Episode 5 does some heavy soul searching and makes a MAJOR REVEAL for the direction of the MCU! What were the best moments? How does the episode grade out?

SPOILER WARNING!!! This Falcon and Winter Soldier review contains HEAVY SPOILERS AND THEORIES about the direction of the series and the next phase of the MCU. Click below for my series premiere review.

Let’s hope this Marvel Big bad talks better than she dances

What worked:

The big reveal in episode 5, titled Truth, was Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (just call her Val, or don’t) played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. They didn’t say it explicitly, but I think it’s pretty darn near confirmed that she is in fact the mysterious, Power Broker. She is better known in the comics as Madame Hydra. Marvel fans should expect a lot of MCU Madame Hydra for some time to come. We’ve seen the MCU double down on giving fans female antagonists, from Cate Blanchett in Thor: Ragnarok to Kathryn Hahn in WandaVision.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is next in line to be the an “evil Nick Fury” of sorts. This is likely our first glimpse of Marvel’s Thunderbolts, a team of supervillains that is slowly being built from the ground up. This reveal also has very clear ties to Black Widow, which comes out in early July. Who is Madame Hydra? Val has spent significant time as a high ranking agent for SHIELD. In the comics, it is revealed she was actually an agent of the Russian group Leviathan, which I expect to have a major role in the upcoming Black Widow film.

There were a lot of strong moments in this episode. The strongest, without a doubt, goes to the opening duel between Walker, Bucky and Sam. What an incredible and brutal fight. With the Civil War music in the background and tons of imagery from the bloodied shield, Sam proved no match for John Walker. My favorite moment from this sequence had to be the end, which involved an angry Bucky dropping the bloodied shield next to Sam. With no words actually spoken, actions unquestionably speak louder than words. Sam clearly understood that recent events never would have escalated to where they are now had Sam taken the shield from Steve in the first place.

Therapist Sam is my favorite Sam

My second favorite moment this week goes to Sam returning to his home in New Orleans. Sure, the training montage sequence and Rocky references were a blast. Watching Sam Wilson learn how to utilize the shield was fantastic. However, Sam speaking the truth (pun intended) to Bucky about accepting who he really is and how to deal with his PTSD was a beautiful nod to Steve Rogers in Avengers: Endgame. “That shield is the closest thing I have left to a family,” says Bucky to Sam in an incredibly heartfelt moment. Bucky apologizing to Sam for not understanding the real ramifications of becoming Captain America as an African American was a perfect moment for their relationship.

It’s clear that Sam did more for Bucky in 5 minutes than any therapist has done for him during the last 5 years. Unfortunately, it took 5 episodes to finally get to the point where Sam and Bucky’s future relationship was cemented. This was a moment that clearly continued their growing friendship. I’m hopeful that this was also a nod by Kevin Feige that season two of Falcon and the Winter Soldier is in the works. I’d hate to see this series be the end of their blossoming friendship.

The legacy of the shield is complicated,” says Sam Wilson who finally understands the true flaws of the government.

I loved that we got to revisit Isaiah Bradley this week, who was an incredibly interesting character and standout from episode two. “I used to be like you,” says Isaiah to Sam. We learned that Isaiah, along with multiple other people, received variations of the serum. When one of Isaiah’s friends got captured, the government opted to blow the POW camp up and hide the evidence of the serum. Instead, Isaiah rescued his friends from the POW camp and none of it made a difference. The parallels of this from Steve rescuing the troops in Captain America: The First Avenger are really intriguing.

We finally got the full backstory of Isaiah. The wrong doings against him were horrific. Fingers crossed this story has more life in it moving forward. As of now, I’m very confident that Eli becoming Patriot is a near lock to go down. Eli Bradley, the grandson Isaiah Bradley, is likely on his way to become a member of the Young Avengers which has been unfolding for quite some time now. As of now, I’m hopeful that this team will also include Billy and Tommy Maximoff from WandaVision and Kate Bishop (Hawkeye) moving forward.

What didn’t:

Unfortunately, Sharon and Zemo took a back seat this week. What are these two up to? Baron Zemo returning to Wakanda with the Dora Milaje was a great call by my co-host AJ (@AJ_GeekVibes) of our Suit Up Geeks podcast. This is more than likely the last time we see of Daniel Brühl’s Baron Zemo until Black Panther 2. While I’m excited to see more of Baron Zemo moving forward, that film is a full 15 months away from release (as of now). Similar to John Walker’s character and his meeting with Val, I expect Baron Zemo to have a major role moving forward in the upcoming film or TV series, Thunderbolts.

We also learned that Sharon is bankrolling Batroc. That’s going to be brutal news for Sam when he finds that out. This would be a massive character shift for Sharon’s character. If I had to guess, I would assume Sharon may be working undercover to understand the inner-workings of the Power Broker/Madame Hydra/Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. Fingers crossed she is working for SWORD and that this is how she eventually gets her pardon.

Quick notes:

  • I’m willing to bet that it’s John Walker who shows up as US Agent, with his makeshift sheld, at the GRC meeting. He is very clearly on a mission to get revenge for the government killing Lemar. Similar to Karli, watching John Walker go further down his dark path is tough to watch.
  • Sam is going to look incredible in his brand-new, Wakandan made Captain America suit next week. Hopefully it’s a new version of the suit and something we’ve never seen before. As much as I want Sam Wilson to carry the mantle as Captain America, I’m also hopeful that it’s a fresh take on the character.
  • Correct me if I’m wrong, but did this episode set up Torres to take up the wings of Falcon? In the words of Quicksilver, I definitely did not see that one coming.
  • If I were to place a bet on the final post credit scene of the show, my money would be on Val and Baron Zemo. I think the final shot of the series includes the Power Broker paying Zemo a visit in Wakanda.

Final Thoughts & Grade

This show just gets me. This was very clearly the “calm before the storm” with an upcoming major battle in the finale on the horizon. I’m incredibly grateful that we got to further explore these amazing characters in episode 5. The character development has been amazing in this series led by incredible acting by Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan. This also week featured a fantastic twist in giving us Madame Hydra, which gives us a better idea of what the MCU has planned moving forward. The stage is officially set for an epic showdown between the new Captain America and US Agent.

Grade: 8/10