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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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Cobra Kai Season 4 – Review

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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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