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The Falcon And The Winter Soldier Episode 3 – Review

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Baron Zemo Falcon and Winter Soldier Episode Three image
Marvel Studios

Episode three 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.

When you watch a TV show or film, the producers want you to empathise with the characters and feel some sort of emotional connection with them. Watching The Falcon and The Winter Soldier has allowed me to absolutely empathise with Bucky Barnes. Not because he’s been injected with a super-serum or been brainwashed to fight for an evil cause against his will. But because I feel like I’ve been in cryostasis watching the first three episodes of this series. The plot feels frozen in time introducing and re-introducing more characters into the show.

The Zemo factor

This episode picks up with the showdown between Bucky and Zemo in the latter’s maximum-security prison. Zemo tries to use the Hydra keywords to get Bucky to revert to his old ways but this fails as Barnes was deprogrammed in Wakanda.

Against Sam Wilson’s better judgment, Bucky helps Zemo break out of prison to help them in their search for The Flag-Smashers and The Powerbroker. Zemo reveals all the trappings of his Sokovian aristocratic background. He does this to help The Falcon and The Winter Soldier try to discover the identity of The Powerbroker.

Madripoor

Their search leads them to Madripoor, a Marvel haven for criminals and pirates in South East Asia. Praise must go to the Marvel production designers here. They’ve managed to make Madripoor look like a cross between Hong Kong and Ridley Scott’s vision of Los Angeles in Bladerunner. It looked absolutely stunning and I hope we’ll get to see it on the big screen in the next phase of the MCU.

Zemo, Bucky and Wilson pose as criminals and Hydra operatives to access one of the key criminal hangouts in Madripoor. The Falcon drinks some very questionable looking alcohol with snake guts. Meanwhile, Bucky poses as his Hydra self and gets into a major bar brawl as an initiation. After this, they are allowed to meet Selby. She is a criminal with a cockney accent so unconvincing that even Dick Van Dyke would facepalm in embarrassment. She informs them that former Hydra scientist Dr Wilfred Nagel has been recreating the Super Soldier serum.

A familiar face

When their true identities are revealed thanks to a badly timed phone call from Sam’s sister, a huge shootout ensues. Selby is killed and the guys are saved by Sharon Carter, Agent Peggy Carter’s great-niece. She is hiding out on Madripoor as a fugitive after assisting Steve Rogers with CIA intelligence during Captain America: Civil War.

The Falcon makes a vow to her that he will clear her name and in return, she helps them find Dr Nagel. After he reveals what he has been doing, Zemo decides to kill him and then blows up his lab to enable the team to escape a group of bounty hunters. But they still wouldn’t have been able to escape without Sharon almost single-handedly neutralising the criminals.

Closing the net

Meanwhile, the new Captain America and Battlestar are on the hunt for The Flag-Smashers. But, John Walker’s mask is literally starting to slip and he’s now threatening to break the rules to succeed in his mission. US Agent is clearly struggling to live up to his predecessor. Also, he certainly isn’t instilling the same amount of fear in the criminal fraternity as Steve Rogers did. He suffered what to many is the ultimate insult when one of those protecting Karli Morgenthau spat in his face.

She and her group are helping at a repatriation camp in Latvia created after The Snap at the end of Endgame. The Flag-Smashers raid a food depot in Lithuania set up by the Global Repatriation Council. That assault alerts Barnes, Zemo and Wilson to their location and they arrive in search of her. When they land, Bucky discovers Wakandan tracking devices on the street. He is then confronted by Ayo from the Dora Milaje. She demands he hand over Zemo, in order that he pay for his crimes including the assassination of Wakandan King T’Chaka.

Any good?

We’re now halfway through the six-episode run and yet it still feels like we’re setting up the story. Although we’ve seen some stunning action sequences and lovely cinematography, I’m still trying to work out the point of this series. This has all the elements you could possibly want to create a brilliant viewing experience, but it’s just not quite landing for some reason. It may be by the end of the series I’m saying the complete opposite. Right now, however, I’m feeling more than a bit let down by The Falcon and The Winter Soldier.

Also, I think Marvel need to look at who this show is aimed at. There’s a fair amount of adult content and swearing in this series. While I’m not bothered about that for myself, I am concerned about the impact that may have on the large young fan base the MCU has. Being asked by my 11 year old what a pimp is while The Falcon et al stroll across the bridge into Madripoor wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I absolutely believe the ultimate responsibility for what children watch lies with their parents. However, a heads up from the programme-makers about any adult material at the start of an episode would be really useful.


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 6/10


Thank you for reading our review of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier episode three. 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 two review HERE.

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

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Cobra Kai Season 4 – Review

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Cobra Kai Season Four image
Netflix

Cobra Kai season four is out now on Netflix and the All Valley is back and better than ever. Here’s our review.

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

It’s January, and new shows are popping up everywhere. This brings us to the show that I and my friends have been holding our breaths for: the fourth season of the hit Netflix series Cobra Kai! After three seasons, I wondered if there was anything left to mine from the Karate Kid lore or the Johnny/Daniel dynamic. I am happy to report that this might be my favourite season yet! It manages to not only expand upon the universe it has created, but to bring in a new villain, who is so bad that he threatens to outdo even John Kreese!

Alliance

Season four sets us off where the third left off, with Johnny and Daniel having joined forces to fight Cobra Kai. Their friendship arc is the glue that holds this season together. The story focuses largely on whether they will be able to pull it together and make their partnership work. As in previous seasons, their relationship has its ups and downs. The stakes are heightened, however, as the season leads up to the All-Valley Tournament. A bet between the three senseis – Kreese, Daniel, and Johnny – means that losing the All Valley is losing the title of sensei.

This season explores the ways that both Johnny and Daniel work with the kids. It also examines the kids’ struggles as they prepare for the All Valley while dealing with conflict within the ever-changing network of friends and enemies in the dojos. Robbie has left juvenile hall and decided to join up with Cobra Kai as a means of inflicting revenge on both his dad and Daniel. Tori and Sam continue their rivalry. And John Reese’s old friend Terry Silver (of Karate Kid 3 fame) shows up to kick Cobra Kai into high gear.

Daniel’s son, Anthony, who has largely been absent until now, faces his own dilemma when his friends begin bullying Kenny, the new kid in town. This soft-spoken middle school character brings us into the world of the younger kids, setting up yet another storyline. Kenny becomes the victim of a gang of kids (including Anthony), enduring round after round of bullying before Robbie takes him under his wing. After his induction into Cobra Kai, the formerly shy middle-schooler becomes a bully himself.

Shades of grey

This brings me to one of my favourite things about the show. The constant back and forth dynamic between characters makes us feel that anything is possible. There is no black and white in the world of Cobra Kai. Where the Karate Kid told us that Daniel was good, and Johnny was bad, this show gives us a very different point of view. It’s a world where we’re never sure who to root for. In this season, we even see Hawk make a return to the “good guys” side after giving up his spot at Cobra Kai.

With Eagle Fang (Johnny’s new dojo) and Miyagi-Do teaming up, the kids – and the adults – have to learn to work together. Of course, complications ensue. Johnny becomes jealous of what he perceives as Miguel’s preference for Daniel over him. Sam wants to learn both her dad’s karate style and Johnny’s, despite her father’s discouragement. Meanwhile, at Cobra Kai, Kreese is losing his grip on the dojo. His former war buddy, Terry Silver, puts off a rather benign appearance in episode one, growing more and more evil with each episode.

This season is lacking in many of the big fight scenes of the previous seasons, instead choosing to focus their energy on the characters. The All Valley Tournament features several great karate matches and offers a satisfying conclusion to Johnny and Daniel’s arc. In the end, Cobra Kai takes the tournament win, but Johnny and Daniel have reached an understanding.

New champions

Tori defeats Sam to take the women’s All Valley trophy but later overhears her sensei paying off one of the referees. It’s clear that Cobra Kai has pulled yet another fast one. But the season ends on an even more ominous – and unexpected – note. Terry Silver assaults the over-aged former Cobra Kai member, Stingray, sending him to the hospital. He then makes a deal with Stingray to blame the crime on Kreese. We end the season with Kreese in handcuffs, Terry Silver set to take over Cobra Kai, and the future of Eagle Fang and Miyagi-Do uncertain. In a last shocking twist, Miguel leaves town in search of his biological father.

Although some may miss the school hallway throw downs, I found this one satisfying in a different way. It just goes to show that the ever-expanding Cobra Kai universe can keep bringing surprises season after season.


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 9/10


Thank you for reading our review of Cobra Kai season four. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


Check out our Hawkeye episode one and two review HERE.

Read IMDB information about Spider-Man: No Way Home HERE.

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