This article contains spoilers for The Falcon and The Winter Soldier episode 6.
Deviating from the Marvel formula a bit, the ending of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier isn’t designed to leave viewers with many questions. There is only one, quite brief, post-credit scene that falls well short of the Nick Fury “Avengers Initiative” watermark.
Before that, Sam Wilson a.k.a. Falcon a.k.a. Captain America basically articulates all of the series’ themes in great detail with an extended monologue to the world at large like he was Stan Marsh at the end of an early season South Park episode. Even the show’s final title card leaves absolutely no ambiguity, changing the series title from “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” to “Captain America and The Winter Soldier.”
While Disney+’s second major Marvel effort wraps much of its story into a neat little bow, it still does leave some lingering questions at the end of the day. Let’s examine those questions here and offer up some answers where we can.
What Happened to Torres?
Every new Marvel property must introduce a new sidekick for fans to identify with. Hell, that’s how we got Sam Wilson in the first place. When it came time for Sam Wilson to get his own Sam Wilson, First Lieutenant Joaquín Torres of the U.S. Air Force answered the call.
Torres was a consistent presence in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier’s first few episodes. But as Sam interacted more with Bucky Barnes and John Walker, his military liaison largely fell by the wayside. He appears only briefly in this finale as we see him watch Sam deliver his speech to the Global Repatriation Council and smile at how far his friend has come.
There probably aren’t any big plans for Torres to become his own Falcon-style superhero (but remember, he DOES have Sam’s old wings) but as WandaVision and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier have made clear, the MCU always has a need for sympathetic “normal” characters. Don’t be surprised if Torres pops up again in a future Disney+ adventure to support his friend just like always.
Is Batroc Dead?
Georges Batroc learns a very important lesson in this finale: never ask Sharon Carter for a raise. Yes, one of Captain America’s most consistent villains (though he’s more like an annoyance) has been working with Sharon a.k.a. The Power Broker this whole time.
When Batroc finally fulfills his mission of subduing Karli Morgenthau he demands to receive four times his agreed upon payment from Sharon. Sharon responds by shooting him. Where exactly does Sharon shoot him? That’s unclear. But the French Pirate hits the ground very quickly. Given Sharon Carter’s superb marksmanship, it would appear that the shot was fatal.
Batroc has had quite the run in the MCU. Who would have expected that he would even make it to a Disney+ streaming title after his brief debut in 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier? This does, however, appear to be the end of him. R.I.P.
Is This the End of the Flag-Smashers?
Very early on in this finale, Bucky warns Sam to be careful because the Flag-Smashers could be anybody. That’s what makes this group a bit trickier to stamp out from your usual MCU baddies. The Flag-Smashers aren’t a people, they’re an ideology. Now many of the group’s main players are dead and Sam gave a lovely speech urging for political tolerance. But was that enough for the Flag-Smashers movement to go away?
Realistically, it’s probably not. The so-called “Blip” of Thanos removing half the Earth’s population and the Avengers returning it five years later will continue to have enormous implications for years to come. In fact, in the continuity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is undoubtedly the single most consequential moment in all of human history. The issues of the blip won’t realistically go away and the Flag-Smashers are sure to become an embedded political movement within the MCU.
Granted, Marvel may soon decide that it’s no longer interesting to continue to harp on one event from a 2019 film for the rest of its filmmaking history and begin to move away from blip-storytelling soon. Rest assured, however, that the Flag-Smashers will still be out there somewhere, smashin’ flags.
How Does the Country Feel About John Walker?
John Walker made history in the Marvel Cinematic Universe by becoming the first human being to face consequences for killing someone. Hell, Sharon Carter is the Power Broker and killed Karli Morgenthau but she gets welcomed back into Uncle Sam’s good graces. The difference, of course, is that Sharon didn’t do her killing on camera for all the world to see.
What’s interesting, however, is that even though John Walker was stripped of all his titles and condemned, he did not face any lasting legal repercussions for killing. And that’s how he was able to throw on the stars and stripes, grab a makeshift shield, and head out to help Sam and Bucky save the day.
That leaves John Walker in an interesting place as the show concludes. He’s certainly not a hero in the public eye but he’s also not a villain. “U.S. Agent” is a bit of a drab branding choice for his new superhero venture (even if it is comic-accurate), as is Val’s choice of a Cap costume that replaces the blue with the black. But Val’s first super-soldier appears to be on his way back to public respectability. And this leads nicely into our next question…
Who Is Sharon Carter Talking To?
As previously discussed, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier’s post-credit scene isn’t too Earth-shattering. In it, Sharon Carter receives a pardon from the U.S. intelligence community. As she leaves the courthouse (which gets A LOT of screentime in these last two episodes) Sharon calls someone and says “start lining up buyers. Super Soldiers might be off the menu but we’re about to have full access to government secrets, prototype weapons, you name it. Should be something for everyone.”
That seems like some bad news! But who exactly is Sharon talking to?
Well one possibility is that she’s speaking with one of her Mardipoor underworld contacts from her time as Power Broker. But merely selling off government secrets and tech seems like a bit small potatoes for the now very powerful Sharon Carter. It’s more likely that Sharon is preparing to build her own superteam…which makes her quite like another powerful lady from The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.
Contessa Valentina Allegra De Fontaine or simply Val (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) clearly has her eye on developing her own Avengers as well. Because one U.S. Agent does not a super team make. Sharon and Val could very well be joining forces to create a force that could rival Earth’s mightiest heroes. Whether they’re called Dark Avengers, Thunderbolts, or something else, a new crew seems to be on its way.
Will Sam Lead The Next Avengers Team?
Typically the Avengers don’t have an elected leader. Tony Stark provided the funding and Steve Rogers provided the inspiration to go into battle. But now Tony and Steve are both gone. Is the newest Captain America capable of stepping into a leadership role?
Well let’s make something clear from the top. Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, it’s not even a guarantee that the Avengers are a thing anymore. Natasha Romanoff kept the lights on while half the world was snapped away. But even she is gone now. Thus far, Disney+’s series haven’t hinted at an incoming team-up aside from Val’s dastardly plans.
Still, the Avengers (or a team like them) will have to assemble again one day. Once they do, Sam seems to be in a prime spot to take on the mantle of leadership. He doesn’t just have Cap’s shield, he also has his moral clarity.
What’s Next for Zemo?
Baron Zemo, bless him, got everything he wanted out of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. He got to take a little break from being imprisoned, wear a nice puffy coat, and most importantly: eliminate the threat of super soldiers once again. Yes, it was the Baron’s butler who took out the last four remaining Flag Smasher soldiers.
All that’s left now is to retire to a life of quiet contemplation in his Raft prison cell, right? Well, not really. There is still one rogue super soldier out there in the form of John Walker. Zemo is simply too capable a schemer and too compelling a villain to stay in the Raft forever. It’s unclear what’s next for the Steve Rogers “tree” of Marvel movies. But whenever Sam, Bucky, and John Walker turn up in a film or TV show again, Zemo is sure to make another appearance.
Why Weren’t Sam and Bucky Cooking a Crawfish Boil?
Finally, the most important question. The final scene of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier features a lovely celebration where Sam returns home to Louisiana and brings his friend Bucky for a family food party. While much of the scene is devoted to seeing the novelty of the fearsome Winter Soldier playing with children, we do get some quick glimpses of the food being prepared and I’ve gotta say: grilled shrimp wouldn’t have been my first choice.
I have no doubt that the Wilson family grilled shrimp recipe is superb (particularly if it’s a Cajun recipe). But grilling some shrimp on a barbecue grill just seems woefully deficient for a party this size. Why not just go with a classic Louisiana crawfish boil? That’s a fun activity for the whole crew and will make a lot more food. Plus, they’re already boiling the corn cobs!
Also, it must be said that Bucky appears to come to this event with a pitiful store bought Oreo cake. That’s why Sam gets to be Captain America and you don’t, Bucky.