Season 1, Episode 2: ‘The Star-Spangled Man’
In case you’ve encountered Captain America solely within the Marvel films, it could shock you to study that within the comedian books, Steve Rogers isn’t the one one that has picked up the protect and known as himself (or herself) “Captain America.” There have been dozens of reboots, retcons and alternate universes in Marvel Comics’ publishing historical past, and alongside the way in which over a dozen heroes have donned the crimson, white and blue. As a rule, the tales about these characters weigh one large difficulty: What does it take to represent a complete nation’s beliefs?
On the finish of last week’s episode of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” we received our first glimpse of John Walker, the person the U.S. army selected to exchange Steve as Captain America. This week’s episode, “The Star-Spangled Man,” opens with Walker in his previous highschool locker room, ready to exit onto the soccer area for an interview with “Good Morning America” meant to point out the world why he’s the best Cap.
But when Walker is wrestling with any doubts about whether or not he deserves to put on the costume, he doesn’t present it. He might hate the rah-rah promotional components of the job, however as somebody who received three Medals of Honor in his Military profession, Walker is already appearing as if he’s earned this.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, however? They’re not so positive about him. When Walker says on “Good Morning America” that he by no means knew the previous Captain America personally however that Steve “seems like a brother,” the remark will get deep below Bucky’s half-mechanical pores and skin. He runs to Sam to chastise him for letting this occur by refusing to take up the protect.
Finally although, neither of those guys is aware of what he can do concerning the Walker scenario. Even when there’s one thing off concerning the new man, Sam can’t “name America and inform them I modified my thoughts.”
If Episode 1 was all about re-establishing its two predominant characters and what they’ve been up, Episode 2 is about fulfilling the promise of the sequence’s title. Everybody tuning in to observe the Falcon and the Winter Soldier commerce quips and struggle aspect by aspect will get what they need this week. The pair’s chemistry actually modifications the present’s power. There’s much less brooding and extra banter.
Like final week’s chapter, this one is anchored by a prolonged chase and struggle sequence, crammed with nifty particular results. Right here, the large set-piece comes about 20 minutes into the story. Our heroes are patrolling exterior Munich, monitoring the Flag-Smashers, once they uncover their targets seem like “super-soldiers,” like Steve and Bucky.
A battle ensues with these meta-humans, each atop and typically below a caravan of provide vehicles, snaking by way of the German countryside. The great guys and the dangerous guys leap and fly, darting and ducking between automobiles as they pummel one another. It’s a rush to observe.
Simply when it seems to be as if all hope is misplaced for Sam and Bucky, Walker races in together with his previous warfare buddy — and new sidekick — Lemar Hoskins (Clé Bennett), also called “Battlestar.” The Flag-Smashers escape, however the two heroic duos survive and have an ungainly getting-to-know-you session within the aftermath of the mission. Throughout their chat, Walker tasks a little bit little bit of humility — “I’m simply attempting to be the very best Captain America I may be,” he says to Sam — however as soon as once more, he clearly suggests he’s the very best particular person for this new job. And he (possibly) inadvertently insults the Falcon by asking him to be his “wingman.”
It’s not that Walker is a jerk. (On condition that he’s performed by the likable Wyatt Russell, the star of the fantastic “Lodge 49,” this Captain America goes to be laborious to hate.) However he already acts like somebody in cost, which is inherently irritating — particularly to the blokes who knew the previous Captain America finest.
What’s extra instantly worrisome for Sam and Bucky is that it seems Captain America and Battlestar aren’t going to allow them to pursue the Flag-Smashers case on their very own. In the event that they transcend what the American authorities desires — because it seems they’re going to, on condition that the episode ends with their dialog about consulting with the terrorist Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl) — they could threat changing into outlaws once more.
Is that this honest? In any case, each Sam and Bucky have spent good chunks of their lives serving their nation in roles which have required them to comply with orders and to belief the mission. However what in the event that they haven’t any religion within the man telling them what to do?
That’s one of many questions that hangs over this sequence to date — together with with regards to the Flag-Smashers, who on this episode come throughout as an earnest band of idealists, loyal to one another and to their trigger. They merely see no motive to honor the pre-Blip establishment, on condition that they’ve simply spent 5 years on a half-populated Earth, dwelling a tough however less-stratified form of life.
For this reason, subsequent to the motion sequence, the very best moments on this episode come when Bucky takes Sam to Baltimore to fulfill Isaiah Bradley (Carl Lumbly), a veteran of the U.S. super-soldier program who may be capable of assist them perceive the Flag-Smashers’ origins. Isaiah angrily turns them down, partially as a result of he doesn’t belief the ex-Hydra agent Bucky and partially as a result of he doesn’t really feel compelled to assist a authorities that after handled him as an experiment — and an deserted one, at that.
It isn’t talked about on the present, however within the comics, Bradley, too, wore the Captain America uniform. And similar to the wrangling over who will get to be the hero and who will get to be the “wingman,” the mistreatment of Bradley should rankle Sam as a result of it raises one other dichotomy: who will get remembered within the historical past books, and who turns into a footnote.
The All-Winners Squad
The standard Marvel TV emblem fanfare was changed this week by the funky sound of a marching band on the large occasion for the brand new Captain America. That needs to be this present’s new theme. It’s genuinely stirring, and it combines martial sounds with traditional R&B in a method that matches the Falcon’s entire vibe.
The Marvel Studios particular results groups deserve a pat on the again for the way in which it received the Falcon’s mechanical wings to twist good at any time when he is available in for a touchdown.
To this point, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” isn’t shying away from the topic of race, though this week the writers primarily handled it utilizing provocative asides: as when a child in Baltimore calls Sam “the Black Falcon,” and when Isaiah refers to Bucky’s “individuals” and Bucky has to make clear for Sam that Isaiah meant Hydra, not white of us.
Right here’s a high-quality instance of how the tone of this present’s dialogue lightens up when the principle characters are collectively. The Falcon categorizes tremendous villains as “one of many Huge Three,” that means “androids, aliens and wizards,” however Bucky doesn’t imagine in wizards. (He did, nevertheless, learn “The Hobbit” when it debuted in 1937.) He additionally insists that Dr. Unusual doesn’t depend as a result of he’s a sorcerer, however Sam disagrees, saying, “A sorcerer is only a wizard with no hat.”