Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Season 1, Episode 3 - "Power Broker" Spoiler Review

 We are now at the halfway point of the first season of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Faws), and I still have no idea who the villain is.  That might be a problem for some, but I am enjoying the constant uneasy feeling I have watching each episode.  I am waiting for someone to reveal themselves as the villain, but every time I am wrong.  With the show adding Baron Zemo to the mix, the villain watch is on for real now, we still do not know who the Power Broker is, we are still not sure if the Flag Smashers (FS) are bad, or if Zemo will turn on our heroes, will Walker turn, is Sharon Carter a villain now.  The show is definitely influenced by Captain America: Winter Soldier, it is an action/adventure show, but it is also a spy thriller.  The audience is being kept on its toes, and all the characters we have met are shown to have depth that makes us sympathize with them.  In my review of episode two I made the assumption that the Power Broker will be the ultimate villain, I am still confident about that, but I am now sure that the Power Broker will be a character we have met before in the MCU.  The Power Broker could be Zemo, Sharon Carter, Justin Hammer or Samuel Stern.  I would like to see Justin Hammer again; Sam Rockwell was fantastic as the smarmy arms dealer.  

Episode three was also the funniest episode so far, the buddy-cop dynamics between Sam and Bucky was there, but we are also seeing them bond as well.  The scene in the bar where Bucky went full Winter Soldier was awesome, since Bucky got his mind back, he has been docile, he is trying to be good, but it is a lot of fun watching him be bad.  Daniel Bruhl being back as Zemo also added a lot of fun too; in Civil War, Zemo was so serious and now after spending several years in prison and seeing his revenge has lightened him up.  I want Zemo to also show some depth, I hope we get a scene where we see he is still mourning the loss of his family.  Bruhl is such a good actor and I know he would crush any dramatic scene he is given.  I hope they are setting up Zemo for future MCU appearances, with a member of the Dora Milaje showing up for Zemo, I have no clue what will happen next.  I know Bucky will likely try to make a deal saying he will turn over Zemo to them after he is done with Zemo.  I just appreciate that the stakes will be higher for everyone in episode four; the walls are closing in on Bucky and Sam.  With Walker and Hoskins, the Dora Milaje, and possibly the Power Broker all chasing them our heroes will be under a lot of pressure going forward.     


The episode starts with a commercial for the GRC (Global Repatriation Council), we then cut to Captain America raiding the safe house the Flag Smashers used in episode two.  Walker, while interrogating someone loses his temper and screams "do you know who I am".  The raid is unsuccessful, Hoskins and Walker agree that they need to try something different to get results.  Bucky and Sam are now at the prison where Zemo is being held, Bucky tells Sam to stay behind because Zemo does not like Avengers.  Bucky meets Zemo and Zemo uses a few of the old code words to see how Bucky reacts.  Sam and Bucky are now at a mystery location and Bucky suggests breaking out Zemo, he walks Sam through how they would do it.  Bucky and Sam are in a garage and as Bucky is walking Sam through what to do, we see it playing out, but then Zemo walks into the garage and Sam realizes Bucky already broke Zemo out.  Sam is angry at Bucky, but Bucky asks Sam to take a risk, Sam agrees under the condition that Zemo follows orders.  Zemo tells them that he is a Baron and that he is quite wealthy.  Zemo flies them (on his private jet) to Madripoor, a city that was once home to pirates and is still den of iniquity.  While on the jet, Zemo reveals he was looking at Bucky's book and his list of names.  Zemo then says the problem with America's Super Soldiers is that they are put on a pedestal, they become symbols, icons and we forget about their faults and cites fly and innocent civilians will die (alluding to Sokovia).

We are now inside a GRC resettlement camp, we see the flag smashers are there.  The leader of the Flag Smashers, Karli is visiting a woman who is dying, we see that Karli is very upset saying her goodbyes.  Bucky, Sam and Zemo are entering Madripoor, and they are playing parts, Zemo is Zemo, Bucky is Winter Soldier and Sam is playing Smiling Tiger.  They are going to see someone named Selby in Lowtown, they enter a bar where Bucky is instantly recognized as the Winter Soldier.  Sam is forced to drink a drink that the Smiling Tiger drinks, something involving a snake.  A man comes to Zemo and says he is not welcome there, Zemo says that they need to stay under the Power Brokers radar as he judge, jury and executioner in Madripoor.  Zemo then sets Bucky to attack the people in the bar as the Winter Soldier would (it is awesome).  Selby then agrees to meet them, we see Selby is a woman.  Zemo offers to give Selby the Winter Soldier if she can point him to the super-soldier serum.  Selby tells them that a doctor named Wilfred Nagel is working on it for the Power Broker.  Sam phone rings and it is his sister calling, Selby demands he answer it on speaker phone.  Sam tries to pretend but his sister calls him Sam and Selby orders her men to kill them when Selby herself is shot and killed by someone we can't see.  Bucky, Sam and Zemo escape but there is a bounty on their heads for Selby's death.  They are attacked on the street by just about everyone, but they are saved by Sharon Carter.  Sharon saves them and takes them to her place in Hightown, her place is full of real works of art and Sharon appears to be doing very well for herself in Madripoor.  Sharon will try to find information on where Nagel is for them.  Sam offers to help clear her name so she can return to the United States, Sharon is acting as if she doesn't think he will do it or that he even can.  Sam, Bucky and Zemo enjoy the party while Sharon is trying to locate Nagel.  

Sharon locates Nagel who is hiding out in a shipping container, the shipping container has a secret basement that is now a lab.  Nagel is surprised to see them and is unhelpful until he notices Zemo and Bucky.  They force Nagel to explain how he got the serum.  Nagel says he was approached by Hydra and later the CIA to make the serum.  Nagel was able to make the serum, but before he could finish it, he was snapped away and when returned after five years the project had been abandoned.  Nagel then stole the work he had done and went to the Power Broker to fund him.  Nagel made 20 vials of the serum which were stolen by Karli.  Zemo then shoots and kills Nagel.  While they were interrogating Nagel, Sharon was outside fighting off the bounty hunters, but after Nagel is killed the facility is destroyed by a rocket.  They escape and Sharon leaves them, she returns to her car and she tells the driver they have a problem, actually a couple of them.  

Karli is outside a GRC supply depot, she is with another flag smasher who was mob security in Madripoor.  Walker and Hoskins are visiting the prison where Zemo was held, Walker believes Sam and Bucky helped Zemo escape.  Walker says it doesn't matter how they get the job done, only that they succeed.  Sam talks to Bucky about whether the shield should just be destroyed, it has ruined so many people's lives.  Bucky says the shield means a lot to people especially himself, he would rather wield the shield himself then see it destroyed.  The Flag Smashers have raided and looted the supply depot; Karli then detonates a bomb killing the guards.  Sam, Bucky and Zemo are in Latvia heading to a safe house.  Zemo chastises them for not visiting the Sokovia memorial.  Bucky sees some devices and goes for a walk by himself, he meets a member of the Dora Milaje who is there for Zemo as the episode ends.


I am enjoying Faws a lot, but with only three episodes left I feel I want more.  I wish Faws had been given a 9 or 10 episode first season, I know Marvel has been saying that Faws is essentially a long movie, but I am going to miss this show when it is done.  Episode three was my favourite episode so far, it had a lot of good action, fun interactions between characters, and some intrigue.  I do not think that Sharon Carter will be revealed as the Power Broker, but I think that would be a bold decision.  With an episode title of Power Broker, I was expecting to see the Power Broker, and maybe we did if it is Sharon Carter.  I am fascinated by the design of Madripoor, and I hope the MCU continues to feature the city in future projects.  I have always associated Madripoor with the Star Wars quote of "wretched hive of scum and villainy", I did not quite see as much of the city as I wanted, but I enjoyed what we did see.  The Power Broker is revealed to be the "King" (could be a Queen) of Madripoor, the constant references to the Power Broker being a man might be a red herring so they can surprise us with the reveal of a female Power Broker.  I am pushing so hard for Sharon Carter to be the Power Broker because I feel it will give us something to explore further.  If the Power Broker is someone we have not met before then why have we not seen the Power Broker yet, to me it has to be a character we have already met in the MCU.  

Adding Zemo to the mix breathed a lot more life into the show, Zemo's chemistry with everyone he interacted with was amazing.  I do hope for some more dramatic material for Zemo, but I am really enjoying the fun Zemo.  We knew Zemo was very smart and dangerous, but who knew he was so much fun to hang around with.  I do think Zemo has a mission to complete, and I think he will continue to challenge Sam and Bucky on their beliefs.  I do not think Zemo is the Power Broker, but I do not believe he is a good guy now.  Zemo made his point that he believes heroes to be dangerous, I think his mission going forward will be to take down heroes.  After Zemo, the next most interesting addition to episode three was Sharon Carter.  The last time we saw Sharon Carter she stole Cap's shield and Falcon's wings from CIA custody.  We meet her in Madripoor, and she says she is laying low in Madripoor since she cannot be extradited to the United States.  Sharon is a little vague about what she does, we also never learn why she was at the bar that Zemo, Sam and Bucky visited.  At the end of the episode when she leaves Zemo, Sam and Bucky she goes to a car and lets the driver know they have a couple of problems.  The line is vague, but the couple of problems she is talking about must be Sam and Bucky.  Is Sharon Carter still an agent who is under cover in Madripoor, or has she actually turned to villainy.  I think Carter will be revealed to be working as a spy, I would love to have her be the Power Broker, but I am not sure if Marvel will agree.   

There was one thing I wanted to mention about episode two, when the guys are doing the joint therapy session, I do not believe Sam would ignore Bucky's comment.  Bucky opened himself up and mentioned that his main concern with Sam giving up the shield was that if Steve was wrong about Sam maybe he was also wrong about Bucky.  Sam ignored that and defended his decision; I don't think Sam would have done that.  When we first met Sam in Captain America: Winter Soldier, Sam was working with a support group for veterans.  Sam would have understood better Bucky's concern and reassured him and then defended his decision.  I know it is a small character nitpick, but it bothered me when I watched the episode and it still bothers me now.  The reason I like Sam is because he has such a similar presence as Steve Rogers, they both just want to help and do some good.  Sam's viewpoint that Bucky and Steve would not understand why he did what he did is correct.  Sam knows that if he were to take on the mantle of Captain America, he would be a very divisive figure in America, a black man with power.  I don't think Sam is ready for that honor/burden, but I think these adventures coupled with John Walker's failure to live up to the standards that Steve set will prepare Sam to take the shield.  John Walker is obviously wrong for the Captain America title, he might not be a bad guy, but he is not even close to Steve Rogers.  The way Walker lost his temper with the German guy and his belief that only success matters, no matter what you do to succeed is not a very Steve Rogers thing to say.  Bucky at the end of episode says if Sam won't be Cap then he might take the shield for himself.  I don't think Bucky wants to do that; he is trying to push Sam's buttons; but Bucky will take the shield rather than let Walker dishonor it.  The story is building to a moment where Sam will need to finally decide if he is ready to take the shield, I hope the title for season 2 will either be Captain America: Sam Wilson or Captain America and the Winter Soldier.  

Join me next week for my review of episode four, please leave your thoughts on the episode below.

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