We pick up the action this week just about where we left off in EPISODE 4. John Walker, panicked and overwhelmed, has run from the scene of his crime, a public execution that left the Captain America Shield stained with blood.
Walker’s running through everything in his head, obviously torn on what he did, despondent when Sam and Bucky find him in a warehouse. Sam tries to talk some sense into him. Pointing out if he gives himself up, people may understand about the heat of the moment taking over.
Walker realizes this would also be giving up the shield along with the title of Captain America and challenges Bucky and Sam with “you don’t want to do this!”
Bucky, perhaps channelling the audience as well at this point: “Yeah, we do!”
Walker more than holds his own in the ensuing fight, whether that’s his already impressive physical training combined with the super soldier serum or being the only one in the fight willing to kill. There were several kill shots lined up on Sam and/or Bucky that had to be broken up. Sam continues to try to talk Walker down, but after Walker rips the wings off Sam’s suit and is about to kill Sam, Bucky and Sam finally subdue Walker, snapping his arm to remove the shield in the process.
Bucky picks up the shield and quickly drops it by Sam.
We get a brief cool down scene with Joaquin Torres telling Sam how things have blown up because of Captain America killing a man publicly. The case is now far beyond Sam and Bucky’s ability to meddle. They split here, Sam taking the shield, leaving his broken wings with Joaquin. Bucky, off to find Zemo.
Bucky quickly finds Zemo at the Sokovia war memorial. Zemo points out he understands the actions Bucky’s taken and he doesn’t hold it against him. Zemo even has already crossed his name off Bucky’s list as he considers them even. Ayo and the Wakandan guard shows up to take Zemo to the Raft, the floating prison established in CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR.
We go to a hearing for John Walker next. Here, Walker thinks he can talk his way out of it, trying to override the senators at the hearing, “You built me” and insisting they don’t really know what being Captain America is like.
This really gets to the crux of the show, as I’m sure many can make the case that Walker’s Captain America is a suitable stand in for the real life United States – destructive, overbearing, fighting a war that shouldn’t be fought. Walker’s smugness also reveals he was never fit to hold the shield, showing none of Steve Rogers’ commitment, heart or devotion to making the world a better place. Steve stood for the United States we wished we had. Walker’s the not-so-funhouse mirror version of what we might actually be.
The council tells Walker he’s out of the military, is no longer Captain America, and will end up in military jail if he even tries to keep up appearances as Cap.
Here we get a high profile stunt casting of sorts, as Julia Louis-Dreyfus introduces herself to Walker after his hearing. She name drops herself as Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, a character with a vast history in the comics, at various times working for and against SHIELD, at other times taking on the moniker of Madame Hydra, a title previously used in the quickly falling further and further away from canon “Agents of SHIELD”. Her scene is brief and only poses more questions than it answers. Based on her star power, I imagine she’ll have plenty more to do in the years to come and is rumored to be appearing in Black Widow.
Next stop for Sam is a visit to Isaiah Bradley, the 1950s-era super soldier we first met EARLIER THIS SEASON. Sam wants Isaiah’s opinion on the shield and more on what happened to Isaiah after the war. We get heavier here than I imagine many thought a Disney backed super-show would go, as Isaiah talks about race, touches on the Tuskegee experiments, and lays out some very real-world problems this country still has regarding race and what is but more importantly what should be possible for every citizen. Sam’s shaken when Isaiah tells him the country will never be ready for a black Captain America and even if it were, anyone that would want that role is a fool anyway.
From there, we get a bit of levity as we jump to my favorite part of the episode, a non-heroic montage where Sam decides to call in some favors from his neighbors and fix up the family boat. Bucky hits the scene to check in on Flag Smasher developments and to give Sam a Wakandan super suit upgrade. Super heroics aside, we get a fun 80’s movie montage of Sam and Bucky working on the boat together, complete with a brief cutaway of Bucky practicing knife attacks with a putty knife. As evident by now, I’ve enjoyed this series top to bottom but I’ll add I’m not kidding I’d watch the heck out of a non-heroic Sam and Bucky day-to-day look at heroes without a war to fight. Much like my favorite part of Wandavision was the sitcom spoofs, there’s something to be said for look-ins on how these larger than life characters handle the day to day challenges of life.
We get a brief look-in on Sharon Carter here, as she seemingly puts Batroc the Leaper back in play. Batroc was last seen in EPISODE 1, having his ransom plan ruined by Sam. We find out later Batroc wants to kill Sam when he meets up with Karli in a park in New York City. I’m still holding out hope for some misdirection here but it does seem at this point Sharon has a role to play in next week’s season finale that will bum me out!
Back to Batroc. During his meeting with Karli, they lay out their goals. Batroc wants Sam dead, Karli wants to stop a vote by the Global Repatriation Council(GRC) to send all refugees back to their pre-blip countries. Again, this gets real-world pretty quick in the debate on immigration and peoples’ rights to find a better life.
We get a nifty cliffhanger with Sam opening his new super suit, the audience doesn’t get to see it yet. Sam, with Joaquin Torres’s help, has realized Karli’s next target, the GRC vote. There’s also a second 80s-style montage as Sam’s ready to take the mantle and trains to become Captain America!
We move closer this week to confirmation that Steve Rogers is dead at this point. I’m not sure what Old Man Steve’s role could have been, but I was always keen to see what it could be. They haven’t come out and 100% confirmed it though, but it’s getting harder and harder to reconcile Old Man Steve would still be around based on lines like Bucky’s “the shield feels like the only family I have left” in this ep.
This week? 9/10
Lots to like, Walker getting his arm snapped like a twig, the shield back where Steve Rogers wanted it to be, and 2 80s style montages!
Plenty of hype for next week’s season (series?) finale!
BUT THERE CAN ALWAYS BE MORE HYPE!
Hype Machine Week #5
We’re just about here, it’s all going to happen next week! Namor, Blade, Tygra, Adam Warlock? All guaran-damn-teed to be joining the MCU next week if you read between the lines. They made it too easy though, they’ll want one last surprise! I’m here to spoil it! The biggest mystery left is perhaps who is the Power Broker, plenty of theories are out there, I’ve seen the Kingpin himself rumored this week! Forget that though, this is DISNEY we’re talking about. Mysteries, wrapped in riddles, inside enigmas! The Power Broker? Bro-ker Broke-her? Cinematic universes will collide and the Power Broker will be ORACLE herself! You heard it here first!