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‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,’ Season 1 Episode 2: “The Star-Spangled Man” — RECAP

‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,’ Season 1 Episode 2: “The Star-Spangled Man” — RECAP

John Walker (Wyatt Russel), aka New Cap, looks around his old high school locker room as he prepares for a performance when he is interrupted by his wife, Olivia Walker (Gabrielle Byndloss), asking him if he’s nervous about his new role. John says he knows there is an expectation that comes with the suit, and he doesn’t want to fail the people. When she leaves, John practices his lines, when his friend, Lemar Hoskins (Cle Bennet), comes in to give him a pep talk on how the suit comes with expectations and that he thinks John is capable. Very cute moment and all, but I didn’t like it. 

Outside on the field, John autographs action figures, takes pictures, then high fives the drumline major before taking the stage to be filmed for Good Morning America. Steve would never… but I digress. Through the interview, we find out that John Walker was picked for his stellar military background and his body tested off the charts thus the government picked him. John states that he doesn’t have super powers like Banner but has guts just like Stever Rogers did and that he modeled his way of life like Steve would. Even though he never met Steve, John thinks of him like a brother. This certainly isn’t something Bucky enjoyed watching and hearing. 

Sam meets up with Torres to prepare for a flight to Munich but is surprised by Bucky who is upset that Sam gave up the shield. Bucky knows that Steve wouldn’t have wanted the shield given up. Sam informs Bucky he can’t do anything about it, hates it happened, but right now he has to deal with the leader of the Flag Smashers who is possibly in Munich. The two go back and forth about Sam’s reason to leave, but it ends with Bucky stating he is coming with. 

On the plane, the two have a staring contest up until Sam has a minute to his drop off location. Bucky wants to know the plan, but Sam doesn’t inform him of his plan and jumps out. When Bucky can’t find a chute, he jumps out anyways, falling on his ass. Sam luckily has Redwing taking footage of everything and helps direct Bucky to where Sam is located. The two bicker on what the plan should be in regards to the people, with Sam wanting to see where they are going while Bucky wants to take them on. Redwing detects there is a person within one of the trucks, leaving the guys to assume there is a hostage. When the trucks roll out, the two men chase after them; Bucky on legs and Sam in the sky. Once Bucky gets inside the truck, he is surprised that the hostage is actually a super-strong young woman. A fight ensues on top of the trucks, Redwing gets smashed, and the two men are joined by John and Lemar, who is also in a suit. Did they give John a Black sidekick? Quite bold of John to introduce himself as Captain America to Sam! 

The four men continue to fight the super strong people. Sam and Bucky end up being thrown off, both have come to the conclusion that all of the masked people were super soldiers, while John has to save Lemar from the clutches of the guys. John goes up against the young woman but isn’t prepared to be punched off the truck. While they are walking, Sam and Bucky’s bickering is interrupted by John in a ride to pick them up, but they don’t get in. John tries to get the two men to work with him, but Bucky tells John that he will never be Captain America. 

The two eventually get in the ride and chat about the Flag Smashers with John and Lemar. John and Lemar inform Sam that they tracked Sam through Redwing, because Redwing is government property and John is sort of the government. Good thing Redwing was smashed. While the Global Repatriation Council (GRC) is an organization that is helping those who came back from the Blip, Sam finds it troubling that John and Lemar are not seeing the problem with how not everyone is getting the resources. John wants them all to team up, but Bucky shuts it down quick. Lemar points out that they helped the two men, but that explanation goes down the drain when he states that he is Battlestar, John’s partner. Bucky, annoyed, has them stop the car and he gets out. John informs Sam that he gets Bucky’s attitude and he’s not trying to replace Steve; he’s just trying to be the best Captain America he can be. That would be easier for him to do if he had “Cap’s wingman by his side.” Sam hops out of the ride after that line, following Bucky. 

The strong young woman, Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman), and her crew arrive at a Flag Smasher’s hideout. Karli and her crew are given food, beds to sleep on, and electronics. Karli gets texts threatening her about what she stole. She ignores them and tells her crew that the GRC cares more about the people who came back from the Blip than they do of those who stayed. This rallies them to prepare for what they are to do the next day. 

As they chill in a plane, Bucky states that they should take the shield and handle things themselves but Sam reminds him that the last time he and Steve tried to take it back, they were on the run for two years. He is not willing to go through that again and points out that they weren’t able to beat the super soldiers and have no information on them. Bucky informs him that Sam should meet someone. 

The two go to Baltimore, where Bucky introduces Sam to Isaiah (Carl Lumbly), a war hero that Hydra was scared of. Isaiah tells Sam how the government dropped him in Goyang to take out the Winter Soldier. The only reason he let Bucky come in his house was to see if Bucky got the arm back or if Bucky was there to kill him. Isaiah doesn’t believe that Bucky isn’t a killer anymore despite Bucky claiming that he isn’t. Bucky tells Isaiah that there are more like them around, and he needs to know how this is possible. This upsets Isaiah, and we get to see his super strength when he tosses an item into the wall. 

Unlike Bucky, Isaiah wasn’t left alone. Upon his return to the US, he was thrown in a jail cell for 30 years, people ran tests on him, took his blood, and Hydra did the same. After this declaration, Isaiah kicks the two out of his house. Outside, Sam is rightly furious with the fact no one cared to inform anyone including Steve about the fact that there was a Black super soldier. Their argument is interrupted by the police. One cop wrongly accuses Sam of bothering Bucky and demands to see his identification until his partner points out that he is an Avenger. People watch the whole deal as another cop car arrives. Bucky whispers to Sam that he didn’t tell anyone else because Isaiah had gone through enough. The cop tells Bucky he is under arrest because he missed his court-mandated therapy session. 

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Sam meets Dr. Raynor and bumps into John at the station. John had Bucky released because Bucky is too valuable of an asset. He also informs Sam and Dr. Raynor that he has the authority to change Bucky’s therapy schedule and has unfinished business with Bucky and Sam. He waits outside for them as Dr. Raynor has the two men in a session. 

Dr. Raynor has Sam and Bucky do a couple’s exercise, starting with the miracle question, but that backfires immediately. Next exercise is the soul gazing, which Bucky is fine with considering how much he stares at people. The two face each other and are instructed to get close. They get real close and look into each other’s eyes but start off with a staring contest until Dr. Raynor stops them. She asks Bucky why Sam aggravates him. Bucky questions Sam why he gave up the shield. Bucky states that Steve believed in and trusted Sam, the shield was everything that Steve stood for, and if Steve is wrong about Sam then Steve is wrong about him. Sam asks Bucky if he can accept that he did what he thought was right. He tells Dr. Raynor that the two of them have bigger problems to deal with than this session and comes up with a solution: Sam will have them deal with that problem then the two will go their separate ways and never see each other again. He leaves. Dr. Raynor asks Bucky why he has that look on his face, Bucky asks her what rule number two is. She reminds him that it states never to hurt anyone. 

Outside, John and Lemar are waiting for the two. They inform Sam and Bucky about Karli, the civilians who are helping her move about Europe, and how they are trying to track her. Bucky asks John if he knows where Karli is, but he doesn’t know and he gets upset from the hostility he gets from Buck. Sam steps in between the two stating that John is right about the need to find Karli and her crew but points out that John and Lemar have “rules of engagement and authorizations” that they need to get through so it wouldn’t make sense for them to work with John because Sam and Bucky are free agents. John doesn’t like this and advises them to stay out of his way. 

Karli and her crew are loading up a plane when she is informed that they are found by the Power Breaker’s men. They rush to get the boxes on the plane as one of her guys holds off the incoming men, but is taken down by gun fire. She and the rest of them get away. 

Bucky and Sam talk out a plan for leads. Bucky points out that Isaiah brought up Hydra and there is one other person who knows of Hydra’s secrets, Helmut Zemo (Daniel Bruhl). Sam is hesitant at first but gives in to Bucky sitting in a room with Zemo. 

If you remember, Zemo was the man that set Bucky up as the man who killed King T’Chaka in Captain America: Civil War. He was followed by Steve and Bucky to Siberia, where there were at least super soldiers of Hydra’s that he killed in their sleep. Of course Bucky would like to speak to the man. How else are they going to find out more about the new super soldiers? Isaiah’s story is harder to swallow because it touches on the treatment of Black war heroes, how they were treated when they returned to the States, as well as non-consensual testing on Black people. While super soldiers are not a thing, we have heard stories of Black men who were incarcerated for years and had to deal with being tested on! It is not farfetched to fathom that Isaiah came back to his home only to be seen as a threat due to his super abilities and the color of his skin. The government didn’t want a man like him walking freely. That will be sitting on my mind for the day. 

Bucky and Sam clearly have issues with one another. On one hand we have Sam who is trying his best to help out the world as an Avenger but is still seen as Captain America’s “wingman” and also another Black man. He may have the Avenger title but doesn’t get all the perks. Now, he has to deal with John Walker in his face as the New Cap, a title that Steve handed over to Sam and should have stayed with him. He didn’t expect to have the shield turned over to someone new, and now he has Bucky reminding him of his mistake, too. I’m sure it is a lot for him. 

Bucky has PTSD, reconciling with his past as Hydra’s Winter Soldier and the New Cap who holds the shield that was made for Steve. Remember that Bucky was saved by Steve more than several times in his lifetime and knows what Steve stands for. For him, it isn’t easy seeing the shield utilized for governmental purposes that don’t align with what Steve would have been comfortable with. He questions if Steve picked the wrong person to have the shield because it was given up too easily, thus questioning if he, himself, is the guy Steve thinks he is. I guess the emotional journey these two will have to take will be just as impactful as the physical. I’ll enjoy the bickering along the way but I do want them to be friends at the end. 

John Walker annoys me by the mere fact that he really called Steve a brother to him, introduced himself as Captain America to Sam and Bucky, and also has a Black sidekick named Battlestar! You can’t tell me that the government didn’t give him a side kick! They really said, “Let’s recreate what Steve had.” Only difference is that they didn’t consider that Steve saw Sam as a friend and someone worthy of the title Captain America as opposed to just being his wingman. Of course, having Sam on his team would ease everyone’s mindset on the New Cap, but we all know that Sam is too good to be on that team. It was a promotion that Sam was more than qualified to have, but it was given to someone the government felt more comfortable with. They can certainly control these two a lot more better than they ever did with Sam and Steve or will ever be able to with Sam and Bucky. 

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