Right off the bat, I don’t really know anything about the characters of Marvel outside of the films. I’ve never in my life picked up and read a Marvel comic. So, if I say something here wrong that totally misinterprets your favourite character; I’m sorry! (Editors note: He isn’t)
Now I have that out of the way, I am absolutely loving The Falcon & The Winter Soldier, it’s my favourite TV show ever that has 9 syllables in the title. I kid, since this is just a perfect slice of what the MCU does best, action, humanity and just the right amount of darkness. Over the last 4 episodes we have been treated to so much political intrigue and conspiracy that you’d be forgiven for thinking that this was the work of the Russo Brothers once again. The whole thing smells faintly of Captain America: The Winter Soldier in the best way possible.
Now you know the subject matter of my article it’s time to get the nitty gritty out of the way *ahem* SPOILERS AHEAD FOR EPISODE 4 OF THE FALCON & THE WINTER SOLDIER!!!
Do you feel adequately warned? Excellent!
So, the most recent episode ended with perhaps the darkest scene in the MCU, As Lamar Hopkins “Battlestar” was killed by a punch from Karli Morgenthau AKA Flag Smasher, the terrorists split up and booked it away from the heroes, particularly a vengeful and now super powered John Walker. Mr. Walker has spent the last 4 episodes being hailed as the new Captain America and seems to be living squarely in the shadow of Steve Rogers. With a noticeable short temper and penchant for violent speedy resolutions over peaceful negotiation. Adding to his negative traits, Walker earlier dosed himself up with the most recent version of the Super Soldier Serum and anyone who remembers the words of its inventor Abraham Erskine “The serum amplifies everything that is inside, so good becomes great; bad becomes worse…”. Now we have a super strong Walker with his jealousy and rage ramped up to a much higher degree chasing down the terrorists he deems responsible for his friends death, while he can’t catch up to Karli he still manages to down one of her allies and even has this Flag Smasher insists he is innocent and didn’t hurt his friend, Walker refuses to listen and using the iconic shield, brutally murders the poor guy in front of a shocked crowd including Sam and Bucky.
I don’t for a second believe that John is a bad guy or villain, its beyond clear to me that he is in fact a victim of circumstance. Chosen by the government to follow in the footsteps of someone who is frankly, impossible to follow. John Walker is the perfect soldier, just not the right man for the role. As we all know, Steve Rogers chose his own successor, a man he deemed to have the traits necessary to be worthy of the shield. Sam Wilson!
It’s obvious that this series will end with Falcon ditching his bird name and donning the red white and blue to be the next true Cap. However, is he worthy? If someone as talented as Walker can’t do it does Sam have a prayer? Of course he does, were you not paying attention?! The key thing is, Sam isn’t the perfect soldier, what he is, is a good man! This most recent episode proves it twice over. When Sam refuses to allow the Dora Milaje to keep fighting John Walker and Battlestar and tries to stop the violence. Then later Sam insists on being allowed to first try to talk things out with Karli, trying to solve things with words and empathy rather than action. This is exactly the sort of thing Steve Rogers saw in him when he first handed over the shield. Sam does what is right, not what is fast or efficient. Captain America has never been a person, it’s a title than should only belong to the people who have the right stuff to carry it. John Walker is definitely not that person, but Sam Wilson definitely is. Even if he doesn’t have the shield yet, he has everything else that makes a person worthy of it, we always talk about Mjolnir being the sign of who is good and worthy, but that shield has much more weight.