After six weeks of action, ideological clashes, and Marvel Cinematic Universe-shattering events, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is wrapping it up with a season finale. Episode 6 “Reason” ties up all the threads – Sam (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky (Sebastian Stan) go up against the Flag-Smashers led by Karli in series of big showdowns, John Walker has an unexpected change of heart (or does he?) and we finally find out who the Power Broker is. Each of these arcs culminates into insane action scenes, delivering on the movie spectacles fans were promised on the small screen. But in true Phase 4 tradition, the finale comes with a satisfyingly realistic narrative. It stays grounded as ever in the Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s humanity.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 6 begins with Karli and company raiding the GRC committee meeting. Bucky arrives on the scene coordinating with Sam before he’s joined by Sharon Carter. There’s a call for evacuation as chaos ensues following the smoke bombs dropped by the Flag-Smashers. But where is Sam? Well, he’s gearing up for his hypable superhero entry. Swooping in on his pair of wings, slinging the shield, Sam enters the building wearing what the Wakandans sent him the suitcase in the last episode – his brand new white and blue costume. Meet Captain America, not the one we deserve but the one we definitely need. He’s got a sick glow-up and hey, Redwing is still by his side.
The finale quickly gets down to its action sequences. Watching Sam jump out of a window, save a bunch of people in a thrilling aerial action scene while a crowd cheers him upon landing brings so much joy after the loaded episodes we’ve watched so far. Luckily, there’s a lot more of that coming up. Meanwhile, Karli has taken hostages and has decided she doesn’t care if they make it out alive, heck she doesn’t care if she herself makes it out alive invoking “One world, one people” once again. Bucky is doing his bit to slow Karli down but has to stop to rescue people trapped in a van. Just when Karli thinks she can carry on with her plan, the other Captain America shows up with his DIY shield to get revenge for Jonathan Lemar’s death. In a curious turn of events, John Walker gets a brief moment of redemption as he leaps to save a bunch of people who were about to go down in a truck. Although he fails, Sam shows up to take away another heroic win. Elsewhere, Sharon Carter is having a confrontation with Karli and Bartoc where we find out that Carter is after all the Power Broker. Sam gets there to stop Karli who is looking for a fight, growing frustrated with his refusal to hit back. It ends with Carter firing a shot that ultimately kills her.
All the fighting ends with a somber scene of Sam carrying Karli’s dead body while the GRC thank him for saving their lives amidst a gathering of the press and police forces. Here Captain America then takes a moment to do something we haven’t seen Steve Rogers or any MCU superhero do so far – school the government on treating people right. In response to the Senator’s tone-deaf comments, he gives an eye-opening speech that will certainly make you ugly cry with mostly pride and relief. “Your peacekeeping troops carrying weapons are forcing millions of people into settlements around the world, right? What do you think those people are going to call you? These labels ‘terrorists’, ‘refugee’, ‘thug’, they’re often used to get around the question, why?”, he says. He then pushes for equality and diversity, urging the Senator to do better. It all goes back to the socioeconomic and migrant crisis that the series set up in the very first episode. It comes full circle in one rousing moment. If there ever was a doubt about him taking up the mantle of Captain America, there isn’t anymore.
“Sorry I was texting, but I heard Black man, stars and stripes.” says Bucky before admitting that Sam did a fine job saving the day. Sam also catches up with Isiah Bradley and gets his story mentioned in a museum giving him due credit for his service to the country. More tears. What comes next is a series of revelations including Sharon Carter getting a pardon and John Walker embracing his new identity as U.S. Agent signing up to work with Valentina. But more importantly, Sam and Bucky are back by the docks being the best best friends (sorry, co-workers) ever.
The Falcon And The Winter Soldier delivers on it’s promise of giving us an insightful story of the Falcon’s transformation into Captain America. By re-contextualizing the history of the shield, giving the show’s protagonists their own personal stories and fans a lot to think about, the show course-corrects and creates an essential narrative that was a long time coming. It wasn’t only about Steve Rogers’ legacy, it was always about a Black man taking on the mantle of Captain America sans blue eyes and blonde hair.
The Falcon And The Winter Soldier episode 6 is currently streaming on Disney+ Hotstar Premium.