Much has happened with Bucky (Sebastian Stan) and Sam (Anthony Mackie) since we last left them at the end of Episode 2 of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, and we’re back to fill you in on episodes 3 and 4 of this limited 6 episode Disney+ series.
Episode 3: “Power Broker”
We begin the episode with a commercial from the “Global Repatriation Council” which promises people who have returned by The Blip that they can reset, restore, and rebuild their lives, which is exactly what the Flag Smashers are against.
As soon as the commercial is over, a black van with the initials “GRC” rolls up with armed agents and none other than the imposter Captain America, John Walker (Wyatt Russell) and the team goes into a warehouse space to interrogate people inside about the Flag Smashers and look for the leader named Karli Morgenthau (Erin Kellyman).
We see a very unattractive view of the imposter who screams, “Do you know who I am” to a man who says he knows exactly who he is, but doesnt care.
After the new Captain America and his bud “Battlestar” (Clé Bennet) attempt to bully and assault the uncooperative people in the building, we pick back up with our real heroes Sam (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky (Sebastian Stan) in the facility where Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) is being held in Berlin.
Bucky convinces Sam to allow him to question Zemo alone even after their horrendous past. Before Bucky can say one word, Zemo begins to recite the activation code to Bucky to see if he really is free from the Hydra Winter Soldier programming. Zemo apologizes to Bucky and claims it was never personal.
Without acknowledging the apology, Bucky informs Zemo that someone has replicated the super soldier serum, which instantly gets Zemo’s attention. Zemo tells Bucky that he knows where to begin and then Bucky tells Sam that they need Zemo to be free from his jail cell. Bucky explains that Zemo is highly against the use of the super soldier serum and that they can trust Zemo to an extent.
As Bucky explains his plan of escape, we are shown Zemo working the exact steps until he ultimately joins Sam and Bucky after his successful escape.
Zemo informs the two that he is a very wealthy Baron and gathers supplies in his exceptionally well stocked garage. The unlikely trio then hop on the Baron’s private jet and fly off to the island of Madripoor.
The three of them walk across the bridge to the lawless island undercover. Sam is playing a sophisticated, charming Afrikan named Conrad Mack, aka the Smiling Tiger, Bucky is playing the brainwashed and violent Winter Soldier, and Zemo is himself. Zemo informs them that if they break cover, they will be killed instantaneously.
After displaying Winter Soldier’s “talents” the three gain access to the woman they have come to meet so Zemo can question her about the super serum. Zemo offers to trade the Winter Soldier along with his code words to control him for information about the serum. Selby (Imelda Corcoran) confirms that the serum is in Madripoor and that he needs to look for Dr. Wilfred Nagel.
Just as Selby realizes Sam is not who he says he is, she is killed by a bullet fired through the window from an unknown source. A bounty is immediately placed on their heads and they must run for their lives. Out of nowhere they are accosted by Peggy Carter’s niece Sharon (Emily VanCamp) who wants to kill Zemo, but Bucky and Sam explain to her why she can’t.
They ask for her help and she begrudgingly agrees, providing them with a safehouse. She gives them changes of clothes and tells them that she has clients coming over.
They tell her about Nagel and she says that he works for the Power Broker and that this situation is far too dangerous for the guys. Sam makes a deal with Sharon, if she helps them, he will get her name cleared in America.
The party heats up pretty quickly and we are gifted with a brief dance scene featuring Zemo which set the internet on fire and prompted Marvel to put out an extended version of Zemo’s dancing on youtube.
Sharon collects our heroes and Zemo and takes them to a shipyard where she claims they can find Nagel. While the guys are in with Nagel (Olli Haaskivi), Sharon informs them that they have company all trying to kill them. Sharon fights off attackers with the same physical combat prowess of Black Widow.
Nagel explains that he used samples from “an American test subject” (Isaiah) to make 20 vials of serum and that he doesn’t have any of them because Karli stole them all. After questioning Nagel, Zemo shoots him dead.
A bounty hunter fires an anti-aircraft missile into the shipping container, which causes an explosion the four miraculously survive. Zemo gives them the slip, but saves them while wearing a creepy purple mask. The guys ride off in a stolen car and leave Sharon to reunite with her own associates.
In the meantime we are shown a GRC resettlement camp in Latvia where Karli is given the unfortunate news that a loved one named Donya Madani is on her deathbed. Karli is with the woman as she takes her final breaths.
Outside, Karli’s super soldier friend tries to talk Karli out of her plans to allow herself to mourn, but she refuses. She’s already received word that Nagle was killed and hopes to be able to make a deal with the Power Broker for the remaining 13 vials of super serum.
Dumb and Dumber, or Fake Cap and “Battlestar” are hot on Sam and Bucky’s trail and assume that they broke Zemo out of the German prison.
Sam receives word of where Madani passed away and Zemo is eager to meet the super soldier Karli face to face.
The Flag Smashers, led by Karli, steal food and medical supplies for the displaced survivors of the Blip and she uses a car bomb to explode the GRC building while soldiers were still inside.
The episode ends when Sam, Bucky and Zemo arrive in Latvia and Bucky recognizes the familiar high tech beads used by the Wakandan Dora Milaje. He follows a trail of them to their source who informs him in Wakandan that they are there for Zemo.
Episode 4: Intel Report
The episode begins in Wakanda, six years ago in the past as we are shown part of Bucky’s recovery process as he becomes who the Wakandans call “The White Wolf.” Ayo (Florence Kasumba) is with Bucky and she insists on using his activation code words on him to show him that they have broken the mind control implemented by Hydra.
As she says the words, Sebastian Stan provides an incredible performance of a man who is haunted by the actions he committed when he was out of his own control. Once she completes the trigger words and he does not become a blinded killing machine puppet, she tells him, “You are free” as he sobs uncontrollably.
After that scene ends we are back to current time in Latvia as the same two are face to face again as Ayo confronts Bucky asking him how he could free the very man who was responsible for the death of their leader AND framed Bucky for the killing (Zemo). Bucky tells her that they need him. She says that the Wakandans will give him another 8 hours and then they will come for the man who killed their king in Avengers: Civil War.
Bucky returns to Zemo and Sam and informs them of what just transpired. While Sam berates Zemo for murdering Nagel, Bucky interrupts to tell them of Karli’s latest attack, including the fact that she killed 3 and injured 11. She also has provided a list of demands with threats of more violence if her demands are not met.
Zemo tries to get the duo focused on hunting Karli and calls her a supremacist because of her super soldier status. Sam, who has also been displaced by the Blip, finds himself identifying with her and wants to find a peaceful way to end the conflict.
Zemo explains the corruption of the super soldier serum and says there will be no end until either she kills them or they kill her. Bucky points out that the serum never corrupted Steve and Zemo agrees but asks, “But there has never been another Steve Rogers, has there?”
Sam changes the subject and devises a plan to find Donya’s memorial service, which they believe will lead them to Karli. Much like the white witch in the Chronicles of Narnia, Zemo has his pockets filled with Turkish delight that he uses to manipulate the young children in the area to inform him of where the memorial is taking place, all while Sam and Bucky can’t get anyone to talk to them about Donya. Sam does have an important conversation with another displaced individual. Sam offers help, but the man refuses and leaves him.
Meanwhile the Flag Smashers are viewing the news of their attack online and it seems that their attack is having the exact opposite effect they intended. The GRC has drafted legislation known as “The Patch Act,” which would seek to restore traditional border regulations and fast-track the return of normalcy.
After his interaction with the man at the resettlement camp, Sam tries to explain Karli’s side to Bucky (and Zemo) and how he empathises with her. Sam insists that she is not your average villain and that she’s not motivated by the same things.
Bucky questions Zemo about what the children told him and he informs them of the time of the memorial service for Donya Madani, but refuses to tell them where because he knows when he loses his value, they will turn him over to the Dora Milaje.
Sam calls Sharon and asks her for more help. She tells him that the mysterious Power Broker is furious over the loss of Nagel and wants the remaining serum. Sharon agrees to help and tells Sam that he needs to find Karli before the entire island of Madripoor implodes.
The next scene shows Karli with the remaining serum as she retrieves it from her hiding spot with her friend Nico (Noah Mills) and the two share a chat about Captain America and the shield. Nico tells Karli that he was a Captain America fan and says that he didn’t believe there was anyone else like that in the world until he met her.
Karli says that she shield is a symbol of a bygone era and that it should be destroyed and that the serum is how they will enact change.
Fake Cap and Batlestar catch up with Bucky, Sam and Zemo and berate them in the street over Karli’s act of violence and breaking Zemo out of prison. Zemo informs the GRC boys that our heroes need him because he knows the location of the funeral and Karli.
The GRC guys attempt to bully their way into the mission and Sam informs the imposter Captain America that he wants to go in alone to talk to Karli and try to reason with her. Of course John Walker argues and his partner Battlestar calms him down and he listens to the voice of reason.
The five of them follow a little girl Zemo befriended with Turkish delight to the location of the memorial service. Fake Cap handcuffs Zemo and tells Sam that he has 10 minutes to talk to Karli before he and Batlestar go in with guns blazing (figuratively speaking).
Sam appears while Karli is telling a story about the deceased but doesn’t interrupt her or cause any disturbance. He listens to her speech and she is aware of his presence. When she is done speaking and there is no one else around, Sam approaches her and says that he wants to talk and that he’s alone. He tries to reach out to her by offering condolences and tells her that he understands because he has also suffered loss.
He tells her that he understands her frustration and helplessness. He implores her to stop killing people. Sam tells Karli about Zemo’s theory that she is a supremicist to which she balks. He asked her if she intended to make a super soldier army with the remaining serum vials. He briefly mentions his sister and alludes to his family difficulties.
Meanwhile John Walker paces around impatiently and Bucky blocks him from confronting Sam and Karli. It is at this point where John Walker expresses his jealousy of Bucky as a super soldier. Eventually Fake Cap comes out to apprehend Karli and she is infuriated at Sam, assuming he has set her up. Karli runs and Bucky chases her.
In all the ruckus, Zemo has escaped and is intent on killing Karli. Sam and Bucky run into each other after getting lost in the maze-like building. Karli finds herself under fire from Zemo’s gun and gets wounded. The satchel carrying the serum falls from her waist, exposing the vials to Zemo. Once he realizes what they are, he stomps on them in an attempt to destroy them all, unfortunately leaving one.
As he’s destroying the vials Karli gets away and the real villain of our story knocks out Zemo with Steve Rogers’ shield before the last vial is destroyed. Without weighing the consequences, the imposter takes the serum for himself and hides it in his pocket.
An injured Karli regroups with Nico and Dovich (Desmond Chaim). Nico tells Karli the vials were all destroyed as Dovich receives a text from the Power Broker stating, “I want the Serum back or I will find you and I will end you”. Karli says they can wait to deal with the Power Broker and that she knows how to deal with Sam by separating the team and killing “Captain America”.
Back at their Latvian lair, Zemo asks Sam if he would have taken the serum given the opportunity and Sam immediately says “no” which impresses Zemo.
Zemo goes on to remind Sam that Karli must be stopped and that super soldiers cannot be allowed to exist. Just as Bucky and Sam squabble over Sam relinquishing the shield, John Walker and Battlestar bust through the doors “ordering” them to turn over Zemo to them. Sam refuses and tells Fake Cap that Zemo is more valuable to them than he is. The two stare each other down and John puts down Steve’s shield “to make it fair.”
Before the two can come to blows, the Dora Milaje throws a spear at John, narrowly missing his face.
In Wakandan Ayo tells Bucky that the time is up for Zemo and demands that they turn him over to them. The buffoon wearing the Captain America costume introduces himself to the Dora Milaje who respond with silence and dead stares. Sam tries to warn him of their fearsomeness, but John’s ego couldn’t comprehend the warning and tells them that the Dora Milaje have no jurisdiction here. Ayo responds with “The Dora Milaje have jurisdiction wherever the Dora Milaje find themselves to be”.
John Walker makes the mistake of placing his hands on Ayo and the warrior women proceed to kick the asses of both Fake Cap and his sidekick Battlestar all over the place as an entertained Bucky, Sam, and Zemo watch. Sam says that they should do something, so Bucky offers John a sarcastic cheer, “Lookin strong, John” and Sam becomes annoyed.
Bucky then steps in with his new Wakandan arm and asks Ayo if they can stop fighting and talk. During the maylay Zemo sneaks out just before a member of the Dora Milaje anchors the shield with her spear. Before Bucky knows what’s happening, Ayo enters a touch code into his mechanical arm which makes it fall to the floor.
She says something to him in Wakandan not shared with the audience and discovers that Zemo gave them the slip. After freeing the shield and implying that she would take it, Ayo tells the other member of the Dora Milaje that Zemo is gone and to leave the shield, she hands it back to the imposter and they leave.
As Sam and Bucky are dumbfounded to discover this secret hack to Bucky’s arm, John is disillusioned and devastated over the fact that they were bested by women who “weren’t even super soldiers”.
While John and Lemar (Battlestar) commiserate over their loss, a woman approaches them and asks for Fake Cap’s autograph. After the “fan” leaves John asks Lemar if he would take the super soldier serum if the opportunity arose and he emphatically responds, “hell yes.”
The two briefly discuss how the serum enhances traits which already exist in the recipient and Lemar goes on to toot Johns horn, listing his accomplishments as a soldier. John says that what he did to earn his medals did not exactly feel “right” and the two talk about how things would have been different in Afghanistan if they were super soldiers.
Karli calls Sam’s sister and asks her to set up a meeting with Sam while intimidating her with implied threats to her family. Sam instructs Sarah to pack up the kids and get out of town but also immediately goes to meet with Karli. Even though he was instructed to go alone, Bucky refuses to allow it and goes with him.
For his own safety, Sam shows up in his Falcon suit. Sharon is in communication with Falcon and informs him where Walker is going to be, just after Karli implies that she wants to kill the imposter and that she would like Falcon and Bucky to join her in her cause. After a brief scrimmage between the three, they part ways in a race to get to Walker first.
Lemar and Walker get separated and Lemar is incapicated and restrained by Karli’s henchmen Nico and Dovich. Walker is on his own and is forced to fight the two super soldiers. At some point, Walker has taken the last vial of super soldier serum and Sam discovers this fact when he sees him fighting with one of Karli’s super soldiers and witnesses his extraordinary strength. Completely dismayed, Sam asks, “what did you do” and Fake Cap responds, “they have Lamar.”
Bucky has no problems besting the super soldier who he was tasked to battle as Sam and Walker have to tango with two others. Battlestar manages to free himself from his restraints as Bucky joins the others in hand to hand combat.
Just as Karli runs in with her attempt to assassinate “Captain America,” Lemar thwarts her attempt by jumping in between them. She then, perhaps accidentally, killed Lemar with a single punch, just when he was starting to grow on us.
Nico releases his grip on Walker as the entire group is stunned while Fake Cap realizes that his friend and hero partner is dead. The Flag Smashers run in separate directions and Sam follows Karli as Fake Cap dramatically jumps from the window in desperation to get his hands on any Flag Smasher he can catch.
In one of the most shocking, disturbing, and bloodiest scenes in the MCU, a deranged and completely unhinged John Walker bludgens the unlucky Nico to death with the shield, in front of a crowd of witnesses recording the carnage on their cell phones.
Bucky and Sam appear after the public execution as a horrified Karli watches from the crowd. The episode ends with John Walker standing tall while holding the shield, dripping with Nico’s blood.
With only 2 episodes left of this limited series, fans are eager to see exactly how all of this can be wrapped up in such a short time. How long will John Walker’s reign of terror last? Is Sharon the Power Broker? Does she work for the Power Broker? Where did Zemo go? Will Karli become an Avenger? So many questions and so little time to answer them.
Joia DaVida reports on the entertainment industry in both Chicago and Los Angeles.