Episode three of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is the halfway point of this series and is very plot driven. This episode unpacks the rest of what will unfold throughout the series and follows both the titular characters and another familiar face.
This episode reintroduces the character of Baron Zemo, the main antagonist in Captain America: Civil War. While at first his character is very reminiscent of who he was at the end of Civil War, after more or less breaking himself out of prison and being reintroduced to Sam and Bucky, we begin to see a different, lighter side to Zemo. His reintroduction as the third wheel to an already strained duo helps add more humor to a darker story.
After breaking out of prison, Zemo tells Sam and Bucky that the new creator of the super soldier serum is in Madripoor, a location that is prominent in the comics. This location is a crime underworld and helps build anticipation for the rest of the series. While Sam, Bucky and Zemo are in Madripoor, we get to see a bit more intense action sequences than Marvel usually has. We also get reintroduced to another character we haven’t seen since Civil War, Sharon Carter, played by Emily VanCamp. We also get to see a different side to Sharon as she was forced to live off the grid after allying with Steve. VanCamp does a brilliant job of portraying the new complexity in Sharon, especially her more sarcastic side.
It is discovered in this episode that Dr. Nagel, another character from the comics, recreated the super soldier serum for both the CIA and the Power Broker and used Isaiah Bradley’s blood to do so. This leads to Sam becoming more convinced that he was not only correct in giving up the shield, but that maybe he should have destroyed it instead. This adds another layer of antagonism between Sam and Bucky as Bucky still believes that there is still value in what the shield represents.
This episode doesn’t really develop the Flag Smashers or the new Captain America, John Walker, anymore, however, this episode starts to blur the moral lines of the Flag Smashers and really makes us think as to if they are the victims or if they are terrorists.
This episode makes a perfect midpoint of the season as it stays away from a filler type episode and instead focuses on developing its characters and plot. It is filled with action and it adds complexity to characters we haven’t seen in a while. The episode concludes with the arrival of Ayo, one of the Dora Milaje, in Latvia. This was an interesting twist likely fueled by Zemo’s escape from prison as he murdered KIng T’Chaka in Civil War. As always, this episode continued to forward the plot and leave me waiting anxiously for the next episode.