In “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” recap, John Walker catches up to Sam and Bucky as they get one step closer to tracking down Karli Morgenthau with disastrous consequences…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
The legacy of Captain America’s shield has been an overwhelming presence throughout “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” but the weight of the weapon created for Steve Rogers really took center stage in the latest episode.
The argument at the heart of it all comes down to the worthiness anybody would have picking up where Steve left off after he was one of the most beloved and revered heroes of all time. Of course, they tend to gloss over the way he was branded a traitor by the United States after the events of “Captain America: Civil War” but that’s neither here nor there.
Sam Wilson never felt like he could carry that shield after seeing all the amazing things Steve did during his time as Captain America. The shadow of that legacy was too much for him to bear so he gave it up.
Meanwhile, the U.S. government opted to hand out the shield to a new Captain America — a decorated war veteran and legitimate American hero in John Walker. The problem is for all the heroic things Walker did as a soldier doesn’t necessarily mean he’s cut out to carry that shield as Captain America.
The closing moments of the latest episode seemed to prove that in excess as Walker lost all sense of his training and the difference between right and wrong as he sought vengeance for a fallen friend.
Through all of this, Baron Zemo has somehow become the voice of reason while continuing to rally against anybody with super powers because while Steve Rogers may have been the exception to the rule, the mass majority of people seeking true power are never doing it for just reasons. Judging by the way this episode ends, Zemo may have a point.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” titled “The Whole World is Watching”…
Picking up right where last week’s episode ended, Bucky Barnes is confronted by Ayo — a member of the Wakandan security force known as the Dora Milaje — and she’s come to retrieve Baron Zemo to put him on trial for the murder of their former King T’Chaka. Ayo reminds Bucky of his debt to Wakanda after they were able to break the embedded Winter Soldier trigger codes that had been buried in his brain for decades. He was also gifted a Vibranium arm that has come in rather handy after he rejoined the fight as part of the Avengers when taking on Thanos.
Bucky explains that Zemo is a means to an end as they seek out Karli Morgenthau and her Flag Smashers group. Ayo gives him eight hours to get his mission complete but then she’s coming for Zemo.
When Bucky returns to the new hideout in Latvia, he informs Sam and Zemo that the Wakandans have come for him but he was able to buy a little bit of time. Bucky then finds a story on his phone about Karli leading the attack on the GRC (Global Repatriation Council) supply depot from last week’s episode with a bomb that killed three people and injured 11 more.
Zemo recognizes this as an escalating pattern of behavior but Sam believes Karli is just a damaged kid with an axe to grind.
To him, Karli is only reacting to the way the world reacted to her after half of the world’s population disappeared in the Blip and borders opened up in every country as people sought help to fill the gaps for all those who were suddenly just gone. When billions of people suddenly just reappeared, those like Karli were suddenly displaced and eventually replaced by those returning and the walls between countries started to go back up again.
But Zemo disagrees that Karli is just some poor kid lashing out.
Instead, he argues that by nature because Karli sought out the Super Soldier serum that she’s a supremacist and that never seems to end well.
“You’re seeing something in her that isn’t there. You’re clouded by it. She’s a supremacist. The very concept of a super soldier will always trouble people. It’s that warped aspiration that led to Nazis, to Ultron, to the Avengers.
“The desire to become a superhuman cannot be separated from supremacist ideals. Anyone with that serum is inherently on that path. She will not stop. She will escalate until you kill her or she kills you.”
While Zemo concedes that Steve Rogers was never corrupted by the Super Soldier serum, he can’t see any other shining examples of people who sought to get their hands on that same serum.
For now the debate will wait because tracking down Karli and putting a stop to her plans to demolish further GRC facilities is the only thing that matters. After learning about Karli’s connection to a woman named Donya Madani, who just recently died, he wonders if perhaps she wasn’t important to more people than just the leader of the Flag Smashers.
If Donya was such an important figure to those displaced by the Blip, Sam can’t help but think that perhaps an entire village of people would want to their respects.
So Sam, Zemo and Bucky wander off into the town to try and discover if there’s a wake for Donya following her death. While Sam and Bucky get nowhere trying to speak to people, Zemo is able to coerce some of the children playing in the street for the information while offering them some Turkish delight candies. One of the children tells Zemo where he can find Donya’s funeral but he refuses to tell Sam or Bucky because he needs his own leverage in order to escape the Wakandans coming for him.
With Zemo as the only person with knowledge where the funeral is happening, Sam decides to call in some backup by reaching out to Sharon Carter to see if she could possibly lend a hand. She tells Sam that the Power Broker has gone mad with anger over Dr. Nagel being killed because he was the only person capable of replicating the Super Soldier serum.
Sharon agrees to help Sam and Bucky by turning a satellite on to watch the village where they’re located in order to provide them some kind of backup in case Zemo turns traitor on them. Of course, Sharon wielding this kind of influence may lend credence to those pesky rumors that she’s actually the Power Broker in disguise. She does seem to have a lot of resources for a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent on the run from the government.
When it comes time to leave for Donya’s funeral, Sam, Bucky and Zemo are intercepted by John Walker and his partner Lemar Hoskins. It seems as much as Sam and Bucky tried to be covert, it’s impossible to stay off the radar when a pair of famous Avengers are just walking around Latvia for no apparent reason.
Walker demands to know why they busted Zemo out of prison while Bucky points out that technically, he actually escaped himself. Regardless, Walker is ready to put Zemo back into custody until learning that he knows the location for Donya’s funeral where they suspect Karli Morgenthau will make an appearance.
Prior to the funeral, Karli and one of her new Super Soldier allies named Nico head to a local cemetery to retrieve the remaining vials of Super Soldier serum while debating the work that they’ve been doing as revolutionaries. Nico reveals he actually grew up as a fan of Captain America but he understands now that real heroes need to get their hands dirty, which is why he looks up to Karli for the war she’s waging right now.
After arriving at the funeral, Sam asks Walker to stand down and give him time to try and talk to Karli rather than going in guns blazing. Sam reminds them that his old job was helping veterans deal with post-traumatic stress disorder and he believes he can de-escalate the situation by actually speaking to Karli rather than just trying to attack her.
Walker agrees to give him 10 minutes but no more before the calvary charges in.
Inside, Sam meets with Karli after she says her goodbyes to Mama Donya and he attempts to reason with her by agreeing with her cause but not the way she’s decided to fight this war. He explains how Zemo sees her as a supremacist and while she doesn’t agree, he then asks her the all-important question — with more Super Soldier serum at her disposal, will she look to grow her superpowered army?
It appears that Sam is finally starting to chip away at Karli’s armor as she begins to realize that perhaps killing people isn’t the way to fight back. But before Sam can get any further, John Walker busts through the door and declares Karli under arrest.
She sees this as a set-up, ruining whatever work Sam had done, and Karli lashes out at Walker before making her escape. Bucky gives chase as the rest of the team plays catchup.
Karli eventually gets away because the building is like a maze but when she finally makes her way to the basement, Zemo is there waiting for her. He opens fire and tags Karli with a bullet as she drops the Super Soldier serum while making another escape. Zemo picks up one of the vials and then tosses it back to the ground, smashing as many as he can find.
Zemo is nothing if not committed to his cause of stamping out superpowered people.
As Karli gets away, Walker arrives and knocks out Zemo with his shield but then spots one remaining vial of the Super Soldier serum laying unharmed on the ground. He picks it up and places it in his pocket rather than reporting that he found it.
After reuniting with her friends, Karli begins to realize that her cause needs a bigger sacrifices if they are going to make a point. That’s when she receives another threatening message from the Power Broker to turn over the serum or risk the wrath that comes next.
Even Karli’s friends try to convince her that it’s impossible for them to fight a war on two fronts but she has a solution. She plans to separate Sam from the rest of his group and then kill Captain America as the ultimate message sent to the GRC and anybody else trying to come after them.
Back at Zemo’s apartment, he continues to speak out against the entire nature of the Super Soldier serum but the conversation is cut short when Captain America arrives to retrieve the prisoner. Walker is fraying around the edges as he continues to play catchup but just when it looks like we’re going to see a fight, a giant spear comes flying into the room to announce the arrival of the Dora Milaje.
They’ve come to retrieve Baron Zemo because his time is up.
Walker condescends to Ayo and her fellow soldiers and Sam offers him a friendly warning that if he thought tangling with Super Soldiers was no fun at all, he’s really going to hate going up against the Dora Milaje.
When that fight finally breaks out, the Dora Milaje more or less dismantle Walker and Lemar, who have little to no hope going up against Wakanda’s finest warriors. In the melee, Ayo actually disconnects Bucky’s arm — a little trick he wasn’t aware could happen — but Zemo manages to take advantage of the situation by escaping out a hidden tunnel in his bedroom.
As for Walker and Lemar, both are defeated and starting to feel like they are fighting an uphill battle that can’t be won.
Afterwards, Walker asks Lemar if he had the opportunity to take the serum, would he do it? Without hesitation, Lemar says yes because in his mind the Super Soldier serum just enhances who that person is already. For Steve Rogers, it just made him a superhero but for Karli Morgenthau, it created a super terrorist.
Of course, things are never quite so black and white but Lemar convinces Walker that the serum would just make him a more effective soldier — the kind of soldier who won medals and earned numerous commendations while fighting the war in Afghanistan.
Later that night, Karli begins to orchestrate her plan by reaching out to Sam’s sister Sarah, who is a bit of a kindred spirit when it comes to her opinion of the government and the symbol they’ve created with the new Captain America. Karli then instructs Sarah to pass along coordinates to a meeting with her than night while asking him to come alone — and if he fails to live up to his end of the bargain, the Flag Smashers might have to go to Louisiana to visit his sister and her children.
Sam gets the message and prepares to leave for the meeting with Karli but Bucky refuses to let him go alone. When they arrive, Karli notes that Sam didn’t follow instructions but she was actually counting on it the entire time.
While Karli and her team distract Sam and Bucky at one location, she’s sent more of her Super Soldiers to go after John Walker. Thankfully, Sharon was keeping a watchful eye on everything and she sends Walker’s location to Sam, who then passes it to Bucky so he can help stop the assassination.
When the Flag Smashers attack Walker at the separate location they soon discover that he’s not as easy to takedown as they might have thought. While the group is able to subdue Lemar rather easily, Walker puts up a rather convincing fight all on his own.
As Sam arrives to lend support, he watches Walker stop a lead pipe with his bare hands and then twist it like a pretzel, which serves as evidence that he decided to take that last vial of Super Soldier serum. Sam is shocked but he can’t do much as Walker runs by him to continue pursuing the rest of the Flag Smashers who have kidnapped Lemar.
As another fight ensues once Karli arrives as backup, the Flag Smashers finally get the drop on Walker but just before a knife is plunged through his heart, Lemar rushes into save the day. He managed to escape his captors and give Captain America an assist but he then gets kicked across the room by Karli as a reward.
But Lemar isn’t a Super Soldier — and show he smashes into a concrete column with incredible force and he’s killed instantly.
Karli and Nico run away as Walker checks on his friend who isn’t waking up and the transformation from justice to rage is seen almost instantaneously. Walker then smashes out a window to chase down Karli and her compatriots who are now responsible for the murder of his best friend.
He loses Karli in the crowd but Walker eventually catches up to Nico, who he knocks down with the shield in the middle of a town square where people are all standing around to watch. He demands to know Karli’s location as Nico pleads for his life — but his begging is drowned out by the thirst for revenge that has already washed over Walker.
He picks up the shield and begins smashing it down onto Nico repeatedly until there’s nothing left but a bloody mess below. As Walker looks around, there are hundreds of phones pointed at him with cameras recording Captain America killing an unarmed man.
Sam and Bucky arrive just in time to see the aftermath of Walker killing Nico as Karli stares in shock at a distance after watching her own friend get murdered. Captain America is now a killer — and the whole world will see it.
Only two episodes remain of “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” this season and the fallout from this installment should be interesting. The next episode airs on Friday on Disney+.