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The Falcon And The Winter Soldier Episode 2 – Review

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Marvel Studios

Episode two 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.

Finding it’s feet

Episode Two of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier was another establishing episode. We met more new characters and got our first real look at the angst and interplay between Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes. We also got a clearer idea of who some key antagonists will be in the series. It looks very likely we’ll get a classic Marvel villain twist when the identity of The Powerbrokers is revealed later in the series.

I really like the obvious needle between The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. Even though there is clear but grudging respect between the two, there are also major issues on which they disagree. Their relationship is like a superhero version of Ron Burgundy and Wes Mantooth in Anchorman – albeit without the funky suits. Their joint therapy session is like watching an argument between two siblings who wind each other up constantly. But you know deep down they can’t really live without each other.

After watching two episodes of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, there are marked differences between this series and WandaVision which preceded it. This show appears to be aimed at a more mature and more male audience. The swearing-in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is an obvious change of tone. This is also a much more straightforward action series in the vein of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. than the strong dystopian and mystery elements of WandaVision. Those mystery elements also allowed Marvel to have some fun with the audience and embed some really oblique Easter Eggs in each episode. In The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, the cross-references are front and centre in the dialogue and action.

U.S. Agent Captain America

In Episode Two we get fully introduced to John Walker, the new custodian of Captain America’s Vibranium shield. On the face of it he seems exactly the type of all-American hero who is perfect to take over from Steve Rogers. Wyatt Russell, who plays John Walker, actually auditioned to be Captain America when Chris Evans was cast. He tries to work with Sam and Bucky as they unsuccessfully attempt to stop the Flag-Smashers convoy. They need his help as they are overpowered by Karli Morgenthau and her associates. But, Wilson and Barnes obviously resent his involvement.

By the end of the episode, Walker has lost patience with his offers to work with The Falcon and The Winter Soldier being rejected. He tells them to stay out of his way while he searches for the Flag-Smashers by the book. The Falcon and The Winter Soldier’s rationale for not working with him does make sense. They’re not bound by the same rules of engagement as Walker and his colleague Lemar Hoskins aka Battlestar.

Walker and Hoskins are faithful to their comic book alter-egos of US Agent and Battlestar. But the Flag-Smashers have morphed from one man in comics. They are now a vigilante group of soldiers apparently injected with the super-serum. This is a really smart move from Marvel. It brings a topical element to the series and is representative of similar groups around the world.

Isaiah

The most poignant scene in the episode is where Bucky and Sam visit Isaiah Bradley and his grandson Eli in Baltimore. Isaiah was the super soldier dispatched by the US during the Korean War. Dispatched to find and neutralise Bucky while he was working for Hydra. He was put in prison and experimented on for 30 years. Despite Bucky’s attempts to make amends, Isaiah is understandably not interested. Isaiah is accompanied by his grandson Eli, who is Patriot in the Young Avengers comics. With the appearance of Wiccan and Speed in WandaVision and now Patriot, is there a Young Avengers TV series in the pipeline? We can only hope so.

Sam’s unhappy at being duped into visiting Isaiah. He knows the story of what happened to Bradley and his comrades at the hands of the US Army and Hydra after WW2. This leads to a confrontation between Sam and Bucky in the street. The local police unnecessarily decide to involve themselves and completely misunderstand the situation.

There was a strong subtext of social commentary in this sequence. Especially given this was all set in Baltimore, which was the location for The Wire – one of the greatest TV series of all time. In fact there is a parallel to be drawn between Marvel and The Wire as they both have some of the most in-depth plot structures ever seen on screen.

Letting Hydra in?

This was another visually impacting, well-paced piece of TV. Again the stunts and action sequences were beautifully made. The interplay between the two title characters is growing nicely and we’ve now been introduced to a number of key secondary characters. But it’s the return of Hydra in the shape of Zemo that will most likely excite Marvel superfans. It’s another solid if unspectacular episode overall, but the groundwork has been laid for Marvel to really up the ante in Episode Three.


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 7/10


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

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

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TV News

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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