Falcon and the Winter Soldier: Season 1, Episode 5 - "Truth" Spoiler Review

 There is no way I would have predicted that the second slowest episode of the season would be the episode before the season finale.  I know that some people were expecting a more action-packed episode, but the character work done in this episode was excellent.  I did have a few issues with how the Zemo storyline was wrapped up.  Zemo was easily taken away by the Dora Milaje, but instead of being taken to Wakanda to face justice, Zemo is being taken to the Raft.  The Raft is a prison first seen in the MCU in Captain America: Civil War, I think Zemo being sent to the Raft means Zemo might be joining the Thunderbolts.  I also think Walker is being setup for a spot on the Thunderbolts, likely he will be incarcerated for what he will do in episode six.  I was expecting something bigger with Zemo, but if he will be appearing in a potential season two of FAWS or a Thunderbolts show I guess the ending make sense.  

In my review of episode four I predicted that the GRC might support Walker, I was very wrong; the GRC stripped Walker of his title and dishonorably discharged him from the military.  The meeting where Walker was rebuked for his actions was tough, Walker showed that he is not in control of his emotions, but he was also the victim of political grand standing.  The introduction of Valentina Allegra de Fontaine who is played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus was a great surprise.  The way Valentina subtly appealed to Walker's ego while undermining his wife's opinions was fantastic.  I am still trying to decide if she is going to be building the Thunderbolts team, or if she is part of another organization.  The Flag Smashers (FS) felt like a bit of an afterthought in this episode, they barely got any screen time, and their final plan is still not clear.  There was a plotline for the Flag Smashers that was dropped, the plot involved the FS unleashing some kind of virus.  Due to the pandemic the virus plot was dropped, and I am guessing the lack of cohesion to the FS storyline was due to the dropped plot.  

The best action scene in the series so far was the opening fight between Walker, Sam and Bucky.  It was a similar fight to the one Bucky and Steve had with Tony in Civil War, but Walker now having the super-soldier serum made the fight more intense.  Walker who has been growing increasingly erratic as the season has gone on has finally snapped.  During the fight there was a few tense moments where Walker tried to kill either Sam or Bucky, Walker is eventually defeated, but it takes a combined effort from Sam and Bucky.  Sam spends the early part of the episode struggling with whether he wants to be Captain America.  Sam's visit with Isaiah Bradley was such a strong scene, to finally hear Isaiah's story and see Sam's shock was upsetting.  Isaiah's story though fictional had an unfortunate air of truth to how America has handled racism over the years.  Like how Isaiah's history was removed from history, so has a lot of other ugly things in America's past.  The Sam training montage was awesome, though I am curious if his new costume will include a new set of wings (I hope it does).  In all of the material released so far, we have seen nothing of Sam in a different costume, so I am very excited to see what it looks like.  


The episode starts with running into an abandoned warehouse just after he killed Nico, the Flag Smasher.  Walker is screaming as we see flashbacks to him and Lemar, Bucky and Sam approach Walker and try to convince him to turn himself in and give them the shield.  Walker then turns on them, a fight ensues in which Walker shows how capable he is.  It takes the combined effort of Sam and Bucky to take Walker down, but Walker ripped Sam's wings off.  Walker sustains a broken arm and is eventually defeated; Bucky takes the shield and drops it besides Sam.  Sam and Bucky go to Torres, Torres updates Sam on what will likely happen with Walker.  Torres says Walker will be taken into custody, but it is a political situation now.  Torres then looks at Sam's broken wings and says there is not much to be done to fix them.  Sam takes the shield and leaves, but Torres asks if he wants the wings, Sam tells Torres he can keep them.  Walker is brought before a council where he is dressed down and stripped of the Captain America title.  Walker wants to testify on his behalf, but the council refuses to hear his opinion.  Walker is dismissed from the army, but he will not be charged due to his past service record, Walker is very angry and hurt by the council's decision.  Outside the meeting, Walker and his wife are discussing what to do next when they are approached by a mysterious woman.  The woman introduces herself as Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus), she agrees with what Walker did and offers him a job.  The council asked Walker to return the shield, but Valentina tells Walker that the shield doesn't belong to them.  Valentina leaves and tells Walker to pick up the phone when she calls.  

The Flag Smashers are regrouping, Karli wants to push forward with their agenda; she says it is time.  We are at the Sokovia memorial with Zemo, but Bucky appears carrying a gun Zemo tells Bucky that he won't kill him.  Zemo tries to push Bucky to kill Karli, Zemo says that is the only way to stop her.  Bucky points the gun at Zemo and pulls the trigger, Bucky reveals the gun is empty and we see the Dora Milaje approach and take Zemo into custody.  Zemo willingly goes with the Dora Milaje, Ayo tells Bucky that they will bring Zemo to the Raft (a super-max prison located in the ocean).  Bucky is told to stay away from Wakanda for a while, Bucky asks Ayo for one more favor.  Sam goes to visit Isaiah Bradley; Sam is there wanting to hear more of Isaiah's story.  Isaiah tells his story, Isaiah was one of many soldiers given the serum, but Isaiah is the only living survivor.  Isaiah and the other soldiers were sent on missions even though the other soldiers were not stable.  Isaiah went against orders to free some of them that were captured by the enemy, the military was going to bomb the POW camp to erase the evidence of the super-soldiers.  Isaiah's actions caused him to be imprisoned for thirty years, Isaiah's wife was told he was dead.  By the time Isaiah was freed his wife was dead, they erased Isaiah's history from the books.  Isaiah says they will never let a black man be Captain America, Sam leaves not hearing the answers he wanted. 

Sam goes home and joins his sister (Sarah) in an attempt to fix up the boat so they can sell it, Bucky arrives to help and flirts with Sarah who flirts back. Sam and Bucky appear to be bonding while fixing the boat, Bucky gives Sam a case from the Wakandans.  Walker is visiting Lemar's family, Walker tells them what happened, though Walker tells them he killed the person who killed Lemar.  Walker left out that Karli killed Lemar, Walker is obviously struggling with Lemar's death.  Lemar's family makes it worse by telling Walker how proud Lemar was of Walker being Captain America.  Sharon Carter is on the phone with Batroc (who appeared in episode 1), Carter says she got him released from prison and she needs him to do something for her.  Bucky wakes on the couch at Sam's sister's house, and he continues to help Sam with the boat.  Sam and Bucky are practicing throwing the shield, Bucky apologizes for him and Steve not understanding about being a black man taking the shield.  Bucky says Sam giving up the shield made him question everything, Sam tells Bucky that to properly make amends Bucky needs to help those on the list.  Sam says there is likely at least someone in the book who needs closure, Sam says Bucky should focus on that one person and help.  Bucky leaves and tells Sam he will be there when Sam needs him.  

Sam begins training, he is getting in better shape and practicing using the shield.  Karli and the Flag Smashers are in New York, they meet up with Batroc who gives them some weapons.  Batroc says he is not there to help with the Flag Smashers' political ends, he is there to kill the Falcon.  Karli activates an app on her phone, and we see a lot of people in the park that appeared to be causal visitors are Flag Smashers too.  We go to a meeting of the GRC council, the council is arguing if it is the right time to move the camps.  We see one of the people from the park is in the meeting as a security guard, the lights go dim.  The episode ends, but we finally have a post-credits scene.  Walker is making a shield of his own, the episode comes to a close.


Episode five was probably the slowest episode of the season so far, but I really enjoyed it, and I thought it was needed.  My main criticism of the episode is that I wish there were more episodes, I feel the episode leading into the finale should have had a little more going on.  We did not spend a lot of time with the Flag Smashers, and we still have no idea who the Power Broker.  Sharon Carter appearing for one scene is weird, the scene makes me think she might be the Power Broker since she sent Batroc to Karli.  I am not sure why Sharon would send Batroc to Karli and let him think he was there to kill Sam, there is a lot of weird things with the Sharon Carter scene.  It seems too obvious that Sharon Carter is the Power Broker, but what is Sharon Carter doing.  I know in Captain America: Winter Soldier, Nick Fury used Batroc as a means to investigate a S.H.I.E.L.D. vessel, so maybe Carter is pulling a play out of the Nick Fury playbook.  Sharon Carter might be trying to take down the GRC, and she is using the Flag Smashers to do this.  What bothers me about this idea is it means she is willing to sacrifice Sam or at the very least put him in harm's way.  I figure we will get answers to what Sharon Carter is doing in the finale, all we have to do is wait until next Friday.

There was a tease by the showrunner Malcolm Spellman that in episode five we get a new character introduced into the MCU that is a character in the Marvel universe played by a known actor.  I had no idea who the character might be or who the actor playing them will be, but Marvel getting Julia Louis-Dreyfus into the MCU is huge.  Louis-Dreyfus is an amazing actress who is very charismatic and funny, I think they plan on using Valentina Allegra de Fontaine as a big new character in the MCU.  Allegra's introduction does not give us much to go on, she approached Walker, she seemed to know a lot of things, and she wanted Walker to work with her.  In the comics Allegra is a known associate to both S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra, so they can be using her as a good, bad or even grey type of character.  I assume we will see Allegra in episode six, maybe Allegra is attempting to form a group like the Thunderbolts.  The Thunderbolts is a team of heroes that is made up of reformed villains (kind of similar to DC's Suicide Squad), that would be an interesting choice if Walker is asked to lead that team.  

The main theme behind the episode is that our heroes, Sam and Bucky coming together and both accepting their paths going forward.  Sam's meeting with Isaiah was heartbreaking, Isaiah's history is so tragic.  Sam was hoping Isaiah would be supportive and willing to help Sam, but Isaiah's experience with the government was so bad I can't blame him for not trusting that things are better now.  Sam eventually accepted that he could be Captain America because he is not going to let the government have a choice.  I think Sam is going to publicly share Isaiah's story and name himself the new Captain America and challenge the government to stop him.  Bucky's journey will hopefully lead him to the peace he desires, I don't think he is going to stop fighting, but I think he needs to get closure for himself and his victims.  Bucky did not ask for the super-soldier serum and he forced into being the Winter Soldier, now that he is free, he needs to find his place in the world.  If Bucky can get the closure he desires, I think it will help him finally start to find a life for himself.  

This episode was really good, and I enjoyed the character work they did for Sam and Bucky.  I did have some issues with the episode though, I thought Zemo's scene felt a little awkward.  I wonder if the wrap-up of the Zemo arc had more to do with cuts made due to Covid problems.  I am sure we will see Daniel Bruhl again; I hope as soon as season two of FAWS.  I also think we did not get enough time with the Flag Smashers; I am hoping that they will have more time in the season finale.  I will admit that Wyatt Russell is amazing as John Walker, Russell did a fantastic job in this episode (and the season as a whole).  Walker continues to be a very complex character, and I am cheering for him to be redeemed.  I think Walker has some unfinished business with the Flag Smashers, based on Walker's conversation with Lemar's family I think he wants to kill Karli.  Marvel has recently revealed that the idea of a second season of FAWS is something they are considering (likely has already been decided). Knowing FAWS is not a limited series makes me feel more comfortable with the idea of not every plotline getting wrapped up in episode six.   

Join me very soon as I cover episode six, the series/season finale.  Please leave a comment of your thoughts on the episode.  

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