‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ Recap: Season 1, Episode 2, “The Star-Spangled Man”

Written by Boluwatito Adigun.


New Captain America, New Tension.

The first episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier ended with the government introducing a new Captain America to the world. And seeing the disappointment on Falcon’s (Anthony Mackie) countenance, I looked forward to seeing some level of confrontations with the new Captain America in the second episode and I wasn’t disappointed.  

The second episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, titled “The Star-Spangled Man”, amplifies the action and suspense, and it feels like we are back in the Avengers’ world once again. 

Episode two kicks off by introducing John Walker (Wyatt Russell) as he reminisces about the good old days of being a high school football player before his high school homecoming. He gets interrupted by his wife Olivia Walker (Gabrielle Byndloss) and she encourages him to be himself as the world will love him being the new Captain America. 

The New Captain America during his high school homecoming. Via Disney

Then comes John’s best friend Lemar (Clé Bennett), who also reminds him of the expectations that come with the shield and how it’s time to step up and do the work. At this homecoming event, John gets introduced once again to the world and viewers via an interview as the new Captain America. The host discusses his exploits as a soldier and how his physical health is in the best condition possible even though he is not a super-soldier. While this is being televised, the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) watches impatiently in his room.

With this back story of the new Captain America, I was just about to say it out loud when Torres (Danny Ramirez) took the words out of my mouth, “He seems like a pretty good guy” as he discusses with Falcon. Shortly after, the Winter Soldier, visibly angry, asks Falcon why he gave up the shield and tells him he had no right to do so. Falcon counters, informing him he won’t stand anyone telling him what is and isn’t his rights and that he has more important things to attend to. 

During this conversation, Falcon updates the Winter Soldier about the super-strong terrorists (Flag-Smashers) as he has gathered some intel that they operate outside of Munich and he intends to check out the intel to see if the Flag-Smashers are part of “The Big Three” (Androids, Aliens, and Wizards). The Winter Soldier then follows suit hoping to help Falcon out on his mission but most importantly I think he’s trying to get away from his nightmares.  

In Munich, the Winter Soldier and Falcon jump off the military cargo plane and find their way to a warehouse where they witness about 7 super-strong terrorists loading two trucks with “vaccines” (most likely the serum). As the truck pulls out, the Winter Soldier and Falcon follow suit with the Winter Soldier engaging first, trying to rescue who he thought was a hostage. However, that wasn’t the case as she turns out to be the leader of that terrorist unit. 

Karli (Erin Kellyman). Via Disney.

What ensues is a fight on the Autobahn as the lady kicks the Winter Soldier to the incoming van. The two trucks then drive parallel to each other as the action continues on the truck with the super-strong terrorists beating the hell out of the Winter Soldier and Falcon and also destroying Redwing (Falcon’s little drone) during the clash . A timely intervention by the new Captain America and his friend Lemar evens out the fight for a while  but they also get their asses handed over to them when they end up thrown off the truck.. 

After the fight, the next scene shows the Winter Soldier and Falcon walking down to the base as they make jokes about each other. Some moments later, the new Captain America and his friend in a jeep convince both the Winter Soldier and Falcon to hop in as they have a long distance to cover. The conversation between the two teams is not exactly smooth even though the new Captain America claims he just wants to be a good Captain America and not trying to take Steve’s (Chris Evans) place.

The new Captain America, Lemar (Battlestar), the Winter Soldier, and Falcon. Via Disney.

Back to the terrorist group — the Flag Smashers, they arrive at a safe house in Munich, where they meet a German man who offers a sanctuary for them to sleep, telling them he’s for the cause. Inside the safe house, Karli (Erin Kellyman), their group leader talks about how useless the Global Repatriation Council (GRC) is by putting the blipped back in power and how the government cares more about the blipped than those who stayed for the five years. Karli then asks if the group is committed to doing what it takes as “everything changes” the following day. 

Trying to find answers about the Flag Smashers, the Winter Soldier and Falcon fly to Baltimore where Falcon gets introduced to Isaiah Bradley (Carl Lumbly), a veteran soldier who met and fought against the Winter Soldier in 1951. Isaiah, visibly angry, explains how instead of him being honored for his exploits, the government treated him miserably and jailed him for 30 years with constant tests being run on him. Isaiah, who is not ready to entertain them, then asks Wilson and Bucky to leave his house. 

Isaiah Bradley (Carl Lumbly). Via Disney.

Outside Isaiah’s house, the Falcon is pissed, asking the Winter Soldier why everyone kept Isaiah’s story from him but the Winter Soldier claims he solely had the knowledge and didn’t tell anybody else as Isaiah has been through a lot. In the heat of the conversation comes two policemen, asking the Falcon to calm down and present his ID while treating the Winter Soldier as a possible victim. As I watched this scene all I could see was a highlight of the usual racism and profiling that African-Americans face at the hands of cops. 

Upon realizing who Falcon is, the policemen ease up, apologizing for the mistake. However, after making a check with their precinct, they realize an arrest warrant is up for the Winter Soldier for missing his court-mandated therapy. Well, that’s what happens when you just take off to save the world. 

At the police station, Dr. Raynor (Amy Aquino), the Winter Soldier’s therapist, shows up greeting the Falcon who thanks her for getting the Winter Soldier out of jail but she points out it was the new Captain America’s doing. Having one final meeting with the Winter Soldier (based on the new Captain America’s order), Dr. Raynor pulls both the Winter Soldier and Falcon into an interrogation room for the last therapy session. What follows is a scene that gives us more comedy from the duo as both of them bicker against one another like an old married couple. 

However, as the therapy session continues (which ended in a disaster) ), the Winter Soldier reaffirms that Falcon shouldn’t have given up the shield as it meant Steve was wrong about the both of them. After the therapy session, they both walk out of the police station only to meet the new Captain America and his friend, Lemar waiting for them. The two teams try to exchange intel but tension continues to grow with both teams deciding to carry on the mission separately as they best know how to. 

Back once again to the Flag Smashers, they seem to be constantly on the run as they are being tracked by a lot of people including the government. The group is loading the vaccines on a plane when one of them mentions that the “power broker’s men” are catching up real quick. A member of the group then decides to buy the group sometime by holding off the “power broker’s men” so that  they can have enough time to take off. He is able to buy the group enough time to escape but dies in the process. 

Back in  Baltimore with the Winter Soldier and Falcon discussing the way forward to solving the Flag Smashers problem. With no leads in sight, they realize the only option left is HYDRA as Isaiah rightly mentioned. What this implies is that they have to visit Zemo ( Daniel Brühl) who has been locked up in a cell in Berlin since Captain America:Civil War. The second episode closes with a scene showing Zemo playing chess quietly in his prison cell. Well, this turns up the heat a little bit as the trailer released suggests Zemo as the primary Villain. How does he now escape from the prison? Maybe that’s the Flag Smashers’ big plan. Well, episode 3 will tell!

The second episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was written by Michael Kastelein and directed by Kari Skogland. 

Rating: B+

Side Musings

  • MCU introducing viewers to Isaiah sets a crucial foundation for the series. With Falcon unsure where he fits into and trying to understand what it means to be a black Captain America, Isaiah represents his biggest fears. For a country that constantly discriminates against black people, will they accept a black Captain America?
  • The Winter Soldier claims to have read “The Hobbit” when it was first published in 1937, I wonder what he thinks about “The Lord of the Rings”. 
  • What comes up in the next episode? Are we going to see a funeral for Redwing who lived a short life or just move on as if nothing happened? #JusticeForRedwing
  • Zemo in the last scene was shown playing chess in his prison cell but with who? or is he just planning his next big plot? Well, we’ll have to wait for episode three.

The next episode premieres on April 2, 2021. We publish a recap every Sunday. 

7 comments

    • I didnt notice that, but I did notice that the person who plays the role looked slightly different from the person they showed at the end of the first episode. That could be it, my slow brain didnt notice that it was just facial hair ish.

      Like

      • Could be Corona delays and reshoots. Tho I expected Marvel to be more careful.

        Aside that, it’s a good episode. It’s nice to see that we’ve moved past the initial “intro of the world the show’s in” and we down to business. But I expect a change of pace and tone soon else it’d be uninteresting for me. Yes, the back and forth banter between Sam and Bucky is sweet and enjoyable but too predictable. I’m still waiting for the shock value WandaVision dropped else this would just be another buddy-cop comedy with superheroes.

        Liked by 1 person

        • right. Having a grounded world to build on has provided them with a lot to play with already. As you said, I just hope the pace goes faster. The next episode should tell since we are almost halfway through the season.

          ps: we have seen most of the back and forth banter already during promotion so, they should give us fresh ones to giggle at.

          Like

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