Before the new show launches, I thought it would be helpful to take a moment and reflect on the Disney+ era of the MCU so far. In the spirit of the recently ended Olympics, let's rank each of the three shows based on indefinable qualities that NBC commentators would struggle to explain to laypeople watching at home. And since this ranking is based entirely on my own opinions, you can rest assured that it is 100% objectively correct and no I will not be taking questions.
This thought process started back in the preview stage for Falcon and the Winter Soldier. At that point I was speculating purely based on what I saw from previews and what I could glean from internet snoops. Obviously Steve Rogers' shadow will loom large over a show that centers around Sam and Bucky with Zemo, Sharon Carter, and US Agent thrown into the mix. Now that we have all six episodes behind us, let's take a moment to assess the role of symbols in the MCU and in the stories we tell. In the interest of space I am going to skip the recap and assume you have seen the episode, otherwise we will be here all day.
This week's episode is the calm before the storm. We get a look at Karli Morenthau's plan for the Flag Smashers, John Walker faces consequences, and the heroes spend some quality time. With the exception of the fight over the shield, there was less action in this episode than in most of the others. But we still got plenty of important character development once the shield was wrested from the arm of US Agent.
The hunt for Karli Morgenthau continues, especially now that she has murdered GRC workers. It turns out all of this could have been avoided if Hulk had thought through restoring everyone's homes, bank accounts, credit scores, and legal documents when he brought them back from the dead in Endgame, but that's what happens when you trust a scientist to use godlike powers to restore half the universe instead of a bureaucrat. Sam reminds us in this episode that Karli's fight is not unreasonable. After the SnapTM, countries opened their borders and welcomed new workers into vacant homes and jobs. Now, those same countries are returning to old ethnic tensions and hard borders. That leads all those displaced persons look to Karli for help as they eke out a living in GRC camps. Into this mess we drop our heroes (and a few villains).
The third episode of "Falcon and the Winter Soldier" brings a few familiar faces from the Captain America franchise back into the story. Bucky and Sam enlist Baron Zemo to help them track down the Super Soldier Serum, and Sharon Carter resurfaces after not being seen since "Civil War". This episode is the right mix of character development and action, let's see if we can peel back some layers and understand exactly what happened.