The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, My Rambling Review

With extra rambling… this is on the longer side, because politics and super heroes is like peanut butter in my chocolate

Surprise Therapy

In the first episode, we find out that former super powered political assassin Bucky is being required to see some kind of therapist. This is part of a deal that pardoned him from his past crimes, mainly murders and assassinations, when he went by the name Winter Soldier. Presumably he got this deal because he was one of the heroes who helped save the entire universe in Avengers: End Game. Fair enough, I guess. I’m not sure if the hows and whys of his deal are ever made explicitly clear, though.

OG Black Captain America

The first thing that happens is that Sam, who happens to be black, and who was hand picked by the original Captain America to take over his role, is replaced by another man, who is white. That could lead to some interesting allegories about America’s current racial politics.

A historical footnote in bronze

A Damn Good Point

For contrast, take Baron Zemo, who was a clear villain in the movie Captain America: Civil War. He’s also in this show, and this time round he’s more compelling than just the shit disturber he was in the movie.


The new, white, False Captain America, brutally murders a “terrorist” by beating him to death with the iconic shield. He does this in the middle of a plaza in Europe while bystanders catch it on their phones. The image of a Captain America standing above a body, with blood all over the shield, is a striking one, ripe for interpretation by your personal political lens.

A more honest Captain America

For Real Though

The main villains of the show, a “terrorist” group known as “The Flag Smashers”, have a very compelling cause. In the movie Avengers: End Game, half the world population disappeared for five years. In that time, global politics and economies were drastically shifted, and, it seems, borders became more porous as people migrated around looking for work and stability. Now, everyone who had disappeared is back, and it’s not so easy to reassimilate them. To address this problem, there is an international agency called the Global Repatriation Council that intends to return everyone to where they were before. There’s an implication, though, that their goals are not just about repatriating refugees, but about restoring old power structures.

I like their logo and branding, too

Politics Aside

Ultimately, the show fizzles out not just in terms of politics, but in narrative as well. The big climactic show down between the heroes, Bucky and Falcon, and the Flag Smashers, with a few other people involved as well, is a fuzzy mess of chases and fights that don’t ever add up to a whole.

“Do Better”

In the end, the leader of the Flag Smasher’s is defeated, and Sam, now publicly declaring himself in front of the media to be the New Legitimate Captain America in a rather ridiculous looking suit, has a moment where he lectures the government agency on what they should be doing.

Less sensible protection than your average person on a bicycle

Loose Ends

After the main conflict is resolved, the show spends a full half episode tying up loose ends and setting up future scenarios, and for the most part doesn’t do either in any satisfying or enticing way.

Called out of his retirement for one last job?
I feel like Julia Louis-Dreyfus might take the character in a different direction than the comic version

Actually, It’s Pretty Good

Having said all that, it sounds like I’m saying this show doesn’t work. But that’s not the case. Even though I felt that they never offered satisfying answers, I appreciated them raising interesting questions. Beyond that, in spite of its high concept misses, as entertainment, it’s a pretty fun ride to go on. I actually quite liked it.

This is actually a super important scene in terms of how we conceive of super heroes. I mean, talking to your enemy first to try and have a peaceful settlement? Crazy.



Reviews of shows and movies about super heroes, science fiction, and others.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Dave Gutteridge

I write mainly about how my life falls apart, followed by opinions about shows that usually involve super heroes, and occasionally other random things.