No The Falcon and The Winter Soldier tonight, obviously. But I’ve noted that so many people were disappointed with the ending, it’s the first Marvel project in ages to get a bad RottenTomatoes score even, and I think I see where they’re coming from? It was great to see Sam become Captain America and Bucky find some peace, just everything else didn’t really work.
One criticism that stuck in my mind was something along the lines of, “Would Sam getting Isaiah a statue and a museum exhibit really change things? Especially since he wasn’t asked first and now his likeness is sitting in a room filled with reminders of a past and government he hates?” And I sort of wonder if that wouldn’t have been a better ending, going with that. Sam shows Isaiah and Eli the new Captain America room with its statue and Isaiah hates it, really hates it. He gives Sam a look that says something like, “how could you do this without even asking?” walks away and that’s it. A reminder that superheroes can’t fix everything and an even more crucial reminder to us the audience that something similar happened in real life and can’t be undone.
It would’ve been a really bleak ending, but still. Maybe Eli stays.
Aannnnd that’s the end! For now anyway. I admit I found this series a bit muddled at times. So many things seem to be glossed over, I guess? For example Sharon kills a dude using a face-melting weapon so horrific it must be a war crime, and she does this while working with the good guys and it just… isn’t mentioned again. Sam hears the words “mercury gas” or whatever it was but he doesn’t ask any follow-up questions. Maybe it will come up again eventually (I’ve heard a strong theory that this Sharon is a Skrull, which I like because she is absolutely nothing like the Sharon I remember) but I kinda feel like that moment encapsulates (enCapsulates?) a lot of the MCU’s biggest flaws, like, it shouldn’t even be entertaining the idea that maybe people on the “good” side can do that sort of thing and it’s okay cos it serves a greater purpose? Am I reading too much into that? I probably am, but… Eh.
And while we’re talking about flaws here’s one that isn’t the fault of TFATWS itself but an unlucky consequence of how the MCU works. When the “previously on” was catching us up on what past bits were important one of the clips used was Isaiah talking about his wife, and a little lightbulb in my head went “Wait, time travel exists in this universe. Reality warping exists in this universe. Are they going to bring Isaiah’s wife back to him?!” And they didn’t, and they shouldn’t because this isn’t that kind of story, but… It’s always gonna be a question in MCU stories going forward I think and that’s an impossible balancing act. Blending fantasy with the worst kinds of reality is just… Hard.
But anyway – I’m glad this show had a happy ending, seeing Sam and Bucky together with Sam’s family at the end was lovely. This whole thing was such a great showcase for those two characters and said a lot of very important things, I just wish it had been a little more consistent I guess?
Another incredibly hard-hitting episode. Sam’s saying “the legacy of that shield is complicated” sums it up about as well as it could ever be summed up I guess. That scene between Sam and Isaiah is probably one of the best-acted and most important ones the MCU has ever done.
Sort of jumping off that in a way, I’m geniunely kinda surprised the government in this show actually DID dismiss John Walker as Captain America because I have a depressing feeling they probably wouldn’t in real life. God knows you can probably find all sorts of modern-day examples of similar behavior that went unpunished, sigh.
Back to the MCU rather than reality:
I had no idea who that was Julia Louis-Dreyfus was playing but it turns out it’s someone from Latveria! Setting up for the Fantastic Four movie I guess? She was a big surprise.
It was nice to see Sarah again, also I realised recently that she shares that name with Steve’s long-dead mother, I wonder if Sam or Steve ever knew about that. (I am also a Sarah.)
I like that Wakanda had a new outfit created for Sam but oh man I can’t imagine how, after Bucky said “I need another favour,” the next words out of Ayo’s mouth weren’t something akin to “Oh fuck off Bucky.”
John Walker constantly screaming “I am Captain America!” sounded like a dark mirror of “I am Iron Man” in a way. Guess Walker is a dark mirror for a lot of people.
I really wish we’re gotten to know more about Lamar/Battlestar before he was killed off, I kinda want to hear his story and how he and Walker became so close.
Hm I think that’s all I’ve got coherent-thought wise, but this show has made me appreciate all over again how probably Sam’s biggest superpower is Being A Decent Person and man there really need to be more superheroes who have that as their power.
Sigh… I keep thinking about how interesting this show would be if Karli wasn’t a mass murderer and wasn’t going round making threats to children. Sam having to grapple with the actual, geniune good guys thinking he’s not one, that would’ve been so fascinating to explore. But instead… We didn’t get that. The show is still good but..I’m bummed on several levels because a) I like Erin Kellyman as an actress and wanted to like her character and b) “These people have sympathetic motives but are also a bunch of violent a-holes, thus preventing exploration of the points they’re making” is… Not a good trope.
That last shot of John Walker (and what a great shot it was) reminded me of Homelander and The Boys. And Zemo’s speech about how being a super-soldier is a form of supremacy also did, except it reminded me of how much I hate The Boy’s take that being a superhero is inherently fascist because… How many superheroes actually ask for their powers? In the Marvel world pretty much everyone around at the moment was either born with them (Wanda, Star-Lord), got them by accident (Spider-Man) or is an alien (Thor, most of the GOTG). And labelling someone a fascist for something they had no control over makes no sense.
On lighter notes: Daniel Brul is killing it as Zemo and Wyatt Russell is killing it as John Walker, I don’t know how he does it but he just has this dead, violent look in his eyes all the time. Also WHAT he’s Kurt Russell’s son! I didn’t know that! Wow playing MCU villains really runs in the family huh?
It was really good seeing Wakanda again, I hope we get to go back there before the series is over.
Oh, and also RIP Battlestar. Your death was inevitable but you seemed like a good dude.
Hmmmm… I’m enjoying a lot of this show but bits of it make no sense to me and honestly leave a bad taste in my mouth. We had one episode of “Maybe the Flag-Smashers have a point” but this episode we see them committing an act of terrorism just to make it clear that nope, they’re supposed to be evvvvvvil despite them having done, uh, pretty much no real evil prior to that IIRC. Sigh. You deserve better, Erin Kellyman.
I’m still very interested in this show’s actual characters (Sam, Bucky, Sharon and more inexplicably Zemo) but the plot and the politics just seem all over the place?
Hooray Wakanda is involved now! Nice to see Ayo again. Wow Bucky that whole country took you in and helped you and you repaid them by freeing the guy who killed their last monarch, geez.
I had literally never heard of Madripoor before but apparently it’s connected with the X-Men? The MCU sure are throwing in a lot of X-Men related stuff without actually showing any X-Men.
I loved the callback to the Civil War “move your seat” moment, heh. Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan have such good chemistry and I hope they do many more movies together, not even necessarily MCU ones.
Halfway through this episode I had the stray thought, “I wonder what non-Americans make of this show” before remembering I was, in fact, not American. Make of that what you will I guess.
This episode didn’t shy away from showing life as a black superhero in America, oh man. That one scene with the racist cops was agonising, but it’s supposed to be.
I didn’t know anything about the character of Isaiah Bradley so I looked him up after the episode. He was created in part as a comment on the Tuskegee experiments, oh god. I assume we’ll be seeing him again before the end, as a walking talking representative of well, everything mentioned in the previous paragraph and more.
I loved how John Walker’s introduction was a dark mirror of Steve’s experiences when he first became Captain America, right down to the dancing girls.
I was amused by the scene with Bucky and Sam in, as it turned out, literal couples therapy but it’s edging rather close to queerbaiting I think. (Do people still use that term? Is there even another one?) I mean you can’t sort of giggle in a “will they, won’t they” way when we know and have known for years that the answer is “They won’t.”
Oh and I also love how Sam treats Redwing like an actual bird. Also it (sorry, he) whistles and makes bird noises! Awww.
This hasn’t grabbed me the same way Wandavision did but it’s pretty interesting so far. I do like that we’ve finally gotten to meet Sam’s family! Let’s get to the end without any of them dying please.
I also really like seeing some more aftermath and consequences of the Blip. (Am I the only one who still calls it “the Snap” in my head?) Really I suppose it’s surprising the world isn’t even more unstable than it is. Still weirded out even three years later that Spider-Man got to go back to school so quickly.
Seeing Sam kill people in exploding helicopters is weird and unsettling. I know he’s a soldier and thus it’s his job but… I dunno. The French guy in that sequence was Batroc the Leaper wasn’t he? One thing I do appreciate (sometimes) about the MCU is that they keep taking these absolutely ridiculous characters and making them translate to real-life settings.
It pains me that Sam now has no money, I suppose it makes sense what with him being dead for five years but still. It’s occured to me how many people would’ve had to be jerks for that to happen. Didn’t Tony leave any of his billions to the people he worked with? (Sigh, of course he didn’t. Sorry. I’m not much of an Iron Man fan these days.) But even aside from that, how on earth is there no money available for people who literally helped save the entire universe?
Go on the convention circuit maybe Sam? Charge people $100 for a selfie with you. That’ll make them change their tune.
Bucky’s friendship with that old guy was touching until I realised where it was going. Oh man. Maybe he should do the opposite and avoid the convention circuit.
I feel like this show is going to get political and that’s great! But after learning the actual US Army funds/oversees a lot of MCU stuff that sort of dampens it a bit. Well, a lot, a hell of a lot, if we’re being honest. Plus the world of the MCU right now is so far away from our one that I’m not sure they’re going to be able to make any I guess new points apart from in subtext? Does that make sense? We’ll see I guess.
Speaking of real-life stuff… sigh, I really feel like Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa should have had a cameo in this, in an ideal world.