The popular Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 4 show, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, ended after 6 critically acclaimed episodes. The last episode, which was titled One World One People, showed Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes fight The Flag Smashers, a group of violent revolutionaries with super strength who kidnapped the world’s most powerful politicians and tried to kill them off. Their motivation, as explained throughout the season, was to stop a crucial vote which displaced millions of refugees from their homes during the blip.
The final episode also unveils Sam as Captain America for the first time. With the help of a new suit made by the Wakandans, Sam wields the Captain America vibranium shield while also flying with the help of Falcon wings made out of the metal. While Bucky tries to stop the group of Flag Smashers that have kidnapped several politicians on the ground, Sam tries to stop helicopters carrying the hostages. John Walker, who also wants revenge from Flag Smashers leader Karli Morgenthau for killing his partner Lemar, joins the fight.
To distract Bucky, the group lights up a truck with politicians still inside. Bucky then uses his vibranium arm to save them in the nick of time. On the other hand, Sam communicates with a kidnapped politician and asks her to take control over the helicopter. He then tackles the member of Flag Smashers, while the politicians stops the helicopter from crashing. While John is fighting Karli, his redemption moment comes when he stops a jeep full of hostages from falling off from a height.
After John is distracted from his efforts by a Flag Smashers member, Sam saves the jeep with his vibranium shield and wings. This was one of the most important action scenes in the finale as it showed that Sam as capable as the other heroes, even without super-strength.
Then, the show reveals one of its biggest twists, it is revealed that Sharon Carter is actually the Power Broker, who gave the Flag Smashers the super-serum. She confronts Karli for ‘betraying’ her and breaking away from her control. Karli then shoots Sharon, and fights with Sam. Despite trying to reason with her, Karli attempts to shoot Sam, but is then killed by Sharon.
The most important scene in the show comes when Sam carries Karli to safety. The politicians then thank Sam for saving their lives from the ‘terrorists.’ Sam then urges the politicians to empathise with millions of refugees they will affect. Telling them to use the power wisely, Sam says that otherwise there is no difference between them and a mad god like Thanos. When the politicians tried to argue that he doesn’t understand the plight of the people involved he said, “I’m a Black man carrying the stars and stripes, what don’t I understand?"
He adds that he knew that there will be millions who will hate him for taking up the Captain America mantle. He says that he didn’t have blonde hair and blue eyes or even super strength, but he will do his job because he believes that the society can do better. This solidifies Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson as the new Captain America.
Sam could also be seen visiting Isiah Bradley, the super-soldier who was unfairly punished for his race. He then took them to the Smithsonian museum, where a portion is dedicated to Steve Rogers and unveiled a statue of Bradley, so that nobody forgets what he did for the country.
Bucky also makes amends with Mr. Yori, whose son was killed by the Winter Soldier. He gifts his and Steve’s notebook to his therapist, revealing that he has made amends with everyone on the list. At the end, we see Sam and Bucky having a reunion at his hometown in Baltimore with Sam’s family and community.
The show’s end sets up around three possibilities for the future of the MCU. First, right before the credits role we see Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Contessa Valentina Allegra de la Fontaine give John Walker a Black Uniform and a new identity as ‘US Agent.’ This shows that Wyatt Russell will be a part of future MCU projects as the eponymous anti-hero, popular in the comics.
During the credits, we find out that the show will be now called Captain America and the Winter Soldier, a title close to the 2014 film Captain America: The Winter Soldier. This either means that the show is coming back for season 2 or there will be a feature film dedicated to the two characters, especially with focus on Mackie’s Captain America.
Thirdly, during the mid-credit scene, we see Sharon Carter getting pardoned by the US government for her role in Civil War (2016). She is then asked to rejoin her old job as an intelligence officer. She is called Agent Carter, a name used synonymously with her aunt Peggy Carter. However, since Sharon is now a villain in the form of the Power Broker, she can be heard telling her associate that she now has access to every classified government secret. This also means Emily Vancamp will return in future projects as an antagonist.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, now Captain America and the Winter Soldier has left the MCU with a powerful new legacy. After years of being seen as an exclusive white and male-centric franchise, the Studio has embraced change by making a Black man the new Captain America. The show did not shy away from talking about the injustices faced by People of Colour, especially Black people in America, which is monumental given how there is a scope of pushback from the more conservative parts of the world.
Of course, the show rides on the coattails of Black Panther. However, the protagonist did not face racial politics, the antagonist Killmonger did. The Black Panther came from a kingdom where his Blackness was celebrated. What TFATWS does is tell you that a Black man can be an Avenger and fight Thanos twice, but will still be treated as a second-class citizen by the racist majority.
This stance taken by Marvel will also be detrimental to the future of the other projects with POC superheroes. Simu Liu, who will be seen as the first Asian superhero in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has praised the finale on his social media. Kumail Nanjiani in the Eternals, Iman Vellani as Miss Marvel and Don Cheadle in Armor Wars will also carry on the show’s legacy. Letitia Wright will also reportedly take on the throne of the Black Panther. That is just the beginning though, with many characters like Monica Rambeu, Ironheart, Blade, America Chavez getting big-ticket projects. The Young Avengers, which will also reportedly include TFATWS’ Joaquin Torres as the new Falcon will also consist of more POC characters.
It has also been widely reported that Captain America 4 with Anthony Mackie in the lead is in the works. If that is true, it will be interesting to see how it will fare and the changes it will bring to the franchise.