I want to preface this week’s review of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier by saying I did try to do a bit of research, but I kept coming across the same thing over and over: Sebastian Stan describing the excessive use of K-Y Jelly to apply his Winter Soldier arm.
Yeah, so I went down a real rabbit hole — a real warren — of talk show and comic convention interviews where Stan casually explains that before each scene he lubes up his arm before wrestling it into a prosthetic robot sheath, probably within mere yards of an innocent Tom Holland.
So, if you’re me, that’s the image you had in your head during the entirety of this week’s episode: a stoic Gossip Girl alum reenacting early day Tool songs with Marvel memorabilia. I love it.
Picking back up where we left off, everybody on this show wants Steve Rogers to be their dad. I get it. The whole COVID vaccination debate would be much easier if my dad had previously been part of the Super Soldier Program. But instead of being the progeny of an indestructible patriot, I get to wear a hazmat suit to Thanksgiving.
Anyway, Falcon and Bucky decide that the best way to track down the origins of the new samples of Super Soldier Serum is to release Baron Zemo. You may recognize Zemo as the relatively restrained villain from Captain America: Civil War who blew up the United Nations and killed the king of Wakanda. He gets a pretty heavy pass on all the terrorism.
Bucky visits Zemo to find he has one of those fashionable plexiglass prison cells that are much easier to film than all those bars and locks and nonsense. One succinct prison break later, and Zemo is ready to lead Falcon and Bucky to the once and future pirate kingdom of Madripoor.
We soon learn that Baron Zemo has the greatest superpower of all — immense wealth. It’s incredibly telling how many of our superheroes with unimaginable powers can’t afford a box spring, but a rich person shows up and we’re treated to an endless string of plot conveniences. If only we cut to an elderly Steve Rogers marking the 1st and 15th on his calendar, while he counts out his medicine.
Zemo, Falcon, and Bucky jet set out to Madripoor. Upon arriving, they each dress like the Duke of New York, who as we all know is “A No. 1.” Meanwhile the city is all neon lights and fashionable people holding guns incorrectly. It’s like Hype Williams made a music video for a Serbian Grime artist.
As these things tend to go, negotiations break down. Falcon can’t maintain his cover, and a returning Sharon Carter saves the day for our heroes. I’m pretty sure we haven’t seen Sharon since she bailed out the real Captain America and Falcon during the events of Civil War. And she must have worked her ass off because their disguises were a baseball cap and sunglasses.
I am just speaking for myself as a strange white man, but if I wore the combination of sunglasses and a baseball cap indoors, I would immediately get that pedophile energy. That’s a real “You responded to my chat” sort of look that immediately denotes someone up to no good.
So we all know Sharon did her work. Sadly, the post Civil War fallout left her a woman without a country. As a result, she fences stolen art in Madripoor, which is a real convenience to our heroes.
Continuing the hunt for the new Super Soldier Serum, Sharon leads Falcon, Bucky, and Zemo to what appears to be an abandoned shipping crate. They enter hesitantly, but I warn against this.
Never enter a shipping crate without three things: two jugs of water — one to drink, one to flush — and a story you like to hear repeated. Your imagination is enough to fill in the darkness.
Luckily, our heroes step through to a hidden lab space and find the scientist who recreated the serum. His work was previously supported by the CIA. Then he vanished with the Snap along with half the world’s populations. Years later, he’s trying to recreate that formula in an old shipping crate for a crime boss.
This is an incredible story for such a minor character to have. It even relates to everyone’s general experiences during lockdown over the past year. I hope we learn more… Oh, wait. Zemo shot him in the head as an RPG struck the lab. OK, we are back to the action.
Falcon, Bucky, and Sharon are trapped by gunfire until Zemo puts on his purple “working mask” and gets to work. If you don’t know the one, Google it. It’s like a sweater and a balaclava had Prince carry their baby. It’s majestically purple and woven. Suitable for a baron.
Everyone who needs to escapes, and we join Falcon, Bucky, and Zemo as they continue to track down the Super Soldier Serum. Bucky steps aside to find that Ayo, one of Wakanda’s Dora Milaje (which I spelled right the first time), has tracked the escaped Baron Zemo and would very much like to kill him for assassinating their king.
You can tell Ayo means business because she is sporting her best smoky eye. Seriously, give her whatever she wants. I know pride stings, but Wakanda could build an indestructible Captain America shield for everybody in the Rocketeer fan club. Just back off, and we’ll see where next week brings us.