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The Falcon And The Winter Soldier Episode 5 – Review

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Marvel Studios

Episode five of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier series from Marvel is here, streaming now on Disney Plus, how does it move their story forward, here’s our review.

SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the show, but if not there are spoilers ahead.

Walker in trouble

This episode picks up after John Walker’s brutal murder of a Flag-Smasher. A murder in full view of the public with Captain America’s shield at the end of episode four. We’re watching a man fully breaking down as he tries to understand who he is and what his purpose is. This is brought into even sharper relief as he faces the US Government’s punishment for his crimes. He is a broken man. He’s desperately searching for answers after taking the super-serum. That decision exacerbated his already pent up rage at the death of Lamar Hoskins. He loses the shield physically in an epic fight with The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. This coming after already losing it metaphorically as a result of his actions. I thought the fight scene was beautifully choreographed and resembled a Kung-Fu film with the level of physical activity.

Julia Louis Dreyfus

Walker visits Battlestar’s family to try and bring them and himself some comfort after the awful events in Riga. But his solace appears in the form of the ever wonderful Julia Louis Dreyfus aka Madam Hydra. She sets in motion the plan to recruit Walker, leaves her blank business card and tells him to answer the phone when she calls. He is still convinced he is Captain America. In the post-credit scene, we see him fashioning his own shield, including his Medal of Honour. This is all done to continue in the role he believes is rightfully his.

Visiting Isaiah

The scene with Isaiah Bradley and Sam Wilson was the high point of the episode. It had a wonderful performance from Carl Lumbly. The whole scene was especially poignant given it is set against the backdrop of the George Floyd trial and the death last week of Daunte Wright. The back story of Bradley was lifted verbatim from the Marvel graphic novel Red, White and Black which explains its power. With Anthony Mackie having previously portrayed Martin Luther King in All The Way, this was an incredibly powerful moment. There will certainly be some sort of recognition for his service and sacrifice alongside that of Steve Rogers.

Who is the Power-Broker?

The mystery around Sharon Carter continues as well. Although she doesn’t feature much in this episode, her moment in it has got everyone talking and raises more questions than answers. Is she the mysterious Power-Broker? Is she working against The Falcon and The Winter Soldier by arming Batroc to assist Karli Morgenthau and The Flag-Smashers? Or is she playing a very dangerous game of 3D chess to enable her to return to the US from her enforced exile in Madripoor? How many of these questions will Marvel leave unanswered at the end of the series to pick up at some other time? Some, none or all these will be answered in the finale.

Batroc has teamed up with Karli Morgenthau to stage an attack on the GRC’s meeting in New York. That meeting is where the great and good are meeting to enact The Patch Act. That act will enforce repatriation for millions displaced as a result of the events in Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. The Flag-Smashers have found their own Endgame with this attack. Meanwhile, Batroc is simply seeking revenge against The Falcon for the events on the plane in episode one of this series.

Buddy montage

We had a classic montage as Sam Wilson became Captain America. Refusing to take any super-soldier serum, he embarked on a Rocky Balboa-esque training regime to improve his fitness and ability to handle Captain America’s shield. He did have a little help from the Wakandans as they fashioned him a new suit after his previous one was destroyed in the fight with John Walker. We’re all set up for a climactic battle between Sam, Bucky, Walker and The Flag-Smashers.

The Wakandans also finally got their hands on Zemo as Bucky handed him over after finding him at the memorial of the Sokovian bombing in Age of Ultron. Zemo made one final attempt to manipulate Bucky but he once again demonstrated he had truly broken Hydra’s power over him. Zemo accepted his fate but I can’t help feeling this isn’t the end of his story. He will be held on The Raft, the floating prison looked after by Thunderbolt Ross. But you can’t help thinking that he’ll reappear in the upcoming Thunderbolt series. He’s too good a character not to return at some point in the future.

Pacing

I’ve been critical of some elements of this series. Although I enjoyed this episode, I found the pacing of it very peculiar. It felt like an epilogue or a prologue rather than the penultimate episode where you expect tension to be building towards an epic climax. The reappearance of relatively minor characters we’ve not seen since episode one was odd. I expect we will see more of this in the final episode as Bucky attempts to right some of his past wrongs, particularly the killing of Yori’s son. Those characters needed to have appeared more through the series. Otherwise, they appear to be nothing more than an afterthought or misused plot device. In spite of my frustrations with this series at times, you know Marvel will produce a fabulous finale.


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 8/10


Thank you for reading our review of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier episode five. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


Read our The Falcon and The Winter Soldier episode four review HERE.

Read IMDB information about The Falcon and The Winter Soldier HERE.

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Loki Episode 6 – Review

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Marvel Studios

Episode six of Loki from Marvel is here, streaming now on Disney Plus. It’s time for the series finale. Here’s our review.

SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the show, but if not there are spoilers ahead.

More to come

The post-credit scene showed that a second series has already been ordered, meaning this finale is essentially the end of Part One. Thank goodness it is. Because if this was the denouement of the entire Loki story then there’s a good chance it would go down in television infamy as one of the more unusual series endings.

Introducing the big bad

We pick up from Sylvie and Loki’s defeat of The Alioth as they look at the citadel upon the rock at the end of time. They make their way to the entrance, and upon being invited in they’re met by Miss Minutes. It’s been widely predicted that ‘she’ would be an agitator in this series. And at last her role has been revealed. She is an emissary of Kang The Conquerer, embedded within the TVA.

She offers Loki the earth, almost literally, as she tries to coax him to betray Sylvie. Her offers of infinity stones, defeating Thanos etc. Happily, Loki rejects all the trinkets that she offers. Instead, he and Sylvie head into the lift where they meet ‘He Who Remains’ aka Kang The Conquerer. A 31st-century scientist and the true timekeeper.

Loki fight

Sylvie attempts to kill him but he quickly demonstrates some of his powers by dodging and weaving her before she gives in and the three of them sit down for a very long discussion. To sum up what was a lengthy and occasionally fairly tedious scene. He Who Remains (HWR) asks Loki and Sylvie to kill him and take over the role of controlling the timeline. Loki is extremely reticent but Sylvie, angry at what HWR’s meddling has done to her life, is desperate to do so.

Meanwhile, back at TVA HQ, Renslayer is informed by Miss Minutes of HWR’s plan. Showing her dual role and playing on Renslayer’s desperation to keep the TVA active and relevant.

Loki and Sylvie get into a physical fight over what to do with HWR. With Loki recognising how the timeline will fragment with branches springing up all over the place. But Sylvie is consumed by her rage and eventually overpowers Loki, sending him back to the TVA and then kills He Who Remains.

Setting up season two

Loki finds Mobius and tries to explain what has happened. But then discovers the terrible effects of what Sylvie has done by apparently killing HWR. Mobius has no idea who Loki is. This situation is then made worse when Loki looks out to see a statue of He Who Remains adorning TVA HQ. Loki realises that he is in a different timeline branch. One where HWR or Kang is in control of everything. Sylvie has been manipulated into apparently killing him which has enabled him to increase his power further.

Jonathan Majors was masterful as He Who Remains. Which is what you’d expect from someone with a Masters in acting from Yale. He was flamboyant, powerful and mesmerising, which is exactly what you want from a major villain. He will be back in AntMan 3 as Kang The Conquerer and is set to be the key villain in the next phase of the MCU post-Endgame and Thanos.

I have been extremely positive about this series, as I think it has been the strongest and most cohesive of the Marvel series so far this year. But I can’t disagree with anyone who felt short-changed by this finale. My 11-year-old son was pretty vocal in his disappointment the moment the credits rolled, and he was absolutely right. He is one of the most obsessive Marvel fans around and if he was underwhelmed, I feel pretty sure he was reflecting the majority view. Nothing I’ve seen online since has dissuaded me from that either.

Phase 4 groundwork

It seemed that the finale was essentially an exercise in introducing He Who Remains or Kang to our screens ahead of AntMan 3. While this isn’t necessarily a problem, it meant that the focus shifted away from being the climax of this series. Instead of being a prologue for the next phase of the MCU, which does seem a peculiar decision.

There are those who feel that the series original premise of Loki and Mobius teaming up to find Variants dotted around time and space was dropped after the first two episodes. Instead, it was replaced with a love story between Sylvie and Loki and a voyage of discovery with Mobius reduced to a bit part for the rest of the series.

But, the cliffhanger at the end of the series as Loki returns to the TVA does give me hope that Series Two will be an even better follow up.


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 6/10


Thank you for reading our review of Loki episode six. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


Read our Loki episode five review HERE.

Read IMDB information about Loki HERE.

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