WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Episode 6 of Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
This was supposed to be awe-inspiring. We were fresh off the back of WandaVision, a true masterpiece in sitcom form, and couldn’t wait for what was next. Six episodes later, with Falcon and the Winter Soldier coming to a close, and our expectations were simply never met. This was a truly underwhelming television show.
Episode Six (One World, One People), epitomised the majority of these failures. There were the occasional sparks, the odd strong moments, but they were consistently outweighed by shortcomings across the board.
Once again, some baffling character development made for painful watching. Wyatt Russell’s John Walker has been one of the highlights of this show, a man moulded and then abandoned by his country’s government. His switches between unthinking action and quiet anger have been enthralling to watch.
As the final episode neared its climax, it looked as though Walker had chosen his path; he decides to abandon his fight against antagonist Karli Moregnthau in order to save a group of politicians falling to their deaths, before staring on admiringly as titular character Sam Wilson discusses what it really means to be Captain America. He had apparently learned his lesson.
Cue his final scene, and that was thrown out of the window. He again meets with ‘Val’ (Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, an incredibly annoying side character who utilises the worst style of humour possible), has his comic-book name ‘US Agent’ dropped and appears to turn back into a cocky so-and-so. The lack of a clear direction was astounding; had Marvel even paid attention to what they’d been setting up themselves?
This lack of cohesion in character development was again obvious as Morgenthau’s story was tied up. Having been a devoted activist throughout the series, continually claiming she didn’t care about lives being lost as she pursued equal rights for people all over the world, she apologises to Wilson with her dying breath. Why? At what point in the show was there any hint that she regretted a single thing she had accomplished?
To put it simply, there wasn’t. This felt like a half-hearted attempt from Marvel to make us feel sympathy for a character that, in all honesty, deserved our hatred. She had murdered innocent people and admitted she would continue to do so. A last-second change of tact felt cheap.
Episode Six also continued a trend the show has set for incorporating cringe-worthy dialogue and acting in an attempt to spoon-feed us emotional pay-offs. It hadn’t worked up to this point and it didn’t work here, either.
Scenes in which members of the public began to enthusiastically applaud Sam Wilson were particularly notable. He causes a helicopter to crash into the middle of a busy road-bridge, narrowly avoiding countless members of the public who have no idea what is going on, and they immediately put their hands together and whoop for him. It was as though Marvel were trying to force us to accept he was doing well; we knew he was, and we don’t want it shoved down our throats.
The plot continued to feel rushed. I mentioned previously that, after last week’s episode, the writers had left themselves too much to do with just one showing remaining, and I was proven correct after One World, One People.
Morgenthau, who did end up as the show’s primary villain, was killed off far too quickly. It felt very anticlimactic; we didn’t feel much when she died, and her overall impact on the Marvel Cinematic Universe will not live long in the memory. Erin Kellyman’s acting was hardly exemplary, and an unfortunate coupling with poor writing led to an underwhelming character.
Sharon Carter being confirmed as the Power Broker was even more disappointing. Where did this come from? Where was the relevance? This truly felt like a last-ditch scripting technique to reintroduce a very forgettable character, and yet there was still only a miniscule portion of the plot dedicated to exploring it.
To be frank, there were plenty of frustrating aspects to this episode. I’ll discuss them, along with its few bright moments, in more detail when I write my review for the entire series. I conclude this particular article in disappointment, with Falcon and the Winter Soldier rounding off its runtime in the underwhelming fashion it made typical.
Featured Image Credit: The Indian Express