After a rousing beginning to the series last week on Disney Plus, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 2 was a much more balanced chapter. One that better mixed plot with action, and injected some humor when needed. Episode 2 also began to shed light on some of the mysteries that were laid out in the premiere and built upon them very quickly, setting this show up as a possible tour de force when all is said and done.
Without further ado, let’s get into the story. We will try to remain as spoiler free as possible.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 2, titled “The Star-Spangled Man,” immediately built off the cliffhanger ending of the premiere by properly introducing the world to John Walker (Wyatt Russell), the new Captain America. Through an appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America, “live” from his old high school in Georgia, Walker’s history is told, explaining his military background and how he came to get the shield.
Very quickly after that, the episode took off and offered viewers a little bit of everything.
Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) finally came face to face this week, without much teasing or build up. After spending the first episode dealing with their own issues individually, the titular duo came together for a mission — well, Sam had a mission and Bucky just tagged along.
During the mission, the new Cap and his own “Bucky,” Lemar Hoskins (Cle Bennett), who goes by Battlestar, show up and the four men get their asses handed to them by the Flag-Smashers, revolutionaries imbued with the super solider serum giving them incredible strength and more. They are led by Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman, Solo: A Star Wars Story) and they seem to have allies all across Europe, making it difficult for Sam and Bucky — and Cap and Battlestar — to track them down.
More secrets come out during The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 2, including the creation of a Black super soldier in the 1950s, Isaiah Bradley (Carl Lumbly), aka the Black Captain America, and both Sam and Bucky get to have a therapy session together. The episode ended with Bucky suggesting to Sam that the one man who might have the answers is also the last man either of them want to talk to: Baron Zemo (Daniel Bruhl)!
Writing and Directing
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 2 was written by Michael Kastelein and was once again directed by Kari Skogland. The teleplay did a good job of balancing exposition with action, and the humor was spot on. Who knew a hat was the difference between an wizard and sorcerer?
Skogland delivered once again with another stellar action sequence, this time atop two big wheel transport trucks. If I have one issue with Skogland’s directing it’s her insistence on extreme close ups of actors during conversations. It’s only been two episodes and it’s very noticeable.
The introduction of John Walker as the new Captain America was done very well. Comic fans know some of Walker’s history and it’s exciting to see if this show touches on that at all. It’s also a bold move to make the leader of the Flag-Smashers a young woman, as opposed to Karl Morgenthau, the name of the man in the mask from the comics.
In the greater MCU story, we also learn of the global repatriation council (GRC), a group that has been working to deal with the billions of people who returned after the blip. Call it a hunch, but I think this group will factor in to more than just this show.
Lastly, I’m excited to revisit Zemo after his amazing arc in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. This is a man who destroyed the Avengers — arguably worse than what Thanos did.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 2 was a better episode overall than the premiere chapter, and it did an excellent job moving the story forward without dragging too much. The banter and the call back about the three kinds of threats in the MCU was also a very nice touch, and we can look forward to more of this as the show progresses each week.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 2 is available to stream now, exclusively on Disney Plus. All images courtesy of Disney.