The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Truth (Episode 5) Review
*This Review Contains Full Spoilers*
On this week’s episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Truth, John Walker (Wyatt Russell) faces the repercussions of his actions as Sam (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky (Sebastian Stan) reassess their lives and tie up loose ends.
Things pick up right where last week left us with Sam and Bucky confronting Walker after he publicly killed a Flag Smasher and things get very confrontational. With Sam and Bucky looking to take the shield and Walker emotionally fractured, it’s not long before their conversations turn into an all-out brawl. Most of the time these action sequences are just a lot of fun to watch, but there’s something sadder about this one that makes it an exception. Sam and Bucky fighting against Walker is a little heartbreaking given that there was a time where these three were on the same side and the fight is brutal as hell. From Walker ripping Sam’s wings off to Walker’s arm being broken by Sam to get the shield, it’s probably the most gruesome battle we’ve seen in the MCU. Even Sam’s distraught, almost devastating look says it all.
Walker ends up facing repercussions given the global gravity of Captain America publicly murdering and is rightfully stripped of his duties. It’s interesting how his story showcases the cost of war and how it doesn’t really end when a soldier comes home. Walker still reels for a fight and even lies to Lemar’s (Cle Bennet) family about him killing his killer to make his actions seem just. Although the US government is done working with Walker, he seems to have caught the eye of a mysterious and eccentric woman named Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus).
This has been the “darker Nick Fury” cameo that’s been teased for a while and it may not be huge in the moment, there’re a lot of great possibilities for the future because of de Fontaine’s appearance. Is she the Power Broker? Will she become the leader of a new form of Hydra and take on her Madame Hydra person like in the comics? She could even be the new leader of Marvel’s Suicide Squad-like team, The Thunderbolts. The possibilities are endless with her wanting to bring Walker under her wing, but Walker is shown to be working on his own shield now, as shown in the post-credit scene, and is likely about to become his US Agent persona.
Before Bucky and Sam end up returning to the states, Bucky has one more loose end to tie up with Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) still on the loose. It turns out that Zemo talking about that Sokovia monument was a hint as to where he was going, and Bucky confronts him one last time there. Before accepting that he has nowhere to run, Zemo tells Bucky that they’re going to have to kill Karli (Erin Kellyman) because she is too radicalized and sadly, he might be right. Throughout the episode, Karli is rallying the troops and ammunition for a big attack to stop a pivotal refugee vote and is even working with the criminal that Sam tangled with back in episode one. I don’t know if Zemo is correct in saying that Karli is a lost cause, but she definitely needs to be dealt with before a full-blown war breaks out.
There’s a moment where it seems like Bucky is actually going to kill Zemo and its super tense. However, he doesn’t revert back to his old ways and ends up fulfilling his promise to Ayo (Florence Kasumba) and the Dora Milaje to hand him over. It’s a surprisingly peaceful end for all parties involved and even gives the possibility of seeing Zemo again in the future – maybe in Black Panther 2 or even a Spider-Man film with him being transported to The Raft. It also allows Bucky to pull in one last favor to bring Cap’s suit back or possibly have a new one for Sam.
As for Sam, he’s deeply grappling with how to move forward searches for answers through Isaiah (Carl Lumbly) and the series finally brings together it themes on racial inequality and black experience in an organic and emotional way. Ever since the premiere, many fans, including myself, have been boasting desires to see Sam became Captain America and carry the shield. However, by delving into the legacy of that shield and the pain that it brought Isaiah, the series shows the error in that thinking and why it’s hard to take on the mantle of Captain America – especially if you’re black.
Isaiah speaking personally about the torture he went through while being robbed of his life and experimented on is really crushing and Lumbly’s performance is incredibly strong here with the pain he brings out. His feelings on the hypocrisy of a black man parading around as Captain America given how many black people are still subjected to racism and targeted brutality every day are what really make a difference though as it changes the perspective and meaning of Captain America. It’s not that Steve should now be viewed as evil or something, but more that it would feel like a betrayal to the black community to represent a country or ideology that has tormented their race for centuries. It now feels even clearer why Sam gave up the shield since he doesn’t want to represent a country that continues to hurt people with the same color of skin as his.
It’s great too that Bucky and Sam have a real conversation about this, and that Sam is given much more personal time in this episode with how he reaches out to the community to help his family. Now with a new perspective and mindset, it’s actually up in the air who Sam will be going forward. He’s still using the shield in a pretty bad ass training montage and has that possibly new suit delivered by Bucky from Ayo. Regardless, whether Sam decides to be Captain America or something completely new, which is what I’m hoping for, he can give the MCU new meaning and lead the charge in being a new hero for people to look up to. Maybe even give a new meaning to what it means it be Captain America if things go that route.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Truth is a defining moment in the new era that the MCU is heading towards with its excellent themes on racial inequality and incredibly powerful, character-driven narratives. It not only sets up a thrilling finale for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier but proves itself to be its greatest episode yet.