by Abby Koch-The Falcon and The Winter Soldier second episode, ‘The Star-Spangled Man’, cranks up the tension with the unknown intentions of new characters and the dynamic between the main duo. The second episode makes clear some of the issues that the heroes will have to tackle and flexes its humor. ‘The Star-Spangled Man’ is better than the pilot episode but still has areas where it is rocky.
This week’s ‘The Falcon and The Winter Soldier’ dives into the new man who was chosen to take the Captain America name and shield, John Walker. Walker, played Wyatt Russell, has a resume that stems from humble beginnings and a decorated war hero.
Walker is shown as a poster boy by doing interviews and is on promotional pieces, much like Steve Rodgers when he helped sell bonds in Captain America: First Avenger. Walker seems like just the man to fill the roll due to his actions, but there is something off with him.
Bucky Barnes, played by Sebastian Stan, finds Sam Wilson, played by Anthony Mackie, to tell him that he had no right giving up the shield. Wilson isn’t happy with the Captain America replacement as well but is more focused on stopping the Flag Smashers, a group who prefer the world how it was before the Blip.
Barnes and Wilson discover that the Flag Smashers have somehow obtained the super soldier serum. Karli Morgenthau, played by Erin Kellyman, leads the group to become a modern-day version of super powered Robin Hoods.
It did not take long for the show to have The Falcon and The Winter Soldier team and it is one of the best parts of the episode. Mackie and Stan clearly have an amazing chemistry together of screen due to how well they bounce off each other. Neither one outshines the other, which I find is very rare that the actors feel equal performance wise.
The scene that epitomizes their chemistry and the differences in their characters is in the first few minutes of the episode, where Wilson what threat the Flag Smashers could be “one of the Big Three” meaning “androids, aliens, and wizards.” Barnes argues that wizards are not a thing. But after Barnes says Doctor Strange is a sorcerer, Wilson states “A sorcerer is just a wizard without a hat.”
This is just one of multiple moments in the hour-long episode that I absolutely enjoyed watching the chemistry and bickering between my new favorite buddy cop duo.
Credit should be given to Wilson’s acting abilities as well. I felt like he perfect filled the role of a man who should very likable and heroic, but clearly there is something to distrust about him. The best moments of suspicion of the character is when Wilson does dialogue to try to get Barnes and Wilson to be on his side.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is clearly not shy about subjects of race, shown especially when the duo goes to Isaiah Bradley for information, played by Carl Lumbly. Bradley is a Black Vietnam veteran who is a super soldier but was put in jail for 30 years. All of his heroics has been kept secret as he now lives in the deteriorating neighborhood.
I hope that this character is not just being used as a talking point but is actually developed. It is good that the show is tackling these issues, but using characters as talking points feel cheap. The show has already done this with Wilson’s sister, who was in the first episode quite a bit, who was missing in the second.
The narrative for this episode is vastly better compared to the first episode, partially due to The Falcon and The Winter Soldier now being teamed up. The dilemmas caused by the bad guys were clearly laid out in this episode that the characters will have to resolve. But the more interesting issues is the ones that the main characters are wrestling with, particularly with race and who is the hero and who is “wingman.”
‘The Falcon and The Winter Soldier’ second episode now has my attention due to the improvements and the picked-up pace from last week. Still, the show has bumps and it needs to be aware of its landing with the issues it is tackling.
The next episode will premiere Fri. April 2 on Disney Plus.
‘The Falcon and The Winter Soldier’ episode two gets 8/10 couple therapy sessions.