappointing to see it at the forefront of this show, when we’re all looking for that great escape from reality and want to have fun. I think Sam is great as the new Cap. I just wish Marvel didn’t try to beat us into submission to accept it, because I think most people would have accepted it willingly. Sam is worthy…and it has nothing to do with his race.

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