Steve believed in you, and you gave that shield away like it was nothing. Maybe he was wrong about you. And if he was wrong about you, then maybe he was wrong about me. —Bucky, to Sam
I can't run in these heels! —Sam
Last episode, Sam (Falcon) and Bucky (formerly The Winter Soldier) discover that there’s a lot more to the anarchist organization calling itself the FlagSmashers: that some of their soldiers are obviously juiced up on what could only be SuperSoldier serum (SSs from now on). To find out Who/What/Why/Where/How, they decide to ask someone who knows more about the SSs than anyone they know: Baron Zemo.
So after making the highly criminal choice to break Zemo out of prison in exchange for leading them on their search for the origins of the new SSs, Sam and Bucky board one of the mega-rich Baron's jets and head to a very famous/infamous corner of the Marvel Comics universe: Madripoor. Madripoor is a Vegas-like, Asian island nation with no extradition treaty, so the “scum and villainy” of the world flock there. Zemo knows the “Power Broker,” who heads the criminal orgs in Madripoor, will know who is making the SSs.
While Bucky reverts to his threatening, programmable Winter Soldier persona, Sam must go undercover as flashy, lookalike gangster Smiling Tiger. What follows is right out of a Bond movie, as the villain tries to figure out whether he is facing a spy or not. Predictably, it does not go well, and just when it seems that they are doomed, they are saved by a guardian angel: Sharon Carter. Last seen on the run from authorities after stealing Cap’s shield and Falcon flight suit. Apparently she’s been making a shady living in Madripoor. We find out that Sharon is even more kickass than ever. She is impressive in her action scenes, especially hand-to-hand combat.
What they learn leads them to the SSs lab, where they are told by the resident mad scientist that 20 vials of serum were stolen by the FlagSmashers. We also learn the significance of introducing us to Isaiah Bradley last episode, and the efforts made to re-create the SSs. After Zemo makes sure no more serum will ever be made in Madripoor, leads take them next to Latvia, where a surprise guest star makes an appearance, and opens up exciting possibilities of where this series may go in the final three episodes.
We get more of the entertaining buddy cop banter and arguing between Sam and Bucky, as they continue to iron out how to work together efficiently, and just plain how to get along. They both still hate what the government has done with Cap’s shield, after Sam donated it to The Smithsonian. But Bucky feels so strongly about it that he wants to steal it back, even from Sam should he get his hands on it first. Speaking of the new shield-holder, who do you think the government is going to send after Sam and Bucky for the Zemo prison-break?
This episode, named after this mysterious, unseen criminal kingpin (or maybe even queenpin?) packs a lot into its near-one hour run time, and feels more like a James Bond movie, complete with undercover drama and tension, a mad scientist, an accented villain, and lots of gunplay and explosions. The location shooting, the effects, the direction, the action, all are as good as it gets…it’s a mini Marvel movie coming to your living room every week.
Watch Falcon & Winter Soldier, airing Fridays on Disney+