This article contains The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Episode 6 spoilers and potential spoilers for the wider MCU.
Well, it’s finally here. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 6 was an action-packed, but rather messy season finale for the show. Hopefully it isn’t a series finale, and we’ll see it continue in season 2 as Captain America and the Winter Soldier, but that’s an argument for another time.
For now, we’re here (as usual) to dig in to all the Marvel Comics and MCU references the show gave us this episode. We’ll be honest, it was relatively light on those, but there’s still plenty to speculate about. And if you spot anything we missed, be sure to let us know in the comments!
The New Captain America
- Sam’s incredibly sharp-looking Captain America costume is a perfect live action translation of the version he wore in the comics. That costume was designed by Carlos Pacheco, and first hit the pages of Marvel Comics in October of 2014, in All-New Captain America #1. Even then, it felt like a perfectly movie-ready design, but to see it translated to beautifully to live action is a real treat, and this is an immediate contender for “best superhero movie or TV suit” right now. The additional stars and stripes motif added to the underside of the wings here seems to be an MCU flourish, but that’s just one little way they managed to improve on perfection.
- It’s safe to assume that Sam’s new wings are vibranium, or at least vibranium laced, just like his shield, considering that it was made for him by the tech geniuses in Black Panther‘s Wakanda. There’s something to be said here about how America is stronger when it works with and accepts help from its allies, as opposed to going it alone. Just witness how much better Sam’s wings hold up under pressure than Walker’s homemade shield.
- Similarly, Sam primarily uses the shield and the wings for defense. Compare that to how Walker wields his shield, as a slashing/bludgeoning weapon for offense. It’s a nice illustration of two different interpretations about how best to utilize America’s power.
- Bucky’s leap from a barrier-crashing motorcycle in episode 6 is a nice callback to Steve’s very similar move in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. As a voice barked “stand down” from a SHIELD quinjet, Steve hit a barrier on his bike and was thrown forward into the action.
- We also see Bucky straining to open the back of the van with his vibranium arm, but he doesn’t flex as hard as Steve did when he stopped Bucky taking off in a helicopter in that same movie. Both Sam and Bucky reflect elements of what made Steve an exceptional Captain America in the finale, and prove to be a terrific team.
- Bucky gives Steve’s notebook to his therapist as a thank you gift. Honestly, she deserves less. It belongs in a museum.
- John Walker manages to control the effects that the super soldier serum is having on his psyche when he gets a second chance to prove himself, dropping his damaged makeshift shield and realizing he needs to prioritize human lives over vengeance.
- Val says that people will need a “US Agent” soon, and not a Captain America, as things are about to get “weird”. US Agent, of course, was the codename Walker took on after he stopped being Captain America in the comics. Speaking of which, Walker’s new costume is basically identical to his Marvel Comics US Agent costume and it looks really great here. We wrote more about the Marvel Comics history of U.S. Agent here.
- Why are Val, Walker and his wife back in the courthouse where Walker got court martialed to try on his new US Agent costume? Feels like pandemic-related restrictions forced the show to film all those scenes at the same time, doesn’t it?
- Sam returning to properly make sure Isaiah Bradley gets his due once again mirrors the excellent Truth: Red, White, and Black story by Robert Morales and Kyle Baker. There it was Steve who made sure that Isaiah’s deeds were finally known to the world.
- Hopefully this isn’t the last we see of Isaiah, but you can bet we’re going to get more of Elijah down the road. Between introducing two members of the Young Avengers in WandaVision with Billy and Tommy, and the impending arrival of Kate Bishop on Hawkeye later this year, young Elijah is due to get himself some red, white, and blue duds of his own.
Sharon Carter is the Power Broker?
- Yes, Sharon Carter is the Power Broker. No, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. She took Sam, Bucky, and Zemo to see super soldier serum scientist Dr. Nagel in his lab. He was working for her! She let that dangerous shit play out, which was very much against her interests! What! No. What! The man must have been confused as hell in his final moments.
- Sharon uses the same tech that Natasha Romanoff used to disguise her face during the climax of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
- We find out that Sharon was indeed behind Karli’s initial rise to Flag-Smasher power, after taking her in and giving her a chance in Madripoor. Sharon is willing to forgive the betrayal if Karli and her friends come back to the fold, but Karli’s too far gone for that.
- Sharon gets a pardon from the US government. I guess it wasn’t that hard after all. Maybe you could click this link while you’re here.
- Is this the first time Sharon has been called Agent Carter in the MCU? And is there some way to bring Peggy back to kick her narrow Power Brokering ass? How dare you besmirch the Carter name, girl.
- Sharon’s “mercury vapor” bomb that takes out that poor dude kind of feels like the dust that the Red Skull used to use during the Mark Gruenwald era of the comics to kill people…which left them looking like red skulls. Uh-oh…this brings us to the next question…
- Who was Sharon calling at the end? Val? Nick Fury? Her Skrull bosses? Alexander Lukin? Something is definitely wrong here. It’s possible that she’s working with Val to put together a team of Dark Avengers/Thunderbolts, but nothing makes a lot of sense with Sharon’s arc in the MCU in general, let alone this show.
- That is indeed Zemo’s butler Oeznik (played by Nicholas Pryor) who kills the fuck out of the Flag-Smashers in the police van with a remote controlled incendiary device. What an Evil Jarvis. In any case, Zemo got at least some of his wish, as now there are a few fewer super soldiers running around the MCU.
- Among the books that Zemo is reading in his cell is Alexander von Humboldt’s Views of Nature – the German polymath, geographer, naturalist and explorer was the first person to truly make note of human-induced climate change. But we can only assume that the book Zemo is holding close to his heart as he hears the fate of the Flag-Smashers is the Machiavelli tome that Bucky rudely interrupted earlier in the series.
- Despite the news saying that there are no suspects in the Flag-Smasher bombing, Val knows straight away that it was Zemo who had “the last laugh”. Huh. “Couldn’t have worked better if I planned it myself,” she jokes. “Oh, well, maybe I did. No, I’m kidding, I didn’t. Or did I?” Who the hell knows, Val.
- Is Batroc dead? Batroc had better not be dead! We demand more Georges St-Pierre in the MCU! Ze Leaper has managed to escape certain death multiple times in the MCU so far, and we’d like that trend to continue. He’s such a great all-purpose, kinda hapless baddie, that we’d love to just see him show up for the occasional slugfest. Or hell, maybe a Batroc fight can be a kind of “right of passage” for anyone else who has to wear the Captain America costume down the road!
And hey, he even did some leaping in this episode!
- Sam’s face-off with Karli Morgenthau is a lot like Steve’s final face-off with Bucky in Captain America: The Winter Soldier when he tries to talk her down instead of fighting back.
- The Raft was first introduced to the MCU in Captain America: Civil War, but the fact that they’re going out of their way to mention it multiple times in this show, and the fact that the Flag-Smashers were destined for there (after all, they’re super soldiers) should be an indication of just how important that place is going to be to the MCU going forward. I think we can safely expect both Val and Sharon to be doing some recruiting out of there.
The New Falcon?
- We only get a brief moment with Danny Ramirez’s Joaquin Torres, as he gazes adoringly at the TV broadcast with Sam as Captain America, but hopefully we get more of him in the future. After all, Joaquin became the new Falcon when Sam wore the red, white, and blue in the comics, and he DOES have Sam’s old wings.
Where is Steve Rogers?
You know, if they keep making that joke about Steve being “on the moon” maybe there’s gonna turn out to be some truth to it. Is this how the MCU will introduce the “man on the wall” concept from the Original Sin story in Marvel Comics? OK, fine, probably not.
- Sam having his first big public moment on a bridge between Manhattan and Brooklyn, where New Yorkers see him, cheer him, and implicitly accept him as a hero feels like moments in Sam Raimi’s first two Spider-Man movies, particularly the Brooklyn Bridge scene in the first one, and the subway car scene in Spider-Man 2. This is decidedly less heavy-handed, though.
- GRC representative Ayla is not from Marvel Comics. We don’t get her last name, and she shares a first name with extremely obscure Nightstalkers villain Rotwrap. Look, there’s not a lot going on in this episode, we’re trying.
Speaking of things we don’t have a lot on…
- Can you believe that despite appearing in nearly every episode of this show, Alphie Hyorth’s bearded senator is still only named as “government official” in the credits? What are you hiding Marvel?!? Maybe he’s actually Mephisto! (sorry, a little WandaVision humor there)
But for real, why would you have a recurring character who ends up central to so many elements of this story and NOT name him? Is he a Skrull? Is he Senator Robert Kelly? (look, we miss all the mutant speculation from the WandaVision days)
Spot anything we missed? Let us know in the comments!